The Lieutenant Nun: Transgenderism, Lesbian Desire, and Catalina de Erauso

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University of Texas Press, 2000 - Performing Arts - 241 pages
"This book is an exciting, well-organized overview of the evolution of a cultural icon: the nun-ensign Catalina de Erauso. . . . It will be of interest not only to Hispanists, but also to students of gender, theater, and film." -Anne J. Cruz, Professor of Spanish, University of Illinois, Chicago Catalina de Erauso (1592-1650) was a Basque noblewoman who, just before taking final vows to become a nun, escaped from the convent at San Sebastián, dressed as a man, and, in her own words, "went hither and thither, embarked, went into port, took to roving, slew, wounded, embezzled, and roamed about." Her long service fighting for the Spanish empire in Peru and Chile won her a soldier's pension and a papal dispensation to continue dressing in men's clothing. This theoretically informed study analyzes the many ways in which the "Lieutenant Nun" has been constructed, interpreted, marketed, and consumed by both the dominant and divergent cultures in Europe, Latin America, and the United States from the seventeenth century to the present. Sherry Velasco argues that the ways in which literary, theatrical, iconographic, and cinematic productions have transformed Erauso's life experience into a public spectacle show how transgender narratives expose and manipulate spectators' fears and desires. Her book thus reveals what happens when the private experience of a transgenderist is shifted to the public sphere and thereby marketed as a hybrid spectacle for the curious gaze of the general audience.

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Hybrid Spectacles Lesbian Desire Monsters Masculine Women in Early Modern Spain
Celebrity and Scandal The Creation of the Lieutenant Nun in the Seventeenth Century
Melodrama and the DeLesbianized Reconstruction of the Lieutenant Nun in the Nineteenth Century
From Cinema to Comics The ReLesbianization of the Lieutenant Nun in the Twentieth Century

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Page 4 - I was born in such and such a place, the daughter of this man and this woman, that at a certain age I was placed in a certain convent with a certain aunt, that I was raised there and took the veil and became a novice, and that when I was about to profess my final vows, I left the convent for such and such a reason, went to such and such a place, undressed myself and dressed myself up again, cut my hair, traveled here and there, embarked, disembarked, hustled, killed, maimed, wreaked havoc, and roamed...

About the author (2000)

Sherry Velasco is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California.

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