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Beyond the Back Room

New Perspectives on Carmen Martín Gaite


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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Part One Image / Art 1


PART ONE Image / Art Marian Womack Introduction to Part One: Image / Art Carmen Martín Gaite wrote novels, short stories, poems, essays, reviews. She also wrote scripts for film and television. She filled notebooks with ref lections and ideas, novels in progress. Her cahiers became the medium through which the worlds she inhabited were observed and ref lected upon. This book does not intend to of fer absolute ideas about Martín Gaite the writer, essayist, poet, critic, translator or historian. It will not of fer the final key needed to comprehend her complex and far-reaching legacy. Our intention through the following essays is to widen perspectives on a woman who is arguably one of the major figures in the literary scene of twentieth-century Spain. Carmen Martín Gaite is best remembered for her work as a writer of novels and short stories, and their originality, together with that of her suggestive published works of criticism, literary theory and historical research, have in one form or another inf luenced female writing in Spain. Her experimentation with and daring exploitation of genres, narrative structures, orality and narratology were wide-ranging, and she also opened spaces for the inclusion of meta-fiction within the realm of the feminine. Alongside other female writers such as Josefina Aldecoa, Ana María Matute or Carmen Laforet, Martín Gaite ‘shaped’ the models of female literature whose inf luence can be traced to contemporary writers such as Espido Freire, Ángeles Caso or Laura Freixas. ‘Feminine literature’...

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