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A Companion to Spanish Women's Studies

A Companion to Spanish Women's Studies

Xon de Ros
Geraldine Hazbun
Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 430
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  • Book Info
    A Companion to Spanish Women's Studies
    Book Description:

    After an introductory survey of the development of women's studies in the context of Spain, twenty-one chronologically ordered essays by scholars from Britain, the United States, Spain and Mexico explore women's roles in the cultural production of their time from the Middle Ages to the present. The essays of the first half examine the work of the earliest women writers and artists - memoirs and meditations, novellas and plays - and the representation or self-representation of women in a broad sweep of texts including medieval folksong, hagiography, and painting of the Baroque era. The modern section focuses on women's participation in politics and culture from the eighteenth century onwards: as translators and essayists, as consumers of visual ephemera and conduct books, as writers and artists, film directors and performers. An alternative and supplement to standard literary histories, this volume offers new insights into women's agency and representation in the cultural heritage of Spain. It will prove a useful and stimulating resource for students at all levels, and an accessible guide for the general reader. XON DE ROS and GERALDINE HAZBUN lecture in Spanish literature at the University of Oxford. CONTRIBUTORS: Nieves Baranda, Andrew M. Beresford, Mónica Bolufer Peruga, Helena Buffery, Rosanna Cantavella, Lou Charnon-Deutsch, Georgina Dopico-Black, Joanna Evans, Carmen Fracchia, Margaret F. Greer, Jessamy Harvey, Louise M. Haywood, Geraldine Hazbun, Susan Kirkpatrick, Frances Lannon, Laura Lonsdale, María Ana Masera Cerutti, Roberta Quance, Xon de Ros, Alexander Samson, Alison Sinclair, Joyce Tolliver.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-423-9
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vii)
    (pp. viii-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. List of abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    (pp. 1-22)

    In 1978 Beth Miller, editor of the pioneering volumeWomen in Hispanic Literature: Icons and Fallen Idols, complained about the apparent lack of interest in women’s studies among hispanists, claiming that ‘it was impossible in 1976 to find substantial articles in print applying new feminist perspectives in our field’ ([1978] 1983: 25), and hoping that her publication would act as a stimulus for more work in the field. Her call was not unheeded. Three decades later there is an extensive body of scholarship devoted to women’s experiences, their historical contexts and their creative works. The substantial bibliography at the end...

  8. Part I: Medieval and Early Modern

    • 1 Female Foundations in the Libro de Alexandre and Poema de Fernán González
      (pp. 25-40)

      Recent scholarship on medieval Spanish epic poetry has repositioned female characters within narrative contexts and in the discussions of culture, politics, and society that reach both into and beyond the text.¹ Developing this critical trend, this chapter examines the role of women in two thirteenth-century Spanish narrative poems – thePoema de Fernán González(The Poem of Fernán González) (c.1250) and theLibro de Alexandre(The Book of Alexander) (between 1178 and 1250) – through the optics of new historicism and contemporary discourse on the cultural construction of community.

      ThePFGrecounts the emancipation of Castile from the Kingdom of...

    • 2 Desire and Transgression in the Female Voice of Early Popular Lyric
      (pp. 41-54)

      Thecancionero popular medieval(corpus of medieval folksong) is made up of songs that were sung to while away the monotony of daily tasks, to celebrate high days and holidays, and to accompany courtship and carnival.¹ These songs were in the main composed and transmitted orally, and they survive in variant versions, some very ancient, some more recent, which are adopted and adapted by the poetic schools of different times and regions. The early folksongs that have come down to us were committed to writing in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries because of an interest, first on the part...

    • 3 From Virgin Martyr to Holy Harlot: Female Saints in the Middle Ages and the Problem of Classification
      (pp. 55-68)

      The influence of the cult of the saints in the Middle Ages was almost beyond reckoning. As intermediaries between this world and the next, saints performed a vital function, serving both as conduits to the divine and authorities in their own right. No aspect of everyday life was either too worldly or too insignificant for them to exercise their powers. For toothache, rather than quack potions and cures, believers could solicit the intervention of St Apollonia. For a healthy supply of breast milk, on the other hand, nursing mothers could offer prayers to St Agatha. Wayfarers could look to St...

