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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Nahuatl Theater: Our Lady of Guadalupe edited by Barry D. Sell, Louise M. Burkhart, Stafford Poole (University of Oklahoma Press) Rare Guadalupan dramas based on the Virgin of Guadalupe story are published in English for the first time and accompanied by introductory essays.

The foundation legend of the Mexican devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most appealing and beloved of all religious stories. In this volume, editors Barry D. Sell, Louise M. Burkhart, and Stafford Poole present the only known colonial Nahuatl-language dramas based on the Virgin of Guadalupe story: the Dialogue of the Apparition of the Virgin Saint Mary of Guadalupe, an anonymous work from the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century, and The Mexican Portent, authored by creole priest Joseph Perez de la Fuente in the early eighteenth century. The plays, never before published in English translation, are vital works in the history of the Guadalupe devotion, for they show how her story was presented to native people at a time when it was not universally known.

Faithful transcriptions and translations of the plays are accompanied here by introductory essays by Poole and Burkhart and by three additional previously unpublished Guadalupan texts in Nahuatl.

This volume is the second in a four-volume series titled Nahuatl Theater, edited by Sell and Burkhart. The previous volume in the series Nahuatl Theater: Death and Life in Colonial Nahua Mexico by Barry D. Sell, Louise M. Burkhart, and Gregory Spira (University of Oklahoma Press) was not reviewed here.

Barry D. Sell, who works in the Special Education Department of John Marshall High School, Los Angeles Unified School District, is coeditor of A Guide to Confession Large and Small in the Mexican Language, 1634 by Bartolome De Alva, Lu Ann Homza, Barry D. Sell, and John Frederick Schwaller (University of Oklahoma Press).
Louise M. Burkhart, Professor of Anthropology and Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University at Albany, SUNY, is the author of Holy Wednesday: A Nahua Drama from Early Colonial Mexico (University of Pennsylvania Press) and other works on colonial Nahua religion.
Stafford Poole, C.M., an ordained Roman Catholic priest, is the author of Our Lady of Guadalupe: The Origins and Sources of a Mexican National Symbol, 1531-1797(University of Arizona Press) and Juan de Ovando: Governing the Spanish Empire in the Reign of Philip II  by Stafford Poole (University of Oklahoma Press) Philip II is a fascinating and enigmatic figure in Spanish history, but it was his letrados--professional bureaucrats and ministers trained in law--who made his vast castilian empire possible. In Juan de Ovando, Stafford Poole traces the life and career of a key minister in the king's government to explore the role that letrados played in Spanish society as they sought to displace the higher nobility in the administration through a system based upon merit.

Juan de Ovando was an industrious, discerning, and loyal servant, yet, like all letrados, he owed his position to royal favor. Ovando began his career as an ecclesiastical judge and inquisitor in Seville. From there, at the king's order, he undertook the reform of the University of Alcal½ de Henares, one of his most enduring achievements. Appointed then to the supreme council of the Spanish Inquisition, Ovando was commissioned to investigate the Council of the Indies, over which he eventually presided. In this role, Ovando began codifying laws and collecting information about Spain's overseas possessions through the famed Relaciones geogr½ficas--wide-ranging surveys of daily life in the New World. He devised long-term and forward-looking colonial policies for New Spain while, also serving as president of the Council of Finance, he sought to bring order`to Spain's chaotic financial situation.

Poole's biography of Juan de Ovando provides an intimate view of the day-to-day influence letrados wielded over the Spanish colonial machine.

Guadalupe: Mother of the New Creation by Virgilio P. Elizondo (Orbis Books) shows how the Guadalupe story has functioned as a new Gospel story for the Americas. Elizondo calls the Church to pay attention to the experiences of the poor and oppressed and to learn from their joyful intimate relationships with this God Mother.

