de Li, Andrés Books2003 0-7734-6758-0
The Summa de paciencia, a Spanish incunable by Andrés de Li, was first published in 1493, in Zaragoza by Pablo Hurus. Reprinted in 1505, it was dedicated to the eldest daughter of Catholic Monarchs, Princess Isabel, following the tragic death of her husband after only six months of marriage, and formed part of the queen’s personal library. The work offers a unique perspective on the role of royal women, as its intended patron is female, somewhat uncommon in medieval times. Li’s Summa de paciencia is manual on the Christian virtue of patience, and is replete with anecdotes, Biblical and Classical references, and heartfelt advice on how to survive turmoil and suffering. In addition, the work offers guidance on how to avoid temptation, painting a vivid picture of what happens to those unfortunate souls unlucky enough to fall victim to their weaknesses. It was written during a time of transition in Spain, as the nationally-unifying ascension of Fernando and Isabel brought with it the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition, the end of the Reconquest, the expulsion of the Spanish Jews, and the discovery of the New World. The Summa offers to its modern readers a wonderful insight into the fascinating clash of cultures and religions that characterized Spain and its royal family during one of its most fateful decades.