By Kathryn Joy Mcknight
Throughout the fifty-three years she lived in a convent within the urban of Tunja in what's now Colombia, writer Madre Castillo stretched the approved barriers of woman habit by way of veiling her highbrow actions within the tasks of a colonial nun. Her autobiographical writings display a deeply conflicted person whose prepared brain chafed opposed to the constraints of Counter-Reformation ideology.
In this quantity, Kathryn pleasure McKnight bargains an insightful research of Madre Castillo's lifestyles and writings. She situates those writings inside of a practice of woman autobiography during which nuns negotiated the facility to symbolize themselves by means of inscribing into their tales bleeding our bodies, demonic temptations, and celestial visions.
McKnight attracts on feminist and post-structural feedback, fresh scholarship on nuns' writings, and broad examine in colonial data to advance a framework for figuring out Madre Castillo's lifestyles and the style of the non secular autobiography, so frequently required of mystic nuns by way of their confessors.
Madre Castillo's released works, Su vida and the Afectos espirituals, current a desirable distinction in self-portraits. Proclaiming herself the guts of convent scandal, the three-time abbess wrote an autobiographical story marked by way of discord and self-degradation whereas, with higher self assurance, her journal-like Afectos enters the area of scriptural observation the place few lady contemporaries dared to tread.
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Additional info for The mystic of Tunja: the writings of Madre Castillo, 1671-1742
Title. C369Z77 1997 861dc2196-40881 CIP British Library Cataloguing in Publication data are available. Page v For my parents Martha and Ted McKnight Page vii CONTENTS List of Illustrations xi Acknowledgments xiii List of Abbreviations xv Editorial Method xvii I Interested Readings 1 Madre Castillo's Texts in Spanish American Literary Criticism 7 Contemporary Readings 12 Part I A Theoretical Framework II The Genre of the Vida Espiritual 17 Subject, Agent, Heretic 20 Autobiography and Subjecthood 24 The Vida Espiritual 29 Male Writing: Unambiguous Assurance 54 Part II Contexts III Religious Women's Writing in Spain and Spanish America 63 IV Female Monasticism: A Life Unbecoming?
While early commentators note Madre Castillo's gender as a surprising fact, and while they most often compare her to the great female mystic Saint Teresa, they ignore the impact of gender on her writing. Rather, they treat her Page 9 as an oddity, as a male in female clothing. Before revealing the identity of his subject, and employing the masculine article el, Carrasquilla speaks of Madre Castillo as ''the most eminent of our colonial authors" (1935, 105), 8 as before him, others used the epithet of "virile woman" to refer to Saint Teresa (Weber 1990, 18).
On the other hand, an empowering hagiographical tradition bolstered by the authority available to women in colonial convents allowed some to write themselves into a holy legacy with their own pens. In the present study, I set aside the transparent and isolating readings of Madre Castillo's critical tradition and examine the ways in which her texts "construct" her as a subject in the persons of protagonist, narrator, and writer, recognizing both the feminine literary tradition in which she wrote and her lived experience in colonial Spanish America.