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El Siglo XVIII en femenino. Las mujeres en el Siglo de las Luces.

El Siglo XVIII en femenino: Las mujeres en el Siglo de las Luces. Ed. Manuel-Reyes Garcia Hurtado. Madrid: Sintesis, 2016.

This volume, edited by Manuel-Reyes Garcia Hurtado of the University of A Coruna, contains eleven essays by prominent Spanish scholars in eighteenth-century studies. About half of the chapters focus on a variety of eighteenth-century women, from queens and aristocrats to middle class commoners and working-class women. Other chapters look at topics related to women's place in eighteenth-century Spanish society: the "formative novel" and the periodical press to encourage female moral education, to the importance of music in education and social practices, and finally to the military's changing attitude and treatment of women.

The first two essays by Maria de los Angeles Perez Samper and Maria Victoria Lopez-Cordon Cortezo examine aspects of women's lives in the royal court. Perez Samper shows that despite the Bourbon interpretation of the Salic law, the numerous infantas born to Felipe V, Carlos III and Carlos IV were nonetheless enormously important to their families who through their marriages created and solidified political alliances. Lopez-Cordon Cortezo traces the activities of and changes in the large group of women who served Bourbon queens. Whereas under the Hapsburgs ladies-inwaiting were almost exclusively comprised of women from Spain's oldest and most influential aristocratic families, Bourbon queens also included women from newly titled families as well as from important bourgeois families. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 focus on the lives of common eighteenthcentury women living outside the capital. Maria Luisa Candau Chacon (chapter 3) examines cases involving women accused of moral crimes, finding in their recorded testimonies a language of emotion expressed by both witnesses and accused. Maria Jose de la Pascua (chapter 4) studies women who live independently of men, focusing her study on cases dealing with women in Cadiz whose husbands had abandoned them. Maria Jose Perez Alvarez (chapter 5) compiles and interprets statistics related to marriage rates, women as heads of households, and the status of single women in the mountainous regions of Leon, Spain. Monica Bolufer (chapter 6) studies women as both virtual and real travelers throughout Spain and the world. From women's own accounts of their travels in newspapers, personal correspondence, even poetry, to women as readers of travel texts like Ulloa's Relacion historica del viaje a la America meridional (1748) or Ponz's Viaje de Espana (1772, 1794), traveling was an important mark of education and culture for women. Finally, Gloria Espigado Tocino (chapter 7) writes about a late-Enlightenment aristocrat and the daughter of the Countess of Montijo, the Marquesa de Villafranca, who continued the ideals and activities of the women of her mother's generation in her own civic endeavors in Cadiz and Madrid, both during the Peninsular War and afterwards.

Chapters 8 through 11 examine social expectations of eighteenthcentury Spanish women. Isabel Morant Deusa (chapter 8) looks at the impact of Richardson's Pamela (1740, translated to Spanish in 1794) and the ways that the British model of virtuous womanhood connected with traditional Spanish conduct literature by Juan Vives and Fray Luis de Leon. Ana Vega Toscano (chapter 9) looks at the role of music in women's educational formation and in their participation in eighteenth-century social practices. Inmaculada Urzainqui (chapter 10) gives a thorough overview of women's frequent and varied participation in and interaction with the periodical press. The press was fundamental to the spread of ideas during the eighteenth century, especially on matters of gender, and served to both influence women's behavior and to present their voices directly. The last chapter by the volume's editor examines military discourse about women (and the moral dangers they posed) along with an account of actual practices in the treatment of women associated with the military--military wives, daughters, and even prostitutes.

While the essays of this volume are compelling, this collection is not breaking new feminist ground. That has already been done over the last two decades in Spain in books like Mujeres e ilustracion (Bolufer 1998), Historia de las mujeres en Espana y Latinoamerica (Morant 2005), and Heroinas y patriotas (Castells, Espigado and Cruz Romeo 2009), not to mention the many books on individual women such as Condicion femenina y razon ilustrada. Josefa Amar y Borbon (Lopez-Cordon 2005) or La vida y la escritura en el siglo XVIII. Ines Joyes (Bolufer 2008). In English there have been both historical and literary monographs on Spanish eighteenth-century women by Kitts (1995), Lewis (2004), and Smith (2006) as well as a collection of essays centered around women's Enlightenment experience (Jaffe and Lewis 2009). The importance of this collection is, in part, that the essays in their totality represent some of the most important work, and topics, of eighteenth-century gender studies in Spain of the past two decades, especially within the field of historiography. In addition, with the exception of the volume's editor, all of the contributors are women, and they include scholars who are considered to be pioneers in their fields. Thus, this volume can be read not only as a collection of interesting essays that further our understanding of issues of gender in Spain's eighteenth century, but also as a showcase and celebration of the important women scholars who brought these issues to the forefront.

Elizabeth Franklin Lewis

University of Mary Washington
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Author:Lewis, Elizabeth Franklin
Publication:Dieciocho: Hispanic Enlightenment
Article Type:Resena de libro
Date:Mar 22, 2017
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