Chapter

Chiara Matraini's Brief Discourse on the Life and Praises of the Most Blessed Virgin and Mother of the Son of God

in Who Is Mary?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780226113982
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226113975 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226113975.003.0003
Chiara Matraini's Brief Discourse on the Life and Praises of the Most Blessed Virgin and Mother of the Son of God

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Chiara Matraini's Brief Discourse on the Life and Praises of the Most Blessed Virgin and Mother of the Son of God was her most widely read work. First published in Lucca, it was reprinted in Venice in an undated edition of ca. 1650, with a slightly different title, and was illustrated with woodcuts. Dedicated to the author's cousin Juditta, abbess of the monastery of San Bernardo in Pisa, the first edition also contains annotations in an appendix and a sonnet to the author by Don Giuseppe Mozzagrugno, a Neapolitan and canon regular of the church of San Salvatore, Lucca, as well as a reply from Matraini. Matraini wrote much poetry addressed to the Virgin in other later writings such as the Dialoghi spirituali, and a further work on the Virgin, which was published in her volume of letters in 1597, in fact in the form of a letter to Mary. Written as a kind of long personal prayer, Matraini's prose narrative of the Virgin's life concerns God's providence and “unconquerable love,” first in creating humanity and second in sending his own son to earth for its salvation, through the instrument of the Virgin Mary. The Redemption plan is stated from the outset, with Lucifer's envy of the human race prompting the rest of the action, and with Mary always in God's mind, before time and before the Creation. Throughout the work runs the imagery of water in its different manifestations, symbol of the Redemption, specifically through the sacrament of Baptism.

Keywords: Chiara Matraini; Virgin Mary; mother; son of God; church of San Salvatore; salvation; Baptism

Chapter.  25785 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature

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