Monday, May 9, 2011

XIXth-Century Female Literature in Spain

As I’m disinterring XIXth-century novels by authors like Patrocinio Biedma, Faustina Sáez de Melgar, Ana García del Espinar, Blanca de los Ríos de Lampérez, Adela Sánchez Cantos de Escobar, Pilar Sinués del Marco and Ángela Grassi, I realize, first of all, that we have no idea just how much women writers produced in the XIX century and how incredibly popular their novels were. The canon hasn’t treated them kindly or, in my opinion, at all fairly. Another thing that I’m realizing is that our vision of what women were like in that era is quite simplistic and limited. Even the vilified (and rightfully so) concept of the Angel in the House is more complex than what we often believe. 

10 comments:

Pagan Topologist said...

How difficult is it to get copies of these novels??

Clarissa said...

Ohhhh! The most difficult thing was to find out that the authors existed. I proceeded from the assumption that the female novel of growth and development in the 19th century in Spain had to exist, even though the general assumption seems to be that it didn't. Then I had to find the names of authors. Then discover the titles of some of their works. Many of the novels are lost and nothing but the title remains. Then based on the title I had to deduce which novels might belong to the genre I was looking for. Then the publication info (the year, the publisher, the place of publication) had to be discovered.

Once you have that, the rest is easy. I actually love making bibliographies and searching for books. I think I'm quite good at it.

sptc said...

19th century is why to read 1st chapter of Working It Out. I'd actually footnote that text with V. Woolf, 3 Guineas.

Clarissa said...

I love Virginia Woolf's essays as much as I dislike her novels.

Anonymous said...

Interesting! Anything to do with the lesser read 19th century Spanish epistolary novels?

Ol.

Clarissa said...

A couple of them are epistolary but, of course, my main criteria is if they are Bildungsromane. It feels like the majority are. :-)

Anonymous said...

So many years of wonderful research projects to come.

Ol.

Saia Sikira said...

This really is so sad. I'm spanish and I've studied spanish literature in school for eleven years and the only ffemale author we learnt of was Maria Teresa de Jesus (do not bother checking her out if you are not fervorously christian and definitely do if you are).

Clarissa said...

Really?? That's horrible.

How about Maria Zayas, Fernan Caballero, Emilia Pardo Bazan, Concha Espina, Carmen Laforet, Rosa Chacel, Ernestina Champourcin, Carmen Burgos, Maria Zambrano, Carmen Martin Gaite, Ana Maria Matute, and many many others?

This is just sad.

Saia Sikira said...

yep, "sad" is definitely the word. I'm a big reader so I know many of them from my own reading jouney but the most of the people here simply ignores their existence. Well, perhaps not Ana María Matute's.