Enríquez (or Henríquez) Gómez, Antonio

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ENRÍQUEZ (or Henríquez ) GÓMEZ, ANTONIO (pseudonym of Enrique Enriquez de Paz ; 1601–1663), Spanish playwright and poet. Born in Segovia Cuenca, he was the son of a Portuguese Converso family that had been persecuted by the Inquisition for several generations. From 1577 the family began to practice Judaism in secret. They kept the Sabbath and festivals, observed some of the laws and customs pertaining to kashrut, and performed certain acts that were distinctly Jewish. His grandfather Diego de Mora was arrested for judaizing in 1588 and died in an Inquisition prison. Some members of the family escaped to France where they openly practiced Judaism. His father Diego Enríquez de Mora was arrested and tried in 1624 and then left for France. Once his Christian wife died, his father married a second wife, this time from a Converso family. Antonio lived in Cuenca, Seville, and Madrid. Together with other Converso writers and poets, Antonio was at the court of Felipe iv. Antonio, whose mother was an old Christian, also married an old Christian but raised his children as Jews. His literary career was a great success. He wrote about 40 plays and many prose and poetry pieces. For purely racist reasons his literary work was almost totally ignored until recent times. His works bear clear testimony of his "Jewish" identity. Gómez had a distinguished military career, rising to the rank of captain and receiving the decoration of Knight of the Order of San Miguel. Together with his son, Diego Enríquez Basurto (who also became a well-known author), Enríquez Gómez left Spain in about 1636 and lived for a time in France, in Bordeaux and Rouen, where most of his books were published. He later moved to Holland, where he reverted openly to Judaism; he was symbolically punished in absentia at an auto-da-fé in Seville on April 13, 1660. Enríquez Gómez felt very bitter that he had to live away in a country where his mother tongue, in which he produced masterpieces, was not spoken. For some unknown reason, he returned to Spain in around 1649 and lived in Seville under a false name. He intended to continue to live as a Jew and had plans to move to Naples. He continued to write using a pen name Fernando de Zárato y Castronovo. For more than ten years he was able to remain incognito. His real identity was discovered because of the drama he wrote. The Inquisition examined the background of the playwright whose work aroused its suspicion. In 1660 he was burnt in effigy. He was arrested in 1661 and was thrown into prison where his life ended in 1663.

Enríquez Gómez was a lyric, dramatic, and epic poet, as well as a noted satirist. His major works include the Academias morales de las musas, dedicated to Anne of Austria (Bordeaux, 1642), and El siglo pitagórico y vida de don Gregorio Guadaña (Rouen, 1644). The latter, a novel in verse and prose, presents a series of 14 transformations of a soul in different bodies, satirizing various classes of society. Enríquez Góez also wrote Luis dado de Dios a Luis y Ana (Paris, 1645), dedicated to Louis xiii of France; Torre de Babilonia (Rouen, 1649); and a biblical epic about Samson, El Sansón nazareno (Rouen, 1656). In the prologue to this last work, Gómez refers to his authorship of 22 plays. These are mainly concerned with themes of honor, love, and friendship and half are based on biblical subjects. In many of his works Enríquez Gómez very strongly criticized the Inquisition. Enríquez Gómez composed a ballad dedicated to the martyr Lope de Vega (Juda el Creyente), who was burned at Valladolid on July 25, 1644.

Revah's research has clarified many dark points in Gómez's biography and introduced his literary creation to the wider academic and literary world.


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[Kenneth R. Scholberg /

Yom Tov Assis (2nd ed.)]

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Enríquez (or Henríquez) Gómez, Antonio

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