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Spanish Literature  
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The protagonist, Ana, has a gay friend named Cecilio who suffers a "tortured" homosexuality. There is a faint echo of La Regenta in the similarity of names in the two works. For Ana, Cecilio comes to symbolize a collapse of faith in heterosexual coupling.

Here "couple" is plainly a heterosexual term since the homosexual, as usual, is isolated. Both in Crónica del desamor and in Montero's later novel, La función delta (The Delta Function [1981]), homosexuality--male in both cases--represents the ultimate impossibility of heterosexual relationships.

Two additional Spanish novelists who take up the theme of homosexuality are Carmen Riera and Marta Portal.

Riera, like other writers who emerged in the post-Franco period, uses homosexuality as one tool among many to attack the repression of the former regime. Her Palabra de mujer (A Woman's Word [1980]) is a tale of love told through remembrances. The name of the remembered lover is withheld until the very end so that the reader is shocked to suddenly discover that she was a woman.

Portal turns to lesbianism in her 1983 novel, Un espacio erótico (An Erotic Space). The work revolves around Elvira, who has an erotic experience with her female cousin, Elena. This experience, like that of Tusquets's protagonist-narrator in El mismo mar, Martín in Laforet's Insolación, and Cernuda's poetic voice, has the effect of freeing the protagonist so that she can express herself as a writer.


Despite the liberalization of attitudes toward homosexuality that marks post-Franco Spain, gay men and lesbians are by no means fully accepted, either in real life or in literature.

It is important to emphasize that even in the works of recent gay or sympathetic authors, the homosexual is still rejected and marginalized by Spanish society. Complete, satisfactory integration remains an impossibility in both literature and life, but at least gay men and lesbians in these texts are given the option of change and growth.

The message seems to be that if redemption is to be found for the homosexual, it will come from within the self, and not from the surrounding community. The homosexual will be saved, not by being demarginalized and assimilated, but by consciously assuming his or her existence as outcast.

Maria Dolores Costa

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social sciences >> Overview:  Inquisition

In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the Inquisitions of Aragon and Portugal prosecuted almost 1500 trials for sodomy of various kinds.

social sciences >> Overview:  Madrid

Madrid, Spain's largest city, has a long history of official efforts to eradicate sexual and gender deviance, but has recently made great strides in the struggle for equality for its glbtq population.

social sciences >> Overview:  Roman Catholicism

Historically, the Roman Catholic Church may be the institution most responsible for the suffering of individuals involved in same-sex sexual relationships.

social sciences >> Overview:  Spain

From a particularly strong application of sodomy laws in the early modern period to a liberalization of sexual mores since the 1980s, Spanish society has displayed an ambivalent and complex relationship to sexual minorities.

literature >> Cernuda, Luis

Luis Cernuda, one of Spain's most important twentieth-century poets, expressed his homosexuality first indirectly and then explicitly in his poetry.

literature >> Erauso, Catalina de

Catalina de Erauso, a seventeenth-century Basque woman who led the rough-and-ready life of a soldier, has been the subject of plays, novels, and films, some of which deny or obscure her lesbianism, others of which celebrate it.

literature >> García Lorca, Federico

The works of García Lorca, internationally recognized as Spain's most prominent lyric poet and dramatist of the twentieth century, are filled with thinly veiled homosexual motifs and themes.

literature >> Goytisolo, Juan

The iconoclastic Juan Goytisolo, one of the most prominent literary figures in Spain, exalts homosexuality for rejecting repressive Hispanic social norms.

literature >> Tusquets, Esther

Spanish novelist Esther Tusquets brings a highly eroticized woman's voice to Spain's post-Civil War literature, employing lesbian characters to delineate the limits and possibilities of female sexual autonomy.


Bellver, Catherine G. "The Language of Eroticism in the Novels of Esther Tusquets." Anales de la Literatura Española Contemporánea 9.1-3 (1984): 13-27.

Bergmann, Emilie L., and Paul Julian Smith, eds. ¿Entiendes? Queer Readings, Hispanic Writings. Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press, 1995.

Brown, Joan Lipman. "Men by Women in the Contemporary Spanish Novel." Hispanic Review 60 (1992): 55-70.

_____, ed. Women Writers of Contemporary Spain: Exiles in the Homeland. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1991.

Cull, John T. "Androgyny in the Spanish Pastoral Novels." Hispanic Review 57 (1989): 317-334.

Ellis, Robert R. The Hispanic Homograph: Gay Self-Representation in Contemporary Spanish Autobiography. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997.

Lee-Bonanno, Lucy. "The Renewal of the Quest in Esther Tusquets's El mismo mar de todos los veranos." Feminine Concerns in Contemporary Spanish Fiction by Women. Roberto C. Manteiga, Carolyn Galerstein, and Kathleen McNerney, eds. Potomac, Md.: Scripta Humanistica, 1988. 134-151.

Miller, Beth. Women in Hispanic Literature: Icons and Fallen Idols. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.

Ordóñez, Elizabeth. Voices of Their Own: Contemporary Spanish Narrative by Women. Lewisburg, Penn.: Bucknell University Press, 1991.

Pérez, Janet. Contemporary Women Writers of Spain. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1988.

Smith, Paul Julian. The Body Hispanic: Gender and Sexuality in Spanish and Spanish American Narrative. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992.

Ugarte, Michael. "Luis Cernuda and the Poetics of Exile." Monographic Review 2 (1986): 84-100.


    Citation Information
    Author: Costa, Maria Dolores  
    Entry Title: Spanish Literature  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated December 12, 2005  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates  


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