Cambridge, Massachusetts: Society of Saint John the Evangelist, 1947. First edition. Tall thin octavo (9 3/8 inches tall), original gilt red cloth. Bookplate, slight offsetting to endpapers, faint bump to bright, sharp-cornered boards. A near-fine copy. Item #1268
"IN THE NUMBER OF HER SAINTS AND MYSTICS SPAIN STANDS UNRIVALED"
First edition of these illustrated studies of sixteenth-century Spanish Mysticism—printed for the Society of Saint the John the Evangelist.
The author, Sister Felicia of the Order of St. Augustine, originally planned a larger and more ambitious work on the Golden Age of Spanish Mysticism with these biographical sketches at the center. This work was intended as an introduction to Fray Luis de León, a lesser-known Augustinian poet and theologian, to place him "alongside some of his distinguished contemporaries, in the very great century, the sixteenth, during which he lived." The book is composed of seven sections: Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), Blessed John of Avila (1500-1569), Saint Peter of Alcantara (1499-1562), Luis de Granada (1504-1588), Saint John of the Cross (1542-1591), Saint Teresa of Jesus 1515-1582), and Luis de León (1527-1591).
Preceded by the author's dedication: "Soli Deo Honor, et Gloria" and "The Royal Way of the Cross" (a passage from the Imitation of Christ). The biographies conclude with Sister Felicia's explanatory Author's Note and a Note on the Illustrations. The text is beautifully illustrated with a frontispiece and nine additional captioned plates tracing the Life of St. John of the Cross. The engravings, after Arteaga y Alfaro, were discovered by Sister Felicia when "a question was asked of the librarian in charge of the Department of Fine Arts of the Boston Athenaeum: 'Have you a portrait of Saint John of the Cross, or pictures connected with his life?' This was the beginning of the quest." Printed in Cambridge, Massachusetts for the Society of Saint John the Evangelist. Without scarce original dust jacket.