This dissertation explores the inner logic of the novels written by women in Spain and Latin America during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, focusing on their literary construction of feminine identity. I argue that while the “woman subject” has no existence distinct from the aesthetic and ideological mechanisms that produce this identity, the resulting contradictory female individuality shapes new discourses that radically impact the conformation of the bourgeois order(s). These works are therefore understood in terms of their “radical historicity”, that is, as produced and determined by a specific set of social, ideological, political and economic coordinates. This project draws heavily on the methodologies of Feminist, Marxist, Sociological and Critical Aesthetic Theory criticism to attempt an explanation of the contradictory nature of women's novelistic production.
Problemas de la novela escrita por mujer includes case studies of both canonical and non-canonical novels. It is divided into four chapters that explore the major novelistic genres of the time: the historical novel, the novela de costumbres, the domestic novel and the novels that are produced by critical discourse. The first three chapters put forward the hypothesis that the early literary construction of the bourgeois woman subject is achieved through dramatic identification and the logic of exchange. In the historical novel, this dramatic identification is effected by means of a displacement of contemporary concerns onto the bloody stage of history. Thus, after reenacting history, the public heroine can become domesticated. In the costumbrista novels, the heroine is fettered to her “natural place” through the economic linkage between national spirit and human nature. The domestic novel problematizes the natural place of the costumbrista novels, the home, and places the heroine in a position requires her to surrender all individual differentiation in the name of an idealized domestic virtue. The fourth and final chapter explores how women novelists depart from the earlier dramatic stage to favor a construction of identity that depends on an ambiguous positioning of “woman” in the web of discourses that compete for dominance in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
|Advisor:||Charnon-Deutsch, Lou, Read, Malcolm K.|
|Commitee:||Arkinstall, Christine, Charnon-Deutsch, Lou, Read, Malcolm K., Vernon, Kathleen M.|
|School:||State University of New York at Stony Brook|
|Department:||Hispanic Languages and Literature|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/07, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Latin American literature, Romance literature, Gender studies|
|Keywords:||Ideology, Nineteenth century, Novel, Women writers|
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