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Dona Marina, Cortes’ Translator: Personal Account, Bernal Díaz del Castillo

Source

Perhaps the most famous 16th-century portrayal of doña Marina, this description is also the most extensive from the period. Díaz del Castillo claims she was beautiful and intelligent, she could speak Nahuatl and Maya. Without doña Marina, he says, the Spaniards could not have understood the language of Mexico. These words, while evocative, were written decades after Díaz del Castillo marched... Read More »

Dona Marina, Cortes’ Translator: Poem, Como Duele, 1993, Women in World History

Source

One of the earliest meditations on Malinche and her meaning published by a Chicana in the United States. This narrative explores Malinche’s fate and her abilities to negotiate difficult and competing cultural demands. It also grapples with the violence of colonization—in history, in Mexico and in the United States. The history it evokes is the intertwined history of indigenous and Chicana... Read More »

Dona Marina, Cortes’ Translator: Poem, La Malinche

Source

A well-known Chicana poem about Malinche. Tafolla took inspiration from the famous 1967 poem of the Chicano movement, “Yo Soy Joaquín,” but rewrites from an explicitly feminist perspective. The poem addresses the scene of European colonization, charting Malinche’s fate—as conquered woman, traitor, invincible survivor. Tafolla heightens the tension between traitor and survivor, raped slave and... Read More »

Title page of witch hunter manual, Malleus Maleficarum

Early Modern Period

Teaching

Talking about an “early modern world” allows us to investigate the interconnectedness of world cultures, as opposed to their isolation. In fact, the period between 1400 and 1800 was characterized by the advent of the Age of Exploration, which made encounters between cultures almost inevitable, even when some areas (most notably, China) turned inwards and shunned international interactions.... Read More »

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Early Modern Period: Autobiography, Bahina Bai

Source

This selection comes from the autobiography of Bahin-_ B__ (1628-1700), a Hindu poetess. Most of what we know about Bahin-_ comes from her own writings, where she tells her life story. Born into a family of the Brahmin—or priestly—caste, she was married at the age of five to a widowed thirty-year-old priest, in keeping with the practices of the time. From the age of nine, Bahin-_ traveled... Read More »

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Early Modern Period: Autobiography, Glückel of Hameln

Source

The following passages offer us a glimpse into the margins of early modern European society. Glückel of Hameln (1645-1724) was born into the Jewish community of Hamburg, a thriving German commercial center. When Glückel was four, the city expulsed its Jewish residents, forcing her family’s exile. Ten years later, Glückel married Hayim of Hameln, with whom she had twelve children. During her... Read More »

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Early Modern Period: Fiction, Gargantua and Pantagruel

Source

The following passage comes from one of the most famous literary works of early modern Europe: François Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantagruel, first published in four volumes between 1532 and 1552. A satirical chronicle of the journey through France of the giant Gargantua and his son, Pantagruel, the story’s intended audience was the French aristocracy, the educated elite upon whose patronage... Read More »

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Early Modern Period: Nonfiction, Confucian Doctrine

Source

This excerpt comes from Onna daigaku, or Greater Learning for Women, which is commonly attributed to Kaibara Ekiken (1630-1714), a Japanese botanist and Neo-Confucian philosopher. Ekiken was most concerned with translating Confucian doctrine into terms people from all classes could understand. His Onna daigaku is considered by many to be the most important ethical text for Japanese women, in... Read More »

Mosaic of sumerian craftsmen working

Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature

Review
the collection is arguably made more valuable and useful by its focus on a limited cultural and historical context and by its presentation of texts that are less well known and more difficult to locate.
Thumbnail image of Emile engraving

Emile

Source

French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote the philosophical treatise Emile, or On Education in 1762. In it, he imagines a situation in which a young tutor devotes 20 years to raising a single child. In the process, Rousseau lays out many of his fundamental beliefs about the nature of humans and their relationship to society.

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