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Hispanic Literatures & Linguistics
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Baroque, repentance, conversion, Mary Magdalene, early-17th century, tears
The present study examines the figure of Mary Magdalene in the poetry of Lope de Vega and Richard Crashaw. I propose that while setting Mary Magdalene as the perfect example to convert, both authors could also express their conversion through the composition of two different poems: “Las Lágrimas de la Magdalena” by Lope de Vega and “Saint Mary Magdalene or, The Weeper” by Richard Crashaw. Each poem is centered on the idea of Mary Magdalene’s copious tears as the performative mark of her repentance which will effect her conversion. These two conversions are placed within two European literary traditions, Spain and England; as well as two different processes: on the one hand, Lope de Vega would go from a licentious life in his early years to becoming a priest at the end of his life, thus, devoting his life to religion. On the other hand, Richard Crashaw’s conversion would take place in between two conflicting religious beliefs, i.e., his transition from Protestantism to Catholicism. The other main goal of this work is studying these poems through the Baroque movement developed at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Hence, Lope de Vega’s poem is full of Baroque characteristics typical of the Spanish conceptism despite his reluctance consider his poetry Baroque. Crashaw, on his side, presents a poem which differs from the literary production in England in the first part of the seventeenth century. His Baroque sensibility would be, accordingly, influenced by his readings of the Spanish Golden Age authors. Therefore, anomaly, exaggeration, tempus fugit, conceptism, contradiction, paradox, and binary oppositions are Baroque characteristics both authors have in common in regard to their own particular description of both Mary Magdalene’s biblical stories and tears. Lastly, both poems will lead us to draw parallels with the Song of Songs in terms of spiritual conversation, and feminine identification.