Women defending themselves: Cuban Romantic feminine voices (poetry and short stories)

Luis Marcelino Gomez, Florida International University


Throughout history, women have played an important role in literature. Nevertheless, since Sappho's poetry until now, feminine voices have had to struggle for recognition of their works. ^ Before the nineteenth century, women were almost ignored in Spanish literature. Society kept them as “ángeles de la familia,” taking care of their homes, husbands, and children. Some of them, such as María de Zayas y Sotomayor in Spain and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in Mexico, complained about their situation in their writings. However, they expressed their fight not as a generation but as individuals. ^ In the nineteenth century, the ideas and ideals of Romanticism, were brought to Latin America from Europe. Cuba was among those countries where the new movement took roots. Initiated by Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, a group of women began to participate in literary reunions, and to found newspapers and magazines where works authored by women, dedicated to feminist ideas, were published. They indeed through literature started to live out womanhood in order to intellectually leave the ideological prisons where society had been keeping them. ^ This study scans the literary works of all Romantic women writers in Cuba. It specifically analyzes poetry and short stories, and investigates how these authors expressed themselves in their works against the patriarchal society, where they lived and wrote their books. An eclectic critical method has been used. ^ Findings were very revealing. Only three of the fourteen writers studied in my dissertation had been previously mentioned by major critics. Most of them had been ignored. However, the greatest discovery was that they prompted something new: For the first time they projected themselves as a group, as a collective consciousness, and this fact established a difference with former women writers in Cuban literature before Romanticism. In other words, they produced a “Renaissance” in Cuba's literature. In spite of how they lived between 1820 and 1900, their struggles for women's rights have linked them to our current times. ^

Subject Area

Literature, Latin American|Literature, Caribbean|Women's Studies

Recommended Citation

Gomez, Luis Marcelino, "Women defending themselves: Cuban Romantic feminine voices (poetry and short stories)" (2001). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3023725.