More than Muses

Soror Violante do Céu

Soror Violante do Céu (1607?-1693)

Also known as Violante do Ceo, Violante del Cielo, Violante de Ávila da Silveira Montesinos, Violante Montesino.

An image from a work by Soror Violante do Céu

“Chorarão as Musas de Portugal, e Castella a morte desta Heroína com elegantes Epitáfios, discretos Elogios” (Perym 450).

Works by Soror Violante do Céu

Miscellaneous Works by Soror Violante do Céu


Soror Violante do Céu (sometimes written as do Ceo, in Spanish del Cielo, meaning “of Heaven”) was a Portuguese nun in the seventeenth century. She was born in Lisbon to a noble family and was part of the Dominican Convent of Nossa Senhora da Rosa3some sources record the name as Rosário, but most use Rosa da Ordem do Grande Patriarca Santo Domingos (Our Lady of the Rosary of the Order of the Great Patriarch Saint Domingos). Her work varied in theme and content, but largely focused on love through both secular and spiritual lenses. Sóror Violante wrote in many different genres of literature, including sonnets, glosses, romances, songs, and villancicos, as well as satirical, love, religious, and occasional poems. Her work is not very widely known, but she was one of the most influential writers during the Portuguese baroque period, and gained recognition from various members of the royal family.

Diogo Barbosa Machado affirms that Soror Violante was born in Lisbon, Portugal on May 30, 1601 (792). However, Andrés José Pociña López and Margarida Vieira Mendes have evidence to suggest that she was actually born in 1607, citing documentation from the cathedral of Lisbon which shows that her parents were married in 1606 and she was baptized on June 6, 1607 (Halling, “Edition of Villancicos” 1). Pociña López notes the improbability that she was baptized at six years old, and states that Machado’s date of 1601 could have been a typographical error due to the numbers one and seven having such a similar appearance (19). Anabela Galhardo Couto cites Frei Lucas de Santa Catarina’s Quarta Parte da História de São Domingos and upholds the birth date of 1607, but this source contains no record of Soror Violante’s birth (69). She was born into nobility, as evidenced by her family, her education, and the status of the people she associated with throughout her life (Costa e Silva 57). Her parents were Manoel da Sylveira Montesino, an attorney, and Helena da França de Ávila (Machado 792).  Her birth name was Violante Ávila da Silveira Montesino, though there is some speculation as to if it was Montesino or Montesinos, some sources citing it with an s at the end and others without (Pociña López 20). She was named after her grandmother, Violante Álvares, and Violante Nunes (who may have been an aunt), her godmother (Mendes 12).  Her father passed away when she was three years old—this age being calculated with Soror Violante’s birth year as 1607—and she had one sister, Catarina, born in 1609 (Mendes 12).

In her youth, she wrote romantic and even erotic poetry (Halling, “Edition of Villancicos” 2), allegedly dedicated to a man named Paulo Gonçalves de Andrade, whom she planned to marry but did not because her grandfather, Gonçalo Nunes de Ávila, would not allow it. Paulo Gonçalves de Andrade then left Portugal and never returned (João Franco Barreto, qtd. in Mendes 11). She entered the Convent of Nossa Senhora da Rosa on August 29, 1630 (Machado 792). Even after she entered the convent, she continued to maintain contact and relationships with her friends and family (Navarro 213). She is “considered a proponent of conceptismo because of the intellectual density of her work” (Commire and Klezmer 1938).

