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Life Writing in Carmen Martín Gaite's 'Cuadernos de todo' and her Novels of the 1990s

Life Writing in Carmen Martín Gaite's 'Cuadernos de todo' and her Novels of the 1990s

Series: Monografías A
Volume: 312
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Life Writing in Carmen Martín Gaite's 'Cuadernos de todo' and her Novels of the 1990s
    Book Description:

    Carmen Martín Gaite (1925-2000) was one of the most important Spanish writers of the second half of the twentieth century. From the 1940s, until her death in 2000, she published short stories, novels, poetry, drama, children literature and cultural and historical studies. This book studies life writing in Martín Gaite's notebooks 'Cuadernos de todo' (2002) and her novels of the 1990s, 'Nubosidad variable' (1992), 'La Reina de las nieves' (1994), 'Lo raro es vivir' (1996) and 'Irse de casa' (1998). It looks at the use of first person narration in Martín Gaite's work, drawing a parallel between the notebooks and her fictional work. It further analyses the way the author's notebooks relate to the development of her later novels as well as the use of writing as therapy. This work offers a way of looking at Carmen Martín Gaite's work from a personal and intimate perspective. Maria-José Blanco López de Lerma is Lecturer in Hispanic Culture at the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, University of London.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-067-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. 1-14)

    Born in 1925, Carmen Martín Gaite was a prolific author who cultivated many different literary genres through the second half of the twentieth century, starting in 1947 with the publication of her first poem, ‘La barca nevada’, and then her first short story, ‘Desde el umbral’ the following year in Trabajos y días when she was a student at the University of Salamanca.¹ She was subsequently identified as belonging to the group of writers known as the ‘Generación del Mediosiglo’ or ‘Generación del 50’. She worked continuously until her death in 2000, and her unfinished novel Los parentescos was published...

  5. 1 Letters, Diaries and Self-Reflective Writing
    (pp. 15-49)

    Letters and diaries have often been linked to women’s writing. We see female characters in novels writing their diaries, composing letters to lovers or friends, or even imagining those possible letters they would like to send. Indeed, Ruth Perry comments: ‘Women seemed to have a special affinity for this personal one-to-one format.’¹ And Elizabeth Goldsmith refers to an observation made by Jean de la Bruyère in 1684: ‘Women, he reflects, have a special facility for epistolary expression, giving their letters a natural quality that men have to struggle to achieve.’²

    Women as writers are scarce until the Renaissance, as the...

  6. 2 Cuadernos de todo: Carmen Martín Gaite’s Diaries
    (pp. 50-111)

    Cuadernos de todo (2002) is a compilation of the notebooks or diaries Carmen Martín Gaite began in 1961, when her daughter Marta gave her a notebook on her birthday with the title ‘Cuaderno de todo’ written on the first page, and which, according to the author, gave her the freedom to write ‘todo lo que quepa’.¹ The author recounts the story of the gift in one of the prologues to El cuento de nunca acabar (1983):

    Mi hija, que tenía entonces cinco y medio, me pidió un duro porque quería hacerme un regalo, y yo, desde la terraza de casa,...

  7. 3 Nubosidad variable: Letters and Diaries, Female Friendship through Writing
    (pp. 112-136)

    Nubosidad variable (1992) is the novel in which the author’s projection of herself into her characters is most transparent. This is certainly the novel which best presents the use of diaries and letters in Carmen Martín Gaite’s work. Apart from the four-page epilogue, the novel is ‘written’ by two friends, Sofía and Mariana, who meet after many years and decide to rekindle their lost friendship, initially through their writing. This novel has strong metafictional aspects, with the process of writing always in the foreground of the work as the protagonists write and comment on their writing. Life and literature are...

  8. 4 La Reina de las Nieves: a Personal Search through Diaries and Letters
    (pp. 137-160)

    La Reina de las Nieves was published in 1994 although, as Martín Gaite indicates in her ‘nota preliminar’, it started as a project at the end of the 1970s. Although she sets the narration in the 1970s, many of the problems referring to Spanish youth became more acute in the following decade, and the length of time and the difficulties that Martín Gaite encountered during the years of preparation for this novel make it a complex piece of work.¹ The four chapters which constitute the first part of the novel are structured in a way which makes it difficult for...

  9. 5 Lo raro es vivir: Personal Reflections from Historical Research
    (pp. 161-179)

    Lo raro es vivir is the only novel of the 1990s in which Martín Gaite gives the leading role to a woman much younger than herself,¹ and so bestows this novel a special place in her oeuvre. It is written from the point of view of a generation of women born in the late 1950s, and repeats many of the themes discussed in Martín Gaite’s other novels of the 1990s – the relationship between parents and children, divorce, Madrid nightlife, alcohol, drugs and lack of motivation amongst young people. Águeda, the protagonist of the novel, closes a chapter of her life...

  10. 6 Irse de casa: Life through the Cinematographic Lens, Writing One’s Own Life-Script
    (pp. 180-198)

    Irse de casa (1998) is the last of Martín Gaite’s novels to be published in her lifetime. It shares some of the structure and themes of her other novels of the 1990s, but at the same time reveals a parallel with the author’s first novel, Entre visillos (1958), especially in the number of characters present and voices heard. The novel is narrated in the third person singular with an omniscient narrator, allowing the reader to be witness to the lives of the novel’s various characters at different times in their histories. As Jurado Morales notes: ‘necesita de un narrador externo...

    (pp. 199-205)

    The use of diaries, letters and other types of life-writing in literature has evolved during the centuries, developing a more introspective and metafictional character, as well as presenting a therapeutic side of self writing. That evolution can also be seen in Carmen Martín Gaite’s literary career, as diaries and letters have been part of the author’s output from her first novels and short stories. She not only used diaries and letters as a narrative strategy, but she also reflected on this kind of writing in many of her essays and articles.

    Looking at the development of letters, diaries and life-writing...

    (pp. 206-217)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 218-220)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 221-221)