The Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast

Catalina de Erauso - The Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast Episode 12

September 14, 2020

Catalina de Erauso

The Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast - Episode 12 with Heather Rose Jones

This is a brief tour through the life of an early 17th century Basque woman (or possibly trans man--though it’s tricky to use any sort of modern category label) who escaped from a convent at age 15, began living as a man, and went off to the Spanish colonies in the New World to seek fortune and adventure. She found plenty of adventure.

In this episode we talk about:

  • The basic facts of Catalina’s life
  • Why it’s difficult to try to apply modern categories of gender and sexuality to historic individuals
  • The literary and pop culture context of early 17th century Spain that may have shaped how Catalina’s story was told--and even perhaps inspired her actions
  • Catalina’s romantic and erotic encounters with women, and why they’re a bit less satisfying to a modern audience than we might wish
  • Some exciting new changes to the Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast

Books mentioned

  • The full text of Catalina de Erauso’s autobiography can be found in translation in:
    • Stepto, Michele & Gabriel Stepto (translators). 1996. Catalina de Erauso. Lieutenant Nun -- Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World. Boston: Beacon Press. ISBN 0-8070-7073-4
  • The other major sources used for this podcast are:
    • Velasco, Sherry. 2000. The Lieutenant Nun: Transgenderism, Lesbian Desire and Catalina de Erauso. University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-78746-4
    • Velasco, Sherry. 2011. Lesbians in Early Modern Spain. Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville. ISBN 978-0-8265-1750-0

This topic is discussed in one or more entries of the Lesbian Historic Motif Project here:

A transcript of this podcast is available here.

Links to the Lesbian Historic Motif Project Online

Links to Heather Online

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