From angels to agents: women, travel, and nation-building in Nineteenth-century Argentine literature
Abstract This dissertation examines how women were represented in nineteenth-century Argentine literature through the evaluation of the societal functions of women in literary texts and by investigating what power women employed in these writings. I explore what challenges were made toward traditional female characterizations and gender roles to analyze what advancements occurred for women of this time period as reflected in the literature. I also investigate if this literature contributes to a feminist perspective. The main objectives of this study are to further develop our understanding of women as active participants in the public/private sphere, to demonstrate how literature of this time period can be a tool to exercise female agency, and to explore how these literary works contribute to the renegotiation of traditional binaries such as public/private and male/female. I study antirrosista texts and travel narratives to assert that some women authors employed these genres to destabilize conventional gender roles and identities to rebel against patriarchal attempts to restrict and control female identity and positions in society. The findings of this research offer insight into how female agency was established in nineteenth-century Argentine literature through the position of heroine and the construction of alternative female models of identity through gender inversion, blurring gender lines, or, in some cases, directly contesting gender divisions. This research also affirms that antirrosista literature and travel narratives are mutually informing and co-implicating due to their status as resistance literature.