Soror Violante never had any formal training in poetry, but rather was naturally gifted from a young age (Remédios 15). She often participated in certámenes, or poetry competitions, and won many prizes for her elegant and tender writing (Machado 792). Teresa Leitão de Barros stated that she was one of the most accomplished representatives of ascetic and mystical poetry during the seventeenth century (123). Her work was noticed and esteemed by many members of the royal family, including D. João IV, D. Luísa de Gusmão, and Príncipe Teodósio (Perym 450). In 1619, King Felipe III of Spain (II of Portugal) visited Lisbon and it is said that her play La Transformación por Dios, also known as Comédia de Santa Eugénia (or perhaps Santa Engrácia) was performed for him, though the text has since disappeared, the Convent of Nossa Senhora da Rosa being destroyed during an earthquake and subsequent fire in 1755 (Halling, “Edition of Villancicos” 1). Serrano y Sanz (267) and the online database Escritoras cite La Transformación por Dios and Comédia de Santa Eugénia as two separate works, but Perym (449) cites them as the same work. Presumably, Perym had access to the texts before their destruction because his work predates the incident, making him the most credible source.

Aside from her distinguished reputation as a poet, she also played the harp, was fluent in Portuguese, Latin, and Spanish (Escritoras), and was well-versed in science (Serrano y Sanz 264). While some of her work was published posthumously, she published Rimas Várias (sometimes written as Rimas varias de la Madre Soror Violante del Cielo, religiosa en el monasterio de la Rosa de Lisboa) in 1646 in Rouen, France, with the help of Miguel Botelho de Carvalho (Barrera y Leirado 91) and Vasco Luis da Gama, the Portuguese ambassador in Paris (Pérez and Ihrie 135). Rimas Várias is a work that includes songs, glosses, sonnets, and romances, most of which were written in Spanish (Serrano y Sanz 265). Despite being a nun, the works in Rimas Várias do not focus on religious topics, but rather draw inspiration from the author’s more or less fictitious loves (Serrano y Sanz 265), and many of them are characterized by disappointment, passion, and jealousy (Navarro 213). Since she wrote a lot about love, she often wrote anonymously (Commire and Klezmer 1938).

Soror Violante also wrote about the political climate during her life, which is “an indication that she interacted with members of the upper class, and had an active awareness of her more worldly surroundings” (Halling, “Edition of Villancicos” 2). She was born during the Iberian Union, which was a 60-year time period in which Spain and Portugal were ruled by the same king. During this time, Spanish served as a very common second language for the Portuguese in part because of the Union and in part because of Portuguese sovereigns marrying Spanish princesses (Teyssier 32). According to Paul Teyssier, this led to a certain “castelhanização” of the court (32). In addition to that, Spanish is a much more universal language. By writing in Spanish, the authors of that time were able to reach a larger audience, providing an incentive to produce works both in their native tongue as well as in Spanish. After living and writing in the convent for 63 years, Sóror Violante died on January 28, 1693.

Forty years after her death, in 1733, Parnaso Lusitano de Divinos e Humanos Versos was published in Lisbon (Pérez and Ihrie 135) by Miguel Rodridgues. Parnaso Lusitano includes sonnets, songs, epistles, romances, villancicos, silvas, elegies, and octaves (Serrano y Sanz 267). As with much of her other work, most of Parnaso Lusitano was written in Spanish (Péres 107). In contrast to the secular themes of Rimas Várias, Parnaso Lusitano focuses on a more divine love of God and Sóror Violante even asks forgiveness from God for the poems she wrote in her youth (Couto 71). Though they represent a large part of her written work, the religious poems of Parnaso Lusitano are not as well-known as the poetry from Rimas Várias. This could be due to the fact that, according to Pociña López, the religious poetry is not as touching, original, or interesting as the more secular, romantic poetry (36).

Soror Violante was nicknamed “A Décima Musa” and “Fênix dos Engenhos Lusitanos” in both Portugal and Spain (Flores et al 326). The nickname of “A Décima Musa” is a reference to Sappho of Lesbos, who in her time was also known as “The Tenth Muse.” As expressed by Julián Olivares and Elizabeth S. Boyce, Soror Violante “conceive[d] poetic creation as a literature written by women for women,” just as Sappho before her (196). Her work that focused on women was written with the same elements as early sapphic verse, such as “aristocratic addresses, Petrarchan imagery, and parodic humor that mocks or overturns gendered hierarchies” (Dugaw and Powell 132). This style allowed for the valorization of both “the woman addressed and the woman writing,” which contrasted with the idealization of women that was so common under the Petrarchan convention of the time (Dugaw and Powell 128).

