Teresa has enticed countless biographers, and in the last decade she hasbeen claimed by feminists: in 1990 Alison Weber argued that Teresa employed the familiarand non-controversial language of femininity even though she didn'tbelieve a whit of it, because she understood that she would have more elbow room if she pretended to be docile than if she directly challenged prevailing gender norms; in 1995 Carole Slade suggested that Teresa wrote her autobiography to fool the henchmen of theInquisition--she was, in fact, far bolder and more heterodox than herautobiography allows. Now Cathleen Medwick, a former editor for VanityFair and House & Garden, takes a turn. No less modern or sassy thanSlade's or Weber's, Medwick's Teresa is a shrewd businesswoman; savvilybuilding and running monasteries, she reminds the reader of an early21st century CEO more than a stern nun rapping students with aruler.

If "The Progress of a Soul" smacks of anachronism, it does have onevirtue: the prose is as lively as any copy Medwick edited at VanityFair.