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Miguel Venegas and the Earliest Jesuit Theater

Choruses for Tragedies in Sixteenth-Century Europe

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Margarida Miranda

In Miguel Venegas and the Earliest Jesuit Theater, Margarida Miranda takes a fresh look at the origins of Jesuit theater and provides a detailed account of the life and work of Miguel Venegas (1529–after 1588) within the Iberian tradition. The book details Venegas’s role as the founder of Jesuit theater in Portugal and the creator of a new musical genre, choruses for tragedies, which was gradually codified and emulated by successive generations of Jesuits. Venegas’s Latin tragedies in turn provided the model for regular dramatic activities in the global network of Jesuit schools, including, significantly, the first tragedies to be staged in Rome: Saul Gelboeus and Achabus, both of which had originally been performed in Coimbra in the mid-sixteenth century.

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Edited by Raphaële Garrod and Yasmin Haskell

This volume of essays contributes to our understanding of the ways in which the Jesuits employed emotions to “change hearts”—that is, convert or reform—both in Europe and in the overseas missions. The early modern Society of Jesus excited and channeled emotion through sacred oratory, Latin poetry, plays, operas, art, and architecture; it inflamed young men with holy desire to die for their faith in foreign lands; its missionaries initiated dialogue with and ‘accommodated’ to non-European cultural and emotional regimes. The early modern Jesuits conducted, in all senses of the word, much of the emotional energy of their times. As such, they provide a compelling focus for research into the links between rhetoric and emotion, performance and devotion, from the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries.

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Yasmin Haskell and Raphaële Garrod