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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Hispanic Literatures & Linguistics

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Nina M. Scott

Second Advisor

Francisco Javier Cevallos-Candau

Third Advisor

Sonia M. Nieto


One of the most recurrent and significant themes in Spanish American women's literature since its inception is food. In this dissertation I explored how food in Spanish American women's literature (since the second half of the sixteenth century to the twentieth century) is not only a theme, but also a metaphor and therefore an artistic type of language capable of transcending its basic biological and literal function. In this thesis project I intend to show the interconnections between food and writing in Hispanic American women's literature and how food imagery, eating rituals, and the kitchen as creative space have evolved in form and purpose from their beginning to the present regarding its discourses of power and self-affirmation.

For this purpose I studied four key historical moments according to the point of view of Hispanic American women who used food imagery and discourse in their writings as a tool for self-affirmation. For the sixteenth century I examined the letter written by Isabel de Guevara to Princess Juana. The Hispanic American Baroque period during the seventeenth century is covered by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz and Madre Maria de San Jose. For the Hispanic American period of independence during the nineteenth century I studied works by Juana Manuela Gorriti, Clorinda Matto de Turner, Mercedes Cabello de Carbonera, Teresa Gonzalez de Fanning and Soledad Acosta de Samper. Finally for the twentieth century I covered works by Teresa de la Parra, Rosario Castellanos, Laura Esquivel, and Isabel Allende.