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See the extensive bibliography (divided into print, video/audio, and online resources) below the essay.

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz: Life as "The Worst of All"

[1] Juana Ines de la Cruz has been considered one of the most gifted writers of the Spanish Baroque Age, "the Tenth Muse," the first modern feminist, and the list can go on. A fascinating personality, Sor Juana reemerges after two centuries in the shadow of forgetfulness as an encyclopedic and multidisciplinary intellectual who lived an obscure, if not stifled, life within the shadows of her convent. Her writings are the main source for reconstructing the events of her life, as very few reliable historical documents have survived. Other biographies, such as the one published in 1700 by Father Diego Calleja (the first one written about Juana) become unreliable in that they render Juana's life as an ascent toward saintliness, and are religiously biased, therefore unable to clarify some parts of her life that have remained ambiguous.

[2] Seventeenth-century colonial Mexico, where Juana was born, was the period between the Aztec state and the regaining of independence (1821), the period of a nation's bondage to Spain. Called "New Spain," Mexico was a kingdom in its own right, equal in theory to the other Spanish kingdoms: Castile, Aragon, Navarre, and Leon. This is why the position of Viceroy denoted a considerable power and was granted only to those who were enjoying the favors of the King of Spain. Mexico was a pluralistic society, governed by different laws for its different ethnic groups: Spaniards, criollos, mestizos, mulattos, blacks, and Indians. The land was in the hands of a few privileged groups: the aristocratic criollo class, the calpulli (communal landowning based on blood and religious ties), and the clergy. The power of the Catholic Church was considerable, while its possessions were enormous--by the end of the 17th century, more than half the land was in the hands of the Church, which thus enjoyed a triple monopoly: over the means of production, the products, and the minds of the producers. The Inquisition was still active in Spain and its colonies. In this way, a serious rival to the representative of the King (the Viceroy) was always the Archbishop of Mexico. Their fight for supremacy represents only one side of the intricate web of intrigue and power struggles between the church and the state (that Sor Juana gives witness to in her life).

[3] Sor Juana was born as Juana Ramirez de Asbaje in San Miguel Nepantla, a village at the foot of Popocatepetl. There are no baptismal records for her birth, since illegitimate children were not entered in the Church registry, so her date of birth is still the subject of speculation among historians. It is listed as either November 12, 1651 or 1648. She was the illegitimate daughter of Dona Isabel Ramirez de Santillana, who had three children with Pedro Manuel de Asbaje and three with Captain Diego Ruiz Lozano. Juana seems to be the daughter of the former, and nothing is clearly known about her father, since she never mentions him in her writings. Illegitimate children were a "natural" occurrence in New Spain, where religious orthodoxy apparently had nothing to do with sexual orthodoxy. Two of Juana's full sisters had children without being married, which can probably account for Juana's reaction to matrimony or a relationship with a man, expressed later in her writings. The era in which Juana was born was characterized by extreme religiosity on one hand and by extreme sensuality on the other.

[4] Very little is known about her childhood, and all the details are related by Juana herself in her writing, especially in the Response to the Bishop of Puebla (also known as the Respuesta). She describes herself as a solitary and very curious child, who was attracted to knowledge from a very young age. When she was three years old, she learned how to read and write, while later she tried to persuade her mother to let her go to the university dressed as a man (since only men had access to higher learning). When her mother refused, Juana started studying on her own and reading the books in her grandfather's library, books that opened the doors to the knowledge that she so ardently desired. In 1656, she was sent to live with her maternal aunt's family in Mexico City, where she continued her studies, and she learned Latin. In 1664, Juana became a lady-in-waiting at the court of the Viceroy, Don Antonio Sebastian de Toledo, Marquis de Mancera, and the Vicereine, Leonor Carreto. The court atmosphere and the love for literature of the viceregal couple were auspicious for young Juana, who quickly becomes famous for her intelligence and learning, unheard of in a girl of sixteen. She starts writing poems, and she successfully "passes" a test that the Viceroy devised for her: he gathered all the men of letters from the university and the city of Mexico, and he asked them to test Juana's knowledge. After answering all their questions, Juana amazed them with her intelligence and the breadth of her knowledge.

