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Elena Jordi y el Mito de Thais

This thesis studies the impact of the work of Elena Jordi during the first Spanish avant-garde period (1890-1920) and the relationship between the myth of Thaïs and her homonymous film released in 1918. Here I track the trajectory of her career from its beginnings to culmination, when she directed Thaïs while leading an innovative vaudeville theatre company. The first chapter discusses the activity of Jordi as a Catalan actress, and woman entrepreneur in vaudeville. It analyzes the effect of the introduction of foreign vaudevilles on the reception of her work by critics through the theorization of Herni Gidel´s on vaudeville as genre. The second chapter reviews the cinematographic work of Jordi and situates it within the context of Catalan cinema´s early development as Spain´s first woman film director. After reflecting about the possible cultural influences that informed Jordi’s Thaïs, I explore the literary origins of the Legend of the Saint, an hagiography of Greek origins, and review relevant literary, operatic, and cinematic productions that incorporated this myth during the early Spanish avant-garde period. My conclusion highlights the original and similar features of Elena Jordi and Thaïs in their respective fields and different manifestations, simultaneously placing Jordi’s Thaïs in dialogue with the myth´s resurrection and its impact on the avant-garde feminist milieu. This demonstrates the formative influence of both Jordi as a pioneering artist and the enduring cultural influence of the myth of Thais on twentieth-century cultural production.