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Publisher Description

IN the collection of short stories titled Menta (published in 2000), Argentine author Angelica Gorodischer explores two taboo topics, old age and death. Throughout her writing career, Angelica Gorodischer has focused attention on gender oppression; (1) her latest writings explore the intersection of sexism and ageism and feature older female protagonists who defy social expectations. Gorodischer's improbable heroines (to borrow Angela Dellepiane's phrase) (2) refuse to act their age, that is, to be controlled by the societal imperatives of dependence, self-sacrifice, and silence that relegate older women to the margins. Literary critic Zoe Brennan argues that alternative discourses of ageing have the potential to transform negative attitudes toward the elder woman. I situate Gorodischer's recent work in the context of feminist contestatory narratives of aging, and analyze the representation of the mature woman in two stories from the collection, focusing on Gorodischer's use of parodic and carnivalesque discourses to expand the repertoire of available "scripts" for older female characters. The ironically titled "Ars amandi" traces an older female protagonist's quest for economic independence and happiness, a quest that ends in a murder committed for material gain. The protagonist's radical transformation from grieving widow to unrepentant murderess is rooted in her refusal to accept patriarchal social expectations that relegate older women, particularly widows, to traditional grandmotherly roles within the domestic sphere. She kills in self-defense, that is, in defense of her autonomy. This story is a sly parody of the edifying models of elder female empowerment found in many late-life fictions by women writers, as well of female servant-male employer narratives. Several aspects of the text signal the author's parodic intentions, including the ironic title and a false initiation plotline that is subverted by the story's unexpected ending.

Professional & Technical
January 1
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Romance Languages
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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