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Beyond the Back Room

New Perspectives on Carmen Martín Gaite

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Edited By Marian Womack and Jennifer Wood

This collection of essays examines current trends in scholarly research on Spanish author Carmen Martín Gaite (1925-2000). It concentrates on the least explored areas of Martín Gaite’s oeuvre, such as her collage artwork, the relationship between image and text in her work, and her close relationship with themes such as genre writing, the fairy tale, and textual/physical notions of space, as well as her personal theories on orality and narration. As we pass the tenth anniversary of her death, Martín Gaite continues to be an increasing focus of study, as scholars start to identify and comprehend the breadth and scope of her work.
The essays in the volume complement previous studies of Martín Gaite’s major works from the 1960s and 1970s by focusing largely on her later novels, together with in-depth analysis of the manuscripts and artistic materials that have been made available since her death.

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Belén Gopegui

Extract

Foreword This is the story of the people who say ‘no’. Carmen Martín Gaite wrote it before she left us. A ‘no’ can be as small as a ring, or as large as the crown of a tree. It can be something extremely dif ficult, or only slightly dif ficult. But a ‘no’ always makes us disappear, like in novels, like in the news. There is a whole world of things that don’t happen: even if we don’t know them, the things that don’t happen, the actions that are not performed, these are the trestles that really support a country. That’s why sometimes there are countries that are unstable, or fragile; that’s what happens when, behind hundreds of ‘yeses’, there is nothing that you say ‘no’ to. Carmen Martín Gaite said ‘no’ to many things. She said ‘no’ discreetly: there are people who think that you can’t wear bright hats and be discreet, but that’s not true. Discretion demands an ef fort of memory. Carmen Martín Gaite had prestige; she sold many books; her work was studied by hispanists around the globe. She was what many authors, male and female, want to become, but nevertheless it is worthwhile to start think- ing about what she wasn’t. What she could have been, but chose not to be. What she did not get up in the morning and think that she might want to become. What she was not, the places she did not visit, the parties where you...

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