Manuel de Quiroz y Campo Sagrado. La inocencia acrisolada de los pacientes jesuanos. Coleccion de varias poesias alusivas a la restauracion de la sagrada Compania de Jesus por la piedad del catolico y benigno rey de las Espanas, el senor don Fernando VII (1816).
Through digital technology, Professor Teran Elizondo has made accessible to twenty-first century viewers a varied and colorful collection of poetry, hand-written and painted upon the occasion of the return of the Jesuits to Mexico City in 1816. The work is a facsimile of an original manuscript found in the Rare Books Room of the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. Only twenty-five copies of the facsimile were printed, but fortunately the digital version is easily accessible online:
Timed to coincide with the two-hundredth anniversary of the return of the Jesuits, this publication of an artisanal gem can be of interest to researchers not only in the area of baroque literature, but especially in that of the history of books, material culture, and colonial art of Mexico.
Teran provides the prologue and introduction, and, in a section of notes, her collaborator, Guajardo Esparza, explains the technical details about the digital production. The facsimile of the original manuscript comprises the main part of the work.
In the introduction, Teran presents helpful information on the littleknown poet, Quiroz y Campo Sagrado, and an important analysis of La inocencia acrisolada as well as a comparison with another of his five handwritten volumes of poetry, Coleccion de varias poesias del arte menor y mayor en obsequio de la purisima concepcion de Nuestra Senora la Virgen Maria (1805), published in facsimile in 1984 by Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes and Archivo General de la Nacion. Teran's objective is to make the work available as an object, to be included in Mexico's colonial patrimony, and as a literary text, to be incorporated into histories of Mexican literature and thus amplify knowledge of the works of Quiroz. She also hopes that this will lead to better understanding of "la escritura, la labor literaria y los circuitos de creacion, consumo y distribucion en el Mexico de fines del periodo virreinal," presumably by other researchers, as the introduction barely touches on these aspects. The collections of poetry were never printed, not surprisingly, so it remains unclear who the intended audience was--an individual? a small group?--or how it could be distributed, if not from one individual to the next. La inocencia acrisolada was dedicated to three Jesuit saints, but a shortened version of the work, found in microfilm at the University of Saint Louis, and analyzed by Teran, was dedicated to Juan Francisco Castaniza, rector of the Jesuit seminary in 1816 when it was returned to the Company. Perhaps Quiroz hoped that Castaniza would patronize the publication of the abbreviated version, which contained few drawings.
The facsimile of La inocencia acrisolada presents digital images of high resolution and allows easy navigation of its more than 200 pages. Guajardo Esparsa has done an excellent job of photographing the manuscript with a high fidelity to the original variation in colors, unlike the 1984 edition of the 1805 collection of poems to the Virgin, which was produced from slides.
As Teran notes in the introduction, La inocencia acrisolada contains many types of drawings. Some are decorative, including coats of arms and several allegories. However, the most fascinating are those that form poems or parts of poems: "cifras, laberintos, jeroglificos, anagramas y caligramas" It appears that Quiroz y Campo Sagrado relished incorporating into his work various puzzles and ludic components. For example, the work begins with two calligrams, a clock and a star; the reader follows the numbers to connect the different verses that form each poem. Other pages comprise images exclusively; these "mute poems" can be understood by reading the key that appears after each poem. Teran presents a useful guide to the main imagery in the book--rose, heart, monstrance, palm, star, sun, crown, fountain, mirror and moon--comparing pictures from both La inocencia acrisolada and his work dedicated to the Virgin.
The main parts of Quiroz's collection present poems on the theme of the Jesuits, divided into two sections--arte menor and arte mayor--with all of the different versifications that these divisions imply. Poems are written in black ink, with titles and the initial letter of stanzas in red ink. In some poems, the last verse is written in red ink. This digital edition clearly reveals the subtle tone variations in the manuscript.
As Teran points out, the book was written during the period when an independence movement was taking place in Mexico; therefore, the political aspects of some of Quiroz's writings can be of interest to cultural historians. He blamed the Protestant movement and "modern philosophers"--not Charles III--for the problems that the Jesuits had confronted fifty years previously. Also, he placed hope in the return of the Jesuits and their ability to bring peace to the region, suppressing the insurgence through "truth and reason."
In general, Quiroz's extensive poems touch these main themes: an expression of appreciation to God, Fernando VII and Pope Pious VII for the return of the Company; the trials experienced by the Jesuits in their exile; their patience during their tribulations; the need for novitiates to enroll in the newly re-opened school; the restoration of the Jesuits as a solution to Mexico's problems.
This digital edition of a little-known baroque poet adds an important perspective to Mexico's heritage of the late vice-regal period. With this, Teran Elizondo and Guajardo Esparza will facilitate more detailed literary, historical and cultural studies.
Sam Houston State University
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|Publication:||Dieciocho: Hispanic Enlightenment|
|Article Type:||Resena de libro|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2017|
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