    • 4 Choosing and Testing Spouses in Medieval Exemplary Literature
      (pp. 69-80)

      Medieval Iberian women’s studies is a diverse and fast-developing area of study, focusing on the lives of historical women, secular and religious, on women’s writing and artistic production, on the exploration of the anonymous canon, and on the representation of women in work produced by men, including the use of queer and feminist theory, and resisting reading strategies.¹ Heath Dillard, for example, has produced a magisterial study of the roles of non-noble women in Castilian town society, and her evidence reveals that their capacity to act as agents is much greater than students of literature would ever assume (1984). None...

    • 5 Through Women’s Eyes: The Appropriation of Male Discourse by Three Medieval Women Authors
      (pp. 81-96)

      Medieval women writers in Castile are few in number, clustered mainly in the fifteenth century, and bear no resemblance to the predominant European model of the female visionary, orsanta viva(living saint).¹ It is entirely possible that the women writers we are aware of today are not the only ones to have existed, given the problems of survival that have afflicted Spain’s cultural heritage of this period, but currently the authors of prose works may be listed as follows: Leonor López de Córdoba, Constanza de Castilla, and Teresa de Cartagena. If we include women writing in Catalan, we can...

    • 6 Intellectual, Contemplative, Administrator: Isabel de Villena and the Vindication of Women
      (pp. 97-108)

      Isabel de Villena is a relative newcomer in the field of women’s studies. Some present-day handbooks on medieval hispanic literature still overlook her work, even though she may be considered the most important woman writer of her day in the Iberian Peninsula and an admirable advocate for her sex. An introduction to her life and work is therefore necessary.¹

      She was born Elionor de Villena in 1430, of noble birth but illegitimate. Her mother’s identity is unknown; Enrique de Villena, nobleman and man of letters, has traditionally been regarded as her father. She was certainly of royal descent, as revealed...

    • 7 Anatomies of a Saint: The Unstable Body of Teresa de Jesús
      (pp. 109-128)

      From as early as 1554, when Teresa de Jesús experienced her first raptures, both her body and her soul became the object of competing diagnoses that endeavored to determine whether her ecstasies were divine, demonic or, most egregious of all, human in origin. Not least among them were the diagnoses of the future saint herself whoseVida(Life) can be read as a response to growing suspicion throughout the sixteenth century of charismatic female spirituality and of mystical practices that sought unmediated communication with God. Ecstatic bodies, in particular those of mystic women, thought to be especially vulnerable to diabolic...

    • 8 Women’s Artistic Production and Their Visual Representation in Early Modern Spain
      (pp. 129-142)

      This chapter explores the depiction of women’s imagined identity in early modern Spanish culture by one female painter, one female sculptor, and three male painters: Sofonisba Anguissola (c.1532, Cremona – 1625, Palermo), Luisa Ignacia Roldán or La Roldana (1652, Seville – 1706, Madrid), José Ribera (1591, Játiva, Valencia – 1652, Naples), Diego Velázquez (1599, Seville – 1660, Madrid), and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617, Seville –1682, Seville). Samples of their work will be selected from a range of artistic genres such as devotional painting and sculpture, portraiture, self-portraiture, allegorical painting, andbodegones(genre painting), which were produced in three key urban...

    • 9 The Baroque and the Undead: Carnal Knowledge in the Novellas of María de Zayas
      (pp. 143-156)

      The seventeenth-century writer María de Zayas y Sotomayor opens herNovelas amorosas y ejemplares(Exemplary Tales of Love) with an authorial preface in which she confronts head-on the challenge of writing and publishing in patriarchal society.¹ She justifies her ‘madness’ in doing so by positing the asexuality of souls and the material equality of male and female organs and flesh. Women’s intellectual limitations, she says, are due only to men’s tyranny in locking them up and denying them education. Her stated objective in writing is that of re-educating both men and women, so that men will no longer exercise verbal...

