Reinscribing the Female Historical Subject: Auto/Biographical Voices of Contemporary Spanish Women Writers

by Leggott, Sarah J.

Abstract (Summary)
Restricted Item. Print thesis available in the University of Auckland Library or available through Inter-Library Loan. The present study examines the biographical and autobiographical writings of seven contemporary Spanish women writers, focusing on issues pertaining to the construction of Spanish history and the formation of the identity of the female historical subject in the twentieth century. The authors chosen are literary and political figures whose works are yet to be the subject of extensive critical attention: Josefina Aldecoa, Mercedes Formica, Dolores Ibarruri, Pilar Jaraiz Franco, Federica Montseny, Constancia de la Mora and Isabel Oyarzábal de palencia. The authors approach their country's past from diverse ideological standpoints, spanning communism, republicanism, socialism, anarchism and fascism, set against the backdrop of the historical events of twentieth-century Spain: specifically the Second Republic, the Spanish Civil War, and the following postwar period and Franco dictatorship. Their works contest traditional versions of Spanish history, serving to remedy the absence of women's stories from the official historical record and disclosing the gendered nature of historical and political discourses within this sociopolitical context. Furthermore, the women approach the past from differing class backgrounds, revealing class positioning to be a fundamental determinant of feminine identity. It is an auto/biographical reappropriation of the history of their country which these writers undertake through their published works. Their deployment of the genres of biography and autobiography, traditionally perceived to be incompatible with socially constructed ideals of womanhood, breaks the silence to which women's lives have been relegated, giving voice to the experiences of Spanish women during the dramatic events of the recent history of their country. Their writings subvert, moreover, the exclusionary lines drawn by genre theory, with a number of the narratives challenging traditional boundaries between autobiography, biography and historical fiction. Collapsing artificial distinctions between so-called public and private discourses, these auto/biographical texts call into question the notion of a universal version of Spanish history, while presenting diverse insights into the ways in which dominant discourses of gender, class, and political ideology inform the construction of the female historical subject in contemporary Spain.
Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Auckland / Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau

School Location:New Zealand

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:01/01/1999

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