Mary Symbolism in the Romances of Seville Poet Francisco De Medrano (1570-1607)

Author: Suazo, Jorge W.


“Although long acknowledged as one of Spain's major poets in the period of transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque, Francisco de Medrano has received surprisingly little critical attention. There have been very few monograph-length studies devoted to his work, and none, until now, that has focused primarily on one of the more important areas of his poetic production, the romances. Jorge W. Suazo's study of Medrano's ballads thus fills an important gap in our understanding of Spanish Golden Age poetry … Suazo's monograph, as its title indicates, is a study of a group of Medrano's religious romances, specifically those that center on the Marian theme. Deriving his framework from the work of the Roman Catholic sociologist and theologian, Andrew M. Greeley, Suazo studies the figure of Mary in those ballads under three of the four aspects that Greeley singles out as essential to cult of Mariolatry as it developed over the centuries. They are: Mary as Madonna, or Mother; Mary as Virgo, or Virgin; and Mary as Sponsa, or Wife … Suazo's approach to the poems that he examines is essentially that of a close reader. Drawing upon an impressive amount of erudition, involving works of history, theological treatises, and studies of a variety of symbols, archetypes, and literary tropes, he illuminates each of the ballads from within … They deserve to be known, and Suazo has performed a real service for students of Golden Age poetry in bringing them to wider attention. That he has, moreover, gone about the task he has set himself with careful preparation, perceptiveness, and a high degree of critical acumen is surely cause for congratulation.” – (From the Commendatory Preface) Donald R. Larson , The Ohio State University

“The purpose of Jorge Suazo's book, Mary Symbolism in the Romances of Francisco de Medrano, is to analyze the religious symbolism of the Virgin Mary in five romances written by Francisco de Medrano (c. 1570-c. 1607) … In his close examination of the romances Suazo takes into account the plastic images of Mary in Renaissance paintings as well as other archetypical symbols, like water and fire, which are intertwined in the poems. He draws on a vast body of erudition to explain with incisiveness the deep meaning of Mary's symbols and the rich iconography and signs inserted in those romances. Suazo's analysis adds to our knowledge of the poetic craft of this Renaissance poet and helps us understand the poetic symbols and devices used in the religious poetry of his time … Jorge Suazo has done extensive research and provides insightful reading of little known Medrano's early poetic production. His book fulfills well his stated purpose of examining the symbolism of Mary and constitutes undoubtedly a very important step for further studies of these poems.” –Professor Encarnacion Juarez-Almendros, University of Notre Dame

“In this work, Jorge W. Suazo presents a comprehensive analysis of the symbolism associated with the Virgin Mary in Medrano's religious romances. While Medrano is recognized as a major poet during Spain's Golden Age, the critical studies of literary corpus have been to date, for the most part, limited to articles, encyclopedic entries, and doctoral dissertations. As the first book-length study of Medrano's poetry to appear in many years, and the only one devoted exclusively to the image of the Virgin Mary in Medrano's religious poetry, Suazo's study represents a significant contribution to the current state of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century scholarship. In addition to a thorough analysis of the romances, Suazo incorporates an impressive bibliography that consists of literary, historical, psychological, and religious studies to further inform his discussion of Mary symbolism in Medrano's romances … After a careful reading of Suazo's manuscript, I believe that this work contributes significantly to Medrano studies. As the only study that deals exclusively with the figure of the Virgin in Medrano's roman- ces, Suazo's manuscript will be most welcome by Golden Age scholars.” – Michael J. McGrath , Georgia Southern University

Table of Contents

1. The Poet and His Works
2. The Mary Myth and the Religious Symbol
3. Mary as Madonna
4. Mary as Virgo
5. Mary as Sponsa