[5] For reasons that remain unclear and are a continuous subject of speculation, Juana decides to enter the convent at the age of 19. She chose the order of the Discalced Carmelites, but, after a brief time, she returns to court, either because of poor health (as her Catholic biographers claim), or because the order was too severe for her. Finally, on February 24, 1669, she takes the veil in the convent of San Jeronimo. The reason she gives for entering the convent is that her desire for knowledge and intellectual pursuit was more compatible with life in a convent than with marriage. To this, she adds her "total antipathy" she feels toward marriage (Paz 110). Life in a 17th-century Mexican convent was not as austere as one might imagine. Convents and monasteries owned land and were economically very productive. They were also centers of learning for young girls. The nuns had personal possessions, money, servants, and even slaves. They were able to buy their own cell and set up a household within the walls of the convent. Nuns participated in the communal activities and prayers, but, on the whole, they lived an individual life. The convent locutorium was a veritable literary salon, where nuns (especially Sor Juana) received and entertained guests, some of them illustrious and powerful. The convent life period prior to the publication of the famous Carta Atenagorica (1690) was undoubtedly the most peaceful and fruitful in Sor Juana's life. Although she took part in the communal activities as a music teacher and convent accountant, Juana dedicates herself completely to her study and writings. She carries a rich correspondence with famous writers and personalities all over the world, and her fame and writings reach Spain where she is called "The Tenth Muse." In 1680, the Marquis de Laguna is named Viceroy, and he arrives with his wife, Maria Luisa. They meet Juana and a relationship that has been the subject of much speculation starts between Maria Luisa and Sor Juana. The years of Laguna's viceregency are undeniably the richest of Juana's life, in terms of creation. She writes poems, plays, prose, music, and she never stops studying. She is rumored to have the largest library in Mexico, if not America.

[6] The secular poems that Sor Juana writes to her friend and protectress attract the wrath of the Church, especially of three men that played an important role in Juana's life: Father Nunez de Miranda, her confessor (and the one who convinced her to take the veil), the Archbishop of Puebla, and the Archbishop of Mexico. Recent findings indicate that shortly after 1680, Juana wrote a letter to Nunez de Miranda in which she decides to break with him as her confessor. Apparently Miranda found a deep contradiction in Juana's situation as a nun (expected to ponder religious issues) and her literary and secular intellectual pursuits, and was denouncing her actions "with such bitter exaggeration as to suggest a public scandal" (Juana Ines de la Cruz qtd. in Paz 495). By November 1690 the famous Carta Atenagorica was published: a pamphlet written by Juana as a critique of a sermon given by the ( then famous) Portuguese Jesuit Antonio de Vieyra. The preface of the pamphlet, written by a certain Sor Filotea de la Cruz, contains a bitter reprimand of Juana, recommending obedience as a suitable attitude for a woman and denouncing her choice of secular topics in her writings and readings. Sor Filotea de la Cruz was in actuality the Bishop of Puebla, who until 1690 was Juana's friend. Why this inexplicable attack of Juana? Historians proposed a hypothesis that render Juana the victim of a power play within the Church. The Bishop of Puebla aspired to be Archbishop of Mexico, but the other aspirant was Aguiar y Seijas. The feud between the two prelates was long and bitter, and Seijas ended by getting the coveted archbishopric. Since Seijas was one of Juana's most ardent enemies and a known misogynist, the Bishop of Puebla decided to publish the Carta in order to humiliate, ridicule, and insult Seijas, whose favorite theologian was the one Juana decided to contradict and critique in the letter. The response to the Carta was something that Juana never imagined: she was attacked by furious clerics, even though (as she writes in the Response to Sor Filotea) the work was published without her knowledge.

