Carmen de Burgos


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Carmen de Burgos Piecing a profession, rewriting women's roles
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viii, 243 leaves : ; 29 cm.
Scott, Lynn Thomson
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Romance Languages and Literatures thesis, Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Romance Languages and Literatures -- UF   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 1999.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 233-242).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Lynn Thomson Scott.
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University of Florida
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Copyright 1999


Lynn Thomson Scott


This dissertation could not have been prepared without

the assistance of grants from the Program for Cultural

Cooperation Between Spain's Ministry of Culture and United

States' Universities, the Tinker Foundation and the Center

for Latin American Studies of the University of Florida, and

the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences of the University

of Florida.

I would like to thank my committee Chair, Dr. Geraldine

Cleary Nichols for her perspicacious and motivating editing

and her faith in me. The members of the supervisory

committee, Drs. Edward Baker, Shifra Armon, and Stephanie

Smith, each made very special contributions with their

knowledge and support. I appreciate, as well, the

encouraging remarks made by Dr. Henry Sullivan during his

tenure at the University of Florida.

My husband, John F. Scott, and my children, Erik and

Elizabeth, have shared the adventures and trials which have

made us all, to varying degrees, familiar with the Spanish

language and the cultures which share it. I appreciate

their respect for this effort. This dissertation is

dedicated to the memory of Alfonsina Lorenzi who came to

study linguistics, but left us as a teacher of courage.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.......................................... iii



1 INTRODUCTION............................................ 1

2 LITERARY BEGINNINGS .................................... 12

Introduction: "M&rtir del silencio" or "promiscuidad
feminista?"...................................... 12
"A buscar lectores".................... ................. 22
"[L]levo dentro muchos yoes..."................22
Books for women: Sempere and Sopena............. 38
"[H]uyendo de lo molesto..."....................41
"[M]e perseguia por liberal"......................45
The Sempere Series................................... 51
The Sopena Series .................................... 57
Conclusions .......................................... 61


Introduction......................................... 65
Prologue: "iDiablo de Sempere!"......................69
"[A]cepto el encargo ."........................ 79
"[H]ace de la pluma aguja"........................80
"Necesidad de guia"................................... 85
"Libros originales," "Arreglos," "Traducciones"......88
"Traducciones"... ................ ............. .. 91
"Un libro mas de arreglos. Es la vida.".........95

EL ARTE DE SER AMADA................................ 101

Introduction ........................................ .101
"%Qu6 es la belleza?"................................ 104
The narrative thread in Ser amada................... 107
"[L]abores propias de nuestro sexo"............115
"[E]l arte dificil y encantador del
bien hablar"............................... 119

"La distinta misi6n moral y social de
ambos sexos".............................. ..1 Z
"La condici6n social de la mujer"...............i-5
Conclusions......................................... 1 -36

5 "LA PASION DE LAS NOVELAS."............................140
Introduction: The novella ...........................140
"[U]na carretera, sin obstAculos".................... 149
El tesoro del castillo......................... 149
El honor de la familia......................... 173
La Flor de la Playa............................ 192

6 CONCLUSIONS........................................... 213

WORKS CITED .............................................. 233

OTHER WORKS CONSULTED..................................... 240

'BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ...................................... 243

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy



Lynn Thomson Scott
December 1999

Chair: Geraldine Cleary Nichols
Major Department: Romance Languages and Literatures

Carmen de Burgos's prolific writings traversed genres

and genders: the author of numerous novellas with a

potential male and female readership, Burgos also wrote

manuals to instruct women in domestic matters. That very

heterogeneity has caused her corpus to be considered a site

of contradiction. Burgos was an early feminist who

constructed a modern paradigm for her life, yet her

practical manuals apparently support women's restriction to

a domestic role. Her fictional protagonists, in contrast,

rarely enjoy the idealized family and domestic environment

that subtend the practical manuals. Neither do they occupy

the public space which Burgos maintained for herself. As a

result, modern critics have described her feminism as


This dissertation discredits that characterization,

explaining Burgos's pragmatic choice, particularly evident

in the nonfiction, to structure a niche from which to

address women readers. Chapter 2 discusses Burgos's efforts

to define her authorship, arguing that her writing must be

appraised in the context of her doubly marginal position as

a female author in a culture which defined women by

domesticity and in a profession governed by masculine norms.

