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.
--This text refers to the
From Publishers Weekly
When she reached the age of 15 in 1600, Catalina, from a wealthy Basque family, escaped from the convent where she had been placed as a child. Passing as a male, she served as a page in various households until 1603, when she set sail for South America. She remained there for 21 years, fighting as a man in Spain's conquest of Peru and Chile. Engaging in frequent swordplay and gunfights, she killed at least a dozen men, including (inadvertently) one of her brothers. Finally she confessed her true identity to a bishop and returned to Europe as a celebrity, where she received a pension from the king and, from Pope Urban VIII, the right to wear men's clothes. Her story, long on action and almost devoid of introspection, is not for readers looking for scandal or a confession of sexual adventures.
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