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Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

The Tenth Muse


Sor Juana’s most important plays include bright and strong women, and her famous poem, “Hombres Necios ” -“Foolish Men “-, she accuses men of being hypocrites, holding women to the highest moral standards and at the same time inciting them to “sin”.

“You foolish men who lay
the guilt on women,
not seeing you’re the cause
of the very thing you blame;”

 

In 1690, the bishop of Puebla one of her fiercest critics, Manuel Fernández, published La Carta Athenagórica, the work of Sor Juana Inés, in which the nun criticized the Jesuit Antonio Vieira.

346px-Retrato_de_Sor_Juana_Inés_de_la_Cruz_(Fray_Miguel_Herrera)

The bishop did so without Sor Juana’s permission and added to her work a text written by him, called Letter of Sor Filotea, in which he chastised Sor Juana Ines, recognizing her talent, but instructing her to dedicate herself to the monastic life and to leave theological reflection to men.

 

Sister Juana Ines de la Cruz responded to the bishop of Puebla, that is, “Sister Filotea de la Cruz” his pseudonym, making clear the right of women to learn, since knowledge is not only lawful but also rewarding. The answer contains many biographical data and shows her beautiful prose.

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