Lugares Literarios e Intelectuales: una Busqueda de Espacios

Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2010

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Romance Languages and Literature: Hispanic Studies

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



In this dissertation I examine the relationship between female representation and the woman intellectual in the context of Latin American modernity. I analyze both the portrayal of female figures and the authors’ intellectual positions in texts which display women’s negotiations for speech and representation against the shifting background of modernity. In the first chapter, I study the two novels by Mexican writer Guadalupe Marín. I argue that in her first work, La única (1938), Marín deploys a series of literary strategies which aid in legitimizing the female voice within a traditional male narrative of modernity. I also discuss the presence of social discourses which signal the inappropriateness of gender ideology for both female and male subjects in modern Mexico in Marín’s second novel, Un día patrio (1941). In Chapter Two, I analyze Venezuelan writer Teresa de la Parra’s three conferences as a blueprint of her intellectual career. The series titled “Influencia de las mujeres en la formación del alma americana” (1930) constitutes a testimony of her involvement in advancing an agenda about gender which was deployed strategically in order to attain a discursive space among traditional views of gender. I consider the tactical practices which granted her a place in the intellectual stardom of Venezuela, while putting forward controversial ideas about women. In Chapter Three, I discuss Argentine author Norah Lange and two of her early narrative texts, Voz de la vida (1927) and Cuadernos de infancia (1937). I argue that in the former text, Lange’s utilization of a strategic narrative voice confers a space of subjectivity to the female character through the written word. In the latter work, I contend that she posits woman as the salient subjectivity of modern Argentina, a subject at the crossroads of modernization, peripheral development, and pre-modern thought. In my final chapter, I discuss how Argentine writer Silvina Ocampo destabilizes traditional ideas about gender, women, and their role in modern society by depicting female characters in real and symbolic spaces, such as the home and the fantastic in order to highlight the inadequacies of gender discourses in an era of modernization.

In sum, my dissertation unearths the participation of female cultural figures in the early twentieth-century and their struggles with discursive space amidst traditional ideologies about women. I conclude that the cultural negotiations carried out by these authors allow them to obtain a medium and a space from which to offer their controversial views on women and gender. Indeed, my study acknowledges the female intellectual as an analytical category in its own right.


Spanish (es)

Chair and Committee

J. Andrew Brown

Committee Members

William Acree, Tabea A. Linhard, Guillermo Rosas, Elzbieta Sklodowska, Akiko Tsuchiya, John Ruben Turci


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