TelaraÇñas: Rosa Chacel y la narrativa femenina de la vanguardia espaÇñola

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Leon-Blazquez, Lidia
The Graduate School, Stony Brook University: Stony Brook, NY.
This dissertation analyzes the narrative of Rosa Chacel (Valladolid 1898-Madrid 1994), comparing her to other women writers who participated in vanguard circles in Madrid and Barcelona, including the philosopher MarÇða Zambrano, the painter Remedios Varo, and writers MarÇða Teresa LeÇün, MercÇù Rodoreda, and Concha MǸndez. The analysis focuses on their usage of textile motifs to express their marginalization from the intellectual space of the avant-garde. Specifically, the thesis focuses on Chacel's rage resulting from her efforts to prove that she was a true vanguardist, and her frustration that she was ignored and belittled as a feminine writer. Her frustration is especially acute in the novels Teresa (1941) and Memorias de Leticia Valle (1945), the short story Ofrenda a una virgen loca (1961), and the first two books of her final trilogy La escuela de PlatÇün: Barrio de Maravillas (1976) and AcrÇüpolis (1984). This tension is expressed through a recurrent depiction of sewing scenes, an obsessive employment of textile-textual metaphors -like speech as thread-, and reinterpretations of the ancient myths of Arachne and Ariadne. Deploying references to needlework, Chacel alluded to the secular exclusion of women from the textual world of literature, a cultural strategy intended to produce an otherness, feminizing and relegating women to orality and material reproduction. But her work also reflected on women's relationship to language, developing metanarrative and theoretical reflections on what the canon had scornfully categorized as effeminate writing, which she interpreted as vanguardist style. The textile and the perception of the city as an irregular web, is the key through which she transformed her incompetent work into a subversive strategy against the teleology of patriarchal discourse. Chacel used it to undermine sexual gender, literary institution, and national narratives, underlining discontinuities and sutures, creating knots and interstices in the tissues of power, and entangling them into a labyrinthine felt. By doing this, she reformulated art's political agency as an immanent deconstruction, anticipating Kristeva's conceptualization of semiotic discourse and Butler's conception of performance, and revealing the hidden connections between the avant-garde and post-structuralism.