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Faculty Book: Electa Arenal

Electa Arenal, trans.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, The Answer (La Respuesta). Bilingual Edition
(Feminist Press, 2009)

After Sor Juana (1648-95) was overheard privately refuting certain arguments made by a Portuguese Jesuit concerning God's greatest gift to humanity, the Bishop of Puebla asked for a written copy of the refutation, published it without the nun's knowledge, and added to it a pseudonymous reprimand. It was this disingenuous reminder not to meddle in the affairs of men that prompted Sor Juana to write The Answer. Sor Juana, known as the first feminist of the Americas, and whose visage graces Mexico's 1000 peso note, was a brilliant and popular poet, playwright, and essayist whose feminist theory stands as a link between that of Christine de Pizan and Mary Wollstonecraft in the struggle to establish the intellectual rights of women. Sor Juana's persistent defense of these rights brought her increasingly into conflict with church officials who wanted to silence her. This translation brings out Sor Juana’s keen awareness of gender, as well as the original emphasis and diction. Electa Arenal, the translator, is professor emerita of women’s studies and Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian languages and literatures at the Graduate Center.

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Submitted on: JUN 1, 2009

Category: Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures