This dissertation examines the distinct meanings of exile that embody Cuban women's experiences in the 20th and 21st centuries. This thesis centers on female-exiled subjects within the Cuban Diaspora. The focus is on two Cuban women writers living in exile, Zoé Valdés and Mayra Montero, noting the ways that exile constitutes a physical and emotional topos in their literature. Using exile theory along with feminist theory, this study analyzes the ways that these authors use women's bodies in exile as a discursive terrain of liberation. My analysis situates these negotiations of gender within a broader nexus of political and cultural discourses, in which women's struggles for recognition and equality intersect with complex issues of human rights and contested notions of Cuban identity. Valdés and Montero use their literature that focuses on women and their dreams as a way to oppose and critique their lack of power in Cuba and give women a voice in society. Through literary analysis and personal interviews with the authors, I demonstrate how women are placed in the center, away from the margins. While many studies center on Cuban diaspora writers in the United States, this study emphasizes those who have taken alternate routes, to Europe and the Caribbean. The novels by Valdés and Montero are in dialogue with other literary representations of Cuban exile, but emphasize their new places of residence.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2010. Major: Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Linguistics. Advisor: Luis A. Ramos-García. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 216 pages
Boelts, Sarah Anne Miller.
(Em)bodied exiles in contemporary Cuban literature: Zoé Valdés and Mayra Montero.
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