The Return of Martin Guerre

This sensational sixteenth-century case of imposture had everything—an unhappy marriage, a sudden disappearance and a mysterious return, an accusation of impersonation, a possibly complicit wife, a family and a village divided, two dramatic trials, the sudden appearance of a surprise witness at a moment in the second trial when acquittal seemed imminent, a sudden reversal of fortune, the defendant’s conviction, his public apology (declaring the wife to be an innocent victim), and his execution in front of the home of the man he impersonated. Among the luminaries of the court present at the trial, the learned Jean de Coras was assigned the task of reporter for the proceedings, which meant that he would look closely into the issues and finally prepare a report on all the arguments and make a recommendation for the sentence.

This extremely rare volume is the first Latin edition of Coras’s account of the trial, and has great potential for teaching and translation by our curators, faculty, and students.

photo of an old book

St. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila’s Brother Monk

This illustrated life of San Juan de la Cruz captures the spiritual journey and miracles of the first male Discalced Carmelite and spiritual companion of the rock-star Renaissance nun Santa Teresa de Ávila. It was printed shortly after his beatification and focuses heavily on his interactions with nuns of this newly created religious order of the Counter-Reformation period. The texts and images also imaginatively reproduced important moments in San Juan’s many travels, his foundation of Discalced Carmelite houses across Spain, and several years’ persecution with St. Teresa by the Spanish Inquisition. Among the many detailed and handsomely engraved images is the famous scene of Teresa and Juan simultaneously rising up into the air and levitating side-by-side, uplifted by their seraphic discussion of the mystery of the Holy Trinity; another depicts Juan miraculously exorcizing a demon from a possessed nun in the convent. Only three other copies of this first edition are known, one in the British Library and two (one missing numerous of the engravings) in the National Library of Spain.

illustration from teresa of avila