Spanish Devotional and Meditative Literature of Renaissance Spain

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The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Spain produced a plethora of religious literature. The writers of mystical literature, such as Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross, are very well known. However, there are other work by religious writers such as Malón de Chaide, García Gómez de Cisneros, Alonso de Madrid, Luis de Granada, El Beato Orozco, Tomás de Villanueva and Ignatius of Loyola. These writers describe the process of devotional reading, mental prayer, meditation, contemplation, and spiritual as well as ascetical exercises in a context which is more methodical in nature.


“[In this study,] Dr. DiSalvo presents for the reader a detailed analysis of the literature of Spanish Renaissance male and female authors whose spiritual exercises foster the development of the purgative and illuminative stages of a mystical union with God ... It is against [a] complicated background of Renaissance Spain that Dr. DiSalvo examines the devotional literature. The breadth of this research has produced a well-organized and comprehensive analysis of devotional literature. The manner in which [Dr. DiSalvo] has made available in one book the most important writings of Renaissance devotional literature is truly a noteworthy accomplishment.” – (from the Preface) Professor Michael J. McGrath, Georgia Southern University

“The Spanish Renaissance of the 16th and 17th centuries is known for many contributions, including outstanding drama, art, literature and architecture. However, none is more important than its literature, particularly its devotional literature ... This volume and its previous companion volume are major research contributions to the study of Spanish devotional literature. This volume would be of great interest to graduate students as well as faculty in Spanish history, literature and language. In addition, it would be of benefit to the growing number of individuals today who are seriously interested in Christian spirituality and mysticism and its history and practice ... Highly recommended.” – Professor William C. Hine, Eastern Illinois University

“ ... Dr. DiSalvo has provided a timely and thorough introduction to the abundant literature of private devotion that nourished the faithful of Europe’s first great empire ... This is a thoughtful, comprehensive, and well-researched introduction to the extensive literature of contemplation and meditation and fills a gap in Golden Age studies. The book is accessible for specialists and non-specialists alike, and is a valuable addition to university and scholarly libraries.” – Professor Laurie Kaplis-Hohwald, Rowan University

Table of Contents

1. The Art of Mental Prayer, Meditation and Contemplation
2. Methodical Prayer and Meditation
3. Divine Love and Christian Service
4. Asceticism and the Path to Christian Perfection in the Spanish Reform

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