The reconstruction of the body in the poetry of Alfonsina Storni.
This thesis discusses the poetry of the Argentine writer, Alfonsina Storni, in
relation to the particular context in which she was writing. Specific bases for
interpretation are set out; they include a consideration of gender topics and other
relevant political and cultural issues. As Storni's work addresses a range of concerns
regarding the social construction of the female body, a method of reading is required
that deploys an understanding of the body as both physical and socio-cultural, allowing
all of the major aspects to be treated. The type of analysis applied, corporal criticism, is
often found within the social sciences but rarely employed within literature; the
following study demonstrates that it is highly applicable to this field, particularly in the
case of women writers, or other marginalised groups.
The thesis consists of two parts; the first is an exploration of constructions of the
body within various forms of discourse in early twentieth-century Argentina:
institutional, popular and erudite. I document a variety of negative stereotypes, and then
look at those discursive forces (such as journalism and popular theatre) which were able
to oppose the restrictions imposed on women. I then examine how Storni made use of
these as strategies of resistance, focusing on language and audience-reception.
The second half of the thesis provides an in-depth study of the texts, tracing a
clear line of literary development throughout Storni's work on both formal and thematic
levels. By identifying those aspects of the poetry that can be considered innovative in
relation to conventional definitions of gender and / or genre, I aim to suggest new ways
of reading her work. In the conclusion, I examine the relationship between the poetry
discussed and the work of contemporary women poets in Argentina, offering insights
into the role of Storni's work within the larger context of Latin American poetry.