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Between Two Worlds: The autos sacramentales of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

Between Two Worlds: The autos sacramentales of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

Amy Fuller
Volume: 100
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 210
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  • Book Info
    Between Two Worlds: The autos sacramentales of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
    Book Description:

    The seventeenth-century Mexican poet, playwright and nun, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, is best known for her secular works, most notably her damning indictment of male double standards, Hombres necios (Stupid Men). However, her autos sacramentales (allegorical one-act plays on the Eucharist) have received little attention, and have only been discussed individually and out of sequence. By examining them as a collection, in their original order, their meaning and importance are revealed.

    eISBN: 978-1-78188-242-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    A. F.
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. 1-18)

    Five years after her death, the third instalment of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’sObras completaswas published in Madrid. TheFama y obras posthumasprovided a vehicle, not only to present works that had yet to be seen, but also to praise Sor Juana’s life and lament her passing. Half of the volume is taken up by dedicatory poems and prose that are repetitious in their portrayal of the departed nun: she is exotic, the tenth muse, the Mexican phoenix, a unique poetess. Uniting all of these dedications are comparisons of Juana Inés with classical heroines, illustrating her...

  6. CHAPTER 1 The Greatest Gift: Christ’s mayor fineza
    (pp. 19-41)

    Before exploring theautosseparately, we shall firstly examine them as a whole by discussing a theme central to all:la mayor fineza de Cristo, or the greatest display of Christ’s love for mankind, which is a topic used to open and close theautosandloaswithin their original format. The collection ofautosin the 1692Segundo volumenbegins with theloaintroducingEl mártir del sacramento, San Hermenegildo. This firstloarevolves around a debate between three students on the subject ofla mayor fineza de Cristo, and the same theme is revisited at the end of...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Between Two Worlds: The Loas
    (pp. 42-92)

    As discussed in the previous chapter, Sor Juana’sautosfocus on the subject of Christ’smayor fineza. This topic unites the plays as a collection by opening the first introductoryloaand closing the finalautoin the sequence. Theloasthat introduce Sor Juana’sautos sacramentalesare also joined together in their universal discussion of Spain’s transatlantic expansion. At first glance this would seem to have very little to do with the Sacrament to which they are dedicated; nevertheless theloaspresent the discovery, conquest and conversion of the ‘New World’ as tropes for the Eucharist. These common themes...

  8. CHAPTER 3 ‘The Corn’: El mártir del Sacramento, San Hermenegildo
    (pp. 93-126)

    El mártir del sacramento, San Hermenegildodiffers fromEl cetro de JosephandEl divino Narcisoas it is based mainly on historical chronicles rather than biblical or literary sources. Whereas the other twoautospresent their protagonists, Joseph and Narcissus, as foreshadowings of the Eucharist, Hermenegild is portrayed as an example of the Sacrament within Spanish history. As with the use of the dictumPlus Ultrain theloa, the subject of theautorelates directly to the Habsburgs. Though thisautocould appear to be ‘the odd one out’ compared to the others, its subject, being so intrinsically...

  9. CHAPTER 4 ‘The Bread’: El cetro de Joseph
    (pp. 127-151)

    Just asEl mártir del Sacramento, San Hermenegildois in keeping with the contemporary trend for reviving the memory of the Visigoths, Sor Juana’sauto historial, El cetro de Joseph, explores the equally popular Old Testament story of Joseph. This protagonist is a far more obvious choice, however, since Joseph’s links to Christ have been demonstrated since the late antique period. In theauto, Sor Juana rewrites the story, mixing different representations from Genesis and Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, in order to create an image of Joseph as a precursor to Christ and a foreshadowing of the Eucharist. Using...

  10. CHAPTER 5 ‘The Sacrament’: El divino Narciso
    (pp. 152-176)

    Whereas,El cetro de Josephtakes its inspiration directly from Genesis, links to the Scriptures withinEl divino Narcisoare not so clear. However, despite the main protagonist of theautobeing a character from pagan mythology, Sor Juana relies much more upon biblical sources than she does on Ovid’s fable for the structure of theauto, with the Gospels and Song of Songs being its principal sources. Like most authors of the Golden Age, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz used classical topoi in many of her works; perhaps it is not surprising, therefore, that she should use an...

    (pp. 177-180)

    Despite the existence of a huge amount of scholarship on the life and works of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, herautos sacramentaleshave remained relatively unexplored. Previous critical literature on theautoshas tended to focus on them individually, withEl divino Narcisohaving been the most popular among scholars. Discussions on theautosas individual works, rather than as a collection, have been prompted by the re-ordering of the plays within Méndez Plancarte’s 1950s editions of herObras completas, which has not retained the sense or meaning of them as a whole. Similarly, the way in which...

    (pp. 181-194)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 195-200)