Latin-American Women Writers: Class, Race, and Gender

By Myriam Yvonne Jehenson | Go to book overview

PREFACE

The French critic Roger Caillois once remarked: "When the second half of the twentieth century is remembered, it will be for its Latin American literature."1 That statement, evidenced by the vast amount of critically acclaimed books, plays, short stories, and poetry written by Latin Americans, has proved accurate. Postmodernist critics such as Michael Collins, Ihab Hassan, and Linda Hutcheon, discuss Latin American works as avatars of postmodern experimentation. 2 French feminists use them as models of "écriture féminine," as is the case of Hélène Cixous and Brazilian Clarice Lispector. 3 But a greater reality makes the work of Latin American authors, especially that of the women in the second half of the twentieth century, memorable. It is their transgressive and contestatorial nature, and their critical reconsideration of hierarchical oppositions, that make their texts revolutionary, conflictual, and dialectic in the sense expounded by Monique Wittig: "For as long as oppositions... appear as given, already there, before all thought, 'natural'--as long as there is no conflict and no struggle--there is no dialectic, there is no change, no movement."4

This book constitutes a representative sampling of the fiction of Latin-American women. It focuses primarily on authors who belong to the second half of the twentieth century, but also includes earlier writers to show a network of relationships, illustrating, in the words of Myriam Díaz-Diocaretz, that the "strategic discursive consciousness" of contemporary Latin-American women writers is part of a continuum. It emerges from a feminine tradition in Latin America that focuses on the formation of the woman's voice as a collective as well as an individual subject, what Díaz-Diocaretz felicitously calls the "matriheritage of founding discourses." 5 The women introduced in these pages are from diverse cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic conditions, and employ various literary strategies, ranging from the sophisticated, postmodernist experimentation of Cuban/Mexican Julieta Campos, Argentine Luisa Valenzuela, Uruguayan Cristina Peri

-xi-

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Latin-American Women Writers: Class, Race, and Gender
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • About the Author ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Chapter 1 - Latin American Women/ Women in Latin America 1
  • Chapter 2 - To Build Bridges 13
  • Chapter 3 - Man's Love... 'tis Woman's Whole Existence 23
  • Chapter 4 - Arms and Letters: the Power of the Word 41
  • Chapter 5 - To Build New Worlds 85
  • Chapter 6 - Indigenista and Testimonio Literature: "Let Me Speak" 119
  • Epilogue 149
  • Notes 155
  • Selected Bibliography 177
  • Index 193
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