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Journal > Volumes > 53 (2022) / 1 (Spring)
“Means of Persuasion”: The Material Culture and Oppositional Politics of Two Counter-Reformation Female Agents, Jane Dormer and Luisa de Carvajal
João Vicente Melo and Lauren Working
Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Seville; University of York

This article examines the religious and political projects of Jane Dormer, Duchess of Feria (1538–1612), and Luisa de Carvajal (1566–1614), two Counter-Reformation female agents who traveled between England and Spain. The first two sections offer case studies that investigate how these laywomen used objects to advance the Catholic cause and oppose English Protestant authority. Dormer’s architectural projects in the Spanish town of Zafra establish her as a major but overlooked English patron of the “new style” of architecture that scholars now characterize as the baroque, while the relics Carvajal made from the bodies of executed priests became central to her mission as an intelligencer and “she- Jesuit.” The final section traces Dormer and Carvajal in state papers to draw broader insights into the uses of comparative case studies, and to demonstrate the value of tracing individual lives across borders to connect female mobility to larger political projects.

Pages: 135 - 168