Teresa de Cartagena

Teresa De Cartagena

Teresa de Cartagena

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Teresa de Cartagena (b. c. 1425) was a Spanish author and nun who fell deaf between 1453–1459, which influenced her two known works Arboleda de los enfermos (Grove of the Infirm) and Admiraçión operum Dey (Wonder at the Works of God). The latter work represents what many critics consider as the first feminist tract written by a Spanish woman.

Few documents exist regarding Teresa’s life. In Francisco Cantera Burgos’ history of the Santa María family, the author confirms Teresa’s identity as a conversa (a Christian of Spanish Jewish heritage) and as a member of the Santa María-Cartagena family, the most powerful converso family in late-medieval Spain. Her grandfather, Rabbi Selomó ha-Levi, converted to Christianity around 1390, and was baptized as Pablo de Santa María, becoming bishop of Burgos in 1412. Cantera Burgos discovered that Teresa was the daughter of Pedro de Cartagena after finding her named in the will of a later bishop of Burgos, Alonso de Cartagena, Pedro’s brother and Teresa’s uncle. Before becoming deaf, Teresa entered the Franciscan Monasterio de Santa Clara in Burgos around 1440. Later, in 1449, she transferred to the Cistercian Monasterio de Las Huelgas in Burgos, where she became deaf. The transfer likely occurred, as Dayle Seidenspinner-Núñez and Yonsoo Kim point out, because of family political strategy and hostility of the converso-outing Franciscans. Cartagena wrote her first work Arboleda de los......
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