La novelística de Carmen Martín Gaite : una lectura compartida
This study presents a new reading of the critically neglected work of Carmen Martin Gaite (1925-) in the light of feminist criticism. It views her writing as a whole and relates it to psychoanalysis and philosophical movements such as existentialism. This thesis demonstrates that Martin Gaite's writing makes a major contribution to women's fiction and a fiction that vindicates women and a female point of view to the extent that she has become one of the most important contemporary women writers in Europe. In the first of three sections, I consider the author's early period of writing in the 1940s and 1950s where I consider some of the key aspects of the development of existentialism in Spain. An examination of Spanish society and its attitudes to the role of Spanish women, enables us to understand contemporary anxieties regarding feminism. This is supported by analysis of Gaite's short stories, written under the influence of existentialist ideas, and the study of the novel Entre visillos demonstrates how, by creating a text in which women have to learn to exist for themselves and not only for others, she subverts the dominant concept of existentialism. In the second part, I look at the 1960s and 1970s as a period of change in Spanish society and argue that feminism and psychoanalysis have had a greater influence in her writing. In the novel her Ritmo lento she looks critically at Spanish society from a psychoanalytical approach and with the perspective of a feminism based upon "equality”. Then, after some years of silence and reflection, the writing shifts to a feminism of difference, using psychoanalysis as a means of penetrating the unconscious of her characters. Finally, against the context of the 1980s and 1990s, I analyse her use of fairy tales as a means of subversion and of creating a new society in which women have found a place for themselves.