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Ursula Jung

In the last decades of the nineteenth century, Emilia Pardo Bazán (1851-1921), without doubt, was the most well-known Spanish woman writer. Her works, which show traits of romanticism, realism/naturalism, as well as fin de siècle, include many novels, short stories, theatre plays, poems, essays and journal articles.

At the focus of this paper will be the relationship between the literary discourse of the short narrative genre and the social discourse of non-fictional articles on feminist issues, which, up to the present, has been neglected by the literary research. I will argue that those observations, demands and theses on the female life perspective phrased in a programmatic polemic manner by Pardo Bazán in essays such as La mujer española [The Spanish Woman] (1890) and La educación del hombre y de la mujer [The Education of the Man and the Woman] (1892) are softened, if not contradicted, by means of the diversification of positions and perspectives which we find in the linguistic laboratory (Joyce Tolliver) of her short stories. The specific feature of the fictional discourse in comparison to the discourse of non-fictional texts is demonstrated using the example of selected short stories in which the gender issue is vital; for example, when dealing with women killings – i.e. the unequal treatment of women in legal terms -, the deficient economic and occupational situation of the middle-class woman or the double moral standard. It will be shown that the openness, characteristic for the short stories, results from the usage of male or unmarked narrative voices – in contrast to the obvious female narrative voice manifested in the essays – as well as from the strategy of "writing beyond the ending" (Rachel Blau DuPlessis).

SvD, February 2009

  • Conferences > NEWW international conferences > Bochum 2009 > Jung

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