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(Juana Ines de Asbaje y Ramírez; San Miguel de Nepantla, today Mexico, 1651 - city of Mexico, ID., 1695) Mexican writer, greatest figure of Latin American letters of the 17TH century. The influence of the Baroque Spanish, visible in its lyrical and dramatic production, did not obscure the profound originality of his work. His restless spirit and their desire for knowledge led her to deal with the conventions of his time, that has not seen with good eyes a woman stated intellectual curiosity and independence of thought.
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Autograph of Sor Juana
Juana Inés fifteen of
age, before you take habits
Child prodigy, learned to read and write at the age of three, and eight wrote his first loa. In 1659 he moved with his family to Mexico City. Admired for his talent and precocity, at fourteen was mother of Leonor Carreto, wife of Viceroy Antonio Sebastián de Toledo. Sponsored by the Marquis of Mancera, it shone in the colonial Court of new Spain by his erudition, his lively intelligence and his versificadora ability.
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Despite the fame enjoyed, in 1667, he entered a convent of the Barefoot Carmelites of Mexico and remained in the four months, at the end of which left him due to health problems. Two years later he entered a convent of the order of Saint Jerome, this time permanently. Given his limited religious vocation, seems that Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz preferred the convent to marriage to continue enjoying his intellectual hobbies: «Live alone... do not have any compulsory occupation that embarazase the freedom of my Studio, nor rumor of community that prevented the peaceful silence of my books», wrote.
His cell became a point of meeting of poets and intellectuals, such as Carlos de Sigüenza and Góngora, relative and admirer of the cordoban poet Luis de Góngora (whose work introduced in the Viceroyalty), and also the new viceroy, Tomás Antonio de la Cerda, Marquis of la Laguna, and his wife, Luisa Manrique de Lara, Countess of Paredes, who joined a deep friendship. In his cell also carried out scientific experiments, gathered a large library, composed musical works and wrote an extensive work that spanned different genres, from poetry and the theater (which can be seen, respectively, the influence of Luis de Góngora y Calderón de la Barca), philosophical booklets and musical studies.
Lost great part of this work, among the writings in prose that have been preserved include the response to Sor Filotea de la Cruz. The Bishop of Puebla, Manuel Fernández de la Cruz, had been published in 1690 a work of Sor Juana Inés, the letter athenagorica, on which the religious was a harsh criticism the «sermon of the mandate"of the Portuguese Jesuit Antonio Vieira on the «finenesses of Christ». But the Bishop had added to the work a «letter of Sor Filotea de la Cruz», i.e., a text written by him itself under that pseudonym in which, even recognizing the talent of Sor Juana Inés, recommended him to devote himself to the monastic life, more in keeping with their status as nun and wife, rather than theological reflection , exercise reserved for men.
In reply to Sor Filotea de la Cruz (i.e., to the Bishop of Puebla), Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz gives an account of his life and upholds the right of women to learning, as knowledge "is not only them lawful, but very helpful». The response is also a beautiful sample of his prose and contains abundant biographic data, through which we can realize many psychological traits of the illustrious religious. But, despite the forcefulness of his reply, the criticism of the Bishop of Puebla affected her deeply; so much so that, shortly thereafter, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz sold its library and everything he possessed, the proceeds went to charity, and was devoted entirely to religious life.
Autograph of Sor Juana
He died as he helped fellow sick during the cholera epidemic that struck Mexico in the year 1695. The poetry of the Baroque reached with her eventually culminating, and at the same time introduced reflective and analytical elements that anticipated the poets of the 18th century enlightenment. His complete works were published in Spain in three volumes: flood castalida of the single poet, tenth Muse, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1689), second volume of the works of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1692) and fame and posthumous Mexico Phoenix works (1700), with a biography of the Jesuit P. Calleja.
