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Title:Bodies That Struggle: A Study of the Use of Illness in Spanish Women's Writing, 1880--1920
Author(s):Ragan, Robin Rene
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Tolliver, Joyce
Department / Program:Spanish
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Women's Studies
Abstract:My results show that women involved in the hygiene crusade embraced exercise and dress reform largely because of the social and political freedoms they saw as resulting from these reforms, as well as the benefits to their own health. For the literary section of this study, I focus on three separate illnesses, each as portrayed in a single fictional work. I study the representation of hysteria in Emilia Pardo Bazan's novel Los pazos de Ulloa and find that she offers explanations for women's illnesses that reject biological accounts so prevalent in her day. Concha Espina's novella "La mujer fria" analyzes the esthetic productions of illness. She ridicules cultural esthetics that idolize the sick or dead female body by pointing to the necrophilic tendencies in these representations and by uncovering the imbedded fear of female sexuality inherent to decadentist portrayals of dead women. Her parody suggests that the real illness lay not with the woman who is portrayed as ill, but rather with the portrayer. This chapter specifically looks at representations of tuberculosis in the period. Finally, Concha Espina's novel La esfinge maragata attacks the classist nature of cultural representations of beautiful sick women. Her novel points out the consequences of women's illness in working-class rural economies. At the same time, her novel ponders the agency found through illness, in spite of its debilitating effects. Moreover, her novel provides evidence to the cultural meaning of the term 'inapetencia' and its relationship to contemporary understandings of anorexia. Taken together these representations of illness and health provide Hispanists and historians alike with a view into the written work of a generation of Spain's first professional women.
Issue Date:2001
Description:259 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3017188
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2001

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