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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 Two Space / Fantasy 99


PART TWO Space / Fantasy Marian Womack Introduction to Part Two: Space / Fantasy The following essays will look at space: they will investigate domesticity, subverted as much by use of metaphor as through the re-evaluation of the concept of ‘order’. Martín Gaite challenges narratology, sometimes even by the subversion of physical spaces. Through her collages the writer-collagist manipulates her own sense of space and that of the viewer or interlocu- tor, but this af firmation transcends the physical space of the notebooks themselves. In this broader conception, ‘space’ is redefined as a far-reaching experience dependent on varied sensorial experiences, some of them occur- ring beyond the limitations of the physical page. In this sense, narratologi- cal ‘space’ is far more complex and expansive, what the author calls her geografía narrativa. Space can be constricted. But the claustrophobia inherent to enclosure may elicit negative as well as positive outcomes. The concept of refugio, a shelter or even a sanctuary, is a constant in Martín Gaite’s work explored in some of the essays in this section.1 Jeanette Pucheu explores the mul- tifaceted space in Martín Gaite’s novels of the 1990s, investigating the construction of feminine spaces of all kinds as well as ‘space-objects’ that act as nurturing refuge, and connects the process of homemaking with identity construction, as much collective as personal. Bachelard has already proposed the sheltering metaphors that domestic space stands for. A rigor- ous application of his theories allows Pucheu to convey a completely...

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