Peru's inquisition on trial: the vindication of Ana de Castro
The distinguished professor and scholar Jerry M. Williams, Chair, Department of Foreign Languages, West Chester University, offers us yet another outstanding contribution to our understanding of inquisitorial practices in the New World and one of its most celebrated victims, a Judaizer, Mara Francisca Ana de Castro, the last prisoner and Jew to be burned at the stakes in the only public auto-da-f in Peru during the eighteenth century. This study makes available an eyewitness account of her trial and offers new information about Ana de Castros reactions to the lengthy process, and the exchanges she had with priests and Inquisition officials. Professor Williams scrupulously examines archival records and analyzes relevant scholarly contributions to show how the drama of the Inquisition in Lima affected the lives of citizens who were prosecuted for a range of alleged and actual crimes against society, the public good, the Church and the State. In his critical introduction Williams perceptively focuses on the intriguing life of Ana de Castro, the turbulent conduct of her inquisitors, and societys prejudice against women and jews. Williams critical study will prove of interest to cultural and social historians because it adds to the wanting group of sources on the trial of Castro and refocuses the attention the Peruvian Inquisition paid to judaizers. Ana de Castro belongs to the realm of dispossessed (and almost always loyal) citizens without access to power and influence to remedy their causes. Her heretofore displaced voice enters the expanding corpus of womens writing and facilitates the postcolonial project of recovery of marginalized voices that are part of a rich cultural legacy. Williams calls for a revision of the way in which canonical literary texts are employed almost exclusively to elucidate colonial Latin American letters. An indispensable addition to the collection development of any College, University or Public Library.
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