Though her work is still not as recognized or studied as it should be, she received some recognition in the form of street names. In Cidade Ademar in São Paulo, Brasil, in the neighborhood Leônida Moreira, near the Avenida Interlagos, there is a Rua Violante do Céu. It is in between the Universidade Ibirapuera and the Condomínio Residencial Vila Inglesa. There are two streets in Portugal named after her, one in Alvalade, Lisbon, and the other in União das freguesias do Seixal, Arrentela e Aldeia de Paio Pires, Seixal. The one in Lisbon branches off the Avenida de Roma, near the Escola Básica Santo António and the Centro Comercial Alvalade. The street in Seixal diverges from the Avenida dos Metalúrgicos right after the intersection of the Avenida dos Metalúrgicos and the Avenida José Afonso.

Other works by Soror Violante do Céu include: “El hijo, esposo, y hermano (comédia); Romance a Cristo crucificado; Solilóquios para antes e depois da comunhão; Oitavas a Nossa Senhora da Conceição em aplauso da vitória de Montes Claros (1665); Meditações de missa e preparação afectuosas de uma alma devota (1689)” (Flores et al 326).

Annotated Bibliography

Allen, Guinevere W. "Ovidian Lyric Voice in the Iberian Baroque." Hispanic Review, vol. 82, no. 4, 2, p. 445-63.

Provides an analysis of how the myth of Echo and Narcissus as recounted by Ovid is an integral part of Iberian Baroque writing. Allen discusses gender dynamics and discourse within the genre, specifically in the work of Luis de Góngora, Sóror Violante do Céu, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Allen also addresses specific poetic elements and how they affect the composition of the work. The influence of gongorismo on Sóror Violante’s writing is noted and considered as part of the analysis of her work. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Barrera y Leirado, Cayetano Alberto de la. Catálogo bibliográfico y biográfico del teatro antiguo español, desde sus orígenes hasta mediados del siglo XVIII. Madrid, Gredos, 1.

Small entry with mostly biographical information, including the names of her most published works along with the years that they were published. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Barros, Teresa Leitão de. Escritoras de Portugal: Génio feminino revelado na Literatura Portuguesavol. 1, . Lisbon, 1.

Critique of Sóror Violante’s work that reviews the mystic and ascetic aspects of her poetry. Discusses some of the different works she wrote and the themes within them, specifically mentioning love and passion. Her success as a writer is also talked about, showing that she was highly esteemed by many in her time. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Commire, Anne, and Deborah Klezmer. Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women through the Ages.vol. 2, . Yorkin, 2.

Very short record of biographical information and written works. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Corrêa, Eloísa Porto. "Amor profano, morte e amor divino na poesia de Sóror Violante do Céu." Uniabeu, vol. 8, no. 18, 2, p. 321-33.

Corrêa analyzes some of the earlier poetry written and published by Sóror Violante do Céu in Rimas Várias, which focused on a more secular, temporal love. Corrêa goes on to provide an analysis of some of Sóror Violante’s later work, published posthumously in Parnaso Lusitano de Divinos e Humanos Versos, in which Sóror Violante expressed a more sober, divine love of God. After the separate analysis, Corrêa puts the different styles and subjects together to compare and contrast them, looking specifically at how they approach the topic of death. Corrêa highlights Sóror Violante’s reorientation from profane to divine poetry. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Costa e Silva, José Maria da. Ensaio biographico-critico sobre os melhores poetas portuguezes.vol. 8, . Lisbon, Silviana, 1.

Chapter dedicated to Sóror Violante and her work, including a brief biography and a list of works attributed to her. Contains a few excerpts from her compositions and an analysis of each, discussing the various themes present and why her work was significant. Costa e Silva also mentions the influence of Luis de Góngora on her compositions as well as the presence of Sapphic writing. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Costa, António da. "Sóror Violante do Céu." A Mulher em Portugal Obra Posthuma; Publ. Em Beneficio de Uma Creança, Lisbon, Typ. Da Comp. Nacional Ed, 1, p. 92-103.

