La madre muerta

El mito matricida en la literatura y el cine españoles

By María Asunción Gómez

La madre muerta

218 pp., 6 x 9, 2 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-3072-4
    Published: December 2016

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Distributed for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Romance Studies

Drawing on feminist psychoanalysis and Greek mythology, La madre muerta explores how matricide and unconscious matricidal fantasies have been portrayed in Spanish narrative, drama, and film. The book examines individual and social perceptions regarding gendered subjectivity, the operation of power relations, gender violence, and the economies of desire. It provides a comparative study of different theoretical approaches to matricide and a close reading of five films--Furtivos (1975) by José Luis Borau, Sonámbulos (1978) by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, La madre muerta (1993) by Juanma Bajo Ulloa, La madre (1995) by Miguel Bardem, and Los ojos de Julia (2010) by Guillem Morales; three novels--La familia de Pascual Duarte (1942) by Camilo José Cela, Isabel and Maria (1992) by Mercé Rodoreda, and La intimidad (1997) by Nuria Amat; and two plays--Clitemnestra (1986) by María José Ragué i Arias, and La reivindicació de la senyora Clito Mestres (1990) by Monserrat Roig. This study attempts to unveil the mechanisms by which the matricidal myth has been introduced and continues operative in twentieth and twenty-first century Spanish literature and film. It also explores the process of continuous reprojection of a phobic, monstrous mother figure associated with danger, persecution, and abjection, and suggests that the male fantasy of matricide does not necessarily reveal itself in the literal murder of the mother, but it is projected onto other women, thus leading to various acts of gender violence. In this study, Gómez claims that the absence of a positive symbolic mediation with the maternal body is detrimental for the configuration of gendered identities.

About the Author

María Asunción Gómez is associate professor of Spanish at Florida International University.
For more information about María Asunción Gómez, visit the Author Page.