Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

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Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648 – 1695), born in San Miguel Nepantla, Mexico, was and remains one of the towering figures of the Spanish Golden Age. A child prodigy with a wide-ranging grasp of literature, languages, science and music, she was famed for her learning and intelligence, as well as her beauty, but choices were limited in New Spain for a woman who wished above all to dedicate her life to scholarship and writing. When she was 21, she entered a convent where she was permitted to maintain her own private study and library for a number of years, and where the leading scholars of her day often came to pay homage and bask in her conversation. She died of the plague in 1695 at the age of 46.