Mexican Phoenix: Our Lady of Guadalupe: Image and Tradition across Five Centuries by D. A. Brading (Cambridge University Press) In 1999 Pope John Paul II proclaimed Our Lady of Guadalupe a patron saint of the Americas. According to oral tradition and historical documents, in 1531 Mary appeared as a beautiful Aztec princess to Juan Diego, a poor Indian. Speaking to him in his own language, she asked him to tell the bishop her name was La Virgen de Guadalupe and that she wanted a church built on the mountain. During a second visit, the image of the Virgin miraculously appeared on his cape. Through the centuries, the enigmatic power of this image has aroused such fervent devotion in Mexico that it has served as the banner of the rebellion against Spanish rule and, despite skepticism and anticlericalism, still remains a potent symbol of the modern nation. In Mexican Phoenix, David Brading traces the intellectual origins, the sudden efflorescence, and the theology that has sustained the tradition of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Brading also documents the interaction of religion and patriotism, and describes how the image has served as a banner both for independence and for the Church in its struggle against the Liberal and revolutionary state. David Brading is Professor of Mexican History at the University of Cambridge. He began his career at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Yale University.

The Aztec Virgin: The Secret Mystical Tradition of Our Lady of Guadalupe by John Mini (Trans-Hyperborean Institute) After nearly 500 years of silence, here’s the real story of the Virgin of Guadalupe...

The Aztec Virgin is the incredible tale of an Aztec man who led a spiritual movement to save the faith and culture of his people in the most dangerous of times.

The Sacred Image of the Virgin is really a mystical Aztec codex. It reveals the Path of the Mystical Guadalupans, an entire system of self-development that ranges from ancient Toltec dreaming practices, to sexual alchemy, to keys to understanding the final decree of the last Aztec Emperor.

By reading The Aztec Virgin you can learn about the origins and divine intentions of the Virgin of Guadalupe and her relationship with the birth of the next Solar Age, the Sun of Flowers. Discover how you can be a part of this treasure that lives in the hearts of millions of awakening souls everywhere.

All in all the author is too diffused or confused to clearly state the sanctity of the Virgin.

Our Lady of Guadalupe: Faith and Empowerment among Mexican-American Women by Jeanette Rodriguez (University of Texas Press) Our Lady of Guadalupe is the most important religious symbol of Mexico and one of the most powerful female icons of Mexican culture. In this study, based on research done among second-generation Mexican-American women, Rodriguez examines the role the symbol of Guadalupe has played in the development of these women. She goes beyond the thematic and religious implications of the symbol to delve into its relevance to their daily lives.

Rodriguez's study offers an important reinterpretation of one of the New World's most potent symbols. Her conclusions dispute the common perception that Guadalupe is a model of servility and suffering. Rather, she reinterprets the symbol of Guadalupe as a liberating and empowering catalyst for Mexican-American women.

The Story of Guadalupe: Luis Laso de la Vega's Hueitlamahui Coltica of 1649 (UCLA Latin American Studies, V. 84) by Lisa Sousa (Stanford University Press) The devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most important elements in the development of a specifically Mexican tradition of religion and nationality over the centuries. The picture of the Virgen morena (Dark Virgin) is to be found everywhere throughout Mexico, and her iconography is varied almost beyond telling. Though innumerable books, both historical and devotional, have been published on the Guadalupan legend in this century alone, it is only recently that its textual sources have been closely studied.
This volume makes available to the English-reading public an easily accessible translation from the original Nahuatl of the story itself and the entire book in which the story is embedded. The study also provides scholars with new perspectives on a text long at the center of Mexican intellectual currents. Through the use of technical philological methods, it indicates that the text may have been authored in the mid-seventeenth century by a Spanish-Mexican priest, based on an earlier text by a colleague of his, and that it was not the product of Nahuatl oral tradition.
The story of the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe to a poor indigenous man less than fifteen years after the Spanish conquest of Mexico did not come into prominence until the mid-seventeeth century. The first known telling of the tale appeared in a book published in Spanish in 1648 by the priest Miguel Sánchez. On the heels of the Sánchez version, the story was included in the book Huei tlamahuiçoltica published in 1649 by Luis Laso de la Vega, the vicar of the Guadalupe chapel and a friend of Sánchez. It had little impact initially, but by the twentieth century, with indigenism triumphant, it had become the best known version.
There have been a few translations of Laso de la Vega’s apparition story into English but only on a popular or devotional level. The present edition offers a translation and transcription of the complete text of the 1649 edition, together with critical apparatus, including comparisons of the Sánchez and Laso de la Vega texts, and various linguistic, orthographic, and typographical matters that throw light on the date and manner of composition.


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