Chapter One. Introduction 1
• C H A P T E R O N E • Introduction his study focuses on Constancia de la Mora (1906–1950), María Teresa León (1903–1988), and Federica Montseny (1905–1994), three prominent Spanish women of the Second Republic for whom political activism and exile were defining elements in their lives. The forced dislocation they experienced in 1939 initiates a process of self-reinvention portrayed and achieved in the autobiographical act; through it, these women perform a self that negotiates a relation to the lost homeland and the new locale. The objective of this study is to contextualize these writers’ autobiographies within their personal and sociopolitical experience in order to observe the development of subjectivity within the country of origin, and the manner in which this identity shifts in times of ostracism and exile. De la Mora, León, and Montseny had left-of-center political ideologies; the first two were Communists, the latter was an anar- chist. These women fraternized with leading political and cultural figures of the Second Republic. De la Mora was married to Repub- lican Air Force Commander Ignacio Hidalgo de Cisneros (1896– 1966) and León was married to the poet Rafael Alberti (1902– 1999). Montseny made history by becoming the first female cabinet minister when she was appointed Minister of Health and Social Assistance in 1936. In addition to opposing a conservative national vision, these women were active (a necessity during wartime) on the loyalist home front during the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). De...
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