[7] The Archbishop's anger and irritation with Juana's secular and literary activities must have been extreme but impossible to act on, since Juana had powerful protectors in the Viceroy and the Vicereine. In 1688, however, the Viceroy and the Vicereine were called back to Spain, so Juana's position was already precarious when she writes the famous Response to Sor Filotea de la Cruz in 1691. The letter represents a reply to the Bishop of Puebla and the main source for the biographers of Sor Juana. She talks about her inclination to study that started at a very young age, about her writing that she regards as a gift from God, and about the rights of women to be educated, to have access to knowledge. It is not known whether the Archbishop of Mexico read this letter, but what is known is that he was waiting for a "scandal" such as this in order to try to silence Juana. The publication of the first volume of her works, Innundacion Castallida (Castalian Inundation) in 1689 under the patronage of the former Vicereine in Spain increased Juana's fame and the anger of the Archbishop. Juana sees herself without a protector and at the mercy of a powerful cleric who hated women (as many historical documents attest) and thought that nuns should scourge themselves, be submissive, and read only religious texts. Other external circumstances aggravated Juana's situation as well.

[8] The summer of 1691 brought massive floods in Mexico, ruining the crops and causing famine and plague among the inhabitants. Other natural calamities hit the country as well, and it all culminated with the 1692 revolt of the Indians who attacked and set fire to the viceregal palace, followed by a string of executions in the attempt of the government to regain control of the situation. The Church seized the occasion to proclaim that all the calamities that befell Mexico had as their cause the laxity and lack of faith of all its inhabitants. In this situation, Juana's isolation was menacing: she was surrounded by severe and powerful clerics who did not want her to write, while in the convent the nuns were caught in the fanatic activities of self-penance for the catastrophes of Mexico. She had lost her protectors, while the power of her enemies was becoming more and more dangerous. Juana turns to her former confessor for help in 1693. Nunez de Miranda returns to reclaim the "stray sheep" and apparently makes Juana accept all the terms of her defeat: she renounces writing and reading, all the worldly occupations that she enjoyed so much, she parts with her library and with her collection of curiosities, and she writes a petition to the "Divine Tribunal" that denounces all her sins and asks forgiveness (Paz 461). On February 17, 1694, Juana takes her vows as a nun for the second time. Both documents are signed in her blood, according to her biographer Calleja, and the former is also signed with the formula "Yo, la peor de todas"--"I, the worst [woman] of all" (Paz 461).

[9] The reason why Juana decided to stop writing and give up her worldly possessions, dedicating her life to God, is still unclear and can only be speculated on. On the morning of April 17, 1695, following an epidemic that broke out in the convent of San Jeronimo, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz died. Her death is recorded in the convent's Book of Professions. Recent discoveries have attested that Juana did not relinquish all of her possessions: at the time of her death, her cell still contained over 100 books, different documents, jewels, and money, a fact which has led historians to speculate that her renunciation of secular pursuits had not been total. Represented by her Catholic biographers as a saint (especially after her abjuration of worldly desires and preoccupations), Juana remains one of the most gifted writers of her times. The richness of her verse, the wit and intelligence of her plays and prose, and her multidisciplinarity recommend her as one of the most gifted and complete intellectuals of all times.

