Histories, Cultures, & National Identities: Women Writing Spain, 1877-1984

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1st Edition

240 x 160 mm. 256pp ... [In stock in Australia, for immediate delivery]

The processes and problematics of the construction of national identities have been a central concern in Hispanism in recent years. Much work remains to be done on women's contributions to Spanish national agendas. This book addresses the visions of history, culture, and national identity in modern Spain articulated by Rosario de Acuna (1851-1923), Angela Figuera (1902-1984), and Rosa Chacel (1898-1994). It argues that the emphasis in their work on liberal histories associated with Republican ideals sheds light on the history of Spanish democracy, competing concepts of national and cultural identity, and the gendered politics of culture.

Through the lens of identity politics the Introduction discusses the socio-political contexts important for each writer's production. Part 1 examines Acuna's theatre and essays in relation to contested forms of liberalism in late 19th-century Spain. The two dominant foundation myths on which liberalism substantiated its claims, the War of Independence and the uprising of the Comuneros, are deployed to debate liberal agendas in Acuna's plays, Amor a la patria (1877) and Tribunales de venganza (1880). El Padre Juan (1891) interacts with the fin-de-siecle myth of Spain's backwardness, highlighting questions of religion, freedom of thought, and scientific education.

The notion of history as fissure and trauma in the context of the Spanish Civil War and ensuing Franco dictatorship is pursued in Part 2. Figuera's poetry challenges the regime's erasure of dissident histories by reworking its paradigms of cyclical time and uncovering its repression within national space. Reconfiguring the symbolic cornerstones of Franco's National Catholicism, the Virgin and Christ, Figuera's work counters the dictatorship's principles of triumphalism and totalitarian autarky, to privilege the recovery of historical memory.

The Franco regime truncated the rich cultural worlds that Spain enjoyed in the first third of the 20th century. It is from the post-Franco years of 1976-1988, a context eager to reclaim banished liberal histories, that Chacel reconstructs those milieu in her novels of memory, Barrio de Maravillas (1976), Acropolis (1984), and Ciencias naturales (1988). Part 3 posits that Chacel's representations of the literary 'Generations' of 1898, 1914, and 1927 function as sites of generational consciousness committed to a liberal transformation of the nation.

The Conclusion addresses the relevance for present-day Spain of the visions of history, culture, and nation elaborated by Acuna, Chacel, and Figuera, focusing on Spain as a democracy, 'federation', and European nation.

Christine Arkinstall is Associate Professor in Spanish at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her previous book, Gender, Class & Nation: Merce Rodoreda & the Subjects of Modernism [Bucknell University Press], was awarded the Premi Merce Rodoreda for 2002 by the Institut d'Estudis Catalans, Barcelona.
^ Literary Criticism ^


SKU 9780838757284
Barcode # 9780838757284
Brand AUP
Artist / Author Christine ARKINSTALL

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