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The Gardens Of Teresa Of Ávila

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Chapter Summary

The Ávila of the 16th century would have seemed quite rural to our eyes, and its semi-agricultural aspect continued into the second half of the 20th century. During the life of Teresa of Ávila, farm animals such as pigs and cows were known to roam the city streets, in disregard of the ordinance of 1485. The gardens that live inside Teresa's works contain a variety of flora and fauna - from thorns to birds and bees to flower species - and an abundance of other realistic details. The garden chapters of Teresa's Life contain several notable similarities with the description of the garden of Paradise. Finally, Teresa's experience of real garden forms - the domestic patio, the cloister garden, the hermitage garden, and others - led her to experiment with the conventions of Christian literary and iconographic traditions, as well as to improve upon the meditative garden of her contemporary, Francisco de Osuna.

Keywords: Christian literary; farm animals; garden of Paradise; iconographic traditions; Teresa of Ávila



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