Passionate Subjects/Split Subjects in Twentieth-Century Literature in Chile: Brunet, Bombal, and Eltit

Passionate Subjects/Split Subjects in Twentieth-Century Literature in Chile: Brunet, Bombal, and Eltit

Passionate Subjects/Split Subjects in Twentieth-Century Literature in Chile: Brunet, Bombal, and Eltit

Passionate Subjects/Split Subjects in Twentieth-Century Literature in Chile: Brunet, Bombal, and Eltit

Synopsis

The book analyzes how Marta Brunet, Maria Luisa Bombal and Diamela Eltit develop a counter narrative to the Chilean literary canon. They revisit and defy female narratives within a liberal Catholic modernity by representing the flaws of a patriarchal ideology through sexual and legal contracts. In these aesthetic projects gender is a form of marginalization embedded in an authoritarian state morality and law regulated by marriage and the family. In this context, female aggression and unconventional sexuality become a double threat both to masculinity and to the process of modernization. These writers challenge a logocentric linguistic system through discursive strategies that organize a new narrative model, showing that motherhood and womanhood inevitably conflict in the public sphere and rights of citizenship. Bernardita Llanos M. is Professor of Spanish and Women's Studies at Denison University.

Excerpt

This book has developed as a result of my discontent with the ways traditional gender roles shape subjectivity and their literary representations in the exclusively male canon of twentiethcentury Chile. Furthermore, the masculine ideology that has shaped the canon and its reception is replicated in the historical context through a deliberately authoritarian exercise of power, particularly evident in dictatorial or military regimes. Paradoxically, female resistance literature becomes one of the most radical and persistent critiques of the twentieth century, as during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973–89), one of the most violent periods in Chilean history in the last century. While male writers were in exile writing about exile from a reductionist perspective of what had happened and had been lost, women whose citizenship had never been completed became active and defiant social actors.

My selection of women’s writing in this book is relevant today because their critique cannot be reduced to the experience of ideological militancy or external material circumstances but rather to the articulation of their opposition to a preexisting hegemony embodied in a patriarchal Catholic modernity. the authors question patriarchy, modernity, and the church during moments of social and political authoritarianism. That is why I have also reconsidered two other moments in the history of Chile during which there is a parallel between the literary historical reception of women’s writing and the state’s authoritarianism. I am particularly interested in the ways that modern subjectivity is constructed and the tensions and crises it undergoes. Moments or experiences of crisis, in my view, illuminate the hidden faces of modernity and what its rationalization means for subjectivities, particularly for those that are marginal and become the negative embodiment of the entire project of modernity and its ideal of progress and prosperity. My argument is thus against an economic approach, which is reductionist and Manichean, but it is not against modernity. I think that the imposition of one eco-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.