Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Juan Torres-Pou

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Ricardo Castells

Third Advisor's Name

Santiago Juan-Navarro

Fourth Advisor's Name

Sherry Johnson


Catalan society, feminine literature, Dolors Monserdà, Maria Aurèlia Capmany, Esther Tusquets, Monserrat Roig

Date of Defense



This dissertation analyses, through a rhetorical framework and a literary approach, texts written in Catalan and Castilian by four Catalan female writers (Dolors Monserdà, Maria Aurèlia Capmany, Esther Tusquets, Monserrat Roig ), whose works cover from 1900 to the 1980. Utilizing this urban feminine literature, it discusses the historical-geographical vision about the changes in Catalan society during the twentieth century with its consequences for the urban space, especially the space occupied by women. It is also established that Barcelona’s recovery and literary vindication by women has been done through the written text, as literary affirmation and as a matter of conscience in which the city could not be summed up as a backdrop, but rather as an active part of a literary creation, active in the double sense, as a socio-historical space in the novel and as characteristic of their works.

The primary purpose of this dissertation is to demonstrate that the use of the city as a setting for the novels determines and characterizes those female writers’ texts. Consequently, these writings are literary material relevant and essential to the understanding of the Barcelonian women’s space. However their use of space is not arbitrary, on the contrary it corresponds to a social order established by the patriarchy where the relation of women to the world is embodied in the intentional and socially restricted space and movements of their bodies.

The theoretical perspectives of this study are based on Montserrat Roig’s feminist urban space theories. Her theory advocates the right to individuality, denouncing the patriarchal and hierarchical social system present in gendered space from the outside male world to the domestic feminized space. I also turn to the writings of Maria Aurèlia Capmany, who addresses cultural aspects of women’s roles revealing a purposive controlled patriarchal society according to a historical-geographical analysis. This study of texts permits a new reading of the Catalan capital and demonstrates that Catalan women writers have consciously willed to give birth to a new history of the city: the history of women as protagonist citizens, producers, reproducers, and consumers of the space represented by the Catalan capital





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