The 16th century saw the rise of movements of religious reform which, in Spain as elsewhere, contributed to make the history of the period such a ferment. In these essays Terence O'Reilly is concerned with the writings produced by these movements, notably Illuminism, the early Jesuits, Erasmianism, and the Carmelite reform, and with the mixture of medieval and new literary conventions that they display. The book first deals with Ignatius Loyola and his Spiritual Exercises, examining its origins in his experience of conversion and the books he read, and locating him not in the period of the militant Counter-Reform, but in an earlier world, linked to the teachings of 16th Spanish Erasmians and illuminists. One study, hitherto unpublished, presents the lost treatise in which the Dominican Melchor Cano argued that Ignatius was an alumbrado. The following sections move to the later the century, considering the connections between spirituality and literature in works such as the ode to Salinas and, above all, in the mystical poetry of John of the Cross and its basis in exegesis and liturgical and devotional texts.
Contents: Ignatius of Loyola and the Counter-Reformation: the hagiographic tradition; St Ignatius Loyola and Spanish Erasmianism; Erasmus, Ignatius Loyola and orthodoxy; Melchor Cano and the sprirituality of St Ignatius Loyola; Melchor Cano's Censura y parecer contra el Instituto de los Padres Jesuitas: a transcription of the British Library manuscript; The spiritual exercises and the crisis of medieval piety; The structural unity of the Exercitatorio de la Vida Spiritual; The Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola and the Exercitatorio de la Vida Spiritual; Saint Ignatius Loyola and Castles in Palestine; The Erasmianism of Lazarillo de Tormes; The ode to Francisco Salinas; Courtly love and mysticism in Spanish poetry of the Golden Age; St John of the Cross and the traditions of monastic exegesis; The literary and devotional context of the Pastorcico; The Cantico espiritual of St John of the Cross and the mystical interpretation of the Song of Songs; Index.