|About the Book|
The second half of the twentieth century marked the large scale entry of Mexican women into the literary and academic worlds. However, women who chose these careers faced multiple obstacles. In taking on a public role, women who pursued scholarly andMoreThe second half of the twentieth century marked the large scale entry of Mexican women into the literary and academic worlds. However, women who chose these careers faced multiple obstacles. In taking on a public role, women who pursued scholarly and literary enterprises had to create new paths and models as they struggled to be recognized as legitimate contributors to Mexican culture. While the Mexican writers Rosario Castellanos (1925-1974), Brianda Domecq (1942-) and Barbara Jacobs (1947-) have written extensively in other genres, all three have used the malleable characteristics of the essay form to persuade their audience to accept the thoughts and opinions of a female writer. In doing so, Castellanos, Domecq and Jacobs have managed to make important contributions to national and international conversations on a gamut of topics such as literature, politics and feminism while simultaneously cementing their image as writers.-This study defines and examines a subset of essays by Castellanos, Domecq and Jacobs categorized as intellectual autobiographical essays. In these essays Castellanos, Domecq and Jacobs share with the reader their experience as writers. Far from narcissistic, these essays subtly legitimize womens place in the literary world while also creating new spaces for self-expression. This study demonstrates that in order to achieve these goals, Castellanos, Domecq and Jacobs have employed a wide range of rhetorical strategies in their self-portrayals. These writers have had to consider the social mores of their time and decide whether to work within them, as Castellanos did- in defiance of them as Domecq has done- or create new models for dialogue altogether as Jacobs has done. When considering the intellectual autobiographical essays of Castellanos, Domecq and Jacobs, one can appreciate how they have mined the richness of the genre, personalizing it in a way that both confirms the authors individuality while relating the authors struggles to their audiences. In doing so, these three writers have created new models for women and new models for the essay.