The Tenth Muse: Sor Juana Inés De La Cruz

The Tenth Muse: Sor Juana Inés De La Cruz

by Fanchon Royer

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In this well-rounded study, which was first published in 1952, author Fanchón Royer vividly presents Sor Juana Inés De La Cruz (1648-1695), a seventeenth-century Hieronymite nun of New Spain, known in her lifetime as “The Tenth Muse”, “The Phoenix of America”, or the “Mexican Phoenix”.

A famous and controversial figure of her time, Sor Juana was a self-taught scholar, student of scientific thought, philosopher, composer and poet of the Baroque school. She lived during Mexico’s colonial period, making her a contributor both to early Mexican literature as well as to the broader literature of the Spanish Golden Age. She began her studies at a young age and, being fluent in Latin and also writing in Nahuatl, became known for her philosophy in her teens. Sor Juana educated herself in her own library and, after joining a nunnery in 1667, began writing poetry and prose dealing with such topics as love, feminism, and religion. Sister Juana’s criticism of misogyny and the hypocrisy of men led to her condemnation by the Bishop of Puebla, and in 1694 she was forced to sell her collection of books and focus on charity towards the poor.

This fascinating book includes a translation of the nun’s famous La Carta Atenagorica, and her refutation of Father Vieira’s theological proposition, together with her substitute proposition and its sound theological defense, are cited to prove Juana’s remarkable grasp of theology. This disputation is the only one of Sor Juana’s works to be given in translation. A rich selection of her poetry in the original Spanish are also included in an appendix, and the book is beautifully illustrated throughout.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781789122411
Publisher: Papamoa Press
Publication date: 09/03/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 178
File size: 9 MB

About the Author

Fanchón Royer, born in 1902 in Des Moines, Iowa found an early destiny in multiple careers. After moving to Hollywood with her mother in 1918, she rapidly climbed to success as an actress, an editor and book reviewer, the owner of a publicity agency and by 1928 as “the industry’s only woman producer.” Not long after this zenith of celebrity, Miss Royer’s fascination with “high tension endeavor,” along with the material affluence it had brought her, had toppled two marriages and left her with five children to support. To pay the family bills, she continued as a producer contracted to fulfil 10 melodramas a year. Ten more years passed before she would drastically change direction.

At age 40, though a “fully formed adult agnostic,” Fanchón began to see the need for faith in her life and in the lives of her children; in 1943 she entered the Catholic Church. She was soon producing Catholic films, which led her to Mexico, a place she had long loved. Here she settled and began to do research and writing about Mexico for North American readers in articles and in a book called The Mexico We Found.

It was not long before Fanchón discovered that it was the “spiritual titans” of Mexico and Central America whose stories “cried much louder for the telling.” Among these stories were The Franciscans Came First; The Tenth Muse: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz; St. Francis Solanus, Apostle to America; St. Anthony Claret, and an earlier version of Padre Pro’s life called Padre Pro, Modern Apostle and Martyr.

Eventually, in 1957 Fanchón Royer established her home on a fruit farm in Teziutlán, Puebla where both children and grandchildren could return and visit. Here she continued her writing and research. Long forgotten by Hollywood, and by no means rich, Fanchón had found a place to be nourished by the communion of saints, nourishing others as well by her writing. She died in 1981.

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