Author

Mariana Alcoforado cover

photo credits: PS. - CC-PD-Mark

Mariana Alcoforado

nun

1640   -   1723

country of citizenship: Portugal
occupation: nun, writer

Ebooks: on Wikisource

Sóror Mariana Alcoforado (Santa Maria da Feira, Beja, 22 April 1640 – Beja, 28 July 1723) was a Portuguese nun living in the convent of the Poor Clares (Convento de Nossa Senhora da Conceição, Convent of Our Lady of the Conception) in Beja, Portugal. Debate continues as to whether Mariana was the real Portuguese author of the Letters of a Portuguese Nun (comprising five letters). Her purported love affair with the French officer Noël Bouton, Marquis de Chamilly and later Marshal of France, has made Beja famous in literary circles, mainly in Portugal and France. Some literary scholars consider the letters a fictional work and their authorship is ascribed to Gabriel-Joseph de Lavergne, comte de Guilleragues (1628–1684), although a real nun named Mariana Alcoforado indeed existed. In her recent book Letters of a Portuguese Nun: Uncovering the Mystery Behind a Seventeenth-Century Forbidden Love (2006), the author Myriam Cyr has attempted to reassert the attribution of the letters to the real Mariana Alcoforado. For information about authorship and publication of the letters, see "Letters of a Portuguese Nun".
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