    • 10 Distinct Drama? Female Dramatists in Golden Age Spain
      (pp. 157-172)

      So wrote Sir Richard Wynn of Gwydir, Charles I’s groom of the bedchamber, about the Spanishcomedias(plays) that the prince and his entourage attended regularly in Madrid, in his published account of their stay there in 1623.¹ His observation that women played women, as opposed to the boys who took female parts in Jacobean London, and his remark on their sexual attractiveness underlying thecomedia’s popularity, reflect moral anxieties obsessively explored in the outpouring of anti-theatrical polemic in both England and Spain from the period. Warnings about the dangerous incitement to lust of women parading themselves in public, whether...

  9. Part II: From the Eighteenth to the Twenty-first Century

    • 11 Conversations from a Distance: Spanish and French Eighteenth-Century Women Writers
      (pp. 175-188)

      The year 1797 saw the publication in Spanish ofConversaciones de Emilia, a translation of Louise d’Épinay’sConversations d’Émiliewhich had appeared in Leipzig in 1774 and in Paris in 1775 (see Épinay 1797 and 1996). The Spanish translator, Ana Muñoz, is an unknown woman for whom we have no biographical data and no references concerning other literary works. Her presence in the text is discreet: although her name appears on the cover together with that of the author, she did not write a foreword of her own, as was customary at the time, nor did she make additions to...

    • 12 What They Saw: Women’s Exposure to and in Visual Culture in Nineteenth-Century Spain
      (pp. 189-210)

      People living in the West are bludgeoned daily with thousands of man-produced images, most of which get discarded into the wastebaskets of minds and spaces, crowded out by other, more lasting and consequential images. Of necessity we have become skilled at mentally screening out the trivial visual documents of everyday. Lacking this immunity, we would be psychologically overwhelmed, just as we might if suddenly our lives were entirely image-deprived in this image-affluent era. We sometimes forget that circumstances in the nineteenth century were much different. Original art had begun to lose its aura with the capacity for mass reproduction on...

    • 13 Luxurious Borders: Containment and Excess in Nineteenth-Century Spain
      (pp. 211-226)

      Lust and luxury can both be conceptualized as forms of excess, with fashion promoted as one of the prime manifestations of excess among women. Whereas in Bataille’s view on excess (1967) there is something positive to be perceived about the phenomenon, a different view emerges from women’s conduct manuals in the nineteenth century, in which discourses of anxiety and containment may be observed in relation to the feminine. In this chapter I argue that in the late nineteenth century there is a shift of attention to areas of excess that moves from lust to luxury, and that this is fundamentally...

    • 14 Women as Cultural Agents in Spanish Modernity
      (pp. 227-242)

      What form will modernity take in Spain? This question, expressed as anxiety about Spain’s failure to be modern enough, on the one hand, or about its abandonment of national tradition on the other, dominated public discussion at the end of the nineteenth century. That Spainwasmodernizing was an underlying economic reality (Ringrose 1996: 56–80), but institutions, ideologies, and social groups were engaged in an increasingly contentious struggle to shape the social and cultural contours of the new Spain. Most thought, however, that if women had a role in this process, it was as guardians of tradition and social...

    • 15 Politics and the Feminist Essay in Spain
      (pp. 243-256)

      In the first decade of the twenty-first century, Spanish women seem to have made great political strides. For the first time in history, there are more women than men in the presidential Cabinet, and Spain is among the top ten countries in the world in terms of representation of women in its legislature. In 2007, the Ley Orgánica Para La Igualdad Efectiva de Mujeres y Hombres (Equal Gender Rights Law) was passed, criminalizing discrimination based on sex, strengthening rights of maternity and paternity leave, and mandating equitable representation of women among upper management of companies employing more than 250 workers....

