Literature and Southwest

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Defying the Inquisition in Colonial New Mexico: Miguel de Quintana's Life and Writings

Edited by Francisco A. Lomelí
Edited by Clark Colahan
Translated by Francisco A. Lomelí
Translated by Clark Colahan

Miguel de Quintana was among those arriving in New Mexico with Diego de Vargas in 1694. He was active in his village of Santa Cruz de la Cañada where he was a notary and secretary to the alcalde mayor, functioning as a quasi-attorney. Being unusually literate, he also wrote personal poetry for himself and religious plays for his community. His conflicted life with local authorities began in 1734, when he was accused of being a heretic. What unfolded was a personal drama of intrigue before the colonial Inquisition.

Francisco A. Lomelí and Clark Colahan dug deep into Inquisition archives to recover Quintana's writings, the second earliest in Hispanic New Mexico's literary heritage. First, they present an essay focused on Church and society in colonial New Mexico and on Quintana's life. The second portion is a translation of and critical look at Quintana's poetry and religious plays.

Part of the Pasó por Aquí Series on the Nuevomexicano Literary Heritage


Clark Colahan is professor of Spanish at Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington. He is also the author of The Visions of Sor Maria de Agreda: Writing Knowledge and Power.

Francisco A. Lomelí is professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Chicana/Chicano studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Luis Leal is a visiting professor in Chicano and Mexican literatures, University of California, Santa Barbara.


"This excellent work is a very welcome addition to the historiography of colonial New Mexico."


The Journal of Arizona History

"Lomelí and Colahan's translation breathes life into Quintana's poems and prose."


American Catholic Studies

"We are in debt to Francisco Lomeli and Clark Colahan for rediscovering an author who certainly deserves a place in the history of literature in New Mexico, the Spanish borderlands, and Chicano/Latino culture in general."


Hispanic American Historical Review

6 x 9 in. 248 pages 18 halftones, 1 maps