November 12, 1651 – Birthdate of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Mexican nun, poet, and scholar (d. 1695)
De La Cruz, whose name in English is “Joan Agnes of the Cross” was a self-taught scholar and poet of the Baroque school, and Hieronymite nun of New Spain, known in her lifetime as “The Tenth Muse.” Although she lived in a colonial era when Mexico was part of the Spanish Empire, she is considered today both a Mexican writer and a contributor to the Spanish Golden Age. She stands at the beginning of the history of Mexican literature in the Spanish language. In recognition, she is honored by official government recognition and is an inspiration to artists in the modern era.
While in college, I had the distinct pleasure of reading A Woman of Genius: The Intellectual Autobiography of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden.
Mexico has just issued this year a stamp commemorating the 320th anniversary of de la Cruz’s death.