The Wit of El divino Narciso
This chapter explores Sor Juana’s best known auto sacramental, El divino Narciso. In particular, it focusses on what previous critics have perceived to be the weakness of the play, that is Sor Juana’s choice of Narcissus as a figure of Christ. In contrast, this study argues that the apparent dissimilarity between Narcissus’ self-love and Christ’s selfless love is precisely the reason for Sor Juana’s choice. In particular, it explores a little-known source for the play, Jakob Masen’s Speculum imaginum, and its connection to Golden Age theories of wit. Specifically, it demonstrates how Masen’s emphasis on originality and the unexpected, together with his theories on mirrors and optics, explains Sor Juana’s Christological reading of the Ovidian myth. The study then turns to the loa to explore how the treatment of optics in the auto can also be applied to its introductory piece, and how this illuminates its reading of the Conquest.
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