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Isabel Allende's <I>House of the Spirits</I> Trilogy


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Allende's very popular novels have attracted both critical approval and opprobrium, often at the expense of genuine analysis. This sophisticated study explores the narrative architecture of Allende's House of the Spirits [1982], Daughter of Fortune [1999], and Portrait in Sepia [2000] as a trilogy, proposing that the places created in these novels subvert the patriarchal norms that have governed politics, sexuality, and ethnicity.
Rooted in the Foucauldian premise that the history of space is essentially the history of power, and supported by Susan Stanford Friedman's cultural geographies of encounter as well as Gloria Anzaldúa's study of borderlands, this study shows that, by rejecting traditional spatial hierarchies, Allende's trilogy systematically deterritorializes the elite while shifting the previously marginalized to the physical and thematic centers of her works. This movement provides the narrative energy which draws the reader into Allende's universe, and sustains the 'good story' for which she has been universally acclaimed.

KAREN WOOLEY MARTIN is Associate Professor of Spanish at Union University, Jackson, Tennessee.


[The] book offers a well-constructed example of the burgeoning field of geographically oriented analyses of Latin-American feminist writing. [...] Though sections of the book function as a catalogue of literary criticism, Wooley Martin's original feminist geographic readings of the trilogy deserve recognition. It is this analysis which underscores Allende's singular place in Latin-American and world literature. BULLETIN OF SPANISH STUDIES


First Published: 17 Jun 2010
13 Digit ISBN: 9781855662001
Pages: 206
Size: 15.6 x 23.4
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Tamesis Books
Series: Monografías A
Subject: Hispanic Studies
BIC Class: GTB

Details updated on 23 Apr 2014


  • 1  Introduction: Reading Space in the Trilogy
  • 2  
  • 3  Roots and Routes to Utopia: Imagined Geographies in Isabel Allende's Fictional Universe
  • 4  Literary Geographies, Borderlands, and the Boundaries of Identity
  • 5  Mapping Ethnicity: Race, Class and Mobility in the Trilogy's Newer Narratives
  • 6  : Navigating Socio-Political Borderlands in House and Nation
  • 7  Gendered Spaces and Border Crossings: Body/Space in the Trilogy
  • 8  Transcendent Spaces: Writing and Photography in the Trilogy
  • 9  Conclusions: Allende's Contested Universe

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