Mexican Authors

Overview Authors
  • Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
  • Fray Servando Teresa de Mier
  • José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi
  • José Vasconcelos Calderón
  • Carlos Fuentes
  • Octavio Paz

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695)

In Mexican literature, the most notable poet during the 17th century was a nun whose full name was Juana Inés de Asbaje y Ramírez de Santillana. She was born on November 12 in 1651 in a place called San Miguel de Nepantla, Mexico. She mostly taught herself to read and write as a child, and later served as lady in waiting at the court of the viceroy of New Spain. Admired for her beauty, wit and intellect, she later decided to become a nun to better follow her intellectual pursuits.

She later studied theology, literature, history, music, and science and exchanged letters with many prominent contemporary scholars and writers. Some of her superiors in the church objected to her intellectual pursuits and suggested she cease them, which prompted her to write a letter in defense of her intellectual interests and requesting that women be treated equally when it came to education. That document became an important piece of feminist literature.

Among her literary works are both religious and secular works, which include genres such as lyrical poetry, plays and prose. She also wrote many poems defending woman’s position in society. She wrote during the Baroque movement and some of her best known works include:

  • Inundación castálida, 1689
  • El divino Narciso
  • Los empeños de una casa
  • Respuesta a sor Filotea de la Cruz, 1691

The latter was in actual fact addressed to the bishop of Puebla and was the first intellectual autobiography to written by a woman.