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Feminine Singular

Women Growing Up through Life-Writing in the Luso-Hispanic World


Maria-José Blanco and Claire Williams

Women have often chosen to tell their secrets, confide their dreams and express their deepest and most intimate thoughts in diaries, letters and other forms of life-writing. Although it is well established as a genre in the Anglophone and Francophone traditions, there has been very little publication of life-writing in the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds and even less scholarly criticism has appeared.

This collection of essays is the first volume to focus on the variety of women’s life-writing in the Luso-Hispanic world. The authors analyse women who have written or expressed their sense of identity through diaries, autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, travel writing and poetry, as well as forms of visual art, examining how they represent themselves and others. The volume brings together critics and academics working in Europe and the Americas who are engaging with the work of women from different countries, produced in locations ranging from a sixteenth-century convent to a twenty-first-century kitchen. The book responds to a range of different literary genres as well as reaching beyond literature to analyse women’s self-representation through painting, drawing and collage.

CONTENTS: Maria-José Blanco/Claire Williams: Introduction: Singular Feminine Voices and Histories – Part I: Cloistered Lives – Anna Caballé Masforroll: Captive Writing: Intimacy, Eroticism and Repression in Women’s Literature, or Landscapes with Secrets – Clara Crabbé Rocha: Two Aristocrats in the Convent: The Autobiographies of Antónia Margarida de Castelo Branco and the Marchioness of Alorna – Part II: Diary Writing – Laura Freixas – Publicity and Secrets: Publishing a Private Diary – Maria-José Blanco: Notebooks and Collages: Carmen Martín Gaite’s Visions of America – Sofia Maniscalco Mason: Adolescence, Trauma and Catharsis in Olga Alonso’s Testimonios: Women’s Life-Writing from Revolutionary Cuba – Part III: Memoir and Confessions – Paula Morão: Fernanda de Castro, Ao fim da memória: Memoirs of a Portuguese Century – Carina Infante do Carmo: Shadow Talk: Constructing Female Memory of Resistance to Salazar’s Dictatorship – Raquel Rivas Rojas: Promises of Happiness and Unhappy Effects in Abecedario del estío by Liliana Lara – Part IV: Poetry – Rosa Maria Martelo: Childhood Memories in the Poetry of Adília Lopes – Susan Bozkurt: Ana Luisa Amaral’s Carta a minha filha: A Mother/Daughter Relationship in Verse – Part V: Fictional Auto/biography – Maite Usoz de la Fuente: Gendered Genres: Autobiographical versus Autofictional Readings of Elvira Lindo’s Lo que me queda por vivir – Silvia Roca-Martínez: The Politics of Self-Presentation and Representation in Isabel Allende’s Mi país inventado: Un paseo nostálgico por Chile – Part VI: Visual Biographies – Claire Williams: Capturing the Likeness: The Encounter between Writer (Agustina Bessa-Luís) and Painter (Maria Helena Vieira da Silva) in Longos Dias Têm Cem Anos – Pepa Anastásio: Julia Fons’ Scrapbooks of a Chorus Girl: Life-Writing and Popular Musical Practices – Maria Luísa Coelho: The Eccentric Self-Portraits of Helena Almeida – Hélia Correia: Epilogue: Anything But a Biography