Resistencia al matrimonio desde la novela de las novelistas españolas del periodo de la Restauración: La Mujer Nueva vs. el ángel del hogar

Conchita Espino-Bravo, Purdue University


Marriage in the nineteenth century is used to create a new order, a new society that controls women, their behavior, and their education, so that they stay outside the public sphere, the male domain. The study of marriage in the nineteenth century Spanish novel will illuminate how literature served to support the vision of the Spanish State. This dissertation shows that the creation of the Angel of the House in nineteenth century Spain was related to the creation of the Spanish Nation/Novel. The "Angel of the House" was a term used in the nineteenth century social and literary arenas that made reference to a Christian married woman, who took care of her family and her home. In literature, male writers supported this new female model by focusing on topics of domestic life. They presented a world order where women were controlled in terms of behavior, education, and movement. Emilia Pardo Bazán (1851-1921) and Carmen de Burgos (1867-1932) were permitted to work in this male dominated literary world and accomplished this by using the language and themes of their male counterparts, the language of realism and naturalism. They created realist novels that criticized the political and social agenda (even the literary agenda) of their time. Both writers seem to agree in the destruction of the Angel, and therefore the institution of marriage had to change. Both writers also presented a better model for women, which would have more education and would question the rights women had in that society. That woman would be "La Mujer Nueva." In the case of both male and female writers, marriage is a vehicle for projecting desires of control in the larger political and public realm. I discuss how problematic it was to be a female writer in the nineteenth century, taking into consideration recent US scholarly approaches developed under the influence of Feminist Theory and Cultural Studies. In analyzing the novels of these two female writers, and in contrasting them to the novels of the male writers, we discover how different their perspectives and expectations were with respect to women and the roles they had to fulfill in nineteenth century Spanish society.




Sanchez-Llama, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Romance literature|Womens studies

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