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Updated: May 12, 2021

A portrain of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz by Andrés de Islas
Andrés de Islas, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

At, O, we kickstart this section by celebrating and applauding this seventeenth century Spanish writer, ahead of all our other great playwrights who would all also, in due course, grace this section, especially, bearing in mind that we still have a long road ahead for female emancipation to become a reality. Also, because her body of work reminds us that there, indeed, are other great languages, too, in the world and consequently, greatness in literature in these languages, too.

Her plays, Los empeños de una casa/ Pawns of a House and Amor es mas laberinto/ Love is but a Labyrinth are Comedies. According to literary historians, sections of a few other plays authored by other playwrights have also been attributed to her, while there is no consensus among researchers regarding it.

Born on 12 November 1648, this Mexican writer, poet, philosopher, mathematician and composer is better known as the phoenix of Mexico. Although a nun, she was known for her outspoken and controversial views, which reflects in her work.

Sister Juana died of plague on 17 April 1695, a year after religious authoritarianism snatched from her, her right to express. Shortly after, her writing and her contribution slipped into oblivion. Thanks to Octavio Paz Lozano [one of world’s greatest poets and essayists, also a Nobel laureate], for reintroducing Sister Juan to the world and for reinstating her position as a significant figure in world literature and female emancipation. Today, she is regarded as a protofeminist.

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