Print Resources

Arenal, Electa, and Amanda Powell. "A Life Without and Within: Juana Ramirez/Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1648/51-1695)." Women's Studies 1-2 (1993): 67-80.
The article represents an excerpt from a source book on Juana's Answer to Sor Filotea de la Cruz -- a collection of critical articles and essays that analyze the Respuesta. In this particular excerpt, Arenal and Powell discuss Juana's life, with comments on the general social and economic background of the times. Both authors prefer to leave the two obscure points of Juana's life (the reason for entering the convent and the reason for Juana's decision to stop writing) as they are, refusing any speculation on the matter. The article contains a short commentary on the relationships Juana had with the two vicereines who were her protectors at different times in her life.
Arenal, Electa, and Stacey Schlau. Untold Sisters: Hispanic Nuns in Their Own Works. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1989.
The book intends to fill a gap in Hispanic women feminist scholarship, providing a "new look at old writings" that will form a connection with women studies from other cultures (ix). Arenal and Schlau's work deals with religious women's writings, in an attempt to provide the reader with an understanding of the milieu out of which Sor Juana de la Cruz emerged. The authors gathered examples of how religious women prior and contemporaneous to Sor Juana read, reread, wrote, rewrote, and revisioned available religious texts, struggling to find their own voices and to live their own lives within the confines of the convent.
Arenal, Electa. "The Convent as Catalyst for Autonomy: Two Hispanic Nuns of the Seventeenth Century." Women in Hispanic Literature: Icons and Fallen Idols. Ed. Beth Miller. Berkeley: U of California P, 1983. 147-83.
The study views the convent as a (semi)autonomous culture that allowed women to develop their talents. Arenal examines the achievements of visionary Castilian nun Isabel de Jesus and of Juana Ines de la Cruz. The author provides an introduction to Sor Juana's life and to the feminist content of her works, along with a critical reading of the Reply to Sor Filotea de la Cruz.
The Courage to Write. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. Madison: Wisconsin Public Radio, 1997.
Nina Scott, Margarita Zamora, and Electa Arenal are discussing Sor Juana as an author and as a woman writer in an age that was particularly difficult for women creators.
Esquibel, Catriona Rueda. "Sor Juana and the Search for (Queer) and Cultural Heroes." With Her Machete in Her Hand: Reading Chicana Lesbians. Austin: U of Texas P, 2006. 66-90.
Esquibel attempts to define Sor Juana. She has been claimed to be a "literary foremother to the contemporary Mexicana, Chicana, and Latina writer"; however, her role in contemporary literature offers many contradictions. For instance, Esquibel argues that in one aspect, Sor Juana is a frontier feminist for both the Americas and Chicana feminist movements. In another aspect, becoming a nun in seventeenth-century New Spain afforded Sor Juana the luxuries of a privileged racial class and position, thereby downplaying her role in the feminist social revolution. Sor Juana's sexuality is another topic heavily discussed in the article. Esquibel draws from other popular culture mediums in her attempt to define what Sor Juana meant and still means to the literary world. Other works referenced in this chapter are Octavio Paz's biography of Sor Juana (specifically Alicia Gaspar de Alba's "interview" with Sor Juana), Estela Portillo's play Sor Juana (1983), Bemberg's film (1990), and Alicia Gaspar de Alba's short stories and novels about Sor Juana. Most of these works offer differing interpretations of Sor Juana as a historical and literary figure, thus leaving it up to the modern reader to discern her true character.
Flynn, Gerard. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. New York: Twayne Publishers: 1971.
The purpose of Flynn's book is to familiarize the reader with the life and works of Sor Juana. It is an overview that relates her biography (in the first chapter) and discusses her poetry and her theater in the following ones. All the chapters contain analyses of her philosophy, as Flynn's major claim is that "Juana was a woman with a strong philosophical bent, who frequently wrote some of the best lyrical and dramatic poetry of colonial Latin America."
Franco, Jean. Plotting Women: Gender and Representation in Mexico. New York: Columbia UP, 1988.
Franco attempts to place and understand the different discursive positionings of women artists in Mexican history.  She starts with the 17th-century Mexican convent that produced a distinctive form of feminine culture, characterized by the attempt to move the feminine from the space of mysticism and irrationality to the sphere of reason and intellectual activity.  Sor Juana, to whom the author dedicates the second chapter of the book, is one woman who attempted to trespass the limits imposed by patriarchy by insisting on the rationality of women, by exposing gender difference as social construction, and by generally defying the imposition of ignorance and silence upon nuns.  Franco analyzes all these stances in Sor Juana's work, focusing on her ability to destabilize gender differences by wearing different authorial "masks" in her writings.
Heroes of Mexico. New York: Fleet Press Corp., 1973.
The package contains 8 cassettes, 2 teacher's manuals, and 2 listener's guides. It is bilingual (English and Spanish). Historical personalities of Mexico are discussed, which include Montezuma, Sor Juana, La Corrigedora, Jose Morelos, and Lazaro Cardenas.
Kirk, Pamela. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz: Religion, Art, and Feminism. New York: Continuum, 1999.
