The theatrical impact of St Francis Xavier's canonization: Pietro Della Valle's account of the 1624 Jesuit festivities in Goa

Katritzky, M. A. (2016). The theatrical impact of St Francis Xavier's canonization: Pietro Della Valle's account of the 1624 Jesuit festivities in Goa. Ludica. Annali di storia e civiltà del gioco, 2013-2014(19-20) pp. 24–38.

URL: http://www.viella.it/rivista/9788867284252

Abstract

In Rome, on 12th March 1622, Pope Gregory XV canonized an Italian churchman and four Spaniards. The cultural impact of this resounding public endorsement of Europe’s greatest imperial power by its most influential religious leader swiftly reverberated around every known continent in the Old and New World, inspiring religious, civic and private drama, festival and ceremony at every level. The numerous eye-witness accounts documenting its status as a watershed event in global performance history include the travel journal of the Italian aristocrat and musicologist Pietro Della Valle (1586-1652), who set sail from Venice in 1614, returning to Rome only in 1626. The fifty-four letters in which he describes his adventures in Asia, posthumously edited and published as his Viaggi, reflect an exceptionally informed and enquiring engagement with music, festival and the stage. Della Valle actively participated in Carnival festivities of 1624 during which the Jesuits of Goa celebrated the canonization of their missionary to India, St Francis Xavier. His descriptions represent our most valuable record of one of the most elaborate, substantial and culturally significant of the numerous festivals inspired by the 1622 multiple canonization.

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