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The most significant contribution of this doctoral thesis is the confirmation that female Basque writers of contemporary novels use female protagonists in their narrative structure. Here it should be added that female novelists even go as far as proposing a new female protagonist, and to this endhave used a number of strategies quoted by feminist critics.
It could be said that female writers have adapted the appropriate female protagonist to each discourse, thus proposing new management formats for bodies and spaces, and experiences and uncertainties in response to the central theme, and also insinuating new constellations of relations between women, or using the crisis of the traditional family as a reference.
These conclusions are the product of a 1979-2009 female Basque writers’ research corpus. During this period female Basque writers produced 27 novels focusing on female subjects, and a further 9 novels on collective or male subjects.
A number of corpus criteria have usually been employed to produce the analysis of this thesis, the subject and objective of which are the characteristics of female protagonists in literature and trends in contemporary Basque narrative.
A number of corpus criteria have usually been employed to produce the analysis of this thesis, the subject and objective of which are the characteristics of female protagonists in literature and trends in contemporary Basque narrative. Thus the corpus is demonstrated by placing it within a research period (1979-2009); restricting it to the world of novels, and setting boundaries as the work produced by female writers. It should be said that 1979 has been taken as the starting point of thesis research, since this was the year in which the modern female first appeared in Basque literature, the character of the Mother in Arantxa Urretabizkaia’s Zergatik panpox (1979). Not only was this character literature’s first female protagonist, but she also evoked issues in relation to the freedom-for-women movement of the 70s: relationships between couples, motherhood, women’s bodies, women’s voices, contraceptives, deadening daily routine etc.
With this in mind, the thesis wishes to use the Mother in Zergatik panpoxas a contribution, as an ingredient to extend the short history of Basque literary characters as covered by Basque bibliographical critics. Until now the short history of Basque literary characters, Txomin Agirre’s Joanes the shepherd (Garoa, 1912), simple folk, the paradigm of chapel-and-farmhouse backdrops; Txillardegi’s Leturia (Leturia egunkari ezkutua, 1957), a comprehensive character of post-industrialised society and Saizarbitoria’s “Chatter” (Egunero hasten delako, 1979), had been composed of nameless post-modern personages. Thus the idea is to focus on the mother in Zergatik panpox, since this character was not only the first female protagonist in literature, but also because it is a postmodern creation and the first vehicle expressing women’s issues in contemporary novels.
The thesis has taken account of contributions from different theoretical-methodological paradigms to enable the study of literary characters in a systematic fashion. Narratology and semiotics were taken into consideration to conduct an internal study of the text, whereas psychological schools of thought, Marxist and feminist critiques, were employed to examine the other side of the text. In Anglo-Saxon terminology, the term “feminist agenda” is used to decry the reiterative use made by women of both forms and themes. In our attempt to analyse the corpus, in due consideration of these central themes, we divided the investigation into five chapters - memory and autobiography mode; gender violence; discourse on motherhood; a rewriting of gender, sex, nation and women; and the case of detective novels.
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