San Juan de la Cruz (1272 words)


Born Juan de Yepes y Álvarez near Ávila, Spain, the future saint showed an early aptitude for selfless service, beginning work as a teenager in a hospital for the infirm and impoverished in Medina del Campo. San Juan’s life and teaching underscore a rigorous asceticism, yet his poetry, while often tersely economical, is far from austere in its diction and imagery. “In his best lyrics every word tells”, Gerald Brenan observed (1973: xii). He professed to have attained a mystical, rapturous experience of God and divine love, and endeavoured to express something of that spiritual encounter in writing. To this end, his writing, in verse and prose, is autobiographical and exhortative: autobiographical, insofar …

Citation: Fisher, Tyler. "San Juan de la Cruz". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 February 2018 [, accessed 19 June 2021.]

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