Kirk investigates Juana's religious work with the aim of illuminating its literary dimension for theologians and its religious aspect for literary critics. The author shows how Juana breaks all the stereotypes of the "writing nun," in her "concern for the process of evangelization and her sensitivity to the mingling of cultures, her exploration of Mary as a figure of power, and her incorporation of the voices of the poor into her religious celebrations" (12). Kirk also investigates Juana's personal theology, present in her poetry and drama, along with her feminism.
Lavrin, Assuncion, ed. Latin American Women: Historical Perspectives. Westport: Greenwood P., 1978.
Written as a result of the research of a social group that did not elicit too much historical examination, the book edited by Lavrin contains perspectives on the pre-20th-century life of Latin American women. Its objective is to explore "roles, status, thoughts, and actions of women" as individuals engaged in everyday activities and representative of their times and society (4). All the essays try to revise and break the stereotype of the Latin women as passive elements in society, by emphasizing their agency, along with the discussion of the most common masculine attitudes toward women.
Lavrin, Assuncion. "Unlike Sor Juana? The Model Nun in the Religious Literature of Colonial Mexico." University of Dayton Review 16. 2 (Spring 1983): 75.
Lavrin emphasizes the fact that Sor Juana was both typical and atypical of other women who entered convents in colonial Mexico at different times in her life. A good article to study for those interested in the historical background of Juana's life, especially life in convents.
Leonard, Irving A. Baroque Times in Old Mexico. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1959.
Compared to the 17th-century Europe, colonial Hispanic America seems quite uneventful. The isolation, the almost three centuries of peace, the religious orthodoxy on the whole, seem to provide for a quiet era. Even so, Leonard claims that precisely these ingredients allowed for a "formative period of ethnic and cultural consolidation" (viii). His account attempts to "give an impression of the cultural, literary, and intellectual aspects of a relatively neglected period of Mexican history" (ix). The cultural personalities profiled in this book include Archbishop-Viceroy Fray Garcia Guerra, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, and Don Carlos de Siguenza y Gongora. Their works bring to light the slow process of a people becoming a nation and an ideological revolution that will ultimately undermine the Baroque Age -- the birth of the critical spirit that was already visible in Europe in the same time period. The chapter on Sor Juana represents an overview of the events of her life. Leonard attempts to define the rich and sometimes contradictory world of her intellect by appealing to lines and stanzas from Juana's poetry.
Merrim, Stephanie, ed. Feminist Perspectives on Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1991.
The editor gathered several essays on Sor Juana in this critical anthology. The article signed by Merrim evaluates the most important issues in Sor Juana criticism, while attempting to offer a paradigm for future feminist studies of her work. The essays by Schons and Lavrin explore Juana's work from a feminist perspective, taking into account the values and norms of religious life, along with some obscure and debated points of Juana's life. Ludmer's essay analyzes the Response to Sor Filotea de la Cruz and the tactics that Sor Juana used to express her resistance to oppression. The same type of analysis is used by Merrim in her second essay, in which the critic takes a closer look at the major plays written by Sor Juana. The articles written by Arenal and Rivers explore "First Dream" from a feminist point of view, while Gonzalez analyzes the use of gender masks in three of Sor Juana's love sonnets.
Merrim, Stephanie. Early Modern Writing and Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. Nashville: Vanderbilt UP, 1999.
Merrim's work represents an attempt to incorporate Hispanic women writers -- specifically Sor Juana -- in the body of early modern women's literature. The author emphasizes the universality of Juana's work and its connection with the literary and philosophical works of her time written by women, with the intention to "map out certain signal features and concerns of early modern women's writing in Spanish, English, and French." One of these concerns was the situation of women, and it was a topic that had the attention of many women writers contemporary with Sor Juana. Merrim shows how their writings speak against the blatant misogyny of the times, present in the Christian doctrine and the (male) authors who wrote against women. Juana's feminist works find their place in a gallery of illustrious feminist writers who evince an amazing discursive commonality and the emergence of a feminist consciousness, even if, most probably, the authors did not know each other. The other feminist writers that Merrim studies and compares to Sor Juana are (among others) Catalina de Erauso, Maria de Zayas, Madame de Lafayette, Marguerite de Navarre, and Anne Bradstreet.
Paz, Octavio. Sor Juana or, The Traps of Faith. Cambridge: The Bellknap Press of Harvard UP, 1988.
Paz's book represents one of the most exhaustive works on Sor Juana's life and writings. It also contains a description of the historical background of colonial Mexico, with its morals, its customs, and its literary tradition, very useful in order to understand certain aspects of Juana's life. He places Sor Juana in this literary tradition as one of the most important Spanish writers of the Baroque Age. The rest of the book follows the life of Sor Juana, and the author offers historical documentation wherever available. Paz also writes about the personalities that proved to be influential in Juana's life, such as Father Nunez de Miranda and the Archbishop of Mexico. As historically accurate as possible, the author gathers all the documents that he could find in order to fill out the gaps of Juana's short existence and to offer possible explanations of some obscure points of her life, such as her decision to become a nun, or her decision to stop writing. The book has been used as the source for Maria Luisa Bemberg's film, "Yo, la Peor de Todas." Apart from all the known aspects of Sor Juana's life, Paz's work also contains some textual analyses of Juana's most important literary works.
