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Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies

Victoria University in the University of Toronto

The Life and Writings of Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza


369 pp / Paperback / March 2014 / ISBN 978-0-7727-2156-3 / $39.95

Edited and translated by Anne J. Cruz

Rejecting marriage and the convent, the Spanish noblewoman, poet, and religious activist Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza (Jaraicejo 1566–London 1614) led an uncommon life of adventure and spiritual devotion. Orphaned as a child, she lived first at Philip II’s court, and then with an uncle, the Viceroy of Navarra, who enforced harsh discipline on his ward. Through her contacts with the English Jesuits, Carvajal traveled secretly to London as a self-appointed missionary, where she was jailed twice for preaching against Anglicanism. A tireless writer, Carvajal left a small but impressive collection of spiritual poetry, an autobiography, and over two hundred letters. This volume provides a scholarly introduction and translations of selections from her writings.

Advance Praise:

“Luisa de Carvajal’s writings offer compelling accounts of the persecution of English recusants and insights into the political and diplomatic background to the pax hispanica. Her religious poetry and autobiographical writings, at once disturbing and powerful, vividly document a particular strand of women’s penitential piety. Without pathologizing Carvajal, Anne Cruz’s masterful introduction provides the essential literary and historical context for approaching this controversial would-be martyr.”
— Alison Weber, University of Virginia

To view an excerpt from the introduction, please click here [PDF]

The Editor:

Anne J. Cruz is professor of Spanish and Cooper Fellow at the University of Miami. Her publications range from studies on Spanish Petrarchism, Cervantes, and the comedia to women’s writings and the picaresque novel. She is a member of the Bibliografía de Escritoras Españolas (Bieses) Research Team, coeditor of Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and editor of the Ashgate series New Hispanisms: Cultural and Literary Studies. She has recently been named corresponding member of Spain’s Royal Academy of History.


Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme, 38:4 (2016). Reviewed by Margaret E. Boyle.

To Order:

The Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies no longer sells or distributes books in “The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series.” Starting July 2015, volumes can be purchased by individuals and institutions from the Chicago Distribution Center. Contact CDC by email (, by fax (800-621-8476 or 773-702-7212), or by phone (800-621-2736 or 773-702-7000).

369 pp / Paperback / March 2014 / ISBN 978-0-7727-2156-3 / $39.95

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