Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1651-1695), whose towering poetic achievement and whose declaration of the intellectual emancipation of women represent a vital link in the rediscovery and reconstruction of women's cultural heritage, lived in a society in which censorship and official approval were elaborately hierarchalized and ritualized. Problems of legitimacy and authority were therefore extremely significant for Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz and their resolution entailed a re/vision and re/structuring, a turning of the world upside-down. This essay attempts to explain the genius of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, to develop some richer and more relevant readings of her work for our own times. To do so, it will examine the linguistic and theological conventions available to Sor Juana, in order to illuminate her special use of them.



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