Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Writing the emotions: A study of shame and guilt in female-authored texts of Spain's Golden Age
by Cohen, Jaclyn M., Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University, 2011, 261; 3463579
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation explores the works of María de Zayas y Sotomayor, Leonor de Meneses, and Ana Caro Mallén de Soto, all women writers of seventeenth century Spain. The study focuses on how these writers react to the male dominant discourse of their time, specifically with regards to the emotions of shame and guilt. Women writers in Spain's Golden Age imitate, but also subvert, the popular genres of the novela corta and the comedia. Consequently, this dissertation examines how Zayas, Meneses, and Caro use these genres, specifically through responses to texts by Miguel de Cervantes and Tirso de Molina, to critique expectations of shame for women in their society. Having a sense of shame for a woman meant remaining chaste and staying free from sin, and therefore guilt. Men did not live with the same restrictions. The women writers analyzed in this study argue that women cannot succeed in an environment where expectations of shame and guilt are not equal for both sexes. A man's shameless actions hurt the woman and, in many cases, cause her to feel guilt, in the moral sense, even if she is innocent. The term for the feeling of guilt, culpabilidad , was not present in any dictionary of the Golden Age, yet this emotion is found in female authored texts in the form of remorse, or arrepentimiento .

This study is done through an in-depth analysis of the representations of shame and the beliefs about guilt before and during Spain's Golden Age. Chapter one takes into account the definitions of these emotions in medical, theological, and philosophical texts written by men. Chapters two through four analyze the various women writers against the works of Miguel de Cervantes and Tirso de Molina. The female writers' works studied here are Zayas's Novelas amorosas y ejemplares, her Desengaños amorosos , Meneses's El desdeñado más firme, and Caro's El Conde Partinuplés and Valor, agravio y mujer. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of the need for future research on the topic.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sieber, Harry
School: The Johns Hopkins University
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 72/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Romance literature, European Studies
Keywords: Caro Mallen de Soto, Ana, Golden Age, Guilt, Meneses, Leonor de, Shame, Spain, Women writers, Zayas y Sotomayor, Maria de
Publication Number: 3463579
ISBN: 9781124764641
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