“Breaking the Norms of Género: One-Eyed Homicidal Beauty in Leonor de Meneses’ Short Novel El desdeñado más firme (1655)”

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206 Ingraham Hall
@ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Jenny Jeong

Presented by Jenny Jihyun Jeong, PhD candidate, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, UW-Madison

About the presentation: Readers are left in shock when Lises stabs her suitor César and then convinces her maid to assist her in throwing him out of her bedroom window. Although it turns out that César is not dead and has been saved by his friend, Lises believes that she has killed him and has no regrets about doing so. This novel, which was published in 1655 under the pseudonym of Laura Marcela, has been read by scholars either as a tale of secondary ranks of an overworked genre (Serrano y Sanz) or a narrative imbued with originality and subversive commentary (Campbell). The purpose of this study is to demonstrate that El desdeñado más firme can be read as a truly subversive project of Meneses, as she breaks both genre and gender norms through the character Lises of Toledo. On the surface, the text belongs to the genre of courtship novels, a term coined by Shifra Armon that emphasizes the genre’s commitment to courtship and picking wedlock. By introducing a female protagonist—noble, beautiful, and virgin—who has no interest in marriage in a genre of courtship, Meneses conveys a shocking message to the readers: not all women are meant to marry or enter convents.

About the presenter: Originally from South Korea, Jenny Jihyun Jeong spent her childhood in Lima, Peru. An affinity for Spanish led her to major in Hispanic Literature at Seoul National University, where she obtained both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree. Currently, she is working on her doctoral dissertation, which examines how non-normative body features are represented within the confines of feminine beauty and how such representations challenge dominant ideologies about women and their bodies.