Writer María Luisa Garza: Precursor of Hispanic Feminism
Turi, Luziris 1979-
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The beginning of the twentieth century marked a period of change for women; many Mexican were affected by the Mexican Revolution, Temperance and modernity. María Luisa Garza, an exiled elite woman, wrote and traveled between Texas and Mexico during this time. This dissertation takes a closer look at her literary production as seen in La Época and El Heraldo de México along with two of her novels: La novia de Nervo and Tentáculos de fuego. In approaching her journalistic production, this work traces the historical roots of the crónica genre up to its incarnation in U.S. Spanish-language newspapers. There is also a consideration of how the author’s gender and choice of literary genre matter. The crónicas are treated to close-readings with regards to: womanhood, class, the Mexican Revolution and femininity. This dissertation also provides a context for Garza’s novels and exposes her literary liberty when self-publishing them. What discursive growth or differences are apparent in the novels as compared to the crónicas? Lastly, Garza’s activism is vital to understanding her and the research here highlights her community involvement. Finally, the work here initiates a discussion of the theoretical tools necessary for this archival recovery. The U.S. Hispanic archive is still being recovered and most scholars are working with makeshift theories constructed from archival theories of writers from the United States or elsewhere. This dissertation also explores a theoretical framework with which future scholars can guide their own work. Moreover, this dissertation proposes that both U.S Hispanic literary studies and Chicana feminist history would benefit from taking a closer look at the work of these women. By exploring Chicana categories of identification that limit the literary figures deemed relevant and by making use of the theories proposed by Emma Pérez and Chela Sandoval, women like Garza can then be considered pertinent to Chicana studies. The type of archival recovery done for this research is developing as more archives are found and scholars develop the theoretical tools necessary for the analysis of said archives. This dissertation presents one possible mode of recovery and analysis for María Luisa Garza and women like her.