Diamela Eltit

Diamela Eltit

Reading the Mother

Mary Green


Tamesis Books



The textual and linguistic emphasis on the maternal body in the narrative fiction of Diamela Eltit is fundamental to understanding the critical challenge posed by her work in the Chilean context.
The Chilean author, Diamela Eltit, whose work spans the periods of the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990) and the Transition to Democracy (1990-), is one of the most innovative and challenging writers in contemporary Latin America. This book focuses on the representation of motherhood in Eltit's first six novels and, through a chronological series of close readings, argues that the maternal body and mother-child relations are crucial for an understanding of the critical challenge posed by Eltit's narrative oeuvre, too frequently dismissed as 'hermetic'. An analysis of the novels' structure and language reveals how Eltit seeks to reconfigure the foundations of symbolic structures and so incorporate the mother as a subject. Although the study draws on a feminist psychoanalytic framework to explore Eltit's continuous disarticulation of key concepts that emanate from the West, specifically in relation to the formation of gender and sexuality, the work of the major Chilean cultural theorist, Nelly Richard, is also used to situate Eltit's work within the political and cultural context of Chile.

MARY GREEN lectures in Hispanic Studies at the University of Wales, Swansea.


November 2007
180 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Monografias A
ISBN: 9781855661554
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Tamesis Books
Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter   Pin it   Share by Email

Table of Contents

Language, Vision and Female Subjectivity in Lumpérica
Por la patria: Mother, Family and Nation
Motherhood and Masculinity in El cuarto mundo
Vaca sagrada: Violence, Abjection and the Maternal
Writing the Mother in Los vigilantes
The Myth of Motherhood in Los trabajadores de la muerte


Green's book is a lucid, comprehensive, and accessible study of this Chilean author, and will undoubtedly be useful to students and scholars of contemporary Chilean women's writing. With its specific focus on motherhood, it addresses some of the existing gaps in Eltit scholarship and should therefore be seen as an important contribution to our understanding of this writer and her work. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW

(An) excellent monograph. (It) is a well informed and meticulous study whose close readings open up meaningful avenues for reflection that will serve both experts and students. BULLETIN OF SPANISH STUDIES
Of great interest and great value to postgraduate students and academics. (...) Provide(s) a very useful indication of how texts, contexts, theories and perspectives can come together to illuminate new paths. JOURNAL OF IBERIAN AND LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES

Also by Author

Also in Series