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Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque…

Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World (original 1829; edition 1997)

by Catalina De Erauso, Michele Stepto, Gabri Stepto

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2561165,283 (3.53)19
Title:Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World
Authors:Catalina De Erauso
Other authors:Michele Stepto, Gabri Stepto
Info:Beacon Press (1997), Paperback, 128 pages
Collections:Your library

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História da freira alferes escrita por ela mesma by Catalina de Erauso (1829)


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» See also 19 mentions

English (8)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
In explaining some of his more outlandish exploits; Sherlock Holmes was fond of saying that after eliminating all other possibilities, whatever remains, not matter how improbable, is the answer. Applying this logic to the equally outlandish and seemingly impossible life of Catalina de Erauso one can only assume that if everything in her autobiography is true; then she was gifted with miraculous good luck. Her autobiography, outlining her life-long masquerade, as man is either an amazing example of a woman's ability to stretch the limits of her social status, or one of history's great practical jokes.

Prime among her accomplishments are her ability in not arousing suspicion of her true gender; even when fully exposed. Erauso cites a number of specific moments where in her own words she states she was naked. Whether or not Erauso is being honest is a question that cannot be answered; but if we take this to be true then we must assume that her definition of nudity referred to her being only bare above the waist. In a moment of dry humor, following an arrest in the city of La Plata wherein she was stripped on a rack, instead of the expected discovery of her gender, Erauso writes that a lawyer instead pointed out that she is a Basquero. Her obvious delight in pointing out the various instance where no one guesses her gender disguise makes the case that perhaps some exaggeration exists, if only to make the story more exciting. As such is the case, if some exaggeration is to be expected form the original source, the retelling of her story must certainly be seen as somewhat suspect. The sources of this story come from two basic texts, that of Spanish royal historian Juan Bautista Munoz and Joaquin de Ferrer. In both these cases its argued that some embellishment could have been made in their setting down the story to print, if not purposely, then unwittingly. Stephanie Merrim's review of the story believes Erauso's story to be historically accurate, but states, "…that Erauso herself probably told her story to another writer who then added to what she had related." Although history does correlate the existence of Erauso and the basic tent poles of her life story with documents and witness affidavits, the authenticity of the details remain a matter of personal judgment.
( )
  Humberto.Ferre | Sep 28, 2016 |
  OberlinSWAP | Aug 1, 2015 |
Catalina de Erauso’s journal tells the fascinating story of her life as a nun turned military and her incredible adventures in South America during colonial times. The single fact that she lived as a man among soldiers in those times is in itself an amazing story.

The foreword by Marjorie Garber gives interesting details about those colonial times when royalty and the priesthood ruled. Garber ponder’s about Catalina de Erauso’s psyche and sexual identity, being careful not to interpret the lieutenant nun’s life solely by today’s cultural Western values.

The book includes interesting notes on the translation. One difficulty was bringing to life a Spanish picaresque style that those who read “El Lazarillo de Tormes” in school might recognize. The translators, Michele and Gabriel Stepto, also faced other difficulties that they discuss. Chief among them, was the inability to translate gender (adjectives ending in O or A), as those gender endings bring into focus her identity.

There is a recent version of Catalina de Erauso’s text in the original Spanish, which I hope to read soon. ( )
  Carlelis | Apr 5, 2015 |
This book is a treasure! Throughout history women have gone underground to pursue their chosen professions, and Catalina de Erauso wanted to be a soldier. She got to be one, and wasn't the only military "maid" in the early seventeenth century. The life had its problems as well as its liberations. the tone of the translation is a masterly choice. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Sep 4, 2013 |
My daughter read this book during a college curse dedicated to the study of "Don Quixote". This and some other novellas were companion reads, examples of the "picaresque" novel. The difference in the case of this novella is that Lieutenant Nun really existed, and he was really a she disguised and living as a man. This autobiography from the early 1600s is somewhat difficult to believe, yet she really did exist and apparently was the subject of beloved folklore in Peru and Spain. Go figure! It was a quick and interesting read. ( )
  hemlokgang | Jan 19, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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Catalina de Erausoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Esteban, AngelEditormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I, dona Catalina de Erauso, was born in the town of San Sebastian in Guipuzcoa province, in the year 1585.
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Donna Catalina de Erauso scrisse queste memorie - pubblicate a stampa dal manoscritto nel 1829 - a Siviglia nel 1625 o '26, poco prima di imbarcarsi definitivamente per le Americhe. Già famosa, «monaca che in abiti maschili fu soldato in Cile e Tipoán», le presentò come resoconto delle sue gesta da «alfiere» al fine di ottenere una commenda reale (concessa la quale, da Filippo IV, si stabilì in Messico, a commerciare sotto il nome di Antonio de Erauso).
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0807070734, Paperback)

Marjorie Garber (Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing and Cultural Anxiety), provides a lively introduction to this picaresque autobiography of a 17th-century nun turned cross-dressing soldier. De Erauso's story itself is a swashbuckler's catalogue of sword fights, daring escapes, damsels in distress, and witty repartee. Even if only half of what de Erauso claims about herself is true, it's a life well worth remembering and an utterly wonderful read.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:37 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"English version of Historia de la monja alférez (1988), the 'autobiographical' account of a Basque woman who fled convent life in Spain; made her way to the Indies disguised as a page boy; and spent 22 years as a soldier in the colonies, mostly in Chile and the Perus, in early 17th century. Traditionally rejected as a work of fiction, Catalina de Erauso's story has been verified - to the extent that verification is possible - as well as authenticated by recent scholarship. [MTH]"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 58.… (more)

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