Picon-Salas, Mariano. A Cultural History of Spanish America, from Conquest to Independence. Translation Irving A. Leonard. Berkeley: U of California P, 1962.
Picon-Salas examines the Latin American Baroque in comparison to its Spanish models and shows how the former is a distinctive cultural phenomenon. Tracing the literary, historical, and intellectual background of the Baroque of the Indies, he brings out the relationship between the repression of Counter-Reformation and the ornate forms of the Baroque. The book contains a short but incisive discussion of Sor Juana as epitomizing the spirit of the Baroque that Picon-Salas has elaborated and described.
Royer, Fauchon. The Tenth Muse: Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. Paterson: St. Anthony Guild Press, 1952.
The book explores the known details of Juana's biography in a very lyrical tone that makes it almost fictional, as if the author were there to witness it. He also speculates on the obscure points of her life, such as the reason she entered the convent -- whether it was because of an unhappy love affair or not. The book also contains a list -- by no means definitive -- of Juana's sources (in Royer's opinion), used in her writings, in order to give the reader an idea of the encyclopedic nature of her work and its multidisciplinarity. The last part of Royer's book contains the full text of the famous Carta Atenagorica, in which Juana contradicts the theologian Vieyra.
Sayers-Peden, Margaret, translator and ed. Poems, Protest, and A Dream: Selected Writings, Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz. New York: Penguin, 1997.
The book is a collection of Juana's most important work, along with a critical introduction written by Ilan Stavans. Stavans dwells on the circumstances that led Juana to compose her Respuesta and on the text itself, commenting on its feminist overtones. The introduction also contains the main events of Sor Juana's life, along with social and cultural commentary on the historical period.
Schons, Dorothy. "The First Feminist in the New World." Equal Rights October 31 1925.
Schons writes a short article that is intended to offer an overview of Sor Juana's achievements as the "first feminist in the New World": her encyclopedic knowledge, her vast work, her continuous advocacy for the education of women in an age when the Inquisition still punished "heresy" and when women "were considered a constant menace to man," so they were either married off quickly or shut between the walls of a convent, in order to keep and guard the morals of society.
Seed, Patricia. To Love, Honor, and Obey in Colonial Mexico. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1988.
Seed examines the role of church and state in colonial Mexico, along with the evolution of three areas of cultural belief central to marriage and family: free will, love, and honor. She shows how cultural attitudes toward religious teaching and parental control are different in colonial Mexico, when compared to those in Europe during the same historical period. While during 1574-1689 the prenuptial disputes in the family were resolved by the church intervening in ways that protected the personal choice of men and women regarding marriage partners, the following period sees the emergence of a cultural discourse that enforced patriarchal control over children's marriages. Seed analyzes both these periods, along with the cultural consequences of such a change.
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1651-1695) sonnetos y villancicas. Forest Hills: 1986.
Narrator Gabriel Pingarron discusses Sor Juana's background and recites some of her poems.
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. Boulder: David Barsamian (producer), 1985.
As a part of the poetry program funded by the Colorado Endowment for the Humanities, Professor Yvonne Guillon Barrett discusses the life and work of Sor Juana. The recording includes vocal selections in Spanish and English.
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, 1995.
Offelia Medina reads some of Sor Juana's most famous poems. (Spanish).
Tavard, George H . Juana Ines de la Cruz and the Theology of Beauty. Notre Dame: U of Notre Dame P, 1991.
Tavard attempts a study of Sor Juana's theology, an aspect of her work that has not been investigated thoroughly. Through her work, Sor Juana formulates certain theological ideas that are generally overlooked by her critics. Tavard intends to fill that gap in Sor Juana criticism. He offers an overview of the main influences detected in her work -- poets, playwrights, and philosophers of the time. The author proposes eight types of writing that contain Sor Juana's theological views: Primero Sueno (First Dream), her long poem, other poems in honor of various saints, religious theater, religious pieces in honor of the Virgin Mary, the Carta Atenagorica, religious pieces in honor of Christ, personal lyric pieces on devotional themes, and other religious prose written by Juana. The book analyzes her view on Creation, the Creator, her conception of the world and of the soul, her views on Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the saints, her critique of Vieyra's Christology, and finally her renunciation of writing in 1692.
Trueblood, Alan S., ed. A Sor Juana Anthology. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1988.
Trueblood put together an anthology that contains his English translations of Juana's major works: her poetry of circumstance, her love poetry, light verse, religious lyrics, villancicos, her major poem "First Dream," and the famous Reply to Sor Filotea de la Cruz.

