This article focuses on Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda’s epistolary writing. The corpus is comprised of a series of letters, including the author’s Autobiografía, which were composed in Seville between 1839 and 1840, and later in Madrid between 1840 and 1854. In this article, I focus primarily on the earlier texts. All are addressed to Ignacio de Cepeda, a man with whom the author maintained a romantic friendship during different points of her life. In my reading, I identify the configuration of a Romantic feminine subjectivity that is torn between the active and desiring impulses associated with Romanticism, and the marginalizing socio-symbolic mandates that defined women as the “angel of the house” and curtailed her autonomy. I show how this subjectivity emerges from her affirmation of authorship and provides a channel for her voice. The author makes use of a genre that inevitably decenters the absolute masculine subject and installs an I/you dialogic relationship implicit in the genre’s structure. Moreover, the private letter’s intimate and emotional character allows the speaker to perform authorship for the masculine-other addressee without breaking the rules of acceptable behavior for upper class Spanish women.


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pp. 75-92
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