Itinerant Prophetesses of Transatlantic Discourse

  • José Piedra


Te he inscrito en la vida; te queda tiempo para la mía. (I have inscribed you into life; you have time left for mine.) So answered my mother in her golden-gray years in Miami exile to my question “Why don’t you write the story of your life?” To a certain extent I have heard this before, such as when quoting the Bible (11 Corinthians, 3:3), Christopher Columbus felt forced to embrace Queen Isabella’s transatlantic life story just as Christ had done with his own Father as He signaled to him “You are our epistle … written not in ink, but … in fleshy tables of the heart…”


Indian Woman Spanish Woman Caribbean Coast Terra Incognita Male Authority 


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  1. 3.
    Relatión o Naufragios de Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (Madrid: Editorial Castalia, 1992). All quotations are from the English translation: Castaways: The Narrative of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca. Edited by Enrique Pupo-Walker and translated by Frances M. Lez-Morillas (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    See my discussion of the eroticization of cannibals and Amazons in my “Loving Columbus.” In Amerindian Images and the Legacy of Columbus. Edited by René Jara and Nicholas Spadaccini (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1992), 230–265.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    See “Loving Columbus” and “Nationalizing Sissies.” In ¿Entiendes? Queer Readings, Hispanic Writings. Edited by Emilie L. Bergmann and Paul Julian Smith (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995), 370–409.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    “Memorial de la Mejorana,” in Cristóbal Colón, Textos y documentos completos. Edited by Consuelo Varela and Juan Gil (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1982), 337. All further references to this work will be indicated in the text by the parenthetical notation (Varela/Gil).Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Fernando Colón, Vida del Almirante Don Cristóbal Colón, escrita por su hijo Hernando Colón (Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1947). Quotations are from the English edition: The Life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus, by His Son Ferdinand. Translated by Benjamin Keen (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1959), 3.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    For a novelized version of the affair, see Alejo Carpentier’s El arpa y la sombra (Madrid: Editorial de la Universidad de Alcalá, 1994).Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    The “Libro de las Profecías” of Christopher Columbus. Translated by Delno C. West and August Kling (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1991). The original manuscript (1502) is found in the Biblioteca Colombina in Seville, Spain.Google Scholar

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© Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert and Ivette Romero-Cesareo 2001

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  • José Piedra

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