Female Writers in the Spanish Golden Age: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

  • DATE

    19 March 2024

  • TIME

    6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome



In this series of four lectures, we will delve into the literary world of the Spanish Golden Age, understood as a transatlantic phenomenon.

We will start with Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, an icon of the Spanish-American Baroque and a key figure in colonial Latin American literature, who left behind a significant legacy not only in her books but also in the arts. Subsequently, we will explore the life of Erauso, also known as the Lieutenant Nun, whose autobiographical account challenges gender conventions and portrays a life marked by adventure and transgression. Maria de Zayas, a novelist and playwright, will guide us through a world of (proto)feminist fictions that subvert the literary standards of her time. We will conclude with Santa Teresa, whose personal experiences and mystical writings will transport us to a realm between the earthly and the spiritual. These four lectures will allow an analysis of the diversity of female voices and perspectives from a period marked by rebelliousness and creativity.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695) was the last great author of the Hispanic American Baroque and the most important poet of colonial Latin American literature. Numerous studies analyse her as a Mexican icon and a precursor of feminism. This first lecture will focus on her autobiographical letter known as La Respuesta [The Answer] (1691). We will analyse the text as a rhetorical exercise, that is, as the self-defence of a nun for dedicating her life to literature. We will also relate it to the epistolary ballads that Sor Juana wrote to respond to the praise of her readers and admirers. Finally, special attention will be paid to the portraits of Sor Juana produced in the 18th century, which contributed to canonising her as a woman of exceptional vocation and destiny.

Luis Castellví Laukamp is a Lecturer in Spanish Cultural Studies at the University of Manchester. His teaching and research interests range widely but mainly focus on the literatures and cultures of early modern Spain, Latin America and the Philippines. Central to his academic work are the theories and practices of poetic influence and transmission of culture in the early modern Hispanic world. He previously taught as an Affiliated Lecturer at the University of Cambridge, where he earned his PhD, and was a Humboldt postdoctoral scholar at Heidelberg University. Author of Hispanic Baroque Ekphrasis (2020), which has been translated into Spanish. Anchored in the emerging field of Pacific Rim Studies, his current research is devoted to the first Spanish chronicles written in Asia.