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José de Sigüenza

(c. 1544—1606)


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(c.1544–1606), Spanish historian and poet, born in Sigüenza. He succeeded Benito Arias Montano as librarian of the Escorial and later served as prior of the Hieronymite monastery at the Escorial, which he had joined in 1567. His three-volume Historia de la Orden de San Jerónimo (1595, 1600, 1605) sets out the life of St Jerome in the first volume, and delineates the history of the order in the second and third volumes; the third volume contains an importantm account of the construction of the Escorial and Philip II's relations with its various architects. The reputation of the Historia has never recovered from its description by Miguel de Unamuno as ‘the Escorial [‘rubbish heap’] of Spanish prose’, a phrase that acknowledges its scale and solidity but also skewers its prose as flat, dull, and unemotional. The description is wholly unjustified; Sigüenza's style is rich and intelligent. He was also the author of a small volume of poems collected under the Augustinian title Ciudad de Dios.

From The Oxford Dictionary of the Renaissance in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700).


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