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Title: Politics and sexual politics : women's writing in Spain and Portugal, 1913-1933
Author: Madden, Deborah
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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Motivated by feminist critics of Spanish and Portuguese literature who observe a lacuna of scholarship about women writers in the early decades of the twentieth century, this thesis constitutes the first major study of four authors who will be unknown to most, all of whom participated in feminist and socio-political activism: Matilde de la Torre (1884-1946); Ángela Graupera (1890-c.1936); Maria O'Neill (1876-1932); and Emília de Sousa Costa (1877-1959). Grounding the analyses firmly within the socio-political and literary contexts in which the works were written, this study asks how these authors confront the question of women's ideological agency and political subjectivity at a time when debates surrounding women's social, legal and political rights were heightened, focusing on how fiction afforded these authors a means of reorientating and (re-)imagining women's relationship with the male-dominated political domain. Each of the chapters centres exclusively on one author, selecting texts for close reading that encapsulate the writer's political aims and literary strategies. Chapter One focuses on De la Torre's critique of women's (in)visibility in socialist activism and rhetoric in her novel El banquete de Saturno (1931). Chapter Two's analysis of Graupera's Los rebeldes (1933) examines how women's influential yet overlooked role in social revoltion is explored in a novella that manifests the political conversion it seeks to promote. Chapter Three's examination of O'Neill's work focuses on three of her novels, Drama de ciúme (1913), Ilusão desfeita (1915) and A víbora (1930), arguing that the author perverts the romance plot as a means of paralleling social and literary patriarchal convention. In the final chapter, the analysis centres on Sousa Costa's short story 'Quem tiver filhas no mundo' (1933), arguing that the work, published the same year the Estado Novo was officially inaugurated, can be read as a directive to the women's movement at a pivotal moment in its history. The analyses illustrate how the selected writers capitalise on the medium of fiction to engage with public discourses, subverting and refracting generic convention and blurring the boundaries of fact and fiction in such a way as to self-consciously underline their political agency and the socio-political significance of their literature. Making an important contribution to feminist criticisms and the bourgeoning field of Iberian Studies, this research exemplifies how research into non-canonical female authors augments our understanding of feminist thought and reveals tropes in female-authored fiction that trace female - and feminist - literary traditions and patterns in early twentieth-century Spain and Portugal.
Supervisor: Johnson, Louise ; Ramos Villar, Carmen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available