Writing Women in Central America: Gender and the Fictionalization of History
by Laura Barbas-Rhoden
Ohio University Press, 2003
eISBN: 978-0-89680-446-3 | Paper: 978-0-89680-233-9
Library of Congress Classification PQ7471.5.B37 2003
Dewey Decimal Classification 863.609928709728


What is the relationship between history and fiction in a place with a contentious past? And of what concern is gender in the telling of stories about that past?

Writing Women in Central America explores these questions as it considers key Central American texts. This study analyzes how authors appropriate history to confront the rhetoric of the state, global economic powers, and even dissident groups within their own cultures. Laura Barbas-Rhoden winds a common thread in the literary imaginations of Claribel Alegría, Rosario Aguilar, Gioconda Belli, and Tatiana Lobo and shows how these writers offer provocative supplements to the historical record.

Writing Women in Central America considers more than a dozen narratives in which the authors craft their own interpretations of history to make room for women, indigenous peoples, and Afro-Latin Americans. Some of the texts reveal silences in the narratives of empire- and nation-building. Others reinterpret events to highlight the struggle of marginalized peoples for dignity and humanity in the face of oppression. All confront the ways in which stories have been told about the past.

Yet ultimately, Professor Barbas-Rhoden asserts, all concern the present and the future. As seen in Writing Women in Central America, though their fictions are historical, the writers direct their readers beyond the present toward a more just future for all who live in Central America.

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