This book maps the field of seventeenth-century women's writing in Spanish, English, and French and situates the work of Sor Juana more clearly within that field. It holds up the multi-layered, proto-feminist writings of Sor Juana as a meaningful lens through which to focus the literary production of her female contemporaries. Merrim's book advances the integration of Hispanic women authors and women's issues into the parama of early modern women's writing and opens up unexplored commonalities between Sor Juana and her sister writers. Early modern women writers whose works are explored include Marie de Gournay, Margaret Fell Fox, Catalina de Erauso, Maria de Zayas, Ana Caro, Mme de Lafayette, Anne Bradstreet, St. Teresa, and Margaret Lucas Cavendish. Merrim's study provides a full-bodied picture of the resources that the cultural and historical climates of the seventeenth century placed at the disposal of women writers, the manners in which women writers instrumentalized them, the building blocks and concerns of early modern women's writing, and the continuities between early modern and modern women's writing. Written in an engaging, clear manner, this invative study will be of interest t only to Hispanists but also to scholars in early modern studies, women's studies, history, and comparative literature.
Stephanie Merrim is professor of Hispanic studies and comparative literature at Brown University. Her previous books include Feminist Perspectives on Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1991) and Logos and the Word (1983).