Hunger's Brides
Page Updated On: 09/07/2005

Themes, historical topics

Scholarly Topics

Surely one of the most brilliant women in history, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz was a polymath -- the range of her learning was virtually limitless. Between pursuing Sor Juana's interests in the world and the world's in her, Hunger's Brides draws on the work of researchers in many fields. This page is an attempt to show scholars and students where, in fiction, this work led.

Prehispanic mesoamerica, the Spanish Conquest, colonization

Scholars have written on various aspects of Sor Juana's work that are informed by the prehispanic past and by the exploration and conquest of the New World. She wrote verses in Nahuatl, for instance, the language spoken by the Aztecs, just as she employed Native American characters in the theological prologues to her sacred plays. Where Hunger's Brides departs from the preponderance of scholarship is in placing these themes at the very heart of her life and work.  Go to Conquest page.


Hunger's Brides establishes the Inquisition as a presence hovering ever near, from the earliest days of Sor Juana's life. Her first intimations are innocent enough. A three-year-old Juana Ramírez has frightened her sister's teacher with the speed at which she has learned to read. At seven she is expelled from school after another freakish demonstration of learning. But decades later, even innocent events take on a certain weight and darker shadings. Go to Inquisition page.

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