This biographical text states that Violante’s date of birth is May 30, 1601. This text is relevant as Costa includes a timeline of her first works and a biographical description that makes connections between her literary works and her life. This is accomplished through a brief analysis of two romances from Rimas Várias, O retrato e O coração. Furthermore, Costa declares that through her writing, one learns that Violante do Ceu was a religious woman, but also a worldly person, “mulher da terra.” Costa describes her as being naturally talented in poetry and possessing natural intelligence. She was taught how to sing and play instruments, but she was not taught poetry by the nuns, so it is astonishing how she was gifted in poetry.    (Annotation by Perla Escobar)

Couto, Anabela Galhardo. "Labirintos De Eros: Ruptura e Transgressão No Discurso Amoroso De Violante Do Céu." Mulheres Que Escrevem, Mulheres Que Lêem: Repensar a Literatura Pelo Género, Lisbon, 101 Noites, 2, p. 53-88.

Commences with three sonnets, one madrigal, two décimas, and one romance, all from Rimas Várias. The chapter goes on to discuss feminist literature and writers in the seventeenth century, detailing female authorship and its role in the Baroque era. It then goes into more depth on Sóror Violante and the important part she played in developing the Portuguese Baroque style. Different themes in her work are explored and critiqued, including the concepts of eroticism and female friendship.   (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Dugaw, Dianne, and Amanda Powell. "Sapphic Self-Fashioning in the Baroque Era: Women's Petrarchan Parody in English and Spanish." Studies in Eighteenth Century Culture, vol. 35, no. 1, 2, p. 127-60.

Dugaw and Powell explain the style of Sapphic poetry and compare it to the Petrarchan convention of early-modern Europe. They go on to talk about Sóror Violante do Céu, Katherine Phillips, Aphra Behn, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, giving an in-depth description of how these women embodied Sapphism in their respective works. The authors discuss at length the elements that Sóror Violante employed to distinguish her work as Sapphic and the erotic nature of the poetry she wrote. Throughout the article, as the other writers are addressed, Dugaw and Powell link their writing back to Sóror Violante’s, highlighting the similarities between them. The appendix includes a sample text from each of the women including English translations when needed.   (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Flores, Conceição, et al. Dicionário de Escritoras Portuguesas: Das Origens à Atualidade. Florianópolis, Editora Mulheres, 2.

Summary of who she was and what she was known for, including a list of her written works. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Fox, Gwyn. "Politics, Patronage, Parentage." Subtle Subversions: Reading Golden Age Sonnets by Iberian Women, The Catholic University of America Press, 2, p. 21-72.

This chapter examines the importance of social status in the seventeenth century and looks at specific sonnets by Sóror Violante do Céu and Leonor de la Cueva y Silva that allowed them to gain more recognition and favor from nobility. Fox expresses that Sóror Violante achieved this in different ways, such as exploiting her friendships and flattery. Various styles and themes of poetry that Sóror Violante used are explored, looking at specific poems and reviewing their socio-political advantages. It is also noted how Sóror Violante used her poetry to be able to appropriately engage in matters of Church and State as well as show off her poetic prowess. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Halling, Anna-Lisa. "An Edition of Sor Violante do Ceo's Villancicos." Brigham Young University, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, 2, p. 1-517.

Establishes a detailed biography and then provides an analysis of convent writing, which includes a comparison between the work of Sóror Violante and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Halling gives a description of Parnaso Lusitano and the different works found in it and then explains the history and form of the villancico, after which she examines more closely the theatricality of Sóror Violante’s villancicos. There are 395 villancicos included in this work compiled and edited by Halling. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Halling, Anna-Lisa. "Space, Performance, and Subversion in Sóror Violante do Céu’s Villancicos." Comedia Performance, vol. 14, no. 1, 2, p. 71-105.

