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Miracle tales, in which people are rewarded for piety or punished for sin through the intervention of the Virgin Mary, were a popular literary form all through the Middle Ages. Milagros de Nuestra Sehora, a collection of such stories by the Spanish secular priest Gonzalo de Berceo, is a premier example of this genre; it is also regarded as one of the four most important texts of medieval Spain. Difficulties in translating this work have made it unavailable in English except in fragments; now Spanish-language scholars Richard Terry Mount and Annette Grant Cash have made the entire work accessible to English readers for the first time.
Berceo's miracle tales use the verse form cuaderna via (fourfold way) of fully rhymed quatrains—which Berceo may even have invented—and are told in the language of the common man. They were written to be read aloud, most likely to an audience of pilgrims, and are an outstanding example of oral religious narrative. The total work comprises twenty-five miracles, preceded by a renowned Introduction that celebrates the Virgin in rich symbolic allegory. Mount and Cash's translation is highly readable, yet it retains the original meaning and captures Berceo's colloquial style and medieval nuances.
An introduction placing the miracles in their medieval context and a bibliography complement the text.
Richard Terry Mount is associate professor of Spanish at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Annette Grant Cash is visiting assistant professor of Spanish at Georgia State University.
"What a joy that this most important mediaeval work, believed to be the first written in castellano, has at last been translated by two scholars as a labor of love."—British Bulletin of Publications on Latin America, the Caribbean, Portugal and Spain
"A very useful book, chiefly because the layout enables readers—who may nearly always rely on the accuracy of the translation—to locate very quickly the counterpart of any line in the Spanish original. This accurate translation and useful introduction will be of great service to the interdisciplinary study of Marian miracle literature."—Bulletin of Hispanic Studies
"Berceo combines didacticism and reverence with powerful storytelling and powerful stories, and in this first English translation of the collection, Mount and Cash do justice to the model."—Choice
The University Press of Kentucky
Place of Publication
Mary, Virgin Mary, Religious poetry, Miracle tales, Berceo
Berceo, Gonzalo de; Mount, Richard Terry; and Cash, Annette Grant, "Miracles of Our Lady" (1997). Spanish Literature. 26.
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