By Celia Hawkesworth (eds.)
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Extra resources for A History of Central European Women’s Writing
32 It is, again, only recently that her work has received full critical reassessment. 33 It is interesting to note, however, that in contrast to some of the other writers treated in this survey, the general assessment of her poetry has been positive. Tadeusz Brajerski notes, for example, that Benislawska may have only written one little volume ('tomik') but that it constitutes a major landmark in the development of Polish literature. stwa inflanckiego, za naleganiem przyjaci6l z cienia wiejskiego na jasni(?
As a recent study has demonstrated, she represented the reformist zeal and spiritual resurgence of the early Counter-Reformation. She was also a mystic, who placed great emphasis on the 'liberating' experience of individual commitment to God, on personal identification with Christ, on the understanding of one's own 'self' and one's identity in relation to God. 10 In this, she drew heavily on Ignatius Loyola's Spiritual Exercises, as may be seen in the structure of her own Nauki duchowne. Her emphasis on inner freedom is not unconnected with her own rebellion against the role intended for her as a woman of her social background.
Katarina was banished, separated from her children, her name was banned, and all her property confiscated. Soon after the conspiracy, in the primitive milieu of seventeenth-century continental Croatia, this determined, cultured and intelligent woman was seen as a 'demon whose greed and hunger for power' drove men to all kinds of evil and led them into disaster. In two verse pamphlets, she was crudely attacked as the instigator and prime mover in the conspiracy. There was no Armolusic to defend Zrinska: continental Croatia, under threat from the Turks, created only 'male' myths, and it was women who were blamed for historical misfortunes.