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Demythologizing the Presentation of Prostitution in Nineteenth-Century Spanish Narrative: A Virtual Impossibility

Thomas R. Franz
Hispania
Vol. 86, No. 4 (Dec., 2003), pp. 733-741
DOI: 10.2307/20062921
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20062921
Page Count: 9
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Abstract

Criticism has repeatedly suggested the need to demythologize the role of the prostitute as a supposedly altruistic and necessary character in nineteenth-century society and literature, replacing this image with that of an unnatural laborer/character manipulated by male desire. The mythic dimensions of both prostitution and the prostitute, however, cannot be altered despite their flawed mimetics, owing to the rational and individualistic nature of modern society. This essay examines Spanish literary depictions of prostitution in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, together with various other myths, elucidating the difficulties and pitfalls inherent in efforts at demythologization, deconstruction, and the elaboration of alternative discourses.

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