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Marìa Luisa Bombal and Sherwood Anderson: Early Twentieth-Century Pan-American Feminism(S)

From: College Literature
Volume 40, Number 2, Spring 2013
pp. 155-170 | 10.1353/lit.2013.0019



This essay analyzes the feminist perspectives evident in Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio and María Luisa Bombal’s La ultima niebla and La amortajada. In their respective cultures female characters, victimized by fathers and husbands, constricting social environments, and authoritarian religions, succumb to personal frustration that leads to emotional imbalance and, in some cases, even to the verge of insanity. Scathing critics of their monolithic cultures, both Anderson and Bombal condemn institutional structures that repress women’s rights and individual development. Strong advocates of women’s full-fledged subjectivity, these authors deconstruct patriarchal cultures and pioneer the advent of women’s liberation in their respective societies. The comparative study of these two authors reveals an emergent Pan-American dialectic that continues to demand the deconstruction of patriarchal cultures in today’s global societies.

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