Unveiling the Body in Hispanic Women's Literature

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This book is the first book to include women authors from Hispanic regions never before brought together in one text to examine how women’s bodies reveal complex exchanges between political representations, self-definitions and gender designations. Although past scholars have considered discourses of women’s bodies a propos food and cooking, power relations, and gender negotiations, few explore how Hispanic women authors represent it. This book uses the most influential currents in existing literary criticism – from postcolonial theory to psychoanalytical literary criticism, from postmodern cultural studies to French and American feminisms – to correct past oversights and reveal bold new ways in which authors from Spain, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States address the body. With accessible language that does not sacrifice intellectual rigor, it appeals to an array of academic demands, provoking new debate on female identity, literary authority, race, gender, queerness, and sexuality from the 19th century to the present.


“ ... The present collection is a valuable contribution to scholarly inquiries for numerous reasons. For the first time, the corpus of three convergent literatures comes together in a single volume. Accordingly, this collection addresses the theme of the woman’s body in texts by Latin American, Spanish, and Latina authors in the United States. Thus, it presents an innovative and original vision of a unified corpus of Hispanic literature – without generating divisions between these regions. I believe that this approximation will help the reading public significantly. As well, it will assist scholars who labor in themes related to the feminine body as it has been and still is portrayed in Hispanic literature and those who examine Hispanic women in literature; indeed, so long as scholars understand that this thematic already belongs to a common and recurrent tradition of a literary canon that is unifying in its diversity ... I celebrate this collection, one that for the first time identifies the need to unite an essential literary canon of Hispanic women’s discourses. It incorporates an assortment of experiences such as the Chicano, the Latin American and the Spanish experiences. These essays ought to be read with fervor, thus doing justice to the same zealous spirit with which they have been written.” – (from the Foreword) Professor Marjorie Agosín, Wellesley College

“The body is the site of both passion and disease, youthful force, and the degeneration of aging. The mind/body duality, so important in Western thought, has played itself out especially in the lives of women. In this collection, essays on the entire Hispanic world, including Spain, Latin America and the United States, offer new insights into the particular expression of corporality in literature ... To my knowledge, this is the first collection that addresses these issues in the Hispanic literary world in a unified way ...” – Professor Gwen Kirkpatrick, Georgetown University

“This unique collection of ten essays examines the diverse, yet convergent, literary work of women writers from the Spanish-speaking world at different stages of production, including 19th-century Spain and a contemporary United States. From the study of the eloquence of the body as a site for the inscription of woman’s subjectivity to the postulation of an independent voice that celebrates eroticism, female sexuality, and the inscription of the lesbian body, the essays in this collection examine the marginalized body as a locus for resistance and as a site for pleasure and negotiations of power ...” – Professor Reynaldo L. Jiménez, University of Florida

Table of Contents

Foreword by Marjorie Agosín
1. Introduction

Part One – Revealing the Vestigial Body
2. Tina Pereda – Sniffing the Body Politic in Emilia Pardo Bazán’s Insolación
3. Ana M. Patiño – The Body with All Its Rhythms: The Nannies of Posso Figueroa
4. Edith Morris-Vasquez – The Body as Parchment in the Poetry of Lorna Dee Certanves

Part Two – Charting the National Body
5. Traci Roberts-Camps – Abjection, Nation, and the Prostitute’s Body in Cristina Rivera Garza’s Nadie me verá llorar
6. Jorge Rosario-Vélez – Damned Men! Body, Desires and Masculinity in Arras de crystal by Clara Lair
7. Mark J. Mascia – Bodies Politic: Nature, Nation, and Society as Seen Through the Body in the Poetry of Julia de Burgos

Part Three – Inscribing the Illicit Body
8. Renée Sum Scott – To Eat or Not to Eat? Body-Text in Two Short Stories by Andrea Blanqué and Andrea Maturana
9. Arleen Chiclana y González – The Body of Evidence: Body-Writing, the Text and Mayra Santos Febres’ Illicit Bodies
10. Laura Barbas Rhoden – Anatomy of a Woman: Pleasure, Power and Politics in Gioconda Belli’s Writing
11. Joanna L. Mitchell – Haunting the Chicana: The Queer Child and the Abject Mother in the Writing of Cherrié Moraga

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