In Search of Catalina de Erauso:The National and Sexual Identity of The Lieutenant Nun (Hardcover)


by Eva Mendieta.
(No. 16 Occasional Papers Series)

“Buckle up your seat belt, Dear Reader, since you are in for a wild ride! Catalina de Erauso, the subject of this incisive biography, was one of the more controversial (and certainly bizarre) figures of the early seventeenth century. A celebrated and controversial individual, and as such the object of an excessive amount of scrutiny, her person and story are nevertheless fascinatingly blurred at the edges.”

—William A. Douglass, from the introduction

Who was Catalina de Erauso, the Lieutenant Nun? Swashbuckler, brawler, hard-headed businessperson, soldier, gallant, celebrity, transvestite, nun? How can one fail to be fascinated by her? A woman, yet a man; a soldier, yet a nun; Spanish, yet Basque. Catalina de Erauso embodied the contradictions and conflicts of the Early Modern Period, but she also transcended them in her own way. She became a stage on which we see how tensions between different identities played out in sixteenth—and seventeenth—century Spain, particularly the tensions between two sexual identities, male and female, and between the competing and multiple national “identities” already defined and being defined within that new thing that was “Spain.” This book explores the different facets of Erauso’s persona: her sexual identity and the factors that determined her choice of gender roles; and her Basque origin and its impact on her life and her self-image.

ISBN 978-1-877802-87-4, $39.95 USD

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