Title

Challenging the Myth: Maria de Zayas's Novelas amorosas y ejemplares

Subject Area

Spanish Peninsular Studies

Abstract

The texts of María de Zayas, a seventeenth-century female writer who is considered by many critics of her works to be Spain’s first feminist author. In her first framed novella collection, Novelas amorosas y ejemplares (1637), she speaks out against the injustices early-modern women endured as a consequence of strict patriarchal rule. The widespread prevalence of myths surrounding women in patriarchal societies have allowed for continued cruelty and subordination of women. By using myths as a pretext, men have been able to carry out such treatment for centuries, free from blame, and maintaining a sense of validation in their wrong-doing. This paper analyzes a selection of short-stories from Zayas’s collection using the feminist theories of Simone de Beauvoir as developed in her book The Second Sex. Beauvoir goes into great detail in her analysis of myths and their function throughout history. Her fundamental point is that by attributing woman to Nature, man is able to conquer, control, violate, and ignore her, just as he would any other entity pertaining to it. When he is not able to achieve his goals, he attributes his misfortune to an inexplicable mystery hemmed in Nature. Specifically, in this paper I examine Novelas in order to show how men operating in Spain’s seventeenth-century patriarchal society do not view women as individuals capable of expressing the anguish they feel, but rather are disregarded by men as unexplainable creatures that only exist to satisfy heterosexual male desire and maintain the home.

Brief Bio Note

Valencia Tamper is a native of Birmingham, AL. She received a B.A. in Spanish from The University of South Alabama in 2006 and an M.A. in Spanish from Bowling Green State University in 2009. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Modern Languages and Classics at The University of Alabama. Her research interests include The Golden Age of Spanish literature and women writers of the early modern period.

Keywords

Women writers, Golden Age Spain, Myths, Gender inequality

Location

Room 211

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-26-2015 3:00 PM

End Date

3-26-2015 4:15 PM

Embargo

5-23-2017

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Mar 26th, 3:00 PM Mar 26th, 4:15 PM

Challenging the Myth: Maria de Zayas's Novelas amorosas y ejemplares

Room 211

The texts of María de Zayas, a seventeenth-century female writer who is considered by many critics of her works to be Spain’s first feminist author. In her first framed novella collection, Novelas amorosas y ejemplares (1637), she speaks out against the injustices early-modern women endured as a consequence of strict patriarchal rule. The widespread prevalence of myths surrounding women in patriarchal societies have allowed for continued cruelty and subordination of women. By using myths as a pretext, men have been able to carry out such treatment for centuries, free from blame, and maintaining a sense of validation in their wrong-doing. This paper analyzes a selection of short-stories from Zayas’s collection using the feminist theories of Simone de Beauvoir as developed in her book The Second Sex. Beauvoir goes into great detail in her analysis of myths and their function throughout history. Her fundamental point is that by attributing woman to Nature, man is able to conquer, control, violate, and ignore her, just as he would any other entity pertaining to it. When he is not able to achieve his goals, he attributes his misfortune to an inexplicable mystery hemmed in Nature. Specifically, in this paper I examine Novelas in order to show how men operating in Spain’s seventeenth-century patriarchal society do not view women as individuals capable of expressing the anguish they feel, but rather are disregarded by men as unexplainable creatures that only exist to satisfy heterosexual male desire and maintain the home.