Charlotte Helena Thun-Hohenstein (Stanford University)

Wed May 4th 2022, 12:00 - 1:15pm

"Symbolic Medicine: The Vigilant Hearts of Jeremias Drexel, S.J. (1581–1638)"

Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein is a PhD Candidate in Stanford's History Department (Early Modern Europe), where she works with Professor Paula Findlen on the figure of Jeremias Drexel, S.J. (1581–1638) and his emblematic corpus. She is currently undertaking a Fulbright Study/Research Grant at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, where she also recently completed a fellowship with the interdisciplinary research group, Vigilanzkulturen (SFB 1369). She was a visiting researcher at the Herzog August Bibliothek (Wolfenbüttel, Germany) in the summer of 2021.



The Jeremias Drexel, S.J. (1581–1638) was arguably Europe's most published author in his own day. As Hofprediger to Duke Maximilian I (1597–1651) in Munich, Bavaria, he churned out dozens of immensely popular opuscula spiritualia (“little spiritual works”), often with emblematic illustrations, which crossed linguistic and confessional boundaries to reach an eager, pan-European audience. Drexel's lifetime saw the re-emergence of the heart symbol as common iconographic currency. I examine this image in Drexel's work to argue for its role as an object of vigilance that supported an ascetic spirituality for the reader. As such, the heart brings into greater focus the meaning of Drexel's reputation as a physician of souls (medicus animorum) for Catholics and Protestants alike.