Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures


Oswaldo Zavala

Committee Members

Esther Allen

Jose del Valle

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Caribbean Languages and Societies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Intellectual History | Latin American Languages and Societies | Latin American Literature | Religion | Spanish Literature | Women's Studies


Saint Teresa, Genealogy, Gabriela Mistral, Teresa Wilms, Juana de Ibarborou, Delmira Agustini, Alfonsina Storni, Alejandra Pizarnik, Dulce María Loynaz


This dissertation addresses for the first time a gender-based approach to the understanding of Spanish mystic Saint Teresa’s role as a symbol of feminism, language identity and creative writing theorization in 20th-century Latin American literature. Saint Teresa (1515-1582) was not only a model in her role as an intellectual for authors such as Delmira Agustini (1886-1914), Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957), Victoria Ocampo (1890-1979), Alfonsina Storni (1892-1938), Juana de Ibarborou (1892-1979), Teresa Wilms Montt (1893-1921), Dulce María Loynaz (1902-1997), Silvina Ocampo (1903-1993), Mercedes García Tudurí (1904-1997) y Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-1972), among others, but also a literary referent for those who described and historicized literature written by women over the past century. By focusing on women writers building their own Foucauldian Genealogy, I demonstrate the counter-hegemonic instrumentalization of the figure of Saint Teresa as a strategy of legitimation. Writers selecting precursors prepare their own future reception, but also modify our perception of the past. A new Transatlantic viewpoint on this reappropriation entails a symbolic re-reading of Teresa, in whose literature all these perceptions about language, exile, gender and genre potentially existed.

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