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Title: re as a space of resistance in the plays of Concha Méndez, María Teresa León and María Lejárraga
Author: Fereday, Charlotte Bactria Rogers
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 8400
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis analyses a selection of plays written by the following three Spanish writers: María Teresa León (1903 - 88); María de la O Lejárraga García / María Martínez Sierra (1874 - 1974) and Concha Méndez (1898 - 1986). Close readings are carried out of a selection of plays written in exile, mainly from Argentina and Mexico, following the outbreak of Spain’s Civil War. The methodological approach taken are close readings set within the historiography of these plays within their specific socio-political and artistic contexts. The context of the authors’ marginality as female authors writing during Spain’s avant-garde at the turn of the twentieth century, the historical and political contexts of Spain’s Second Republic and Civil War and the experience of exile are all important in this reading. Also of significance are the intertextual crossovers between the other multiple genres in which these authors have written. Whilst there are intertextual echoes, ultimately these plays convey a distinct and original artistic response to the experience of exile. Their responses to exile are mapped not only in relation to each oher and their wider writing, but also in relation to their better known male contemporaries of Spanish Republican exile culture. All of these plays share a characteristic of creating what I term to be “spaces of resistance”. This is evidenced in their aesthetic and thematic subversion of conventions and their playful experimentation. Central to the analysis of the plays and their creation of subversive dramatic spaces is gender. All three authors wrote from a selfconsciously marginal position, which is evidenced in their use of metatheatrical devices that break the fourth wall. The thesis addresses the current critical absence of a discussion of the complex richness of these plays and their potential for performance. An absence that is evidenced by the fact that all of the plays have remained unperformed and existing criticism has been either scarce or non-existent. It highlights the need to broaden existing research on exiled Spanish playwrights and especially of women playwrights. In doing so it aims to renegotiate how overlooked play texts can be used as important cultural objects, especially in discussing topics of gender and exile in Hispanic studies. Despite having less cultural capital than other genres such as autobiography, poetry and “testimonio” texts, the thesis argues that these are important texts worthy of more critical debate. The continued omission of these plays highlights the ongoing absence of women playwrights from the Spanish canon; an issue that remains to be fully addressed by scholars.
Supervisor: Boyle, Catherine Mary ; Bonaddio, Federico Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available