Cover image for Fictions of the Feminine in the Nineteenth-Century Spanish Press By Lou Charnon-Deutsch

Fictions of the Feminine in the Nineteenth-Century Spanish Press

Lou Charnon-Deutsch

BUY

$87.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-01913-0

328 pages
8.5" × 11"
192 b&w illustrations
1999

Studies in Romance Literatures

Fictions of the Feminine in the Nineteenth-Century Spanish Press

Lou Charnon-Deutsch

Fictions of the Feminine is a well-conceived and eloquently argued book that breaks new ground in nineteenth-century Spanish feminist and cultural studies. Each chapter forms a cohesive unit, with the illustrations, numerous and well chosen, facilitating the understanding of the overall project of the book. The thoroughness of the research involved in its preparation (over two thousand images were consulted by the author), together with her original commentaries on these images, is indeed impressive. Charnon-Deutsch should be commended for a superb job in combining her knowledge of nineteenth-century history, politics, and culture (including a variety of representational media, from ‘high’ literature to popular magazines) with the critical insights of contemporary feminist, psychoanalytic, and cultural theories. Fictions of the Feminine represents the best in nineteenth-century Spanish feminist and cultural criticism and will be indispensable reading for all those interested in nineteenth-century literary, cultural, and gender studies.”

 

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A 2000 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

How was the female body perceived in the popular culture of late nineteenth-century Spain? Using a wide array of images from popular magazines of the day, Lou Charnon-Deutsch finds that women were typically presented in ways that were reassuring to the emerging bourgeois culture.

Charnon-Deutsch organizes the 190 images reproduced in this book into six broad categories, or "fictions of the feminine": she reads women's bodies as a romantic symbol of beauty or evil, as a privileged link with the natural order, as a font of male inspiration, as a mouthpiece of bourgeois mores, as a focalized point of male fear and desire, and as an eroticized expression of Spanish exoticism and political ambitions. These imaginary visions of femininity, Charnon-Deutsch argues, were a response to, and also helped to create, gendered stereotypes by suggesting ideal feminine behavior and poses. Further, they comprised a reassuring "between-male" cultural medium that provided graphic validation of women's docile body for a culture enthralled with femininity.

Integrating the fields of literature and cultural studies, Charnon-Deutsch's approach to this subject is unique. Many of the images collected here are available for the first time, and they represent only a fraction of the two thousand images Charnon-Deutsch collected during her research. This book will appeal to students of Spanish cultural studies and gender studies, as well as to art historians.

Fictions of the Feminine is a well-conceived and eloquently argued book that breaks new ground in nineteenth-century Spanish feminist and cultural studies. Each chapter forms a cohesive unit, with the illustrations, numerous and well chosen, facilitating the understanding of the overall project of the book. The thoroughness of the research involved in its preparation (over two thousand images were consulted by the author), together with her original commentaries on these images, is indeed impressive. Charnon-Deutsch should be commended for a superb job in combining her knowledge of nineteenth-century history, politics, and culture (including a variety of representational media, from ‘high’ literature to popular magazines) with the critical insights of contemporary feminist, psychoanalytic, and cultural theories. Fictions of the Feminine represents the best in nineteenth-century Spanish feminist and cultural criticism and will be indispensable reading for all those interested in nineteenth-century literary, cultural, and gender studies.”
“Time will come when students of Spanish literature and culture will ask the librarians of their institutions to ensure that they have ‘the Charnon-Deutsch trilogy.’ Although not overtly billed as being a companion volume to Lou Charnon-Deutsch’s two landmark books of the 1990s which deal with late nineteenth-century fiction (Gender and Representation: Women in Nineteenth-Century Spanish Realist Fiction and Narratives of Desire: Nineteenth-Century Spanish Fiction by Women , Penn State), this handsomely illustrated volume forms a complementary third corner to them.”

Lou Charnon-Deutsch is Professor of Hispanic Languages at the State University of New York–Stony Brook. Her previous books include The Nineteenth-Century Spanish Short Story: Textual Strategies of a Genre in Evolution (1985), Gender and Representation: Women in Nineteenth-Century Spanish Realist Fiction (1990), and Narratives of Desire: Nineteenth-Century Spanish Fiction by Women (1994).

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