Writers and Religious Brotherhoods in Seventeenth-Century Madrid: The Congregation of the Slaves of the Santísimo Sacramento de la Magdalena

Elena Sánchez de Madariaga


This article examines the participation of writers and artists in the Congregation of the Slaves of the most Holy Sacrament of the Magdalene. It presents the major characteristics of the so-called esclavitudes or congregaciones of “slaves”, a type of religious brotherhood promoted by the court nobility and religious reformers that enjoyed noticeable success in seventeenth-century Madrid. It analyses the presence of poets and writers, including some of the major figures of the time (Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Vélez de Guevara, Quevedo, among others) in the context of courtly patronage and sociability. It also touches on the contribution of literature in general and writers in particular to the construction of a Counter-Reformation religiosity in the capital of the Spanish Monarchy.

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