The "Strange Girl"

in Twentieth-Century Spanish Novels

Written by Women


Ellen C. Mayock

(Washington and Lee University, USA)


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Given the current awareness of cultural specificity in opposition to the past (unfortunately) general application of European and North American feminism, gender and women-centered theory on peninsular texts written by women, this research is a very welcome perspective.  Ellen C. Mayock identifies the singular cultural context that has been mirrored through the evolving depictions of female characters under female authorship, uniting this progression with the socio-historic moment.  Given the clear correlation between changing roles, textual and actual, the critique covers new terrain with regards to encompassing not only the development of the protagonist, but also of her creator’s approach to her historic and social environment, as well as to her sexual/gendered identity.

            With an eye to the rather insular, particular development and definition of feminism in Spain, the author recognizes that the twentieth century has been a period of great change for peninsular women authors.  Her study of the creative compromises wrought by severe oppression followed by relative liberation, all within the context of Spain’s specific religious and regional influences, illustrates the unique positioning of these women writers as shown through their female characters.  While this is reflection of the current scholarship in Women’s Studies (examining the feminist resonance of the construction of female identity through texts written by women about women), it is one that is in its first stages of development in Spanish criticism and has been primarily author-specific.  Ellen C. Mayock’s research provides a more panoramic view, so to speak, facilitating an overview of progression between trends, as opposed to a singular progression of a single author within the context of era- a very positive move that allows for full comprehension.


Ellen C. Mayock is an Associate Professor of Romance Languages at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.  She recently contributed to the volume edited by Sara E. Cooper, The Ties That Bind: Questioning Family Dynamics and Family Discourse in Hispanic Literature and Film, published by University Press of America.

ISBN 1-931948-22-4



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