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Revista chilena de literatura

versión On-line ISSN 0718-2295


AMARO, Lorena. Short circuits (or the history of a critical denial): Los ojos de bambú, by Mercedes Valdivieso. Rev. chil. lit. [online]. 2021, n.104, pp.245-264. ISSN 0718-2295.

In Chile, critical tradition has built complex connections with female writers throughout the Twentieth Century. This topic has been addressed in its different nuances through texts of canonical female writers such as Mistral, Bombal, and Brunet. However, their texts were either devoid of their masculinizing operatives or reduced to their more harmless and conventional feminine aspects. This simultaneous movement of acceptance and rejection perpetuates today in different cultural spaces. Additionally, the fact that only a handful of ‘exceptional’ female writers inscribe in the literary field, ‘short circuits’ the spaces of feminine intersubjectivity, in words of the Catalan writer María-Mercè Marçal (in Torras y Pérez). The exceptional character of these authorships prompts some to shine while others are forgotten. Furthermore, exceptionality operates in various literary corpora: criticism frequently highlights one or two literary works from past writers. The rest remains invisible, contrary to the situation of the masculine canon. In the following article, I illustrate this process by salvaging the third novel written by Mercedes Valdivieso, Los Ojos de Bambú (1964), for analysis. Unlike other texts written by the author, it was not well-received by literary critics of the time, probably because the author refers to an untypical topic for women: the Chinese Communist Revolutionin the context of the Cold War.

Palabras clave : Chilean literary history; feminism; canon; misogyny; Mercedes Valdivieso.

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