Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Rare books 32: Spain goes into France

The first edition translation into French of Francisco de Santa Maria’s (1569-1649) history of the Discalced Carmelites, both déchaussé and déchausée, published only 93 years after the order’s formation (Paris, 1655). Notes: The Teresian Reform was an internal revolution in the Roman Church, similar to that of the Society of Jesus. Migration of the movement into France required tact, especially in the aftermath of that nation’s religious wars. While amenable to many of its tenets, French sensibilities were not always easy with some of the stricter Spanish practices, an issue that has never gone away in the order’s long history. To admire Saint Teresa doesn’t mean not having an argument with her. This volume tells the story-so-far to those with a personal investment. It is superbly laid out with clear print, deep margins, paragraph pointers and decorations. A second volume of this monumental testament, height 36 cm., was published in Paris in 1666; I am rather hoping a copy of the companion volume resides in one of the yet unopened boxes of this year’s extraordinary donation from the nuns north of the Murray River.

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