Halling gives a description of the various performance elements of Sóror Violante’s villancicos, using them to explain the significance of those works and why they should be more widely studied. She specifically discusses the aspects of the villancicos that make it clear that they were written to be performed, not just read, and mentions the opportunities that the works gave to religious women that they would not have had extramuros, or outside the convent walls. The performance spaces within the convents are also touched on, giving an idea of what it may have looked like as the nuns performed these works for each other. Halling also explains the subtle subversions of gender norms at the time, explaining how the nuns empowered themselves through theatre in a way that would not have been possible outside of their cloisters. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Leturio, Nieves Baranda. "Violante Do Céu y Los Avatares Políticos De La Restauração." Iberoamericana (2001-), vol. 7, no. 28, 2, p. 137-50.

Baranda Leturio provides a detailed comparison about how Soror Violante do Ceu remained silent in her works during the political tension of Portugal’s independence from Spain. The author states that Violante did not explicitly write about the political changes and conflicts taking place at that time. Instead, Baranda Leturio claims that Parnaso Lusitano was written for religious purposes while some of the sonnets in RimasVarías is a cultural text that focuses on important kings and queens with the intent to promote the restoration of the Portuguese monarchy. (Annotation by Perla Escobar)

Machado, Diogo Barbosa. Bibliotheca lusitana historica, critica e cronologicavol. 3, . Lisbon, Ignacio Rodrigues, 1.

Brief biography detailing a few important life events and a list of works composed during her life. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Martín, Adrienne L. "The Rhetoric of Female Friendship in the Lyric of Sor Violante del Cielo." Calíope: Journal of the Society for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry, vol. 3, no. 2, 1, p. 57-71.

The article begins by exploring the concept and trivialization of female friendship, particularly in literature. Martín compares the treatment of female friendship with that of male friendship, which is often more glorified. The author proceeds, going into more detail on Sóror Violante’s work, providing an analysis of the way female friendship is presented and considering the different ways it can be interpreted. She touches on the idea of Sapphic writing and the notion of using female friendship to liberate oneself from masculine literary authority. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Mendes, Margarida Vieira. "Apresentação." Rimas várias, Lisbon, Editorial Presença, 1, p. 7-17.

Includes a breakdown of the different forms of poems included in the work, the languages in which they were written, and a list of some other known works by Sóror Violante. There is also a biographical section, detailing some important parts of her life, as well as a commentary on what made her such an important writer of her time. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Mendes, Margarida Vieira. "A Poesia De Sóror Violante Do Céu (Excerto)." História e Antologia Da Literatura Portuguesa: Século XVII, Edição Da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Serviço De Educação e Bolsas, 2, p. 33-38, 67-73.

Mendes examines in-depth the poetic styles of Sóror Violante do Céu in Rimas Várias, discussing principally panegyric and amorous works. She talks about the extensive vocabulary used in the poems and how Sóror Violante used it to participate in the Baroque style of the time. The figures of speech are also noted and explained, going into detail of the connection between Sóror Violante’s writing and the works of others of the time period. Included are a few sonnets, décimas, romances, and villancicos. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Morujão, Isabel. Contributo Para Uma Bibliografia Cronológica Da Literatura Monástica Feminina Portuguesa Dos Séculos XVII e XVIII: (Impressos). Centro De Estudos De História Religiosa, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, 1.

Catalog of Monastic Literature written by women in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and published between 1610 and 1994. Includes publishing information for all of the works. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Morujão, Isabel. "Incidências De ‘Esperança Mística’ Num Solilóquio De Sóror Violante Do Céu ‘Para a Agonia Da Morte’." Os "Últimos Fins" Na Cultura Ibérica (XV-XVIII), Porto, Instituto De Cultura Portuguesa, 1, p. 205-35.

