Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Hispanic & Luso-Brazilian Literatures & Languages


Raquel Chang-Rodríguez


Elena Martínez

Committee Members

Elena Martínez

Oswaldo Zavala

Subject Categories

Latin American Literature


Colombian literature, 19th century


Josefa Acevedo de Gómez (1803-1861), a Colombian author, wrote biographies, poetry, and books and sketches of manners and customs. My dissertation presents a study and annotated edition of three of her prose works: Cuadros de la vida privada de algunos granadinos copiados al natural para instrucción y divertimiento de los curiosos [Scenes of the Private Life of New Granadines for the Instruction and Entertainment of the Curious] (1861), Biografía del doctor Diego Fernando Gómez [Biography of Doctor Diego Fernando Gómez] (1854), and Ensayo sobre los deberes de los casados [Essay on the Duties of Married Couples] (1844).

My research focuses on the relevance of Josefa Acevedo’s works as a precursor in the area of women’s writing in the first half of the nineteenth century. The Essay, her first book, was an editorial success in her time. She continued her literary achievements with the publication of an officially commissioned biography of her husband. Her last fiction work, Scenes of the Private Life, was published posthumously. This annotated edition clarifies unfamiliar vocabulary for current readers; however, it concentrates on historical notes since Acevedo’s books deal with the Independence, and civil wars period in the mid-1850s in Colombia.

The preliminary study is divided into four chapters. The first chapter presents a short biography of the author, a brief review of her publications, and contextualizes Essay and Biography in the flow of 19th century Colombian literature. The second chapter examines the sketches of manners and situates them within Spanish-American and Colombian literature; it also shows how Scenes of the Private Life fits in this group. The third chapter analyzes some literary topics of the period present in Acevedo’s works: representation of women and nation, the change from private to public spheres, the “ángel del hogar”, and the anxiety of authorship. It also emphasizes the author’s didactic goal stated on the prologue of these books. The fourth chapter deals with the link between press and literature during her time. It shows how Acevedo benefited from it and from her friendship with a circle of powerful men of letters. It also considers why Acevedo’s production, although successful during her time, was ignored for several decades. Through this research I aim to present the relevance of Josefa Acevedo, a forgotten woman author from 19th century Colombia.