Video/Audio Resources

Hispanic Stories: Steck-Vaughn Classroom Library. Austin: Steck-Vaughn, 1993.
The video concentrates on the lives and historical significance of Hispanic personalities, such as : Luis Alvarez, Simon Bolivar, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Queen Isabella I, Benito Juarez.
Mexico en la obra de Octavio Paz. Dir. Hector Tajonar. Video Visa: 1992.
Translation: Mexico in the Work of Octavio Paz (Spanish). The video concentrates on images of Mexico or Mexican personalities as represented by the writer Octavio Paz in his works.
Mexico's Colonial Times. Producer George H. Russel Huntsville: Educational Video Network, 1992.
Narrator John Bradley describes some Mexican cities of colonial times, giving information about the history and most interesting buildings, monuments, and parks.
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz enter el cielo y la razon. Epica Video & Music, 1998.
The narrator Ricardo Blume recounts the life and times of Sor Juana. (Spanish).

Online Resources

4000 Years of Women in Science
As part of the University of Alabama project dedicated to women scholars and women scientists throughout history, the page dedicated to Sor Juana contains a biography in English and Spanish, selected poems in English and Spanish, and links to other Sor Juana sites.
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz [Archived]
The page was created for a Women's Studies class at the University of Arizona, and contains Juana's biography, essays on colonial Mexico, life in convent, Juana's poetry, the complete text of La Respuesta, and a critical bibliography, both in Spanish and English.
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
The site contains complete texts of Juana's "Sapphic" poems, reclaimed by the lesbian community: "Phyllis," "My Divine Lady," "I Approach and I Withdraw," "Disillusionment," "On the Death of the Marquise de Mancera," "You Men."
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (Juana Ramirez de Asbaje)
This site represents the electronic version of a course taught by Professor Geoffrey Kantaris at Cambridge University (U.K.). It contains video clips from the movie "Yo, la Peor de Todas," along with bibliography for primary and secondary sources, and the main notes for lecture, entitled "Difference and Indifference: The Poetry of Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz." Kantaris structured his course on exploring the sexual differences, the linguistic difference, and the socio-cultural difference in Juana's work, along with her strategy of resisting male appropriation and her denial of fixed sexual roles.
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz Project
The project dedicated to Sor Juana by the Spanish Department of Dartmouth University contains an electronic edition of her complete works, classified into plays, poetry, and prose, a Sor Juana chronology, a bibliography of contemporary Sor Juana scholars both in Spanish and English, exegeses on Sor Juana, reviews, criticism, and interpretation by various critics. It also contains a separate site about Sor Juana's intellectual world, with pages dedicated to Luis de Gongora, Athanasius Kircher, Francisco de Quevedo, and the Golden Century in Spanish culture.
Sor Juana Lives!'slife.html [Archived]
The site is part of a Community Arts and Cultural Enhancement program in Berkeley, CA, a non-profit organization that develops cultural programs, managing funding for an opera about Sor Juana by composer Bernardo Feldman. The page also contains an article about Juana's life and feminism.