Writings of Dona Luisa De Carvajal Y Mendoza, Catholic Missionary to James I's London

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"Dr Rees’s text has both a historical and a wider cultural significance. It sheds new light on Anglo-Spanish relations during the early part of the seventeenth century, particularly in respect of the relationships between the Spanish Embassy and Spanish Catholics in London at a time of religious controversy and persecution. It provides a vivid and eminently readable account of Doña Luisa herself – her convictions, her sense of mission, her observations about life in London, and her contacts with other Roman Catholics. It also offers a perceptive reading of a body of poetry by a woman author which is virtually unknown and of intrinsic interest both for its content and its quality. The links between her poetry and the literary expressions of Spanish Carmelite spirituality, notably by Santa Teresa de Avila and San Juan de la Cruz, are particularly striking. . . . a valuable contribution to both historical and literary study of the period, as well as to Spanish policy towards James I." – Revd. Dr. Colin Thompson

“. . . an original, well-structured and fluently written study of a most interesting historical figure, . . the work manages to convey, in a gripping style that is also scholarly, the warm and intriguing personality of Luisa and the continuing vitality of her writings.” – Terence O’Reilly

"Dr Rees' book is welcome as the first scholarly study of Luisa de Carvajal to be published in English. It focuses on 'the light that her own writings, both prose and verse, throw on her actions and on the mindset that produced them' (xi). The writings so considered are the letters Luisa wrote to friends in Spain during the course of her extraordinary apostolate in London, from 1605 until her death in 1614, and the spiritual poetry written earlier in her life. A selection from these poems, with facing prose translation, is printed at the end of the book." - Bulletin of Spanish Studies

"A useful introductory study." - Recusant History

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Foreword; Preface; Introduction
1. Luisa of London, the English martyr - letters from the Spanish diplomatic bag: view of England; government and persecution of Catholics; 'un chiquito monasterio'; household of the 'little convent'; activities; finances; health; priests and laymen; escapes; exile; lay-people; Catholic ambassadors; correspondents, especially Jesuits and Carmelites
2. Phoenix of Love: the poetry of Luisa's pre-mission years
Conclusion: A mystic in action
Appendix 1: Luisa's family tree
Appendix 2: Luisa's second arrest as reported by the Spanish Ambassador
Appendix 3: Advice to a prospective Spanish ambassador in London
Appendix 4: Fr. Jarvis's last words at Tyburn
Text of the Poems referred to in chapter 2
Bibliography; Index

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