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Lieutenant Nun

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Overview

Named a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 1996

One of the earliest known autobiographies by a woman, this is the extraordinary tale of Catalina de Erauso, who in 1599 escaped from a Basque convent dressed as a man and went on to live one of the most wildly fantastic lives of any woman in history. A soldier in the Spanish army, she traveled to Peru and Chile, became a gambler, and even mistakenly killed her own brother in a duel. During her lifetime she emerged as the ...

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Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World

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Overview

Named a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 1996

One of the earliest known autobiographies by a woman, this is the extraordinary tale of Catalina de Erauso, who in 1599 escaped from a Basque convent dressed as a man and went on to live one of the most wildly fantastic lives of any woman in history. A soldier in the Spanish army, she traveled to Peru and Chile, became a gambler, and even mistakenly killed her own brother in a duel. During her lifetime she emerged as the adored folkloric hero of the Spanish-speaking world. This delightful translation of Catalina's own work introduces a new audience to her audacious escapades.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A rollicking, swashbuckling tale. -Los Angeles Times

"The frontier nun's rascally tale [is] a fascinating puzzle to decipher." -Angeline Goreau, The New York Times Book Review

"A mesmerizing adventure!" -Tama Janowitz

"[Catalina de Erauso] dared to steal the quest narrative from the roving men of her time and, miraculously, survived to tell the tale. An essential work for recovering the roots of women's autobiography and women's remaking of identity through encounters with otherness, not only in society but in the self." -Ruth Behar, author of The Vulnerable Observer

"The Steptos' translation, without betraying the original, turns this memoir into compelling literature in English." -Roberto González Echevarría, Sterling Professor of Hispanic and Comparative Literatures, Yale University

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When she reached the age of 15 in 1600, Catalina, from a wealthy Basque family, escaped from the convent where she had been placed as a child. Passing as a male, she served as a page in various households until 1603, when she set sail for South America. She remained there for 21 years, fighting as a man in Spain's conquest of Peru and Chile. Engaging in frequent swordplay and gunfights, she killed at least a dozen men, including (inadvertently) one of her brothers. Finally she confessed her true identity to a bishop and returned to Europe as a celebrity, where she received a pension from the king and, from Pope Urban VIII, the right to wear men's clothes. Her story, long on action and almost devoid of introspection, is not for readers looking for scandal or a confession of sexual adventures. (Feb.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807070734
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 6/28/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 373,271
  • Product dimensions: 5.36 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.39 (d)

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