In her paper, "Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in Seventeenth-Century New Spain and Finding a Room of One's Own," Deborah Weagel examines the life of the seventeenth-century nun and compares her life with the ideals Virginia Woolf portrays in A Room of One's Own. Woolf asserts that in order for a woman to develop innate gifts, she needs a certain degree of financial freedom and private space in which to create. The concept of having one's own room, or space, that can be segregated from the activities of home and public life can be considered both literally and metaphorically. Sor Juana, who lived in the latter half of the seventeenth century in New Spain, struggled to find space in which to work and create. She contended throughout her life with a dominant patriarchal culture which was strongly evidenced in domestic life, politics, and religion. She also lived during the Spanish Inquisition, which severely punished dissenters and aggressors against the Catholic Church. Despite these difficult obstacles, however, Sor Juana was successful in finding space to write, create, compose, and obtain knowledge. Part of the genius of Sor Juana is found not only in the concrete product of her extraordinary talents, but also in her ability to find a room of her own, both literally and metaphorically, in which to develop her gifts. The actual physical space in which she worked, the discursive space in which she expressed herself, and the psychological space in which she explored various states of consciousness are explored.
"Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in Seventeenth-Century New Spain and Finding a Room of One's Own."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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