Fashion and Nation in Rosa Chacel's Teresa
Modern Languages & Literatures
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Rosa Chacel begins her Teresa a fictionalized biography of Teresa Mancha, Joe de Espronceda's lover by evoking one of the anecdotes that are known about her: in a Parisian hotel, the poet and his friends see a pair of diminutive shoes and comment that they can only belong to a Spaniard. Right from the beginning of the novel, then, the relationship between a woman's national identity and the clothes she wears is highlighted. In fact, Teresa's clothes will function on the one hand to heighten her Spanish beauty and help her triumph in the salons of Paris, and on the other, it will mark her as a stranger in Madrid once she returns from exile. Teresa, a product of the intermingling of Spanish culture with foreign sophistication, provokes suspicion among the Madrid bourgeoisie who keep a distance from her and isolate her. In resisting the normalizing discipline in Foucaultian terms her clothes are, in fact, a sign of her moral rebellion and, at the same time, a remembrance of the cultural backwardness of the country, and therefore, dangerous to the social order.
II Congreso Internacional de Literatura y Cultura Españolas Contemporaneas
La Plata, Argentina
Pozzi, Gabriela, "Fashion and Nation in Rosa Chacel's Teresa" (2011). Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants. 324.