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Diaries, letters and reflections: life-writing in Carmen Martín Gaite's Cuadernos de Todo and her novels of the 1990s

Blanco, M.-J.; (2010) Diaries, letters and reflections: life-writing in Carmen Martín Gaite's Cuadernos de Todo and her novels of the 1990s. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis examines the various kinds of material (including diary-style writing, impressions of people and places, and notes on work in progress) collected in Carmen Martìn Gaite's Cuadernos de todo and subsequently considers the significance of diaries, letters, and life-writing in her novels of the 1990s. After observations on the importance of diaries and letters in women‟s literature, there is an assessment of such narrative material in the contemporary novel and references to how Foucault's essay on 'self-writing' serves to channel the ideas of the self-reflective capacities of letters and diaries. There follows an examination of Cuadernos de todo, with particular reference to the use of diaries and letters in Martín Gaite's work, their relationship to the 'writing-cure'. The section dedicated to Cuadernos de todo opens with an analysis of the first cuadernos (which were written in the 1960s) as notebooks used by the author as a site for her reflections on society and other matters, themes which are developed in her later novels. Next, there is a discussion of how Martín Gaite used these cuadernos as a writer‟s notebooks, for developing ideas on her novels and essays, showing the close link between the authors 'diaries' and her work, between life and literature. The cuadernos americanos constitute the last part of the assessment of Cuadernos de todo. Written during different periods the author spent on lecture-tours and as a university teacher in the United States, these cuadernos americanos are particularly significant for her development as a novelist. They reveal a new approach to diary-writing as, free from the family and the social commitments she had in Spain, the author found more time for reflection. The last of the cuadernos americanos is also a clear example of the use of diary writing as therapy, of the 'writing-cure'. The final part of the thesis focuses on Martìn Gaite's four novels of the 1990s – in which the use of diaries, letters, and life-writing is especially significant. Here the theories of Donald Winnicott and Nancy Chodorow on child development and motherhood, themes which run troughout Martín Gaite's writing, are discussed to shed additional light on the author's approach to life-writing and fiction.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Diaries, letters and reflections: life-writing in Carmen Martín Gaite's Cuadernos de Todo and her novels of the 1990s
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of EU Langs, Culture and Society > Spanish and Latin American Studies

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