Female Writers in the Spanish Golden Age: María de Zayas

  • DATE

    10 September 2024

  • TIME

    6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome



In this series of four lectures, we will delve into the literary world of the Spanish Golden Age, understood as a transatlantic phenomenon.

We will start with Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, an icon of the Spanish-American Baroque and a key figure in colonial Latin American literature, who left behind a significant legacy not only in her books but also in the arts. Subsequently, we will explore the life of Erauso, also known as the Lieutenant Nun, whose autobiographical account challenges gender conventions and portrays a life marked by adventure and transgression. Maria de Zayas, a novelist and playwright, will guide us through a world of (proto)feminist fictions that subvert the literary standards of her time. We will conclude with Santa Teresa, whose personal experiences and mystical writings will transport us to a realm between the earthly and the spiritual. These four lectures will allow an analysis of the diversity of female voices and perspectives from a period marked by rebelliousness and creativity.

María de Zayas (1590-1648?) was a successful novelist and playwright in 17th-century Spain. Her Novelas amorosas y ejemplares [Exemplary Love Novels] (1637) and Desengaños amorosos [Love Disappointments] (1647), written following the model of Cervantes’ exemplary novels but with a gender twist, were extraordinarily popular. This third lecture will analyse some of Zayas’ (proto)feminist fictions, as well as her prefaces, where the author explicitly expresses her intention to give voice to women who do not have a voice in literature written by men. We will focus mainly on the short novel El prevenido engañado [Forewarned but Fooled] (1637), a satire against “ignorant men who condemn women’s intelligence”, in the author’s own words. We will also pay attention to her portrayal of minorities, particularly black characters.

Luis Castellví Laukamp is a Lecturer in Spanish Cultural Studies at the University of Manchester. His teaching and research interests range widely but mainly focus on the literatures and cultures of early modern Spain, Latin America and the Philippines. Central to his academic work are the theories and practices of poetic influence and transmission of culture in the early modern Hispanic world. He previously taught as an Affiliated Lecturer at the University of Cambridge, where he earned his PhD, and was a Humboldt postdoctoral scholar at Heidelberg University. Author of Hispanic Baroque Ekphrasis (2020), which has been translated into Spanish. Anchored in the emerging field of Pacific Rim Studies, his current research is devoted to the first Spanish chronicles written in Asia.