Romance and Exemplarity in Post-War Spanish Women's Narratives
The effects of General Francisco Franco's authoritarian rule (1939-1975) on the production and reception of cultural texts can be gauged by the silence that now surrounds them. This is especially true of works which enjoyed considerable popularity when first published. Most of the novels in question belong to the sentimental genre known as novela rosa, whose authors-mostly women-and heroines Academe has consistently treated as literary pariahs. This volume represents the first serious effort to question the categories used to assess the value and meaning of texts previously presumed to be devoid of both. It does so by bringing to the fore the operative premise of Francoist cultural politics, wherein fictional works have the power to mould individual character and conduct. Narratives by Luisa-María Linares, Concha Linares-Becerra, Carmen de Icaza and María Mercedes Ortoll are thus examined in terms of the effects that they were expected to have on their readers, and the constraints that such expectations placed on the works' production and reception. The result is a paradox: while the study of women's bestselling novels is by definition a study of the constraints that shape them, careful reading reveals the limitations of those selfsame constraints. NINO KEBADZE is an Assistant Professor in the Hispanic Studies Department of the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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