The article starts by looking at the Catholic idea of life after death and the effect that literature had on how people viewed it. It then examines a poem by Sóror Violante entitled Romance a Christo crucificado, na agonia da morte. Morujão explains how this poem describes a “práxis de morte” that deals with mystical theology, textual typology, and the conception of death. She addresses confession and communion, two of the main aspects of a Christian’s death, and uses excerpts from the text to further explain the meaning behind Sóror Violante’s writing. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Morujão, Isabel. "Entre o profano e o religioso: processos de divinização na poesia de Soror Violante do Céu." Península: revista de estudos ibéricos, 2, p. 277-87.

This article describes Violante’s reorientation from writing profane poetry about love during her youth in Rimas Várias to writing religiously in Parnaso Lusitano. To illustrate this, Morujão fragments Violante’s anthological work with the goal to show how Violante’s writing style was established in her early works and how it continues in her religious poems. Rimas Várias and Parnaso Lusitano follow similar syntactic structures, lexemes, and poetic style that depict different time periods in her life thus exhibiting the principle of contrafactum.   (Annotation by Perla Escobar)

Morujão, Isabel, and Rosa Maria Martelo. "Subsídios para uma reedição de Rimas Várias de Soror Violante do Céu." Revista da Faculdade de Letras-Línguas e Literaturas, 2, p. 351-64.

The authors state that many literary reviews and analyses have reduced or not taken into account completely the poetic quality in Soror Violante’s works. Although Ruão’s edition of Rimas Várias has been considered as the matrix of previous collections, Morujão and Martelo assert that through a comparative analysis, there is a contrast in the textual transmission of Rimas Várias. Thus, it is possible that a previous edition before Ruão’s exists. Furthermore, Morujão illustrates the variants found in six  different collections by compiling a corpus of Rimas Várias. This contrast is achieved by providing a detailed comparison of 25 compositions that include the following texts: Edição de Ruão, Fénix Renascida, Fénix Renascida II, Postilhão de Apoio I,  Postilhão de Apoio II, and Ms. Braga. (Annotation by Perla Escobar)

Muhana, Adma. "Gregório de Matos, beato." Estudos Portugueses e Africanos, vol. 27, 2, p. 47-60.

In this article, Matos analyses four texts about imminent death, and among those, is “Romance a Christo crucificado, na agonia da morte” by Violante do Céu. This poem is dedicated to those alive who will eventually die, and it describes the agony as one is about to die as there is no time to plead for mercy for one's actions. This terrorizing and introspective moment is illustrated by including the inconsistencies of life, the particular use of language, the juxtaposition of ideas, and homonymy. Matos interprets that the intent is for readers to be prepared for the final judgement by having more to offer than owing, “para que cheguem na conta do Juízo Final com mais crédito do que débito,” through humility and repentance. (Annotation by Perla Escobar)

Navarro, Ana. Antología Poética De Escritoras De Los Siglos XVI y XVII. Castalia, 1.

Recounts her literary style with a brief mention of her life in the convent. Includes Sonnet IX from Parnaso Lusitano and one of the romances from Rimas Várias. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Olivares, Julián, and Elizabeth S. Boyce. "Sor Violante Del Cielo (y De La Tierra); The Subversion of Amorous Lyrical Discourse." A Ricardo Gullón: Sus Discípulos, ALDEEU, 1, p. 189-201.

The article begins by talking about the difference between women who enter convents early in life and those who enter later, such as Sóror Violante, and the effects that this difference had on her poetry. It continues, introducing the concept of amorous discourse in poetry and examining Sóror Violante’s subversion of it. Olivares and Boyce discuss poems written by Sóror Violante and the amorous themes within them, noting the presence of Sapphic writing while also being conscious of the possible reasoning behind such writing, aside from a simple expression of lesbian love. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Péres, Domingo Garcia. Catalogo razonado biográfico y bibliográfico de los autores portugueses que escribieron en castellano. Madrid, Colegio Nacional de Sordo-Mudos y de Ciegos, 1.

Biographical description that exemplifies why Violante do Céu was one of the best writers of her era. It also provides a list of her works and a short poem to praise her.   (Annotation by Perla Escobar)

Pérez, Janet, and Maureen Ihrie. The Feminist Encyclopedia of Spanish Literaturevol. 1, . Greenwood Press, 2.

