The Glories of Querétaro by Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora: Chronicle of an Early Mexican Church Honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Translation, Edition, and Commentary by Stephanie Merrim (Juan de la Cuesta Hispanic Monographs).
"Two exquisite arches . . . formed a canopy over a fluted shell supported by a pair of Persian caryatids. Beneath the shell, the Image of the Virgin of Guadalupe rested on her canopied throne. Steps covered in silk descended from the throne, and pennants of colored taffeta embellished the ensemble . . . . On the bottom step leading up to the throne knelt an exquisite young girl clad in indigenous finery who symbolized all of America, and, even more so, these Septentrional Provinces, called Anáhuac in pagan days. Her hands bore a heart--the heart of all--and an incensory that dispensed fragrances and sweet aromas." So writes the preeminent seventeenth-century Mexican intellectual, Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora, in Glories of Querétaro (1680) of a float the Indians contributed to the festival inaugurating a church that honored the Virgin of Guadalupe. Glories of Querétaro (1680) chronicles the arduous process of founding the Ecclesiastical Congregation of Querétaro, which became colonial Mexico's second most important church dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe after the shrine in Tepeyac.
Yet Glories is more than a chronicle--it holds keys to an era. In Sigüenza's text, readers will find dynamic articulations of the spiritual, political, and cultural issues that to a significant extent drove colonial Mexico and even the Hispanic New World in general. Beyond the theology and cult to the Virgin of Guadalupe, they include: full-bodied accounts of New World festivals, the indigenous past and present, creole patriotism and cultural nationalism, colonial cities, evangelization, the tangles of New World religious and civil politics, and some touches of colonial satire. Querétaro itself holds particular interest as a contact zone and exceptionally multicultural city in which Indians and creoles lived side by side. Glories of Querétaro is the first critical edition, the first translation into any language of the text (the translation omits a few minor chapters), and only the second of Sigüenza's works to be published in English. Geared to non-specialists, especially students, and to scholars alike, the edition aims to render Sigüenza's extremely rich, intensely Baroque chronicle as alive and comprehensible as possible to English-speaking readers.
Therefore, the volume has three parts: 1. the "Introduction: Glories of The Glories of Querétaro (1680)," a spirited guide to the cardinal topics, such as the Virgin of Guadalupe, that Glories treats, as well as to Sigüenza's writings and agendas; 2. the translation and edition of the text, with notes that elucidate the terminology, references, and other potentially unfamiliar matters that so strikingly characterize Glories; 3. the "Afterword: Sigüenza y Góngora's Cameos of Querétaro," an analysis of Querétaro and its representation in Glories. The volume also features original photographs of the church that Glorias chronicles, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.