|Through the analysis of six Spanish novels, one for each decade
from the 1940s through the 1990s, Rodríguez proposes a
new concept of the novel of feminine development and emphasizes
the importance of the voicing of women's sentiments, passions,
desires, and opinions that have not been expressed before in
the literature of Spain. The study begins with Nada by
Carmen Laforet, and continues with La playa de los locos
by Elena Soriano, La plaça del Diamant by Mercè
Rodoreda, two stories from Te dejo el mar by Carme Riera,
Los perros de Hécate by Carmen Gómez Ojea,
and Efectos secundarios by Luisa Etxenike.
In these texts, "la mujer española" of official
discourse of the Franco period--woman as wife and mother as the
most desirable possibilities of realization and development--is
deconstructed into a multitude of vital, affective, and sexual
options that confront this domestic image. These novels highlight
the diversity of the feminine experience in the twentieth century
and encourage us to question models of development that are monolithic
"With erudition and conciseness, the Introduction of this first-rate
study of six representative novels by Spanish women writers traces the
critical history of the Bildungsroman from its German roots....
Vidas impropias not only offers reinterpretations (and, for
the most recent novel, pioneering interpretations) of important works
of fiction; read together these works bolster each others' rejection
of Spanish-Catholic feminine norms and deepen the significance of ties
both social and erotic among women.... Each chapter concludes with a
section that relates its insights to specific socio-political conditions
of women's lives from the historical context.... Rodriguez has accomplished
her task of proving that an evolution in the novel of development has
taken place. And in the process she has contributed provocatively and
usefully to the critical picture of these crucial works of fiction."
Elizabeth Scarlett, Anales de la Literatura Española Contemporánea
For the complete review, see Anales de la Literatura Española
Contemporánea 27.2 (2002): 635-37.
"This book is imaginative, informative, innovative, and well written.
Rodríguez has chosen several very interesting and important narratives
to explore the development of prose fiction by and about women within
the contexts offered by a number of Colleges of criticism, from classics
such as Lacan and Barthes to various Colleges of thought that intersect
with her study: feminism, queer studies, Bildungsroman, auto/biographical
works, revisions of the canon, and studies of the body/writing conundrum."
Kathleen McNerney, author of Voices and Visions: The Words and Works
of Mercè Rodoreda
"...an outstanding study of the female protagonist as depicted
through six decades of Spanish post-War narrative. This book, which
will certainly appeal to Hispanists and feminists, contains a rhetoric
that is sophisticated but still accessible to the general reader interested
in any of the numerous authors treated in this study....The blend of
close textual examination with careful secondary research makes for
an enlightening and original study of the female protagonist that adds
significantly to the corpus of works about female authors of twentieth-century
Spain." Ellen Mayock, Letras Femeninas
For the complete review, see Letras Femeninas 27.1 (May 2001):
"Rodríguez's book is a welcome addition to this growing
corpus of critical studies on contemporary Spanish women's fiction....The
book as a whole presents some original and engaging readings, particularly
of texts that have suffered previously from critical neglect."
Akiko Tsuchiya, Revista de Estudios Hispánicos
For the complete review, see Revista de Estudios Hispánicos
35.2 (May 2001): 440-42.
"… this book offers an interesting and original contribution
to the study of Peninsular women's writing, concentrating on a
variety of texts spanning six decades." —María
Cinta Ramblado-Minero, Modern Language Review
For the complete review, see Modern Language Review
97.4 (2002): 1010-11.
For another review, see Confluencia, Spring 2002 (by Asunción
María Pilar Rodríguez, Deusto University, is the author
of articles on feminism, exile, and Basque literature and film.
1-55753-164-1 In Spanish.
2000. Vol. 19. xii, 222 pp. Cloth $29.95 PRICE REDUCED