More Great Writers

Saint Therese of Jesús

Saint Therese of Jesus was born in Avila (1515-1582) with a wealthy family and Jewish ancestors (her paternal grandfather, converted, was sentenced by the Holy Office); she became a Carmelite in 1534 and dedicated her life to the order’s reform. Her style was notable by the look for efficiency, simplicity, essentiality and lack of affectation, absence of erudition, spontaneous ideas and her interest to help illiterates. Life (finished in 1562) was a spiritual autobiography with periods of profound auto-analysis written with much liveliness. Her confessors were so profoundly impressed that they encouraged her to write a more systematical production for the nuns: it was then when she wrote: Way of Perfection (starting from 1573). The Book of Foundations (written in 1573) is a story about the foundation of her convents that, in regards to the biographical interest, competes with Life and her letters. Las Moradas also known as The Interior Castle (written in 1573) is her most interesting spiritual creation: it describes the seven mansions or rooms in the soul’s castle. Saint Therese’s books were published only after her death.


Saint John of the Cross

Saint John of the Cross (1542-1591) represents the final stage of Hispanic Mysticism. The image of a John of the Cross, as a miraculously original and independent figure, has been getting more discarded over time, nowadays he’s seen more objectively, with a fairly explicit connection to great and diverse sources such as the Bible, the classics, the Muslim mystics. Saint John of Cross has four lyrical-doctrinal plays: Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night of the Soul, Spiritual Canticle and Living Flame of Love.

How to become a better story-teller

Considering difficulties per areas

Ask the student to make a list of all utilitarian items he can related to the areas of work, study, transport, recreation, relaxation, feeding, agriculture, etc. Let him cover those items or problems more promising that he came across with.

Expressing guesses

State a question problem and request students to express as many guesses as possible. For example, why has a manufacturer extended paid holidays for his employees from one to two weeks?

Considering alternatives

Present a common object to the class, such as the lid of a plastic container, and ask them to provide alternative functions that it may serve.

Guessing purposes

Have students guess the purpose of some object from a minimum set of verbal or graphic hints. For example, if the object is a mug, draw in the board an incomplete handle, adding more parts, such as the rest of the handle, until the students guess the correct item

Sharpening the vision

Let the student point out the elements that make up an object. For example, what elements constitute a wall calendar? Wait for the students to point out elements such as: numbers, months, horizontal, vertical, advertisements, sheets, paper texture, hanging device, drawings, poems, footnotes, descriptions, characters names, color, folds, moon phases, important dates, typography, etc. Special attention should be paid to the different attributes in terms of enhancements or innovations

Relating the unconnected

Have the student make connections between ideas or items seemingly unconnected. The connections will serve as starting point to develop ideas to set aside for later, combined function units, and other relationships that suggest a continuous improvement.

Suggesting enhancements

Have the students suggest (orally or graphically) enhancements for a daily-used object.

Making the house bigger

Encourage the students to be recipient to other people’s ideas.  Have them research times when “extravagant” ideas have been very successful.

Review: Don Quijote

Cervantes was born in Alcalá, 1547. He started writing while he was captive in Argel, where he created plays and some poems to entertain his fellow captives. When he came back to Spain, he wrote a number of theatrical productions but the only survivors were The Numancia and Argel’s Treatmen, both published in the XVIII century. He continued to publish poetry throughout his whole life; most of his poems are compliments to other authors’ books, others are distributed in prose within his work. Journey to Parnassus (Madrid, 1614) is a heroic and satirical study about the state of poetry.

By order of publication, his creations are: First Part of The Galatea (Alcalá, 1585); The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (Madrid, 1605); Exemplary Novels (Madrid, 1613); Eight comedies and eight new interludes (Madrid, 1615); The Second part of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (Madrid, 1615); The Labors of Persiles and Sigismunda (Madrid, 1617).

Cervantes wasn’t a precocious genius. The first part of Quixote came out when he was sixty years old. In the last ten years of his life, his production was quantitatively abundant and of great quality. The last novel written by Cervantes was dedicated to Count Lemos and it was created three days before his death, its name was Los Trabajos de Persiles y Sigismundo, according to the patron of the Byzantine novel, this piece was a huge success, similar to Quixote, and it was printed six times in the year of its publication (1617) when the author was already dead.

However, the biggest cervantin play was Quixote. The first part was published in 1605 and the second one in 1615. Quixote’s success was instantaneous and the play was printed five more times in 1605.

The editorial fortune of this play is proved by the publication of a fake second part, under the name of Alonso Fernández de Avellaneda, which was probably a penname. It’s evident that the author wasn’t even Cervantes’ friend because of the way he criticizes and insults him in the prologue. The play is very primitive and it lacks Cervantes’s creative spark.