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Religious Autobiography

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Chapter Summary

This essay dedicates feminine conventual autobiography written from obedience, which is the genre that bears greater relevance in relation to Spanish Golden Age mysticism, but not without first alerting the reader to the existence and interest of those other works which form a more complete picture of Spanish religious life-writing in the Golden Age. The process described by Herpoel of progressive self-consciousness and mastery of rhetorical mechanisms by these authors is accompanied-although it might seem contradictory-by an increase in ecclesiastical control over these texts. It is important to emphasize the esprit de corps latent in these mandates and the eagerness of the orders to find, within their walls, female saints who would serve as praiseworthy examples. Here we see the repressive function of autobiography: the use of this writing as a means of &t;discernment&t; between authentic visionaries and charlatans, between visions inspired by God and those sent by the devil.

Keywords: autobiography; God; Herpoel; mysticism; religious; Spanish



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