Maria de Zayas' status as a writer has been, for the longest time, a cold case. Only recently disinterred from history, literary critics have swarmed her textual body and have developed a bewildering array of leads for critical readings of her work. Is Zayas a protofeminist and social reformer, or rather are her views profoundly conservative and status quo? Is the sexualized violence in her work a deliberate and subversive technique, or just a way to cash in? Does she use her baroque sensibilities for particular ends, or does she merely use the prevailing norms? It appears that the recent academic criticism of Zayas has sought to pigeonhole her into one of these categories; these ideas will be further developed in chapter one of this study. Yet it is important for a reader to abandon these extreme views, and, instead of choosing one side or another, to challenge the binary thinking often underlying these questions. I see using the optic of the monstrous as a useful and distinctive tool to view the work of Zayas, especially considering the fact that Zayas herself has employed monstrosity to challenge common assumptions in her own day.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. January 2014. Major: Hispanic and Luso Literatures, Cultures & Linguistics. Advisor:Nicholas Spadaccini. 1 computer file (PDF); iii, 223 page.
Sanan-Estudillo, Alyssa Robyn.
Reconsidering the case of María de Zayas: readings through the optic of the monstrous.
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