: Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World (): Catalina De Erauso, Michele Stepto, Gabri Stepto: Books. : Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World (Audible Audio Edition): Catalina de Erauso, Michele Stepto – translator. Named a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of One of the earliest known autobiographies by a woman, this is the extraordinary tale of Catalina.
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Catalina de Erauso escapes her convent, 18 March According to her autobiography, Catalina de Erauso was born inalthough the surviving record of her baptism notes a date of just a small indication of the confusion about many of the details of her tumultuous, adventure-filled life. But, really, even if Erauso has exaggerated or even misrepresented some aspects of her life, what a life it was!
Catalina says nothing more about convent life, noting only that, when she was fifteen, she had a series of increasingly heated encounters with members of the community. Finally, seeing a chance of escape, she took it, fleeing the convent on the night of 18 March and entering nyn world that she “had never seen before. At that point, she changed her identity.
There I hid out for three days tracing and cutting clothing. I made myself a pair of trousers from a skirt of blue cloth that I had, and a shirt and leggings from the green shift that I wore underneath.
Not knowing what to make of the rest of my habit, I left it lieutneant. I cut off my hair and threw it away. From this moment on, Catalina de Erauso lived much, but not all, of her life as a man. Her decision seems at first purely eraus, a way to avoid being identified and returned to convent life, but also a way to avoid the perils of traveling alone as a woman. At the same time, however, her life as a man seems also to correspond to other needs and desires as well.
Catalina de Erauso first came to my attention inwhen Lieutenant Nun: In her introduction to the volume, gender theorist Marjorie Garber focuses the attention of the reader on difficulties of addressing earuso of gender and identity in Catalina de Erauso’s earuso. Inwhen this English translation of Erauso’s autobiography was published, the identification of this seventeenth-century figure as “transvestite” was controversial and contested.
Catalina de Erauso
Now, more than twenty years later, the discussion is still complicated, with many scholars of gender earuso sexuality suggesting Erauso was transgender, still others continuing the debate about trying to understand the identity of a seventeenth-century person using twenty-first century concepts. What follows here is just a brief summary of Catalina’s life. After leaving the convent, Erauso has a series of adventures in a number of Spanish cities, serving a variety of masters in a variety of roles under a number of different names, including Pedro de Orive, Francisco de Loyola, Alonso Diaz Ramirez de Guzman and Antonio de Erauso.
At times Erauso either meets or lieutenantt some members of her own family–cousins, her aunt, even her father–who never recognize her.
At last Erauso decides to travel to the Americas, where, as a man, he lives a riotous life, the autobiography recounting all kinds of madcap adventures, fights and brawls, and sexual misadventures. At one point, “he” is almost forced to marry a woman, at another, “he” is dismissed when caught in lieutenabt compromising position with a young woman.
As a man, Erauso serves in Chile, Peru, and Bolivia, eventually earning the rank of lieutenant, recognized for brutality and efficiency. After another dizzying array of adventures and misadventures–he is promoted, he is suspended, he is imprisoned, he deserts the army, he commits heinous crimes, including murder, for which he is condemned to death catailna then reprieved–in Erauso is forced to reveal “her” identity as a woman.
Her revelation is a last desperate act; about to be executed, she “confesses” to the local bishop, Francisco Verdugo Cabrerathat she is not only a woman but that she is a virgin, having been brought up in a convent.
As she tells the story in her memoir, the “truth” is this: Sent back to Spain, Catalina gains notoriety and attempts to get a pieutenant pension, in recognition for her years of service. These records from her appeal preserve a great deal of the verifiable information about her.
It is during this same period that she is said to have written or dictated accounts vary her memoir.
Catalina de Erauso is eventually awarded her military pension. In addition, she is also granted another, more unusual request: In Erauso returns to the Americas, living the last twenty years of his life in Mexico as Antonio de Erauso.
Lieutenant Nun by Catalina De Erauso | : Books
Notions about Catalina de Erauso’s gender and sexuality are thus confused and confusing. There are also questions about the genre of Catalina’s work–is it autobiography? Or an adventure story? Is it “true” at all, in any sense of that word?
And there are questions about the authenticity of the memoir, which wasn’t published until the nineteenth century. Did Catalina de Erauso “write” this story of her life? There is no surviving manuscript, nor is there any copy of a supposed seventeenth-century printed edition. There is a reference to a supposed manuscript copy in the eighteenth century, a copy of which was eventually published in France in I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, though I do enjoy the lively scholarly debate about Catalina de Erauso and the memoir attributed to her.
And, while I never taught this text, I did share it with a number of students in the years that I taught, for one of whom it proved to be a transformative text.
I could see the young woman in my class was struggling–she was absent far too many days, she wasn’t doing the course reading, and she was missing assignments. She also missed the day students signed up for topics for an independent research assignment–when she came by my office, she was uninterested in the few remaining topics on the list. So I handed her a copy of the English translation of Erauso’s memoir–maybe she’d be interested in this, I suggested.
She took the book. I’d like to say it saved her life–she didn’t do all that well in the course, but she did complete it, and she didn’t commit suicide, which is what she was threatening to do and what I feared.
And two years later, happy, writing like mad, and active in the gay and lesbian group on campus, she stopped by my office one day to say thank you.
The story of Jun de Erauso had been an inspiration. The English translation of Catalina de Erauso’s memoir is still in print–you can access it by clicking here.
And, if you search “lieutenant nun” on the Amazon website, you will see a number of critical works, focusing on gender and sexuality, about Catalina de Erauso, and while they cattalina to be out of print, used copies are available. Catalina de Erauso’s Shifting Identities,” originally published in L’Hommeavailable online through Eurozine click here.
Catalina de Erauso, the Lieutenant Nun – HeadStuff
While you can buy a copy of the memoir, you can also access it freely online. In English, the memoir is available through the Early Americas Digital Archive ; the translation, by Dan Harvey Pedrick, can be accessed by clicking here. For a Spanish edition, available through the Biblioteca virtual de Miguel Cervantesclick here. Posted by Sharon L. Newer Post Older Hun Home. Catalina de Erauso, c.