Juana Inés de la Cruz

After a childhood spent buried amongst the texts of her grandfather’s library teaching herself Latin and Nahuatl, Greek rhetoric, and philosophy, it’s not surprising that the young Juana was considered a prodigy. So much so that, at just fifteen, she found herself lady-in-waiting to the Vicereine, wife of the Viceroy of New Spain. Court life, however, didn’t appeal to young Juana, who, sick of rich and drunken bachelors and their flirtatious ways, craved the space and time to dedicate herself to her studies. So, what was she to do? Join the nunnery, of course! Here, she found the scholarly solace she desired. But when the Bishop of Puebla, one of the most influential men of the New World, publically maligned her for daring to think beyond her sphere, Juana penned a manifesto that would become one of the most important proto-feminist texts in the history of the Americas – if not the world.

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