Emilia Pardo Bazán’s place in spa and Galician literatures has been hard won, and she has yet to receive the recognition she deserves. In Género, nación y literatura: Emilia Pardo Bazán en la literatura gallega y española, Carmen Pereira-Muro studies the work and persona of this fascinating author in the context of spa and Galician competing nationalisms. She rereads the literary histories and national canons of Spain and Galicia as patriarchal master narratives that struggle to assimilate or silence Pardo Bazán’s alternative national project. Pereira-Muro argues that Pardo Bazán posited the inclusion of women in the national culture as a key step in circumventing the representational logic behind Realism and Liberalism in the modern nation-state. By insisting that women should be equal partners, Pardo Bazán problematically adopted the patriarchal binarism that assigns women to Nature and men to Culture, but she also subverted it by denying its supplemental relationship. Her astute choice and manipulation of masculine cultural models (Realism, not Romanticism; prose, not poetry; Castilian language, not Galician) ultimately won her (despite fierce opposition) inclusion in the spa national canon. Furthermore, the study of her thorny relations with emerging Galician nationalism shows that her exclusion from “Galician literature” was due largely to her transgressive gender performance. Finally, Pereira-Muro contends that in the author’s last novel, Pardo Bazán experimented with creating a feminine writing and a feminine canon for Spain. Nevertheless, the prevailing gender politics ensured that only her realist (masculine) production made it into the spa canon, and not this last, modernist (feminine) writing. In conclusion, this book questions the naturalization of national canons by uncovering the gender politics behind what is cast as naturally determined by language and geography. Doing this also exposes the parallel gender strictures at work behind seemingly opposed central (spa) and peripheral (Galician) national projects.
Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology
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