Ines Johnson Biography & Facts
Doña Inés de Asuaje y Ramírez de Santillana, better known as Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (12 November 1648 – 17 April 1695) was a Mexican writer, philosopher, composer and poet of the Baroque period, and Hieronymite nun. Her merit as a true master of the Spanish Golden Age gained her the nicknames of "The Tenth Muse" or "The Phoenix of America", for she was probably the most accomplished author of the entire history of the Spanish Americas, and a flame that rose from the ashes of "religious authoritarianism".Sor Juana lived during Mexico's colonial period, making her a contributor both to early Spanish literature as well as to the broader literature of the Spanish Golden Age. Beginning her studies at a young age, Sor Juana was fluent in Latin and also wrote in Nahuatl, and became known for her philosophy in her teens. Sor Juana educated herself in her own library, which was mostly inherited from her grandfather. After joining a nunnery in 1667, Sor Juana began writing poetry and prose dealing with such topics as love, feminism, and religion. She turned her nun's quarters into a salon, visited by the New Spain's female intellectual elite, including Donna Eleonora del Carreto, Marchioness of Mancera, and Doña Maria Luisa Gonzaga, Countess of Paredes de Nava, both Vicereines of the New Spain, amongst others. Her 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. She died the next year, having caught the plague while treating her sisters.After she had faded from academic discourse for hundreds of years, Noble Prize winner Octavio Paz re-established Sor Juana's importance in modern times. Scholars now interpret Sor Juana as a protofeminist, and she is the subject of vibrant discourses about themes such as colonialism, education rights, women's religious authority, and writing as examples of feminist advocacy.
Doña Inés de Asuaje y Ramírez de Santillana was born in San Miguel Nepantla (now called Nepantla de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz) near Mexico City. Owing to her Spanish ancestry and Mexican birth, Inés is considered a Criolla. She was the illegitimate child of Don Pedro Manuel de Asuaje y Vargas-Machuca, a Spanish officer, and Doña Isabel Ramírez de Santillana y Rendón, a wealthy criolla, who inhabited the Hacienda of Panoaya, close to Mexico City. She was baptized on the 2nd of December 1651 with the name of Inés ("Juana" was only added after she entered the convent) described on the baptismal rolls as "a daughter of the Church". The name Inés came from her maternal aunt Doña Inés Ramírez de Santillana, who received the name herself from her Andalusian grandmother Doña Inés de Brenes. The name Inés was also present through their cousin Doña Inés de Brenes y Mendoza, married to a grandson of Antonio de Saavedra Guzmán, the first ever published American-born poet.
Her biological father, according to all accounts, was completely absent from her life. However, thanks to her maternal family, who owned a very productive hacienda in Amecameca, Inés lived a comfortable life on her mother on his estate, Panoaya, accompanied by an illustrious group of relatives who constantly visited or where visited in their surrounding haciendas.
During her childhood, Inés often hid in the hacienda chapel to read her grandfather's books from the adjoining library, something forbidden to girls. By the age of three, she had learned how to read and write Latin. By the age of five, she reportedly could do accounts. At age eight, she composed a poem on the Eucharist. By adolescence, Inés had mastered Greek logic, and at age thirteen she was teaching Latin to young children. She also learned the Aztec language of Nahuatl and wrote some short poems in that language.
In 1664, at the age of 16, Inés was sent to live in Mexico City. She even asked her mother's permission to disguise herself as a male student so that she could enter the university there, without success. Without the ability to obtain formal education, Juana continued her studies privately. Her family's influential position had gained her the position of lady-in-waiting at the colonial viceroy's court, where she came under the tutelage of the Vicereine Donna Eleonora del Carretto, member of one of Italy's most illustrious families, and wife of the Viceroy of New Spain Don Antonio Sebastián de Toledo, Marquis of Mancera. The viceroy Marquis de Mancera, wishing to test the learning and intelligence of the 17-year-old, invited several theologians, jurists, philosophers, and poets to a meeting, during which she had to answer many questions unprepared and explain several difficult points on various scientific and literary subjects. The manner in which she acquitted herself astonished all present and greatly increased her reputation. Her literary accomplishments garnered her fame throughout New Spain. She was much admired in the viceregal court, and she received several proposals of marriage, which she declined.
Religious life and name-change
In 1667, she entered the Monastery of St. Joseph, a community of the Discalced Carmelite nuns, as a postulant, where she remained but a few months. Later, in 1669, she entered the monastery of the Hieronymite nuns, which had more relaxed rules, where she changed her name to Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, probably in reference to Saint Juan de la Cruz, one of the most accomplished authors of the Spanish Baroque (without renouncing her name of Inés). She chose to become a nun so that she could study as she wished since she wanted "to have no fixed occupation which might curtail my freedom to study."In the convent and perhaps earlier, Sor Juana became intimate friends with fellow savant, Don Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora, who visited her in the convent's locutorio. She stayed cloistered in the Convent of Santa Paula of the Hieronymite in Mexico City from 1669 until her death in 1695, and there she studied, wrote, and collected a large library of books. The Viceroy and Vicereine of New Spain became her patrons; they supported her and had her writings published in Spain. She addressed some of her poems to paintings of her friend and patron María Luisa Manrique de Lara y Gonzaga, daughter of Vespasiano Gonzaga, Duca di Guastala, Luzara e Rechiolo and Inés María Manrique, 9th Countess de Paredes, which she also addressed as Lísida.
In November 1690, the bishop of Puebla, Manuel Fernández de Santa Cruz published, under the pseudonym of Sor Filotea, and without her permission, Sor Juana's critique of a 40-year-old sermon by Father António Vieira, a Portuguese Jesuit preacher. Although Sor Juana's intentions for the work, called Carta Atenagórica are left to interpretation, many scholars have opted to interpret the work as a challenge to the hierarchical structure of religious authority. Along with Carta Atenagórica.... Discover the Ines Johnson popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Ines Johnson books.