Jennifer Smith

Dec 3, 2022

Women, Mysticism, and Hysteria in Fin-De-Siècle Spain

Vanderbilt University Press 2021

Women, Mysticism, and Hysteria in Fin-De-Siècle Spain (Vanderbilt UP, 2021) argues that the reinterpretation of female mysticism as hysteria and nymphomania in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Spain was part of a larger project to suppress the growing female emancipation movement by sexualizing the female subject. This archival-historical work highlights the phenomenon in medical, social, and literary texts of the time, illustrating that despite many liberals' hostility toward the Church, secular doctors and intellectuals employed strikingly similar paradigms to those through which the early modern Spanish Church castigated female mysticism as demonic possession.

Author Jennifer Smith also directs modern historians to the writings of Emilia Pardo Bazán (1851-1921) as a thinker whose work points out mysticism's subversive potential in terms of the patriarchal order. The only woman author studied here, Pardo Bazán, unlike her male counterparts, rejected the hysteria diagnosis and promoted mysticism as a path for women's personal development and self-realization.

Jennifer Smith is an associate professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Languages, Cultures, and International Trade at Southern Illinois University.

Carmen Gomez-Galisteo, Ph.D. is a lecturer at Centro de Educación Superior de Enseñanza e Investigación Educativa (CEIE).

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Carmen Gomez-Galisteo

Carmen Gomez-Galisteo, Ph.D. is a lecturer at Centro de Educación Superior de Enseñanza e Investigación Educativa (CEIE).

She is the author of The Wind is Never Gone: Sequels, Parodies and Rewritings of Gone With the Wind (McFarland, 2011), Early Visions and Representations of America: Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca’s Naufragios and William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation (Bloomsbury, 2013) and A Successful Novel Must be in Want of a Sequel (McFarland, 2018).

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