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Sor Juana: Or, the Traps of Faith
     

Sor Juana: Or, the Traps of Faith

by Octavio Paz, Margaret Sayers Peden
 

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ISBN-10: 0674821068

ISBN-13: 9780674821064

Pub. Date: 01/02/1990

Publisher: Harvard

Mexico's leading poet, essayist, and cultural critic writes of a Mexican poet of another time and another world, the world of seventeenth-century New Spain. His subject is Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the most striking figure in all of Spanish-American colonial literature and one of the great poets of her age.

Her life reads like a novel. A spirited and

Overview

Mexico's leading poet, essayist, and cultural critic writes of a Mexican poet of another time and another world, the world of seventeenth-century New Spain. His subject is Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the most striking figure in all of Spanish-American colonial literature and one of the great poets of her age.

Her life reads like a novel. A spirited and precocious girl, one of six illegitimate children, is sent to live with relatives in the capital city. She becomes known for her beauty, wit, and amazing erudition, and is taken into the court as the Vicereine's protégée. For five years she enjoys the pleasures of life at court--then abruptly, at twenty, enters a convent for life. Yet, no recluse, she transforms the convent locutory into a literary and intellectual salon; she amasses an impressive library and collects scientific instruments, reads insatiably, composes poems, and corresponds with literati in Spain. To the consternation of the prelates of the Church, she persists in circulating her poems, redolent more of the court than the cloister. Her plays are performed, volumes of her poetry are published abroad, and her genius begins to be recognized throughout the Hispanic world. Suddenly she surrenders her books, forswears all literary pursuits, and signs in blood a renunciation of secular learning. The rest is silence. She dies two years later, at forty-six.

Octavio Paz has long been intrigued by the enigmas of Sor Juana's personality and career. Why did she become a nun? How could she renounce her lifelong passion for writing and learning? Such questions can be answered only in the context of the world in which she lived. Paz gives a masterly portrayal of the life and culture of New Spain and the political and ideological forces at work in that autocratic, theocratic, male-dominated society, in which the subjugation of women was absolute.

Just as Paz illuminates Sor Juana's life by placing it in its historical setting, so he situates her work in relation to the traditions that nurtured it. With critical authority he singles out the qualities that distinguish her work and mark her uniqueness as a poet. To Paz her writings, like her life, epitomize the struggle of the individual, and in particular the individual woman, for creative fulfillment and self-expression.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674821064
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
01/02/1990
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
564
Sales rank:
495,482
Product dimensions:
5.96(w) x 9.12(h) x 1.43(d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: History, Life, Work

Part One: THE KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN

1. A Unique Society

2. The Dais and the Pulpit

3. Syncretism and Empire

4. A Transplanted Literature

Part Two: JUANA RAMÍREZ, 1648-11668

5. The Ramírez Family

6. May Syllables Be Composed by the Stars

7. The Trials of Juana Inés

8. Taking the Vows

Part Three: SOR JUANA INÉS DE LA CRUZ, 1669-1679

9. Life in the Convent

10. Political Rites

11. The World as Hieroglyph

12. Sister Juana and the Goddess Isis

Part Four: SOR JUANA INÉS DE LA CRUZ, 1680-1690

13. Flattery and Favors

14. Council of Stars

15. Religious Fires

16. The Reflection, the Echo

17. Realm of Signs

18. Different from Herself

Part Five: THE TENTH MUSE

19. Hear Me with Your Eyes

20. Ink on Wings of Paper

21. Music Box

22. The Stage and the Court

23. The Float and the Sacrament

24. First Dream

Part Six: THE TRAPS OF FAITH

25. An Ill-Fated Letter

26. The Response

27. And the Responses

28. The Siege

29 The Abjuration

Epilogue Toward a Restitution

Appendix Sor Juana: Witness for the Prosecution

Notes on Sources

Spanish Literary Terms

Notes

Index

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