Hunger's Brides
Page Updated On: 04/16/2013

Portería - the Porter's Gate



The publication of this site is timed to coincide with the release of the novel Hunger's Brides. Its central character is a towering figure of 17th-century Mexico:  Juana Inés de la Cruz. 

Proto-feminist and slave-owner, philosopher and musicologist, court favourite and, eventually, nun, Sor Juana was also the last great poet of the Spanish Empire, arguably the world's greatest writer at the time of her death in 1695. In Sor Juana's time, the porter's gate was the convent's main entrance, where deliveries were left and where we imagine visitors passed on the way to the convent's parlours.

Icon-4 About this site — webspace as hermitage

In search of a design metaphor too-beautiful-for-tears, we stumbled across the more humble structure of a hermitage. Each of its main portals (in the menu at the top of each of our webpages) corresponds to a physical space or function in the convents of Sor Juana's day. (We should add that this site is being built by your loyal servants working with the sorely limited participation of Paul Anderson, the novel's shadowy author.)

The purpose is to provide a forum for questions and discussion of the novel, and to promote awareness of the work and life of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.

The Hermitage, then, is a gender-inclusive, non-denominational nod in the direction of Sor Juana's convent, now a university bearing her name in the wondrously chaotic heart of Mexico City. In due course we will invite you to view some images of the place, affectionately known as "the Claustro." But if you're in a hurry, no need to wait.

Icon-4 The Layout

A hermitage is not just a place of study or meditation but a world, a living space with various practical pre-occupations. In Sor Juana's day these spaces were arranged around a series of patios. Here is a description of the gran patio in the late 17th century, from Hunger's Brides.

Our virtual Hermitage is laid out as follows: 

Portería - Porter's Gate 

Locutorio - Parlour

Galería - Gallery

Teatro - Theatre

Coro - Choir

Archivo - Archives

Biblioteca - Library

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