Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Edgar Allison Peers: The Anglican Translator of S. Teresa of Avila


 Prof. Allison Peers: Obituary Originally printed in the
2nd January 1953
issue of the Catholic Herald

This country has lost a Spanish scholar of distinction who, though not himself a Catholic (he was a High Anglican), deserves the deepest gratitude of Catholics, both English and Spanish, for his beautiful translations of the Spanish mystics and for his courageous defence of the Spanish Church during the period of the Republic and Civil War.

Made mystics known

His writings on St. Theresa and St.. John of the Cross are in everybody's hands—or should be—and are his most lasting monuments. There is also his book "The Church in Spain and the Religious Orders," which was an eloquent tribute, though, alas, a solitary one. from a member of the Church of England to the persecuted and stricken Church of Spain.

If Peers did not always understand the mainsprings of Spanish history nor consequently the reason underlying present troubles (as. for instance, in his "Spanish Tragedy," where he proposes a "liberal" panacea), he was nevertheless super abundantly fair to the Church, and pointed out the great debt which Spain owed to religious orders, especially in matters of education.

He did something even wider than that : he has helped to make the greatest of mystics known and loved in the English tongue.

There will surely be many Catholics who will he grateful to him for this and will remember him in their private prayers, that he may attain soon to that Vision which is the supreme end of all true mystics. --Fr. Alfonse de Zulueta

 The Tablet 10th January 1953

 It was typical of Peers that his concentration in the great mystic of Majorca spread thence to Catalonia as a whole, including the political claims of its business community. If the great Teresa added to her dower of lights and fires all that we appreciate in a woman of the world, Professor Peers combined with his knowledge of the depth of Quiet in the Spanish soul a strong business sense and an eye wide open to current events. In the Bulletin of Spanish Studies which he founded, criticism was accompanied by a chronicle of history as it unfolded from week to week. He wrote also three books on the years before, during and after the ordeal of war in Spain. Though linked with the Atheneo circle in Madrid who worked for the fall of the monarchy, and himself a democrat through and through, his welcome to the nascent Republic never blinded him to the evidence of fact nor robbed him of the courage to set it down. At a time when any crime or tyranny was condoned by the Left if it had Moscow behind it, when no Catholic, no Conservative could catch as he did the general ear of England, he maintained his liberal integrity. He was thus in a unique way the apostle of the Spanish soul ; for it was equally true that no literary English priest— Protonotary, Jesuit or Dominican—could diffuse so skilfully the strange perfume of Carmelite adoration.

PEERS, one of the most distinguished authorities on Spanish thought and culture, a devout Anglican, who has died in Liverpool, asked that Mass should he offered for him after his death on all the Carmelite altars in the world.

He was Gilmour Professor of Spanish at Liverpool University, author of several notable works on Spain and translator of the mystical works of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross.

No comments: