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Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

The Tenth Muse


In 1659 she moved to the capital of the New Spain with her family and at fourteen became the maid of honor of the wife of the viceroy Antonio Sebastián de Toledo, Leonor Carreto. Juana shinned in the vice regal court of New Spain for her lively intelligence, erudition, and poetic ability.

Young Sor Juana

Young Sor Juana

In 1667, in spite of the fame she enjoyed in the royal court, she decide to enter a convent of the Carmelite order of Mexico in which she spent only four months due to health problems.

Two years later she entered the convent of the Order of St. Jerome. Sor Juana didn’t really have a strong religious vocation but knew that by becoming a nun instead of getting married she would be able to pursue her intellectual goals.

Sor Juana Ines

Sor Juana Ines

Her cell in the cloister became the meeting place of many intellectuals and poets; she performed scientific experiments, composed musical works, and wrote extensively from theater to poetry and also collected a large library. Her interest in scientific thought and experiment led to professional discussions with Isaac Newton.

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