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Cecilia Enjuto Rangel: "Weaving National and Gender Politics: The Transatlantic Poetics of Rosalía de Castro and Julia de Burgos"
Cecilia Enjuto Rangel is Associate Professor of Spanish at the Romance Languages department, University of Oregon. Her book, Cities in Ruins in Modern Poetry (Purdue University Press, 2010), discusses the poetic critique of modern progress through the representation of ruins in Charles Baudelaire and Luis Cernuda, T.S. Eliot and Octavio Paz, Pablo Neruda and the Spanish Civil War poetics. She is currently working on The Iberian and Latin American Transatlantic Studies Reader, which she coedits with Sebastiaan Faber and Pedro García-Caro; and an introduction and edition of a historical testimony of the Spanish Civil War and the trial of Primo de Rivera. Her next monograph will focus on the contemporary cultural debate and the politics of memory from a Transatlantic perspective in Through Children’s Eyes: Remembering a History of Wars and Dictatorships in Spanish and Latin American Film and Literature.
Rosalía de Castro and Julia de Burgos are not usually read together. Castro, (1837-1885), was Galician, and Burgos, (1914-1953), Puerto Rican. However, both became symbols of their national literary traditions. This talk will discuss how Castro’s and Burgos’s works defy gender roles in their own terms and within their respective historical and national contexts. Rosalía de Castro played a crucial role in the cultural and political revalorization of Galicia. Even in 1986, the president of the Royal Galician Academy claimed that “Rosalía was Galicia, and Galicia was Rosalía.” In a similar way, Burgos also became the national female icon of Puerto Rican poetry, “nuestra Julia.” An essay on gender and national politics in their poetry would commonly point out that they both exploited and explored their marginality as women and compared sexual oppression to their respective national contexts. However, while Castro and Burgos evoke the myths of the mother, the mater dolorosa, the lover/heroine, and the voice of the people to serve their nationalist, anti-imperialist critique, their multi-layered gender constructions demystify the woman poet and the poetic process of creation.
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