Special Collections recently acquired three rare villancicos authored by Juana Inés de la Cruz. A self-taught poet, philosopher, and dramatist, she is considered one of the preeminent figures of Mexican and Spanish American colonial literature as well as a precursor of feminism in the Americas. The three items, published in Mexico in the last quarter of the 17th century, are among the earliest publications authored by de la Cruz.
Villancicos are a poetic and musical genre that was common in the Iberian Peninsula and in colonial Latin America from the 15th to 18th centuries. Most of them were devotional and were sometimes sung and performed during Catholic festivities.
The three villancicos now accompany several 17th and early 18th century editions of the works of Juana Inés de la Cruz that were donated to Special Collections in 2017 by Edgar Legaspi in memory of Ana Gabriela Valencia de Legaspi.
The acquisition was possible in part thanks to the support of the Program in Latin American Studies (PLAS).