The Politics and Poetics of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz examines the role of occasional verse in the works of the celebrated colonial Mexican nun. The poems that Sor Juana wrote for special occasions (birthdays, funerals, religious feasts, coronations, and the like) have been considered inconsequential by literary historians; but from a socio-historical perspective, George Antony Thomas argues they hold a particular interest for scholars of colonial Latin American literature. For Thomas, these compositions establish a particular set of rhetorical strategies, which he labels the author's 'political aesthetics.' He demonstrates how this body of the famous nun's writings, previously overlooked by scholars, sheds new light on Sor Juana's interactions with individuals in colonial society and throughout the Spanish Empire.
'George Thomas's study of the Spanish-American seventeenth-century poet's occasional verse as representative of her political thought makes an insightful examination of classical antecedents and contemporary verse discourse. It foregrounds this major writer's own position, and expressed awareness, with regard to gender and how these configure her lines of access to, exclusion from, and perhaps especially redefinitions of power.' Amanda Powell, Department of Romance Languages, University of Oregon; coauthor of The Answer/La Respuesta: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and A Wild Country Out in the Garden: The Spiritual Journals of a Colonial Mexican Nun. 'This is an excellent study of woefully neglected writings, and does justice to both the verses and the extraordinary woman who wrote them. … highly recommended as an important addition to the growing body of scholarship concerning Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz.' Sixteenth Century Journal 'Thomas’s book is a welcome, thought-provoking, and well-researched addition to Sor Juana studies, and it provides an unprecedented interpretation of Sor Juana’s occasional writings that helps readers better understand her complete works and those of other early-modern women writers. Catholic Historical Review
Contents: Introduction: occasional nun: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, early modern women's poetry, and the occasional mode; The wedding preacher: celebrating the Brides of Christ; The poet of empire: imperial ceremony and Imitatio Horati; The chronicler of self: flattery will get you somewhere; The court advisor: queenship and kingship in occasional works; Conclusion: the political aesthetics of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.