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The Spiritual Exercises: From Ignatian Imagination to Secular Literature

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Chapter Summary

The historical context, in which one finds beyond their lifetime the narrative opposition of Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation, and Ignatius of Loyola, defender of a weakened Roman Catholic Church, is mostly responsible for the distancing of literary expressions from their original affiliation with medieval Christianity. By the end of the sixteenth century, the newly established Society of Jesus had taken over the administration of some of the most renowned colleges of southwestern Europe and had launched an unheard number of new institutions and missions throughout the rest of the world. This chapter focuses on the Spiritual Exercises that had immediate and direct influence on devotional poetry, its more intriguing repercussions on secular literature and, particularly, its participation in the merging of philosophy with literature in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the consequent rise of the novel.

Keywords: Ignatius of Loyola; Roman Catholic Church; secular literature; Society of Jesus; Spiritual Exercises



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