Mary in Hispanic Literatures.

TWOMEY, Lesley, “Mary in Hispanic Literatures”, en Oxford Handbook of Mary, ed. Chris Maunder, Oxford: University Press, 2020, pp. 364-88.


Mary is one of the best-loved subjects in Spain’s medieval literature. She supports Reconquest battles, shores up Christian hierarchies, and marks newly conquered territory with churches and monasteries dedicated to her. Individual authors have been studied. Gonzalo de Berceo’s (c.1197-c.1264) and Ambrosio Montesino’s lyrics have been compared (Boreland 198ure has still to be written 3b) and essays on miracle literature cover the whole medieval period (Conde and Gatland 2011) Historical aspects of Mary’s cult, aiming to show continuities between peninsular and transatlantic tradition, include some literary works (Remensnyder 2014). Devotion to Mary and Christ at the Passion, addressing Spain’s three cultures has been studied (Robinson 2013). There are few comparative studies covering the entire medieval period. A study of Spain’s Marian literatures has still to be written and this chapter is the first step.

After the thirteenth century, with a few exceptions, Marian poems, prose or dramatizations of the Christmas or Passion cycles are scarce until the fifteenth century. Drama and songs for the Christmas and Easter cycles parallel the increasing popularity of the lives of Christ and of Mary. Mary’s sorrows match rising interest in her lament and in the Passion in Spain’s kingdoms, until, by the sixteenth century, her suffering becomes a parallel to Christ’s (Boon 2007). The silent centuries between Mary’s lament of the thriteenth century and the late fifteenth-century laments, nevertheless, remains one of the enduring mysteries of Castilian medieval literature.