At the end of a millenium : the Argentinean novel written by women
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The novel in twentieth century Latin-America has played a crucial role in the cultural exposure of the region, in individual and collective identity formation and socio-political commentary, as well as serving as the platform of classical romance writing. For the last thirty to forty years, women's increased participation has left a significant mark on literary developments in Latin America. They have provided a more pluralistic, representative and alternative picture of life and society in Latin America. Argentina has been no exception in this regard. I propose to investigate the continuing legacy of women’s literature in Argentina by focusing on the literary production of a group of Argentinean female novelists of the 1990s. This dissertation will examine the following novels of three Argentinean contemporary writers: Susana Silvestre’s No te olvides de mí (1995), Gloria Pampillo’s Costanera Sur (1995) and Liliana Díaz Mindurry’s Pequeña música nocturna (1998). I will examine each text individually, textually and contextually, both as a literary construction and as a vehicle for the authors’ ideas and opinions about women's role and place in society. I will examine the Argentinean texts within a postmodern and specifically feminist critical framework. viii Feminism will be understood as a political instrument that aims at achieving rights and conquering new terrain for women, both socially and personally. I will organize my dissertation as follows. First, I will situate the contemporary Argentinean novel within a historical perspective; second, I will focus on the theoretical concerns of postmodernism and feminism in particular to show how the novels reveal women’s changing identity and their place in society. Then, I analyze each text by focusing on thematic issues and exploring women’s personal, political and sexual identity formation. I also study the use of fragmented narrative structures and mixed literary genres. Finally, I demonstrate how these novels take part in the contemporary international critical debates on feminism and postmodernism through their denounciation of women’s position in modern Argentinean society. I will argue that in their novels the Argentinean women writers of the 1990s portray a society in which gender-based power struggles constantly occur. I will demonstrate how the texts share a uniform message about women’s subordination in society. Further, I will argue that each of these writers, in her own voice, makes a feminist statement on the subaltern status of women. These Argentinean novelists also present alternative role models for the new millennium, through their creation of independent protagonists and through their own example as writers. They enact the deconstruction of the masternarrative, invite future women writers to continue in this revisionist project, and urge them to join a newly created sphere from whence contemporary women writers can speak openly and rewardingly.