SPAN30190 Martyrs and Mystics: Poetry and Prose of the Spanish Golden Age

The Spanish Golden Age saw a remarkable period of cultural growth and innovation in all areas of the arts. Paradoxically, it was also an era in which Spain was gripped by rigged authoritarianism and an obsessive drive towards religious orthodoxy directed by the infamous Spanish Inquisition. This course explores the lives and work of poets and mystics writing at the nexus of these phenomena. These writers, including Teresa de Jesús, San Juan de la Cruz, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, defied the conventions of their time to explore, and share with their communities, the adventure of their interior, spiritual lives. Organised chronologically, this course will give students a socio-historical understanding of the period in which these writers developed and also creates space for close readings of original texts, applying contemporary theoretical frameworks such as feminism and queer theory. There will also be opportunities to consider contemporary engagement with these writers and their work, for example with Espido Freire’s 2015 self-help book, Para vos nací, inspired by the writings of Teresa de Jesús, and the Mexican TV series, Juana Inés.

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