She wrote in many genres, including novels, short stories, and essays. She also wrote screenplays. Her parents had met in Salamanca , where her father worked as a notary. Her maternal grandparents were from Orense and her mother was also born in this province of Spain.
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She is prone to blur the boundaries among these different forms, and her essays contain narrative, dramatic, and lyrical elements. Her writing revolves around a core of abiding preoccupations: problems of communication in life and in literature, the complexity of emotional attachments, and the relationship between past and present. In it she emphasized the primacy of our need for interlocution, arguing that both speech and writing originate in the desire to break out of our solitude and find an audience for our words.
Speaker and writer alike seek to establish and maintain contact with a receptive listener or reader; the writer enjoys the advantage of being able to invent that ideal figure.
Basic to the familiar essay is a relationship of intimacy between writer and reader, the former seeming to speak directly to the latter. The voice heard is that of an intelligent, educated, cultured woman who was 11 when the Spanish Civil War broke out and who lived through the dreariness and repression of the postwar era.
Many of her readers also have direct knowledge of that period, and shared experience constitutes a special bond between them and the writer. Quotations from publications of the time hold up to ridicule the restrictive ideology expressed by the more retrograde elements of society, and irony and humor underscore the absurdity of their moral strictures.
Descriptions of the feminine ideal promulgated by the latter, courtship rituals, cinematic fare, and fashions make for a vivid and often poignant picture of what it was like to grow up female in the Spain of the s. Windows, which allow us to see without being seen, have traditionally been observation points for Spanish women, shut in and away from the world. Windows, she argues, impose a distinctive focus upon our perceptions and situate us in a concrete reality.
The inclusion of seven prologues hints at the leisurely pace of what is to follow and its digressive structure, but the jottings all bear upon the art of storytelling and are strategically positioned despite their seeming disorder. We, the readers, are cast in the role of traveling companions and conversational partners to whom she repeatedly stretches out her hand so as to make contact and invite us to engage in a dialogue with her. In the opening paragraph of El cuento de nunca acabar she compares the process of writing the book to embarking on a voyage along a river swollen by water from various tributaries her previous works, other journeys, her first readings, youthful visions and desires and fed by a subaqueous current the conversations she has heard during her lifetime.
The creation of a persona is one more strategy in the game of literature that Martin Gaite plays so well and with such relish. Although she is best known for her fiction, she is also a talented essayist, and this aspect of her writing is gaining increasing criticai attention.
Biography Born 8 December in Salamanca. Studied at the Feminine Institute of Salamanca; University of Salamanca, —48, degree in romance philology, ; University of Madrid, doctorate, Writer-in-residence, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Further Reading Bergmann, Emilie L. Please contact the author for suggestions or further informations: architects.
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Books by Carmen Martín Gaite
ISBN 13: 9780892951048
Catalog Record: Maternal voice in the fiction of Carmen Martin Gaite | HathiTrust Digital Library