Boschetto-Sandoval, Sandra M.
About the author: Sandra M. Boschetto-Sandoval is Associate Professor of Spanish Language and Latin American Studies in the Department of Humanities at Michigan Technological University. Her publications reflect her research interests in Latin American cultural studies and Latin American women writers. She is co-editor (with Ciro A. Sandoval) of José María Arguedas: Reconsiderations for Latin American Cultural Studies (Ohio University Press, 1998) and (with Marcia P. McGowan) of Claribel Alegría and Central American Literature: Critical Essays (Ohio University Press, 1994).2004 0-7734-6395-X
This thematic study is the only in-depth investigation into the fictional and testimonial literature of Amanda Labarca Hubertson, Chilean educator, reformer, and promoter of women’s rights. These imaginary writings include such little-known works as her semi-autobiographical novel, En tierras extrañas (1915), the short novel, La lámpara maravillosa (1921), the collection of short stories entitled “Cuentos a mi señor,” the testimonial Meditaciones and Meditaciones breves (1928-1931), and the “marginal” journal fragments, Desvelos en el alba (1945). A preliminary chapter also addresses the controversy surrounding her published literary thesis, La novela castellana de hoi [sic, 1906]. The study corrects some interpretive errors regarding earlier scholarship on Labarca’s perceived feminist writings by examining the sexual (gendered) complexities that imprint themselves in Labarca’s fictional work and literary criticism. While she may be criticized for omitting any materialist analysis of power, in her literature Labarca attempted to effect change in the social order by pointing out its contradictions. Paradoxically, a close reading of Labarca’s dangerously contradictory and yet amorous inner landscape recovers not only her desire to feminize patriarchal culture. It also uncovers a “more true self” struggling between “dispersion and continuity,” as she claimed throughout her extensive life and career.