Women, Revolution & Autobiographical Writing in the Twentieth Century

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This book considers issues of gender and representation through an analysis of twentieth-century female revolutionary figures from Ireland, Spain, Cuba, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Since revolutions (and their siblings—civil wars) occasion social transformation under often chaotic conditions, they open up space for the potential transformation of gender relations. These women’s life writings illustrate gender relations in flux, expose the political symbolism of the strong woman at moments of nation formation and transformation, and display the multiple ways that gender enters into literary, historical, and visual narratives.


“As their autobiographical writings testify, revolutionary women have been conscious that they emerge into public space at critical moments in history that redefine not only social relations and political institutions but gender definitions as well. Exceptional and yet highly symbolic figures, these women attract questions about self-representation as political representation ... The time has therefore come for close analysis of these texts and a reassessment of the women who authored them.” - Dr. Margaret R. Higonnet, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Connecticut

“In this original, inventive, and quite ingenious study of the writings of revolutionary women from Ireland, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Spain, Professor Byron succeeds impressively in enlarging our knowledge of the roles played by literary women in some of the best-known, though often imperfectly documented, military and political struggles that took place in the twentieth century.” - Dr. Eamonn Wall, Professor of English, University of Missouri - St. Louis

“This book will be of value to scholars interested in Ireland, Spain, and Latin America, as well as Women’s studies; the book is of particular use for individuals seeking to document an international view of women’s participation in progressive social movements throughout the twentieth century.” - Dr. Daniel J. Anderson, Associate Dean and Professor of Spanish, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, The University of Kansas

Table of Contents

Foreword - Revolutionary Women, Political
Actors - Dr. Margaret R. Higonnet
Introduction - Women, Revolution, and Representation
1 The Politics of Performance: Irish Revolutionaries Maud Gonne, Constance Markievicz, and Kathleen Clarke
2 Dolores Ibárruri and the Spanish Civil War
3 ¿La historia me absorberá?: Haydée Santamaría and the Cuban Revolution
4 Doris Tijerno: Revolution, Writing, and Resistance in Nicaragua
5 Women’s Prison Memoirs of El Salvador’s Civil War: Ana Guadalupe Martínez and Nidia Díaz

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