Mundos prohibidos: El poder en el discurso epistolar de Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda y Juana Borrero

Cointa G Martin, Florida International University


This dissertation analyses, through a theoretical framework and a critical approach, letters of Cuban writers Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda and Juana Borrero. While love letters have captured the interest of some scholars, such as Claudio Guillén, Cintio Vitier and Alexander Roselló Selimov, the conflict that the analysis of non-literary texts poses has prevented further research in this field. Therefore, I propose a systematic method of analysis encompassing but not limited to evaluating letters based on their purpose, intent, interpretation, and temporal and spatial composition; analyzing the perspective and function of epistolary entities, and examining the textual signs that distinguish the epistolary forms from the literary forms. With this analytical tool, I examine a selection of letters of Gómez de Avellaneda and demonstrate that the writer displaces her identify from the autobiographic self to the epistolary self, in order to manipulate the perspective of her addressee. Caught between the Neoclassical way of thinking and the Romantic aesthetics, her assertive discourse, also reflected in her epistolary work, contributed to the incursion of women writers into the social and professional life of the nineteen century. Following the same method of investigation, an analysis of letters written by Borrero proves that, by building a world of delusion, hallucination and fantasy the writer brings to prose what first generation of female modernistas had done in poetry. In both cases, my focus is on the strategies that turn these letters into instruments of power, process that transformed the love-letter paradigm and forever renovated the women epistolary genre. This dissertation further explores the possibility of initiating a cycle in the study of personal letters to uncover a forgotten genre, mission that might build a bridge to embrace the new forms of written communication that scholars have already begun to explore in contemporary literature.

Subject Area

Latin American literature|Language

Recommended Citation

Martin, Cointa G, "Mundos prohibidos: El poder en el discurso epistolar de Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda y Juana Borrero" (2012). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3554181.