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SPAN2109 - Women's Writing in Latin America

Value: 0.5 course units
Dr Claire Lindsay
Teaching structure:
Assessment: one essay (40%); and one unseen two-hour written examination (60%).

Module Description:

This module will introduce you to a range of work by a number of women writers from the Southern Cone and the Andean region. The module will begin with a consideration of the principal issues at stake in approaching the topic of women’s writing (e.g. can writing be gendered? Is there such as thing as a women’s language?), in the course of which you will be equipped with the relevant vocabulary and conceptual framework necessary for this enterprise. During the rest of the module you will study a range of work in different genres. Issues to be considered throughout the module in relation to the texts studied will include: questions of language, style and form; thematic concerns such as identity, family, nationhood and ‘race’; and the writers’ and works’ relationship to the literary canon and to broader historical contexts of literary production.

Preparatory reading and set texts:

Any edition of the following texts is acceptable.

  • María Luisa Bombal, ‘La última niebla’
  • Clorinda Matto de Turner, Aves sin nido
  • Silvina Ocampo, Cuenos completos (selected stories)
  • Alejandra Pizarnik, ‘La condesa sangrienta’
  • Laura Restrepo, Delirio
  • Luiza Valenzuela, Cambio de armas (selected stories)

General background reading

  • Helena Araújo, La scherezada criolla (Bogotá, Universidad Nacional, 1989).
  • Susan Bassnett (ed.), Knives and Angels: Women Writers in Latin America (London, Zed, 1990).
  • Anny Brooksbank Jones and Catherine Davies (eds.), Latin American Women’s Writing: Feminist Readings in Theory and Crisis (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1996).
  • Debra Castillo, Talking Back: Toward a Latin American Feminist Criticism (Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1992).
  • Sara Castro-Klarén, Sylvia Mohillo & Beatriz Sarlo, Women's Writing in Latin America: An Anthology (Boulder, Westview, 1991).
  • Sara Castro-Klaren (ed.), Narrativa femenina en América Latina: Practicas y perspectivas teóricas/Latin American Women’s Narrative: Practices and Theoretical Perspectives (Madrid and Frankfurt, Iberoamericana and Vervuert, 2003).
  • Magdalena García Pinto, Women Writers of Latin America: Intimate Histories, translated by Trudy Balch and Magdalena García Pinto (Austin, Texas, University of Texas Press, 1991).
  • Amy Kaminsky, Reading the Body Politic: Feminist Criticism and Latin American Women Writers (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1993).
  • Toril Moi, Sexual/Texual Politics (London, Routledge, 1985).