MLL Colloquium Series: Shadow Economies and the Limits of Realism: Rethinking Women's Labor in Fortuna y Jacinta

Speaker / Presenter: 

Lindsey Reuben
April 12, 2022 - 4:30pm
In a world of televised series and pithy tweets, why should we
return to the great Realist novels? Amongst the numerous reasons,
in this presentation I claim that Realism provides us a frame to
comprehend the telos of domestic labor as it is directly interpolated
by Spain’s modernization process. In recurring to the novel
Fortunata y Jacinta (1887) by Benito Pérez Galdós, I argue that
while the women that inhabit the domestic space are deeply
embedded in the modernized Spanish national imaginary, they also
subvert and dismantle the formal aspirations of the labor
regime. Revisiting Ivan llich’s theory of “shadow work,” this talk
attends to the question of realism, proper to the nineteenth
century bourgeois order, and charts the unstable relations between
labor, care and unruly femininity that, in turn, uncover the
contradictions embedded in representation itself.