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Rewriting Womanhood

Feminism, Subjectivity, and the Angel of the House in the Latin American Novel, 1887–1903

By Nancy LaGreca

Publication Year: 2009

In Rewriting Womanhood, Nancy LaGreca explores the subversive refigurings of womanhood in three novels by women writers: La hija del bandido (1887) by Refugio Barragán de Toscano (Mexico; 1846–1916), Blanca Sol (1888) by Mercedes Cabello de Carbonera (Peru; 1845–1909), and Luz y sombra (1903) by Ana Roqué (Puerto Rico; 1853–1933). While these women were both acclaimed and critiqued in their day, they have been largely overlooked by contemporary mainstream criticism. Detailed enough for experts yet accessible to undergraduates, graduate students, and the general reader, Rewriting Womanhood provides ample historical context for understanding the key women’s issues of nineteenth-century Mexico, Peru, and Puerto Rico; clear definitions of the psychoanalytic theories used to unearth the rewriting of the female self; and in-depth literary analyses of the feminine agency that Barragán, Cabello, and Roqué highlight in their fiction. Rewriting Womanhood reaffirms the value of three women novelists who wished to broaden the ruling-class definition of woman as mother and wife to include woman as individual for a modern era. As such, it is an important contribution to women’s studies, nineteenth-century Hispanic studies, and sexuality and gender studies.

Published by: Penn State University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-

this project has benefited from the support and insight of people I hold in the highest esteem. Many thanks to Naomi Lindstrom for reading an early version of this manuscript and providing, with good humor and encouragement, invaluable...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-27

Horacio Barreda, son of the illustrious Mexican Positivist philosopher Gabino Barreda, edited the periodical Revista Positiva (Positivist Journal) from 1901 to 1913. His assertions about women’s intellectual deficiencies appeared in the...

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1. Women’s Imagined Roles in Nineteenth-Century Mexico: Seclusion in the Midst of Progress and Early Feminist Reactions

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pp. 28-52

Between 1810 and 1821, women in Mexico temporarily put aside their primary duties as wives and mothers to take part in the Wars of Independence. Wartime provided an opportunity for women to break out of their domestic routines...

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2. Coming of Age(ncy): Refugio Barragán de Toscano’s La hija del bandido

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pp. 53-77

La Hija del Bandido (The Bandit’s Daughter [1887]) by the Mexican writer Refugio Barragán de Toscano is an adventure novel, set in the transitional period between the twilight of Spanish colonial Mexico and the dawn of the struggle...

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3. Women in Peru: National and Private Struggles for Independence

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pp. 78-101

If one were to look at a graph charting women’s participation in public life in Peru through the nineteenth century, it would consist of a peak in activity in the first two decades, followed by a sharp decline in the new republic at midcentury...

4. New Models for New Women: Rethinking Cinderella’s Virtues and Humanizing the Stepmother in Mercedes Cabello de Carbonera’s Blanca Sol

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pp. 102-123

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5. Women as Body in Puerto Rico: Medicine, Morality, and Institutionalizations of Sexual Oppression in the Long Nineteenth Century

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pp. 124-148

Decades before the wars of independence erupted across the continent, Puerto Rico had been struggling economically because of scarcity of gold in its mines, attacks by Caribs, sackings from various European pirates and privateers...

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6. Sexual Agency in Ana Roqué’s Luz y sombra: A Subversion of the Essentialized Woman

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pp. 149-170

The Puerto Rican novelist and women’s rights activist Ana Roqué fought for a change in the national standard for women that would include education, a variety of career options, the vote, and (through her fictional representations of women...

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Conclusions

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pp. 171-175

This journey has led us through the times and minds of Refugio Barragán, Mercedes Cabello de Carbonera, and Ana Roqué. We have rediscovered their texts; traveled into the past to recognize the symbolic social value of their fiction...

Works Cited

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pp. 177-193

Index

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pp. 195-202

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780271027142
E-ISBN-10: 0271027142
Print-ISBN-13: 9780271034386
Print-ISBN-10: 0271034386

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Penn State Romance Studies