The poetry of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Although his work appears to register within the gongorina inspiration and the conceptismo culteranismo, characteristic of the Baroque tendencies, wit and originality of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz have placed it above any school or current individual. Since childhood he showed great artistic sensibility and a tireless thirst for knowledge that, over time, led her to engage in an intellectual and artistic adventure across disciplines such as theology, philosophy, astronomy, painting, humanities, and, of course, the literature, that would turn it into one of the most complex and unique Latin American letters.
Juana Inés fifteen of
age, before you take habits
In the poetry of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, we find numerous and eloquent secular compositions (redondillas, lays, lire and sonnets), among which stand out the loving topic, such as sonnets that begin with this "evening, my love, when you talked about" and "Stop, my elusive good shadow". "Divine pink than in Gentile culture" develops the same motive of two famous sonnets of Gongora and Calderón, being not less than none of both. It also abounds in it the mystical theme, in which a fervent spirituality is combined with the depth of his thinking, such as case "To the assumption", delicate lyrical piece in honor of the Virgin Mary.
Sor Juana employed the redondillas for digressions of a psychological or educational nature that examines the nature of love and its effects on female beauty, either defends women from accusations of men, as in the famous "men foolish that you accuse". Romances are applied, with discursive flexibility and smoothness of notations, sentimental, moral or religious themes (are beautiful by its mystical emotion that sing the divine love and Christ in the sacrament). Lire is famous which expresses the pain of a woman on the death of her husband ("to this hard rock") of great religious elevation.
The first dream, poem in silvas of almost a thousand verses written in the manner of Soledades de Gongora Sor Juana describing, in a symbolic way, the impulse of human knowledge, that goes beyond the physical and temporal barriers to become an exercise in pure and free intellectual enjoyment deserves special mention. The poem is important also for being among the small group of compositions that wrote on its own initiative, without order or foreign incitement. The poetic work of the nun is completed with several beautiful Christmas carols which enjoyed much popularity in his time.
Theatre and prose
In the field of drama he wrote a comedy of swashbuckling calderoniana lineage, the efforts of a House, which includes a loa and two skits, among other collations, with absolute dominance of the literature; and mitologico-galante toy love is more maze, more culterana piece whose second act is apparently the work of licenciado Juan de Guevara. He also composed three sacramental: Hermenegild, the scepter of San Jose and El divino Narciso; in the latter, the best of the three, includes songs, lyrical quality. Although Calderón's influence is evident in many of these works, the clarity and beauty of the development has a very personal accent.
The prose of the author is less generous, but even brilliance. This part of his work is composed of devout texts such as the famous letter athenagorica (1690), and above all by the response to Sor Filotea de la Cruz (1691), written to answer the exhortation that had made him (signing with that pseudonym) the Bishop of Puebla so he retarded their intellectual development. The latter constitutes a source of first-hand that allows not only interesting details about his life, but it also reveals aspects of his psychological profile. In this text, there is much information related to your intellectual capacity and with what he called his "excepcionalisima appetite of knowing", which led her to be also interested in science, as evidenced by the fact that in his cell, along with his books and musical instruments, the philosopher Ramón Xirau also had maps and scientific apparatus.
Less important are his other writings about the Holy Rosary and the Immaculate, the protest, signed by his blood, made of their faith and love God and some documents. But also in the prose writer finds occasion to enter the paths more dark and intricate, always with his characteristic brilliance, as we see in his allegorical Neptune, written on the occasion of the arrival of the viceroy count of Paredes.
Result of the 18th-century neo-classical reaction, the lyric of Sor Juana fell into oblivion, but, already long before the subsequent revaluation of the Baroque literature, his work was studied and served as the center of an ever-growing attention. Renewed fortune of his poems could more ascribed to the ambiguity of biographical of his poetry that interpretation to a purely aesthetic valuation. The figure of this poet who, despite being beautiful and admired, suffocates under the habit his passionate soul and his rich sensibility without having served twenty years is certainly perplexing. But modern criticism has undone the romantic legend of the nun driven to the cloister a disappointment in love, noting also how no doubt that his final silence was due to pressure from the ecclesiastical authorities.