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Women and the Law: Carmen de Burgos, an Early Feminist

Women and the Law: Carmen de Burgos, an Early Feminist

Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Women and the Law: Carmen de Burgos, an Early Feminist
    Book Description:

    This study in the interdisciplinary field of law and literature analyses the representation of law in the work of twentieth-century Spanish writer Carmen de Burgos (1867-1932). Drawing on Anglo-American legal theory and Spanish historical practice, it argues that her narratives of legal critique were used as a means of political propaganda, in which she introduced the question of women's rights into the public domain. Burgos can be considered one of the most important proponents of the feminist movement in the lead-up to the Second Republic and presents a particularly interesting case study, since she combined her writing career with a political agenda. Given the remarkable similarities between de Burgos's critical analysis and recent feminist legal theory, her writings are still disturbingly relevant today. This study also explores the relationship between melodrama as a genre of manichean worldviews and law as a system of binary oppositions and discusses de Burgos's subversion of the former as a means to criticise the latter. Anja Louis is a lecturer in the Department of Spanish at the University of Sheffield.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-437-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)

    Carmen de Burgos Seguí, if known at all by posterity, is mainly remembered as an author of popular novellas and, to a lesser extent, as a feminist. This study in the interdisciplinary field of law and literature aims to contribute to a reading of Burgos as a champion of first wave feminism and argues that her feminist fiction can only usefully be analysed in conjunction with her feminist essays, in particularLa mujer moderna y sus derechos(1927a). As I shall demonstrate, the events narrated in the novellas discussed encapsulate many of the ideas presented in Burgos’s theoretical works. I...

  5. 1 Justice versus Law
    (pp. 21-66)

    Justice and law have an uneasy relationship, and running through the history of legal theory is a recurring concern about the connections between the two and about the ways law is implicated in injustice. Nicola Lacey somewhat provocatively argues: ‘it is something of a truism that justice can generally only be glimpsed in law, and that when law delivers justice, this is often as much by accident as by design’ (Lacey 1998: 247). Legal thinkers from Aristotle to Derrida have called law to account in the name of justice, yet the justice that is usually spoken about in these theories...

  6. 2 Equality versus Difference
    (pp. 67-98)

    Women have always been defined in relation to men: women are inferior or superior, equal or different, always in relation to men. While current feminist legal scholarship largely concentrates on the contemporary debate, the historical example of Spain shows that these competing principles have dogged feminist politics since the nineteenth century. This chapter is theoretically informed by one of the major debates in feminist legal theory, the question of equality versus difference: is justice best served by applying standards in a neutral manner to formally equal parties or would justice be better served if law made allowances for gender differences?...

  7. 3 Rights versus Care
    (pp. 99-148)

    In the course of the previous chapters it has become evident that female selfishness is one of the crucial issues in the debates about divorce and women’s rights: in Chapter 1 the historical debate showed that for some divorce was a selfish female pursuit, while Chapter 2 dealt with the female ‘selfishness’ in demanding suffrage as well as female altruism which was portrayed as a form of moral superiority. This chapter deals with selfishness and moral reasoning. While the first chapter of this study raised questions about justice from a legal point of view, examined the intersection between society and...

  8. 4 Melodrama and Law
    (pp. 149-166)

    The title of this concluding chapter suggests a correlation between melodrama and law, and yet at first sight nothing could be more divergent: the former is a literary genre associated with the feminine because of its concern with the display of emotion, while the latter is a system of social control, using apparent rationality as its most crucial characteristic. Why would one want to compare such diametrically opposed fields? When writing the previous chapters it became increasingly apparent that an analysis of these dis/continuities would not only be pertinent but also mutually enriching to two disciplines with ostensibly unrelated aims....

  9. Works Cited
    (pp. 167-178)
  10. Index
    (pp. 179-182)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 183-183)