Metaphors of suffering : the representation of the homosexual and the lesbian as social and discursive constructs in Spanish peninsular narrative texts, 1970-2000
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Studies of the homosexual and lesbian as he/she is represented in Spanish peninsular narrative texts of the twentieth century have spoken mainly of the silence that surrounds these particular identities and space and of their pathologisation by psychiatry and medicine. Although this thesis engages with both these problematic issues, its main purpose is to study the representation of the homosexual and the lesbian as social and discursive constructs in a selection of Spanish peninsular narrative texts published between 1970 and 2000. Relevant to this constructionist scenario are the ways in which the various authors represent the determining effect of discursive practices and codes, and particularly those of religion, medicine and the State, on the subject's self-determination as homosexual or lesbian. Equally significant is the representation of homosexual and lesbian identities as contingent upon the social, political, and historical moment in which the male/female is placed. The selected texts include Eduardo Mendicutti's ‘El palomo cojo’, Ana María Moix's ‘Julia’, Jesús Alviz's ‘Calle Urano’, Miguel Espinosa's ‘La tríbada falsaria’ and Carme Riera's "Te dejo, amor, en prenda el mar" and Eduardo Mendicutti's "El milagro". In these texts characters are represented taking up either a homosexual or lesbian identity as the result of the discursive practices and codes of the surrounding social/sexual scene. Also represented are the suffering, pain and alienation that accrue to those categorised as sexually perverse, as well as the silence that surrounds closeted positionalities and space. In consonance with the liberal mood of Spain's "destape", the various texts also demonstrate the possibility of characters answering back and challenging the credibility of the status quo that labelled him/her as homosexual/lesbian in the first place. The analysis of the selected texts is based on a variety of theoretical and philosophical observations relating to sexuality, language, identity, gender and desire. Particularly useful have been Michel Foucault's ‘History of Sexuality’ Vol. 1, J. L. Austin's ‘How to Do Things with Words’ and Judith Butler's ‘Gender Trouble’. Raymond Williams's vignette entitled "Dominant, Residual, and Emergent" in ‘Marxism and Literature’ has also proved illuminating and pertinent.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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