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Women and Power in Argentine Literature

Stories, Interviews, and Critical Essays

By Gwendolyn Díaz

Publication Year: 2007

The astonishing talent of Argentine women writers belies the struggles they have faced—not merely as overlooked authors, but as women of conviction facing oppression. The patriarchal pressures of the Perón years, the terror of the Dirty War, and, more recently, the economic collapse that gripped the nation in 2001 created such repressive conditions that some writers, such as Luisa Valenzuela, left the country for long periods. Not surprisingly, power has become an inescapable theme in Argentine women’s fiction, and this collection shows how the dynamics of power capture not only the political world but also the personal one. Whether their characters are politicians and peasants, torturers and victims, parents and children, or lovers male and female, each writer explores the effects of power as it is exercised by or against women. The fifteen writers chosen for Women and Power in Argentine Literature include famous names such as Valenzuela, as well as authors anthologized for the first time, most notably María Kodama, widow of Jorge Luis Borges. Each chapter begins with a “verbal portrait,” editor Gwendolyn Díaz’s personal impression of the author at ease, formed through hours of conversation and interviews. A biographical essay and critical commentary follow, with emphasis on the work included in this anthology. Díaz’s interviews, translated from Spanish, and finally the stories themselves—only three of which have been previously published in English—complete the chapters. The extraordinary depth of these chapters reflects the nuanced, often controversial portrayals of power observed by Argentine women writers. Inspiring as well as insightful, Women and Power in Argentine Literature is ultimately about women who, in Díaz’s words, “choose to speak their truth regardless of the consequences.”

Published by: University of Texas Press

Front Matter

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pp. ix-xii

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pp. xiii-xvi

I thank my husband and colleague, Henry Flores, for his encouragement; my parents, Julio and Dorothy, for teaching me the love of learning; and St. Mary’s University, for the research support I have received. I also thank each of the authors of this collection for the generous time they offered me, ...

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pp. 1-18

When considering the topic of Argentine women, particularly as it relates to power, the image of Eva Per

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1. Elvira Orph

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pp. 19-40

Elvira Orph

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2. Ang

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pp. 41-66


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3. Marcela Sol

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pp. 67-88

Marcela Sol

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4. Luisa Valenzuela

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pp. 89-120

A full mane of dark hair surrounds her ample smile and keen eyes, which project a passion for life and people. Luisa Valenzuela carries herself with confidence and determination; when she enters a room, her presence is noticed and recognized. She is constantly observing her immediate and distant surroundings, noting every detail, as would a painter or a photographer. ...

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5. Tununa Mercado

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pp. 121-140

Tununa Mercado is a slender woman with a fair complexion and a massive mane of very dark hair. She walks and moves with a boyish gait as if trying to assert her inner strength, in light of her small physical stature. She speaks decidedly and often strays into poetic tangents that lead into her circuitous creativity, ...

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6. Alicia Dujovne Ortiz

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pp. 141-160

Alicia Dujovne Ortiz is unequivocally a free spirit. Her eyes meet ours with frank sincerity; her smile is wide, earnest, and engaging. She has the gaze of someone who has lived a lot and suffered a lot, yet has retained the joyful soul of the young at heart. Her voice springs forth like a waterfall flowing gently and rhythmically as she speaks; her laughter is loud and carefree. ...

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7. Liliana Heer

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pp. 161-182

Liliana Heer is a petite woman, yet she walks tall and carries herself with poise and self-assurance. Her eyes are inquisitive, and her hair hangs straight, as was fashionable in the 1960s. ...

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8. Liliana Heker

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pp. 183-212

Liliana Heker is a short, small woman with long, straight bangs and a rounded face. She has the wide-eyed look of someone who is curious, aware, and thoughtful. She is sure of herself, and at the same time, gracious. Liliana moves freely and confidently in a world she feels defines her, the world of Argentine literature. ...

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9. Alina Diacon

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pp. 213-232

Alina Diacon

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10. Mar

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pp. 233-256


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11. Cristina Siscar

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pp. 257-276

Cristina Siscar is a statuesque woman, with large dark eyes and flowing hair. Her movements are slow and measured, like a feline’s. The cadence of her voice is deliberate and smooth. She pauses when she speaks to choose just the right word to convey a precise thought. One senses many levels of depth in her thought, marked by a feminine gentleness, almost frail, yet imposing. ...

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12. Ana Mar

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pp. 277-306

Ana Mar

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13. Alicia Kozameh

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pp. 307-338

Alicia Kozameh is a striking woman with abundant, curly auburn hair that crowns her slender figure. Her large, wide eyes reflect both seriousness and vulnerability. She is a dual soul: a woman of great strength and conviction, and a woman wounded by the turmoil she still carries within. Alicia is frank, outspoken, and sincerely interested in others. ...

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14. Esther Cross

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pp. 339-364

Esther Cross has large, doe-like brown eyes that are caring and inquisitive. Her smile is broad, and her demeanor is gentle. She is very slender and moves elegantly, like a sail in the wind. ...

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15. Ana Quiroga

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pp. 365-376

Ana Quiroga is, essentially, a feminine presence. She moves with poise and speaks in soft, undulating tones. Her long, dark hair frames a youthful, rounded face. Ana has large eyes that gaze into each person she encounters with thoughtfulness and interest. Her gentle demeanor belies a strong, purposeful woman who sees the future as limitless. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780292794825
E-ISBN-10: 0292794827
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292716483
Print-ISBN-10: 0292716486

Page Count: 392
Illustrations: 15 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2007

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Argentine literature -- Women authors.
  • Women authors, Argentine -- 20th century -- Interviews.
  • Authors, Argentine -- 20th century -- Interviews.
  • Women and literature -- Argentina.
  • Argentine literature -- Women authors -- History and criticism.
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