Place Published: Philadelphia
Publisher: Saint Joseph's University Press
Date Published: 2011
Book ID: 65
Early Modern Catholicism and the Visual Arts Series, Vol. 5
273 pages + introduction and index of emblems | 10.25 x 7.25 inches | 37 images
The Book of Honors for Empress María of Austria is a chronicle of the remarkable celebrations organized by the Jesuit Colegio de San Pedro y San Pablo in Madrid to honor the piety and generosity of its major benefactor after her death in 1603. María bequeathed virtually the whole of her estate to the Jesuits in Madrid, including a parcel of land where the Jesuit Fathers built their new College, opened in 1608. The Jesuits of Madrid educated the likes of Lope de Vega, Calderón de la Barca, Francisco de Quevedo, and many other illustrious Spaniards from all walks of life. María de Austria's legacy, therefore, was to have an enormous impact on Spanish Golden Age literature and culture.
Following the conventions of the highly specialized genre of royal funeral exequies, the Book of Honors includes an encomiastic dedication by the Rector of the College to the house of Austria and to María's daughter, Margaret of Austria, like her mother, a nun of the Discalced Order of St. Clara of Madrid. This is followed by a description of the catafalque and the decoration of the church. The book then reproduces a lengthy Latin prayer delivered by the Jesuit theologian Juan Luis de la Cerda. The funeral sermon follows, preached by the Jesuit Jerónimo de Florencia.
While much of the rest of the book consists of an anthology of the poems crafted by the Jesuit Fathers and their pupils to honor the empress, the most unique and interesting aspect of the book is the description and reproduction of the 36 hieroglyphs or emblems that were mounted on the walls of the church as part of the decorative iconographical program. They were intended as visual reinforcements for the main points of the funeral sermon, resulting in a highly original interconnection between the spoken word and the visual appeal of the series of emblematic images.
This English translation of the Libro de las honras makes available to a wide public this important and little-known manifestation of the genre of emblematic funeral honors. This book helps illuminate the Jesuit predilection for "preaching to the eyes" by mounting celebrations with public displays of poetry and emblematic illustrations, a particularly effective pedagogical technique exploited by the Society of Jesus in its schools almost from its very inception. What makes the Book of Honors especially important, however, is that it is the first book of its type in Spain to include illustrations of the royal exequies. The Book of Honors for Empress María of Austria will appeal to historians of seventeenth-century Spain, art historians, emblem scholars, students of Spanish Golden Age literature, those interested in sacred oratory, and scholars interested in the history of Catholicism and the Jesuit Order.
Publication of the book was assisted by a grant from the Program for Cultural Cooperation between Spain's Ministry of Culture and United States Universities.
Editors Antonio Bernat Vistarini is Professor of Spanish Literature at the Universitat de les Illes Balears in Palma de Mallorca, and John T. Cull is Professor of Spanish Language and Literature at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Ma. They have published widely in the field of Spanish emblematics. Their monumental Enciclopedia de emblemas españoles ilustrados was published in 1999 by Akal in Madrid.
Tamás Sajó, responsible for the translation of the poems in Greek and Latin, is an independent scholar who has also published extensively in the field of emblematics. He is the creator of the project Studiolum: A Libtrary for the Humanist, which has already published a number of editions of emblem books on CD of the many that it has planned for this ambitious project [www.studiolum.com].
This title was selected for Honorable Mention by the Eleanor Tufts Book Award Committee in 2012. This recognition was accompanied by the following citation:
"Book of Honors for Empress Maria of Austria Composed by the College of the Society of Jesus of Madrid on the Occasion of Her Death (1603), ed. Antonio Bernat Vistarini, John T. Cull and Tamás Sajó (Philadelphia: Saint Joseph's University Press, 2011), for setting an example of a fruitful collaboration among scholars from different countries who made accessible to an English-speaking audience an important primary source and likewise for opening up a promising new line of scholarship in the fields of Spanish and Portuguese art: an annotated critical translation with facsimile of the emblems. The editors uncover a wealth of material relevant for understanding female patronage, iconography, religious practices, history, and literature of the Golden Age, and especially the importance of visual emblems in post-Tridentine Jesuit preaching. The combination of the critical and contextual essay, with the translated text, and the facsimile make this an indispensable resource for scholars and students of emblem books, literature, and symbolic imagery in early modern Spain."
"Book of Honras for Empress Maria of Austria, . . . the long-awaited critical edition of this important book, [is] carefully prepared by Antonio Bernat, John T. Cull, and Tamás Sajó, internationally renowned specialists in the study and editing of emblem books, and handsomely printed by Saint Joseph's University Press in Philadelphia, in its prestigious series, "Early Modern Catholicism and the Visual Arts." It makes available the first modern edition--and the only one since the editio princeps of 1603--of this scarce rare book . . . with graphic images of insuperable quality."
José Julio García Arranz, Imago: Revista de Emblemática y Cultura Visual
"[T]he facsimiles of the emblems announced on the title are of outstanding quality, in line with what one expects of the high production standards of Saint Joseph's University Press. . . . The helpful introduction discusses genre questions about 'libros de sucesos' (event books) and funeral sermons, before giving a full discussion of this particular work. . . . The Book of Honors exemplifies the huge influence of emblematics in the Jesuit context."
Stephen Rawles, Print Quarterly
"This is an important and fascinating book. It provides a much needed English translation of a rare and significant work, the Book of Honors for Empress María of Austria. Indeed, the translation is very readable as well as accurate. The work deals with Empress Maria, who was a most important figure in early modern Europe. This book provides crucial new material for historians, art historians, and those interested in emblematic literature and in the literature of the period. It also provides a concise and excellent introduction that studies the structure of the book as well as its many emblems. One of the major points here is that the sermons for this funeral celebration are reinforced by visual elements, while the catafalque and the emblems displayed in the text preach to the eyes. The constant interaction between the visual and the verbal makes of this book an important document for the study of the relationship between the 'sister arts' in Counter-Reformation Spain."
Frederick A. de Armas
Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities
Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature
Chair, Department of Romance Languages & Literatures
University of Chicago