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Vida y muerte de San Cristóbal

Edition and Study by Anthony J. Grubbs

As the patron of travelers, Saint Christopher inspired one of the most popular cults in the medieval era, which spread across Europe and especially the Iberian Peninsula. Artistic renderings of the saint were found near the doors of most Spanish Gothic churches, and paratheatrical representations of Saint Christopher were also commonplace in religious processions. His conversion and martyrdom were often staged between the fifteenth and early eighteenth centuries. 

In the theater, Juan de Benavides’s Vida y muerte de San Cristóbal is one of two known comedias dealing with the saint, but it was heavily censored after its premiere. The immense popularity of St. Christopher and other primitive saints first drew the attention of the Council of Trent in the mid-1500s, when the Catholic Church attempted to suppress the influence of the earlier saints due to their fantastical nature. The stories of these saints were censored, rewritten or even omitted in the post-Tridentine martyrologies. This publication is the first critical edition of the only extant copy of Benavides’s playscript. The circumstances surrounding Benavides’s play continue a dialogue about such important topics as censorship and the influence of the church over artistic production.


96 pages | 1 halftone | 6 x 9

Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies

Literature and Literary Criticism: Dramatic Works

Religion: Christianity


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Table of Contents

I. St. Christopher in Medieval and Early Modern Spanish Hagiographies
a. Introduction to the Legend of St. Christopher
b. St. Christopher’s Life and Death in the Pasionario hispánico, Golden Legend, and Various Versions of the Flos sanctorum
c. The Valencian Obras a llaors del benauenturat lo senyor sant cristofol: The Only Extant Collection of Poetry Dedicated to the Saint
d. St. Christopher on Stage: Processional Performances and Dramatic Representations
e. Plot Summary of Vida y muerte de San Cristóbal
II. Study of Vida y muerte de San Cristóbal by Juan de Benavides
a. Authorship
b. Inquisitorial Censorship of the Play
c. Versification
d. Synopsis of Metrical Styles
e. The Manuscript
f. Works Cited
g. This edition
III. Vida y muerte de San Cristóbal by Juan de Benavides

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