Solitary Women Wanderers: Urban Stories of Resistance in Contemporary Spanish Women's Narrative
Saar, Amy L.
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Saar, Amy L.
This project investigates the urban space as a place of ideological resistance in the literary production of Spanish women writers from the 1940s through 2001 . I find that as a place in which women protagonists defy cultural boundaries and challenge societal assumptions concerning femininity, the urban space provides women subjects the opportunity to construct their own stories. I argue that by wandering the city space, women call into question their cultural positioning; thereby, reconfiguring their subjectivity in the · process. Chapter 1 introduces the theoretical foundations of the project. Through ideas expounded by work in the field of feminist geography as well as the work by cultural theorists such as Michel de Certeau, I define how the city can be read as a place of discursive resistance. Chapter 2 discusses the work of Catalan women authors writing after the Spanish Civil War who center their narratives in the urban center of Barcelona. I orient the chapter around women's literary production during the Franco regime and take into consideration the theoretical implications of the dictatorship on the woman subject. Chapter 3 examines the work of Carmen Martin Gaite and how her particular employment of the urban space leads the woman subject to explore alternate states of subjectivity, as exemplified in La raro es vivir. I find that Martin Gaite's use of the urban sphere invites a repositioning of feminine identity. Chapter 4 approaches the later works of novelist Rosa Montero. In this chapter I investigate the positioning of Montero's work within the feminist movement. In addition, through a discussion of Bella y oscura and El corazon del Tartaro, I analyze how the city space works to reflect contemporary urban life while, at the same time, providing a space in which the woman subject envisions alternative realities. The dissertation concludes with a consideration of the present trends surrounding Spanish contemporary culture and the rise of the urban novel. The conclusion discusses Clara Sanchez's Ultimas noticias del paraiso as exemplary of the concerns of Spanish women writers at the beginning of the XXI century.