Upending Hegemonic Masculinity in Soror Maria do Céu’s Clavel, y Rosa

  • Anna-Lisa Halling Brigham Young University
Keywords: Portugal, convent theater, gender norms, Virgin Mary, conduct literature


While most early modern authors align themselves with normative views on gender, Soror Maria do Céu (1658-1753) resists and subverts this tradition in her play Clavel, y Rosa, breve comedia aludida a los desposorios de María y Joseph (Carnation and Rose, a brief play on the marriage of Mary and Joseph, 1736). She achieves this in part by creating "feminine" male characters and assigning "masculine" characteristics to her female characters. Soror Maria affords more power and authority to women in her comedia, and she likewise undermines the validity of early modern social expectations related to men and masculinity by scrutinizing gender norms. In the end, Soror Maria creates a space of negotiation between the masculine and the feminine that allows for a reassessment of what it meant to be a man in late seventeenth-century Iberia.

Author Biography

Anna-Lisa Halling, Brigham Young University

Anna-Lisa Halling is Assistant Professor of Portuguese literature at Brigham Young University. Her research focuses on early modern Iberian convent literature, particularly theater, as well as spatial and feminist theory. She frequently utilizes performance as a pedagogical tool in her classroom and has published on Soror Violante do Céu, Mira de Amescua, and José de Anchieta.