History and Autobiography in Contemporary Spanish Women’s Testimonial Writings

Author: Leggott, Sarah
Year:2001
Pages:316
ISBN:0-7734-7584-2
978-0-7734-7584-7
Price:219.95
This monograph explores the biographical and autobiographical works of seven 20th century women writers: Josefina Aldecoa, Mercedes Formica, Dolores Ibárruri, Pilar Jaraiz Franco, Federica Montseny, Constancia de la Mora and Isabel Oyarzábal de Palencia. Literary and political figures, these women contest traditional versions of Spanish history through their published works, and offer different perspectives on the role of women within that history. They address the past from diverse ideological standpoints – communism, republicanism, socialism, anarchism and fascism. The text examines the construction of the identity of the female historical subject within a specific sociopolitical context, drawing on relevant critical work from the fields of historicism, feminism, and cultural studies. Includes texts of personal interviews (Spanish with English translation) with Mercedes Formica and Josefina Aldecoa

Reviews

“…Leggott’s focus on the less well-mined periods of the Second Republic, the Civil War and the Franco regime is more than usually promising. Her choice of writers is also suggestive…. And, at a time when terms such as ‘ideology’ and ‘class’ have all but disappeared from contemporary critical vocabulary, their significance for the work of these women restores them to centre stage…. Leggott’s exploration of intersecting political, class and gender relations in the autobiographical writings of Ibárruri is fresher and more engaging, as is her tracing of Montseny’s ambivalent relationship with feminism…. The study is a capable, timely and often original contribution to the growing body of work on women’s autobiography and testimonial writing.” – Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

“With meticulous attention to sociohistorical context, the work increasingly maps how matters of genre, history and politics cannot be divorced from gender. The project engages with a broad diversity of theories, from those concerning genre and gender, to others pertaining to issues of political and historical identity on a personal and collective level…. the work is brilliant, informative and enjoyable to read because of its originality, clarity and the scope of the methodologies employed. It will be of great interest not only to Hispanic scholars but also to those working in the areas of literary theory, cultural politics, autobiographical studies and women’s studies.” – Dr. Christine Arkinstall

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface by Shirley Mangini
Foreword
Introduction
1. Writing the Female Subject: Auto/Biography, History, Feminism
Rewriting Sixteenth-Century Spain
2. Maria de Mendoza: Mercedes Formica
3. La hija de Don Juan de Austria: Mercedes Formica
Conflicting ideologies Fascism and Feminism
4. Gender and Nation in Autobiography: Mercedes Formica
Reinventing the Past
5. Memory and Fiction: Josefina Aldecoa
Challenging Gender Roles
6. Woman Under Communism: Dolores Ibárruri
7. An Anarchist Past: Federica Montseny
Rejecting a Conservative Heritage
8. Autobiographical Dissidence: Pilar Jaraiz Franco
9. A Quest for Freedom: Isabel Oyarzábal de Palencia
10. The Renunciation of Splendour: Constancia de la Mora
Conclusion
Interview with Mercedes Formica (Spanish, with English Translation)
Interview with Josefina Aldecoa (Spanish, with English Translation)
Bibliography; Index