Biography and analysis of some common themes in her writing, citing a few of her sonnets by name. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Perym, Damião Froes. Theatro heroino, abcedario historico, e catalogo das mulheres illustres em armas, letras, acçoens heroicas, e artes liberaesvol. 2, . Lisbon, Officina da Musica de Theotonio Antunes Lima, 1.

Short description of her life, talent, and others’ appreciation of her writing. Discusses a few of her works and achievements as well as how beloved she was by members of the royal family and the people in general. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Pociña López, Andrés José. Sóror Violante Do Céu (1607-1693). Ediciones del Orto, 1.

Starts off with a chronological chart detailing important events in Sóror Violante’s life and in the cultural and socio-political world around her, then moving on to a more detailed biography. There is a thorough analysis of her life and works, including the conservation of her writing, the idea of conceptismo, her erotic, religious, eulogistic, and nationalist poetry, and includes criticism of her work as well. In the end, there is a selection of 22 of her written works. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Powell, Amanda. "'¡Oh qué diversas estamos,/dulce prenda, vos y yo!' Multiple Voicings in Love Poems to Women by Marcia Belisarda, Catalina Clara Ramírez de Gusmán, and Sor Violante del Cielo." Studies of women's poetry of the golden age: "Tras el espejo la musa escribe", Tamesis Book Limited, 2, p. 51-80.

This article synthesizes texts by three writers, among them Violante do Ceu, with the goal to delineate other functions and messages expressed in the passages. Marcia Belisarda, Catalina Clara Ramírez de Guzmán, and Violante do Céu’s works address gender oppression and inequality to passionately give voice to women. In regards to Violante’s work, Powell’s analysis helps readers see beyond what could be in first instance as obvious by declaring that the eroticism found in passages of romances—the seductive relationship among three women—can translate into the portrayal of feminine liberation from masculine literary authority. (Annotation by Perla Escobar)

Ramalho, António, et al. "Violante do Céu, Sóror." Escritoras, , .

Online catalog dedicated to Portuguese women writers before 1900. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Remédios, Mendes dos. Escritoras doutros tempos: Extratos das obras de Violante do Ceo, Maria do Ceo, Madalena da Glória. Coimbra, França Amado Editor, 1.

Entry detailing some biographical information and what she wrote about, with a few of her works integrated and a list of her known publications. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Rojas, Victor Julio. Vida y Obra de Violante do Céu. Indiana University, 1.

In his dissertation, Rojas provides a thorough analysis of Violante’s writing as he organizes and explains her life, the cultural implications during her time period, her secular works, her religious writings, and the main literary elements in her poetry. The author states that Violante’s poetry often addresses disillusionment during this life in love, death, and vanity with the hope of preparing for life after death as a way to portray not only her personal concerns but also those shared by society. Furthermore, Violante’s writing encompasses a great variety of stylistic devices among them: rhythmic patterns, tone, and lexical variation. Rojas concludes that Violante’s works have their greatest worth when symbiosis is reached between writing style and the subject being addressed. Rojas’ research of Violante’s life and works aim to individually highlight unknown writers as a medium to better understand the issues of a previous time period. (Annotation by Perla Escobar)

Rowan, Mary M. "Seventeenth-Century France and Portugal: Reciprocal Literary Influences." Papers on French Seventeenth-Century Literature, vol. 9, no. 16, 2, p. 341-45.

Rowan discusses the literary theme of a woman lamenting her lover’s desertion. She supplies a short biography of Sóror Violante do Céu and explains her relation to French literature, having published her work Rimas várias in France. Rowan links the printing of Portuguese poetry in France to the help that the French extended to Portugal as they tried to gain independence from Spain and asserts that Sóror Violante could have published Rimas to celebrate the revival of the monarchy and nationhood of Portugal. Rowan also mentions important aspects of Sóror Violante’s poetry, such as elegiac strains, found in Latin poetry, and melancholy tinged with longing. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Serrano y Sanz, Manuel. Apuntes para una biblioteca de escritoras españolas desde el año 1401 al 1833vol. 1, . Madrid, Sucesores de Rivadeneyra, 1.

