Berceo's other world: The visions of the “Poema de Santa Oria”

2005 2005

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Abstract (summary)

The thirteenth-century poetic dedication to Santa Oria is a vividly portrayed life of a little-known saint. Author, Gonzalo de Berceo abides by tradition in ways that the devotional poem is well-received by his public while presenting innovation which demands the attention of his contemporary audience. The Spanish poet selects a female religious subject and conforms to certain familiar motifs of female spiritual progression simultaneously exploring novel pathways. Dreams and voyages to the other world are decoratively displayed through a schematic of symbols, both bold and subtle. The artistic and picturesque quality to the poem melds elements of literary tradition to create an original voyage of a young saint, a vision and her soul.

This study investigates the five visionary journeys presented in the poetic dedication to Oria. Elements of symbolism and imagery, the scripting of sanctity, with regard for female holiness, and the access to and artistic rendering of the other world are identified and located with respect to an opulent hagiographic ancestry. The Poema de Santa Oria is presented in context with other thirteenth-century mester de clerecía poems also offering visionary escapes. The Spanish-language works of shared legacy with Oria offer shades of the heavenly realm yet do not penetrate the other world locations to the extent of visionary literary precedent.

The Poema de Santa Oria is positioned within an extensive tradition of hagiographic and visionary legacy descending from both art and letters. It is argued here that as a body, Oria shared language, experience and earthly spaces with her mester de clerecía contemporaries, yet the journeys of her spirit are more closely aligned with earlier literary experiences of divine destinations. Berceo's artistic style is as gentle and deliberate as the characters and landscapes he portrays. Consideration is given to the artist's exploitation of the senses which result in creation of the precious pictorial images governing narration of the saint's visionary world.

Indexing (details)

Middle Ages;
Romance literature
0297: Literature
0297: Middle Ages
0313: Romance literature
Identifier / keyword
Language, literature and linguistics; Berceo, Gonzalo de; Devotional literature; Gonzalo de Berceo; Hagiography; Poema de Santa Oria; Spain
Berceo's other world: The visions of the “Poema de Santa Oria”
Vrooman, Elizabeth Page
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 66/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
9780542383731, 054238373X
Sturm, Harlan G.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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