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La voz femenina en libertad: El discurso masculino reconfigurado por mujeres en "El libro de romances y coplas del Carmelo de Valladolid" (c. 1590--1609)

Rubi Ugofsky-Mendez, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The present study explores El libro de romances y coplas del Carmelo de Valladolid[c. 1590-1609] by the Discalced Carmelites from the Convento de la Concepción del Carmen in Valladolid, Spain. ^ Said collection features religious poetry by nuns belonging to this community, whose lives span the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as well as a handful of poems by Saint Teresa (1515-1582), Saint John of the Cross (1542-1591) and Friar Luis de León (1527-1591), recognized major figures in Spain's literary tradition. ^ The study of this songbook merits consideration because it sheds light on women writers of the Iberian Golden Age who have not received the attention they deserve. Scholarly research about female poets of this time period is drastically less abundant than that which has been produced for their male counterparts. We will share samples of Baroque poetry written by these women in two different styles, the "popular" or folkloric of Medieval heritage and the "cultured" or refined of more recent Renaissance influence. ^ The frequent, community-wide intonation of these lyrics suggests that their composition was inspired by the deep-seated faith and devotion of their authors, souls who perceived this creative enterprise as a means towards ever greater spiritual growth. In this latter instance they may differ from many a male scholar of the age, leaving aside unique figures such as the aforementioned Juan de la Cruz and Luis de León. ^ This dissertation demonstrates how these women utilized poetry within their reach, written by men, and then reconfigured the male discourse, making it their own, bending it to express their voice. It will be shown how these females depicted other women as endowed with flesh and blood, as powerful, as beautiful, and as spiritual, differing, at times, from the conventional Petrarchan portrayal of women as somewhat cold and stiff. ^ These writers intoned their verses for their spiritual husband with the same passion and intensity as the most daring male poet who ever poured out his heart while singing to his muse. These women borrowed form and content from the poetry created by men, but adapted them to their delicate, loving, and religious voice.^

Subject Area

Literature, Romance|Women's Studies

Recommended Citation

Ugofsky-Mendez, Rubi, "La voz femenina en libertad: El discurso masculino reconfigurado por mujeres en "El libro de romances y coplas del Carmelo de Valladolid" (c. 1590--1609)" (2011). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3466484.