    • 16 The Theatricalized Self: Women Artists in Masquerade from 1920 to the Present
      (pp. 257-272)

      The idea of femininity as a masquerade was first proposed by Joan Riviere in 1929 and later popularized through film criticism of the 1980s (Doane 1991) and the critique of gender set forth by Judith Butler (1990). I will argue that there are two broadly different approaches to the concept, one which we may call modern and the other, postmodern. To illustrate the differences between the two I will be looking at the work of visual artists and writers from the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries, including one artist, Norah Borges, who, while not Spanish-born, helped to legitimate the Spanish...

    • Plates
      (pp. None)
    • 17 Gender and Change: Identity and Reform in the Second Republic
      (pp. 273-286)

      Social historians have traditionally analysed past societies with reference to collective social identities. While the terms race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality all bristle with problems of definition and meaning, we have not found a way of doing without them. They remain useful and necessary categories of analysis. Cultural systems rooted in religion or politics are also particularly powerful markers of identity in any society. The historian cannot write about groups or individuals without reference to such categories, within which personal experience is located and from which each individual derives important assumptions, values, and elements of self-understanding. Human beings are,...

    • 18 Invisible Catalan(e)s: Catalan Women Writers and the Contested Space of Home
      (pp. 287-300)

      At the end of an insightful essay on Montserrat Roig, Carme Riera draws on a Baudelairian image that for her sums up gendered representation offin de siècleurban experience. She evokes the ‘dona fugitiva que apareix i desapareix entre la gentada, engolida per la multitud, entre el clarobscur que propicia la llum de gas’ (fugitive/fleeing woman who appears and disappears amidst the throngs, swallowed by the multitude, through the light and shadows of the gas lamps) (1995: 16–17), alluding to its reappearance in later texts, such as Mercè Rodoreda’sAloma(1938) and Carmen Laforet’sNada(Nothing) (1945). For...

    • 19 The Mother and the Nation: Reading Contemporary Women’s Autobiographies
      (pp. 301-316)
      XON DE ROS

      ‘Desde la muerte de Franco habrá notado cómo proliferan los libros de memorias, ya es una peste’ (Ever since Franco’s death you must have noticed the proliferation of memoirs. It’s already a plague) (Martín Gaite 1978: 28). The protestations of the protagonist ofEl cuarto de atrás(The Back Room) highlight a phenomenon which was to characterize the literary market of post-Francoism. Critical response followed shortly, with a number of monographs on the genre calling into question the old commonplace that Spaniards are little inclined to reminisce in print (Lara Pozuelo 1991, James Fernández 1992, Caballé 1995, Tortosa 2001). James...

    • 20 Tropes of Freedom: Spectacular Eroticism and the Spanish New Woman On-Screen
      (pp. 317-328)

      In the 1970s, the nude female body on the Spanish screen was to become a visual sign of emancipation from sexual repression and ignorance. However, this cannot be linked straightforwardly to the end of the dictatorship as, even prior to Franco’s death, the Spanish film industry was to feel anxious about the relaxation of control over erotic and violent content in US and European mainstream cinema, and feared that its inability to show sexual explicitness would inhibit commercial success both within national territory and abroad (Triana-Toribio 2003: 98–9). So although the repressive hypothesis may have appeared attractive in the...

    • 21 Almodóvar’s ‘Others’: Spanish Women Film-Makers, Masquerade, and Maternity
      (pp. 329-342)
      JO EVANS

      The quotations in the epigraph above span the historical period covered in this study of Spanish women’s film-making since the end of the Franco regime in 1975. Mindful of the value of recognition (Lacan), the predominance of ‘woman as spectacle in the cinema’ (Johnston), the importance of their country of origin and the need for women to ‘put on their coats of armour and get going’ (Campion), this chapter redirects Laura Mulvey’s famous question about how classical Hollywood film narrative constructs the female spectator (1975) to ask how the film industry constructs the woman film-maker. In two sections it examines...

    (pp. 343-394)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 395-406)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 407-407)