Poetry. Women's Studies. Translated from the Spanish by Stalina Emmanuelle Villarreal. The twenty quartets comprising Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz's ENIGMAS were written for a group of learned Portuguese nuns in 1693 and were only discovered in 1968. Each enigma is structured around wordplay and poses a paradoxical, undecipherable riddle, one whose possible solution readers continue to ponder.
"... such writing unfolds in an eternal present, remaining relevant, ongoing, and interactive every time a reader chooses to read it."—Kathleen Rooney, Chicago Tribune
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695) was Colonial Mexico's foremost intellectual. The self-taught illegitimate child of a Spanish captain and a Mexican criollo woman, she was raised in an hacienda in Amecameca, on the outskirts of Mexico City. As a teen, she was sent to the viceregal court in the city, where she became lady-in-waiting and a protégé of the Vicereine Leonor Carreto. Having chosen to continue to pursue knowledge over marriage, she entered the monastery of the Hieronymite nuns in 1669, where she remained cloistered until her death and wrote many of her most significant works, including the long poem "First Dream" and "Response of the Poet to the Very Eminent Sor Filotea de la Cruz," an epistolary defense of a woman's right to devote herself to scholarly pursuits. Her Baroque, proto-feminist writing—avidly displaying an acute understanding of the intricacies of power relations between the sexes and the Old and New Worlds—coincided with the Spanish Golden Age and garnered her a sizable readership in Spain and the Americas. Sor Juana was ultimately silenced by ecclesiastical authorities, yet her prodigious intelligence continues to incite minds.
Author City: MEXICO CITY MEX