Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Javier Krauel

Second Advisor

Juan Herrero-Senés

Third Advisor

Julio Baena

Fourth Advisor

Núria Silleras-Fernández

Fifth Advisor

Robert Buffington


This doctoral dissertation analyzes the change of the model of femininity from the Angel of the House to the Modern Woman (New Woman) in six novels published in Spain between the 1909 and 1934. I argue that there was not a single Modern Woman in the literature of that period, but that the new femininity was a complex, sometimes even contradictory, concept.

The biggest contribution of this dissertation is breaking the stereotype of the New Woman as a universal and uniform being in the Spanish novels. This research shows how a very diverse group of Spanish authors, in terms of academic education, political affiliation, and religious faith, chose fictional literature as the means for diffusion of their ideas about Spanish women’s emancipation. This dissertation also shows that this tendency in the Spanish literature remained during the entire first third of the 20th century. This tendency was transmitted through different forms of literary expression, such as political pamphlet, erotic fiction, melodrama, and fictional report.

After the first introductory chapter, the second chapter analyzes the gender construction of Ellas y ellos o ellos y ellas (1917) by Carmen de Burgos (1867-1932) and La trampa del arenal (1923) by Margarita Nelken (1894-1968). The third chapter studies the role of the New Woman in the public space in La virgen prudente (1929) by Concha Espina (1869-1955) and Tea rooms (1934) by Luisa Carnés (1905-1964). Finally, the fourth chapter focuses on the sexuality of the new woman in Zezé (1909) by Ángeles Vicente (1878-?) and La indomable (1927) by Federica Montseny (1905-1994).