My analysis of Burgos's practical manuals shows that

they occupy a less important role in her corpus than has

been affirmed. Chapter 3 explores paratextual writings

which reveal Burgos's awareness of criticism of her

authorship of domestic texts. She defends that work as a

reasonable response to the writing options available to her.

In Chapter 4, explicating the construction of a

practical manual, I posit a correlation between Burgos's

narrative strategy, the pressure on her to produce, and her

possible wish to avoid direct refutation of domestic

ideology. The cent6n thus created is analogous to the quilt

Showalter sees as descriptive of American women authors with

journalistic backgrounds.

Three novellas (El tesoro del castillo, El honor de la

familiar, and La Flor de la Playa) are scrutinized in Chapter

5. When considered as a group, the protagonists, like

Burgos herself, enact a trajectory in search of a propitious

environment. I conclude that the domestic situations

represented, unlike those suggested by the practical

manuals, manifest conflict between circumscription and

fulfillment, between the traditional and the modern.


The writing career of Carmen de Burgos, who also used

the name "Colombine," was unique in early twentieth-century

Spain. She produced a vast and diverse body of work,

writing and speaking on a variety of topics from child care

to divorce and from sewing to the rights of modern women.

Her corpus comprises translations, columns written for

several newspapers, books on her travel experiences,

speeches about women's rights, approximately twenty-seven

instructional manuals for women in practical domestic

matters, about seventy-five novellas, nine novels, and a

feminist treatise titled La mujer modern y sus derechos.1

Burgos had few models to imitate in constructing a

writing career which would sustain her economically,

especially when such writing would include fiction. Unlike

Emilia Pardo Bazan, she did not enjoy the family prestige

1 The repetition of titles which occurs in Burgos's
work makes it difficult to quantify. Occasionally, the same
novella appears in two different series with different
titles. Such is the case with Frasca la tonta, published in
1914 by El Libro Popular, which then appeared as "ergran: in
La Novela Corta in 1918. In some cases, bibliographies
have listed a work as a novel when it is really an anthology
of novellas.
Unlike the novellas, the practical manuals are undated.
In addition, there is a repetitiveness of titles which makes
it difficult to sort them out. This disseration will
address that issue at length in Chapter 2.


and wealth inhering to the title of Condesa. Neither did

Burgos choose, as had Maria del Pilar Sinu6s de Marco, to

sustain the dominant domestic ideology by advocating women's

role as "angel of the hearth."2 While the majority of women

writing at the time were limited to the women's press,

Burgos became the first woman who did "'el mismo trabajo, de

redacci6n y de calle, que los hombres'" (qtd. in Starcevic,

Defensora 34). Furthermore, she became known as a prolific

author of the novela breve for the popular series which

flourished in the first third of the twentieth century.

Burgos's accomplishments are particularly remarkable

insofar as her convictions about women went against the

grain in the Spain of her era. Women were considered suited

only for a domestic role; indeed, many voices suggested that

they were incapable of work requiring rational thought.3

The family (consisting of a husband, a wife, and children)

was considered the foundation of the state. Thus, any

change in women's domestic function was regarded as a threat

to political and social stability. Burgos had advocated the

legalization of divorce in the press early in her career;

moreover, it was known in some circles that her support for

2 Sinus de Marcos concealed the unsatisfactory nature
of her own marriage and championed women's obligation to
endure marital misfortune. Her 1859 book, El Angel del
hogar, was followed by a journal with the same title which
was published from 1864 to 1869. (Jagoe 474).

