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This article is part of a wider project which aims to introduce a range of new issues and theoretical perspectives into critical writing on Luis Cernuda's poetry. One of the main objectives of this project is to stimulate further analysis and a greater understanding of male homosexual desire and identity as they are represented in Cernuda's later poetry. In this article, I draw on Leo Bersani's account of the modulation of sadism by masochism in male homosexual desire and argue that, in Cernuda's later love poetry, gay male identity is not fixed within the oppressively disciplinarian limitations of identity.
(Casa de las Españas, Columbia University, 2000) Martin-Clark, Philip
In this article, I use ideas developed by the French feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray in order to examine and stimulate discussion of the representation of masculinity and femminity in Cernuda's last four books of poetry. A secondary aim of this paper is to suggest indirectly that gender is central to other, apparently ungendered issues, such as aesthetics and time, which have been the subject of much debate among Cernuda's critics. To develop my argument, I focus in particular on Irigaray's ideas concerning the role of the divine in the establishment and development of gender identity. Cernuda's last four books of poetry offer particularly fertile ground for the analysis of the relationship between femininity and the divine because female divinities appear in them more frequently than in any other books of poetry. My study initially focusses on poems in which the Christian God occupies an important place and examines the relation between those poems' portrayals of God and gender identity. In the
second section, I draw out the similarities between those poems' representation of God and gender and that of poems which focus on goddesses from Greek mythology. In the final section, I examine some poems which offer more dynamic representations of genders in as much as they provide evidence of a greater respect for sexual difference on the part of their speaker and/or the power of the maternal-feminine to disrupt masculinity.
Since the publication of Paul Julian Smith's ground-breaking study "Laws of Desire: Questions of homosexuality in Spanish
Writing and Film", 1960-1990 (Oxford:Oxford University Press,1992), there has been a steady stream of articles and books
analyzing the representations of male same-sex desire in Spanish culture. On the whole, these articles and books have
focussed their attention on already well-known authors or film directors such as Juan Goytisolo, Terenci Moix or Pedro
Almodóvar. In “Los escribas furiosos: configuraciones homoeróticas en la narrativa española actual”, Alfredo Martínez
Expósito carries us several steps further along the path to a more complete understanding of the complex place of male
same-sex desire in Spanish culture by filling in some of the gaps left by previous studies.
It is now some thirty years since Tamesis published two of the most influential studies of Luis Cernuda’s poetry in
English, Philip W. Silver’s "'Et in Arcadia Ego':A Study of the Poetry of Luis Cernuda", and Derek Harris’s "Luis Cernuda:
A Study of the Poetry". It is fitting, therefore, that the same publisher should recently have published this volume,
the first book-length monograph on Cernuda in English for approximately a decade.