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Angeles Mastretta

Angeles Mastretta: Textual Multiplicity

Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 270
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  • Book Info
    Angeles Mastretta
    Book Description:

    The Mexican novelist, Angeles Mastretta (b. 1949), has only recently received serious critical attention largely because her work has been seen as 'popular' and therefore inappropriate for academic study. This first major work to be published on Mastretta seeks to demonstrate the rich complexity and range of the author's fiction and essays. In the tradition of Post-Boom Latin American women's writing, Mastretta's texts are motivated by a desire to speak primarily of the silenced experiences and voices of women. Two of her novels, referential and testimonial in style, can be placed within the Mexican Revolutionary Novel tradition and explore the Revolutionary period and its consequences in the light of female experiences and perspectives. The hitherto unexplored themes of female sexuality and bodily erotics in Mastretta's texts are also considered in this volume. Her feminist works avoid facile simplifications: heterogeneous and dialogical, they interweave the historical and the fictional, the everyday and the fantastic. The originality of Mastretta's writing lies in its elusive postmodern ambiguities: shimmering surfaces are often interrupted by unexpected depths and proliferating meanings cannot be fully circumscribed by critical analysis. Jane Elizabeth Lavery lectures in Latin American Studies at the University of Kent.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-366-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-vii)
    (pp. viii-x)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)

    Ángeles Mastretta was born in 1949 in the state of Puebla, which is located on Mexico’s plateau, surrounded by rugged mountains and volcanoes to which the author makes frequent reference in her works. She moved to Mexico City, following the death of her father Carlos Mastretta in 1971. His passing left a lasting effect on her and his influence on her writing emerged in her portrayal of strong paternal figures, as will be seen in this study. Mastretta graduated in journalism at the Universidad Autónoma de México (Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales) and subsequently contributed to newspapers and magazines...

  6. 2 Contexts
    (pp. 19-48)

    It may appear surprising that an author born in 1949 – over 30 years after the end of the ‘military’ phase of the Revolution – should setArráncame la vidain the 1930s and 1940s andMal de amoresbetween the 1890s and 1965. But such retrogression is not uncommon in contemporary Mexican writing – indeed it is almost the norm – since the Revolution was to provide the central point of reference for the remainder of twentieth-century Mexican history and fiction.¹ It is in the revolutionary period that the roots of the country’s currentmalaiseare to be found.²...

  7. 3 Arráncame la vida: The Borders of Fiction and Reality
    (pp. 49-84)

    This chapter analyses Mastretta’s first major novel,Arráncame la vida, published in 1985. Although some may wish to see it as merely a popular novel, it has received significant critical acclaim, obtaining the literary prizePremio Mazatlánin the same year as its publication. It has been translated into more than eleven languages and has been analysed in a number of doctoral theses (though relatively few have focused exclusively on Mastretta’s work). Chronological in structure and narrated from the perspective of the protagonist, Catalina,Arráncame la vidaoffers much more than the traditional story of an unequal marriage. Diane Braun...

  8. 4 Mal de amores: History from a Feminist Perspective
    (pp. 85-124)

    In 1997 Ángeles Mastretta was awarded thePremio Rómulo GallegosforMal de amores(1996), the contribution of this text to Hispanic letters paralleling that ofArráncame la vida(1985).Mal de amoresis perhaps one of Mastretta’s most accomplished pieces of writing in terms of thematic treatment and stylistic technique. In contrast with the limited first person perspective ofArráncame la vida, the third person narrative ofMal de amoresoffers the reader a broader perspective and facilitates greater authorial manipulation of the plot. Catalina’s vulgar language and abrasive tone is replaced by a more measured and less insistent...

  9. 5 Myth, Magical Realism and Carnival
    (pp. 125-161)

    Our exploration of the themes of Myth, Magical Realism and Carnival (with particular reference toMal de amores) will serve to highlight the multiplicity of Mastretta’s writing. The inconsistent treatment of the carnivalesque, the mythical and the magical – which appear both positively and negatively – contribute to the reader’s sense of a shifting and unstable world.

    From the point of view of setting and action bothMal de amoresandArráncame la vidafollow the norms of conventional realism thoughMal de amoresincorporates fantastical and mythical elements which have a dislocating effect on the reader. Here the tension...

  10. 6 Literary Intimacies
    (pp. 162-196)

    This chapter continues the task of demonstrating the largely unacknowledged literary force and range of Ángeles Mastretta’s works by focusing on the hitherto unexplored themes of female sexuality and bodily erotics in the author’s texts. Such an exploration will serve to place Mastretta more precisely within the context of contemporary Mexican writing. Although Mastretta has received less critical attention than some of her fellow Mexican women writers (Elena Garro, Rosario Castellanos, Elena Poniatowska), Mastretta shares many of the artistic and ideological preoccupations of these writers. Elena Poniatowska, for example, enjoys considerable prestige in elite literary circles – unlike Mastretta –...

  11. 7 Shimmering Surfaces, Immeasurable Depths
    (pp. 197-223)

    This chapter contextualizes Mastretta’s work with specific reference toPuerto libre(1993),El mundo iluminado(1998) andEl cielo de los leoneswithin current postmodernist and more specifically Post-Boom writing. Here we examine how bothPuerto libre, El mundo iluminadoandEl cielo de los leones, are defined by their postmodern elusiveness where shimmering surfaces are occasionally interrupted by unforeseen depths by exploring the themes of multiplicity, order and disorder and probe the mind of the marginal Other.

    Few would disagree that Mastretta’s fiction is accessible, noticeable for its uncomplicated style which works against the main thrust of much postmodern...

  12. 8 Conclusion
    (pp. 224-234)

    Ángeles Mastretta’sArráncame la vida, Mujeres de ojos grandes, Puerto libre, El mundo iluminado, Mal de amores, Ninguna Eternidad como la míaandEl cielo de los leonesare all very different texts thematically and stylistically but all have enjoyed popular success. The reason is not difficult to explain.

    The award-winning and bestseller novelsArráncame la vidaandMal de amoreshave helped to reaffirm Mastretta’s central position in Mexican literature and as an author of international standing. Mastretta’s novels such asArráncame la vida, Mujeres de ojos grandesandMal de amoresare in some respects difficult to categorize:...

    (pp. 235-248)
  14. Index
    (pp. 249-260)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 261-261)