After ours : six Mexican women writers on borrowed time
Hind, Emily Ann, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Pellon, Gustavo, Department for Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Booth, Alison, Department of English, University of Virginia
Hill, Ruth, Department of Spanish & Portuguese, University of Virginia
This dissertation examines innovative historical literature by Elena Garro, Rosario Castellanos, Silvia Molina, Carmen Boullosa, Sabina Berman, and Ana Clavel. Each author employs a unique approach to incorporate historical references in texts that also explore women's roles and twentieth-century Mexico. Castellanos' Oficio de tinieblas and Garro's "La culpa es de los tlaxcaltecas" pessimistically condemn female characters, who also function as historians, to non-linear temporalities. Molina seems to offer an explanation for this pessimism by depicting the difficulty of being a woman writer or historian in three novels, La mañana debe seguir gris, La familia vino del norte and El amor que me juraste, that form a progressive meditation on the subject. Historical knowledge proves inadequate to rescue women from a sexist society in these works. A Mexico doomed to repeat the past appears in Berman's play Krisis, which explores the cycle through the male politicians who ignore the past and perpetuate masculinist structures. Knowledge of the past proves more effective in Boullosa's Cielos de la Tierra, as life in literature rescues historically conscious characters from apocalypse. Despite this relative optimism, in Los deseos y su sombra, Clavel revisits pessimistic themes integral to all the previously mentioned texts. As these texts experiment with women protagonists who attempt the roles of writer and historian, and as they argue the importance of a fallible historical body of knowledge in an age of persistent amnesia, the works represent some of the most innovative, and often misunderstood, recent Mexican literature.
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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