More than Muses

Sor María de San Alberto

Sor María de San Alberto


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Annotated Bibliography

Alonso Cortés, Blanca. "Dos monjas vallisoletanas poetisas." , Valladolid, Imprenta Castellana, .

The author talks about the work of two of the most famous representatives of religious poetry during the Spanish Golden Age, María de San Alberto and her sister Cecilia del Nacimiento. Alonso Cortés provides a summary of the personal life and work of each of the members of the Sobrino Morillas family and the background of their education provided by their mother. The chapters dedicated to María de San Alberto’s and Cecilia del Nacimiento’s literary work expose the different genres such as poetry, songs, theater, and others which they used in their writings. Those chapters also explain their intentions, their audiences and inspirations, and how both writers developed their styles in different ways even though they share some similarities.  (Annotation by Astrid Zussett Urizar Botto)

Arenal, Electa and Stacey Schlau. "‘Leyendo yo y escribiendo ella’: The Convent as Intellectual Community." Letras Femeninas, vol. 32, no. 1, p. 129-47.

Arenal and Schlau describe the intellectual work the nuns carried out in convent life during the sixteenth century. The writings of several nuns during this period have served as a foundation to understand the changes in ideas about the role of women, specifically the relation the nuns had with deity and the perspective society held about women in general. The authors also delve into analyzing the collaborative work performed in convent life, taking as an example the relation of María de San Alberto y Cecilia de Nacimiento and the different leadership roles they play in the writing work they perform. (Annotation by Astrid Zussett Urizar Botto)

Arenal, Electa y Schlau, Stacey. "Two Sisters Among the Sisters: The Flowering of Intellectual Convent Culture." Untold Sisters: Hispanic Nuns in Their Own Works, U of New Mexico P, p. 131-89.

In this chapter the authors explore the life of the sisters Sobrino Morillas as they entered the religious life as Discalced Carmelites providing the biographical information of both María and Cecilia and their family. The chapter also includes some of the literary work both sisters wrote during their time as nuns with special emphasis in the mystic religious tradition that they developed from the example of St. Teresa de Ávila. The authors also explain the differences in María and Cecilia’s writings which influence the way they were known as poets from outside the convent.  (Annotation by Astrid Zussett Urizar Botto)

Barbeito Carneiro, María Isabel. Mujeres y literatura del siglo de oro: espacios profanos y espacios conventuales. Safekat, .

The author María Barbeito Carneiro, presents a wide view of the literary work of women during the Golden Age in Spain. The book concentrates on  some of the most famous female authors and the different backgrounds and circumstances which nurtured their intellectual expression or the religious expression of those who wrote from their monastic life. She identifies similarities of topics in the writing of these authors. She also provides biographical information and analysis of some of their work (Annotation by Astrid Zussett Urizar Botto )

Finestrat Martínez, Aitana. Sensibilidades religiosas femeninas en España e Inglaterra en el siglo XVI y comienzos del siglo XVII: Una mirada a través de la correspondencia privada y las autobiografías. Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, .

Finestrat Martínez delves into the complexity the nuns from different religious orders wrote about in their personal correspondence which gave them the freedom to express themselves and their spiritual experiences. She also notes that those letters have served as a guide for scholars to learn more about monastic life and to understand the dynamics of the virtue model of life the nuns tried to follow, their understanding about guilt and sin, and the use of female agency as they continued to write even though their superiors expressed concerns about their literary work.  (Annotation by Astrid Zussett Urizar Botto )

Lewandowska, Julia. Escritoras monjas: Autoridad y autoría en la escritura conventual femenina del Siglo de Oro. Iberoamericana Vervuert, .

The author presents an investigation of the role of authority and authorship of many of the nuns who were writers during the Golden Age in Spain. Lewandowska explains that these nuns were innovative creators in their writing forms as they were using not only the genres known at that time, but creating new ways of expression, which came from  the freedom the convent provided to them. She also explains that these female authors worked collaboratively to achieve different goals as some of them dedicated their literature to the religious life, and others used the help of outsiders to make their works known.  (Annotation by Astrid Zussett Urizar Botto )

Schlau, Stacey. "Following Saint Teresa: Early Modern Women and Religious Authority." , vol. 117, no. 2, MLN, p. 286-309.

In this article, Stacey Schlau explains that Saint Teresa served as an inspiration for many women who dedicated their lives as nuns, especially for the Discalced Carmelite Order, as she was seen as an intellectual religious leader. Schlau also notes that those nuns developed different artistic expressions, especially literature, which was part of their formation inside the convent and was not limited to religious topics. The author relates the formation of modern Discalced Carmelite sisters in Mexico to those from the Spanish and their devotion to St. Teresa.  (Annotation by Astrid Zussett Urizar Botto )

Schlau, Stacey. "María de San Alberto: Bridging Popular and ‘High’ Spanish Poetic Traditions through the Sacred.." Studies on Women’s Poetry of the Golden Age: Tras el espejo la musa escribe, Boydell & Brewer, p. 218-32.

Stacey Schlau presents an analysis of the writing style of María de San Alberto, which was characterized by religiosity well influenced by the writing movements of her time with special interest in the mystic writing. The author shows that Maria de San Alberto immersed herself into a variety of forms to express her feelings and thoughts about a wide range of topics, some of which were centered in her religious inspiration taken from St. Teresa de Ávila.   (Annotation by Astrid Zussett Urizar Botto)

Schlau, Stacey. Viva el Siglo, Muerta al Mundo: Selected Works / Obras Escogidas by / de María de San Alberto (1568-1640). UP of the South, .

The book contains a beautiful selection of some of the literary jewels of María de San Alberto. The author, Stacey Schlau provides a biographical description of María Sobrino Morillas, the name by which María de San Alberto was known before becoming a carmelite nun. Schlau also provides some historical and religious contextual references of María’s time in order to give the reader a better understanding of the influences that mark María de San Alberto’s writing. The next chapters of the book are dedicated to the works for María de San Alberto from some of her theatrical plays dedicated to the birth of Jesus to poetry dedicated to St. Teresa de Ávila, as she was a major inspiration in María’s writing to selected poems and some selected prosewhich gives insight into the life of María as a nun. (Annotation by Astrid Zussett Urizar Botto )

Taggard, Mindy N. "Cecilia and María Sobrino: Spain’s Golden-Age Painter-Nuns." Woman’s Art Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, p. 15-19.

Taggard presents in this article another part of the Sobrino sister’s life at the Discalced Carmelite order, which focuses on their painting production. The author provides a good biographical summary of the two sisters, in order to present how the education they received in their formative years helped them in their lives inside the convent. The author also explains that over the years Cecilia’s work has been more famous than Maria’s, and notes that Cecilia admired her sister's skillful talents. Taggard finishes by expressing that analyzing the paintings of both sisters helps to open the door for further study of convent paintings by other religious women. (Annotation by Astrid Zussett Urizar Botto)

Weber, Alison. "Could Women Write Mystical Poetry?: The Literary Daughters of Juan de La Cruz." Studies on Women’s Poetry of the Golden Age: Tras el espejo la musa escribe, Boydell & Brewer, p. 185-201.

Weber delves into explaining how many authors from the Discalced Carmelite order found themselves writing mystic poetry and other types of literary works that put them in danger of accusations of the alumbrismo. She also demonstrates that the work of Juan de la Cruz was understood by the nuns at the Discalced Carmelite order, and that some of them also created works that resembled his, which show the mystical aspect of the religious experience by using allegorical forms.  (Annotation by Astrid Zussett Urizar Botto)


14 February 2024

Last Updated

16 February 2024