Strange Girls, Books, and Labyrinths: Women in Avant-Garde Spain

Elective Courses

CINE 385 - Strange Girls, Books, and Labyrinths: Women in Avant-Garde Spain

SPAN 386
401 |Lídía Léon-Blázquez |MWF 11am-12pm |WILL 3

In many senses, the avant-garde (what has usually named as the “Generation of 1927”) was the first moment in Spanish literary history when women earned a modest access to the fundamentally masculine world of intelligentsia. But what did it take to be regarded as a vanguard intellectual, when sewing, embroidering, and lace-making was all you had ever been taught at school? This course will explore the reiterative textile-textual trope found in the work of these female writers and artists, and their discussion on “género” –in the Spanish triple sense of textile fabric, sexual gender, and literary genre. We will focus on the recurring topics of the strange girl and the labyrinth –obsessed with books, labeled as perverse, rejecting needlework, and submerged in the entangled narratives of her own creation. We will watch films dealing with labyrinthine girlhood –like Víctor Erice’s “El Espíritu de la Colmena” (1973), Carlos Saura’s “Cría Cuervos” (1975), Peter Weir’s “Picnic at Hanging Rock” (1976), Jim Henson’s “Labyrinth” (1986), and Guillermo del Toro’s “El Laberinto del Fauno” (2006). Readings will include novels, short stories and autobiographic excerpts by authors such as María Teresa León, Rosa Chacel, Mercè Rodoreda, and Concha Méndez –as well as paintings by artists such as Remedios Varo. Our analysis will encompass their works in pre-Civil War Spain, as well as in post-war exile. Secondarily, we will observe their influence on Spanish women writers of a later generation, such as Carmen Laforet or Carmen Martín Gaite.

last updated 06/24/2014 - 12:45pm

Cinema Studies Program
209A Fisher-Bennett Hall ⋅ 3340 Walnut Street ⋅ Philadelphia, PA 19104 ⋅ (215) 898-8782