Berceo's Life of Santa Oria
Text, Translation and Commentary
The text of Gonzalo de Berceo's mid-thirteenth-century hagiographical poem, the Vida de Santa Oria, is critically editied and accompanied by the first English translation ever published. The introduction outlines the background to Berceo's poem as being a Spanish verse translation of the eleventh-century life (now lost) written shortly after the saint's death in the Riojan monastery of San Millan de la Cogolla. Oria lived as an anchoress and witnessed three visions pertaining to her vocation and final salvation. Of particular interest is the manner in which similar visions and events in ealier Lives of female saints are re-elaborated within Oria's own setting to produce a remakably feminized view of heaven, centring on her own place within it and on her own relationship to Christ, whom she encounters under the form of a female allegorical figure. A commentary provides a reference guide to this background as well as offering a critical view of Berceo's language and poetic style.