The underground woman: Male antiheroes and female agency in Cristina Fernández Cubas

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The underground woman: Male antiheroes and female agency in Cristina Fernández Cubas

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Title: The underground woman: Male antiheroes and female agency in Cristina Fernández Cubas
Author: Geoffrion-Vinci, Michelle C.
Abstract: In striking resonance with Doestoevsky’s Underground Man, the seminal antihero of the twentieth century, the male ‘‘antimodels’’ in Cristina Fernández Cubas’s 1990 anthology El ángulo del horror fail by deliberate strategy to live up to societal expectations and assumptions. The detached, self-absorbed and selfmocking personae in this collection are each the product of a kind of physical or emotional suffering that makes it impossible for them to be anything but selfserving in their attitudes and goals. Often narrating in first person, the images they create of themselves are deliberately ugly yet forthright, ironic, and curiously appealing. Together they embody the quintessential antihero, a leitmotiv with a rich history in the literature of Spain and elsewhere. In this way, they destabilize the traditional order of things and insist that we reconsider our society, ourselves. What’s more, they suggest another kind of ideal, another litmus test for what is ‘‘acceptable.’’ This opens up a whole realm of possibilities for all associated literary characters. Through their relationship with antiheroes, women characters manage to negotiate successfully a far wider range of roles, behaviors and circumstances than would otherwise have been sanctioned within societal boundaries.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10385/657
Date: 2009

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