Carmen de Icaza: Novela Rosa as Feminist Discourse?

Publication year
Brown Working Papers

Carmen de Icaza (1899-1979) is perhaps one of the best-known writers of novelas rosas (romance novels) from the early to mid-part of the 20th century in Spain. In 1945, the Gremio de Libreros declared Icaza as “most read author”. Over time, however, Icaza has been overlooked by scholars because of the popularity of her novels, because of their tag as romance novels, and because of her fascist leanings. I suggest that in Cristina Guzmán, profesora de idiomas, which was first published in 1936 and is by far the most popular of her novels, Icaza works within the constraints of her fascist beliefs to create a work that espouses early feminist thought while still following the structure of the Spanish romance novel. The importance of this work lies not only in the representation of changing women’s roles during Spain’s Civil War but also in Icaza’s influence on later Spanish women writers.