Gender and the Divine in Cernuda's Later Poetry

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Martin-Clark, Philip
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Casa de las Españas, Columbia University
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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.
Martin-Clark, Philip 2000. Gender and the Divine in Cernuda's Later Poetry, ‘Revista Hispánica Moderna', vol. 53, no. 2, 449-462.