This document provides a short analysis about Violante’s writing, more specifically, about her passionate poems inspired by love. (Annotation by Perla Escobar)

Silvestrini, Regina Lúcia Gonçalves Pereira. "Do Desengano do Sonho da Vida: Sóror Mariana e Sóror Violante do Céu - Uma Leitura das Intertextualidades." No Limite dos Sentidos, Niterói, Universidade Federal Fluminense, 2, p. 1871-80.

This chapter starts off by establishing the concept of the Baroque style in the seventeenth century. It then introduces Sóror Violante do Céu and Sóror Mariana Alcoforado, giving some background on both the writers and their works. The author then introduces the purpose of the essay, to establish and explain the intertextuality of two poems by Sóror Violante and a work by Sóror Mariana. Silvestrini continues, providing a comparison between the two women’s works, particularly noting the disillusionment of love and melancholy tones from the writing. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Souza, Lucas Agostini de. "Introdução à obra poética de Sóror Violante do Céu." REGRASP:Revista para Graduandos - Interdisciplinar, 2, p. 61-67.

This is a brief article that introduces beginners to baroque-style literature by focusing on seventeenth-century Portuguese feminine poetry through Soror Violante’s work. Agostini’s article is another relevant source for biographical information about Soror Violante, and it also includes a short literary analysis of Soneto 22 de amor profano and Soneto ao amor divino, which describe the salvation and condemnation of men in the type of love they choose to have. (Annotation by Perla Escobar)

Teyssier, Paul. "As influências estrangeiras." História da Língua Portuguesa, Martins Fontes, 1, p. 32-33.

Gives a description of the foreign influence on the Portuguese language, principally from Spain and France. Explains why, in the past, many Portuguese people often spoke more than one language. (Annotation by Sarah-Jane Christensen)

Wade, Jonathan William. "Anticipating and Remembering the Restoration: Sousa De Macedo, Violante Do Céu, and Manuel De Melo." Being Portuguese in Spanish: Reimagining Early Modern Iberian Literature, 1580-1640, vol. 78, West Lafayette, Purdue University Press, 2, p. 175-92.

Wade provides historical background about language choice performed by Portuguese writers before and after Portugal’s independence from Spain in 1640, and its literary and political implications in regards to the support of portugalidade (Portugal’s nationalistic movement). This article focuses on the literary shift by three Portuguese writers, among them, Violante do Ceu, about addressing Portugal’s renewed present in the 1640s. In regards to Violante’s work, Wade interprets three sonnets by Sor Violante which characterize her patriotic feelings toward Portugal’s restoration. In particular, Violante’s choice of writing two sonnets to João IV in Portuguese, reflect her portugalidade.   (Annotation by Perla Escobar)

Wade, Jonathan William. "Flower, Metaphor, and Portugalidade: António de Sousa de Macedo and Mariana de Luna’s Complementary Use of Flores." Revista de Escritoras Ibéricas, no. 8, 2, p. 79-99.

In this article, Wade explains the connection between Violante do Céu, Sousa de Macedo and Luna as friends and writers. In her sonnets in Rimas Varias to Sousa de Macedo and Luna, Violante uses flowers as a metaphor referring to her friends’ works: Luna’s Ramalhete de flores and Antonio’s Flores de Espana. Wade also provides a brief literary analysis of Sor Violante do Céu’s  writing in regard to the Restoration. (Annotation by Perla Escobar)


15 July 2021

Last Updated

11 May 2022


1 De los pecados de mi juventud y de mis rebeliones, no te acuerdes, Dios. Se refiere a Salmos 25:7.
2 De los pecados de mi juventud y de mis rebeliones, no te acuerdes, Dios. Se refiere a Salmos 25:7.
3 some sources record the name as Rosário, but most use Rosa