3 Mary Nash's articles, included in the Works Cited,
have established the importance of the domestic ideology in
early twentieth-century Spain.

that issue was associated with her decision to leave her

husband. As a result, her writing as well as her personal

life could be considered threatening to the status quo. In

spite of her doubly marginal position as a female who

challenged conventional values in a male-dominated

profession, Burgos achieved a writing career which brought

her prominence and contributed significantly to her economic


Cultural tenets would have held that Burgos's single-

parent status and career aspirations were inappropriate, yet

she was under constant pressure to support herself and her

child. Chapter 2 will show that Burgos worked diligently to

establish a reliable income by manipulating two career

threads: while she labored to find better teaching

positions, often in the face of opposition from within the

system, she also endeavored to assure herself a favorable

writing environment. Chapter 5 explains that Burgos's

fiction frequently depicts a similar conflict among

ideology, economic necessity, and women's aspirations to

create for themselves a propitious environment.

Burgos was known by such contemporaries as Clara

Campoamor and other members of the Uni6n Republicana

Femenina for her spoken and written support of women's

rights and republican government (Starcevic, Defensora 65).4

The religious community deemed her a threat and the

Campoamor was president of the organization.

newspaper El Siglo Futuro undertook a journalistic campaign

against her in which she was labeled "la divorciadora." Yet

Burgos authored instructional manuals for women which

presupposed their limitation to a domestic role. She was,

apparently, criticized by other contemporaries for the

nonserious nature of such texts. In Carmen de Burgos:

defensora de la mujer (1976), Elizabeth Starcevic cites an

article which appeared in La esfera in 1922. Burgos tells

the author, Gonzalez Fiol, "'Cuando algin imb@cil pretend

hacerme de menos, me llama la ilustre autora de ZQuiere

usted comer bien?'" (47). Burgos indirectly addresses her

critics, as well, in the 1924 Obras completes version of El

arte de seducir, titled Tesoro de la belleza (arte de

seducir). In the prologue to that text she defends her

authorship of instructional manuals, while noting that such

work was called "frivola y ligera."

Moreover, while Burgos occupied a public role, the

conduct manual genre--in the tradition of Fray Luis de

Le6n's sixteenth-century text La perfect casada--assumes

that women's greatest satisfaction is to be found in the

domestic sphere.5 Some modern feminist literary critics

s Fray Luis de Le6n wrote the treatise in 1583 to
explain to Dofia Maria Varela Osorio, a recent bride, what he
considered to be ideal behavior for a Christian wife. The
text is generally considered the prototype of conduct
literature addressed directly to a female recipient. Its
exclusive attention to women's deportment within the
domestic sphere insinuated that they would only operate
within that domain. Fray Luis's recommendations,
establishing a Spanish Early Modern model of the "angel of

underline the contradiction between Burgos's averred social

and political goals and the prescriptive content of such

manuals. In the published papers from a 1996 conference in

C6rdoba, Spain, Daniele Bussy Genevois speculates on the

problem of relating Burgos's "coherente y prestigiosa imagen

con el polifacetismo de la obra y el personaje" (123).

Maria Pilar Rodriguez points out in a 1998 article "lo que

aparentan ser fuertes contradicciones en la ideologia de una

mujer que tan pronto se declaraba entusiasta republican y

apasionada defensora de los derechos de la mujer como

rebatia ardientemente los principios fundamentals de la

independencia femenina" (382).

Such criticism of Burgos's apparently equivocal

position vis a vis domestic issues prompted the initial

inquiry of this dissertation: why would a woman committed to

an early twentieth-century Spanish version of feminist goals

subvert them by prescribing the domestic sphere to other

women? And if this was the case, how would she position her

authorship in order to recommend to others the domestic

model she had apparently disavowed? How could she convince

readers of her suitability as a domestic savant? How would

an author of such "frivolous" texts assemble an audience for

her fictional writing? If Burgos felt compelled to support

the domestic ideology, as the existence of a corpus of

the hearth," are not simply historical artifact, for the
text has been published repeatedly to the present day, and
has been a common wedding gift to brides.

instructional manuals indicates, would she similarly situate

fictional protagonists within the domestic sphere?6

My initial forays into Burgos's fiction and nonfiction

did not discredit the criticism of the paradoxical nature of

its content. The titles of the practical manuals sustain

the image of woman as angel del hogar' and Burgos seemed to

have produced such works throughout her career, invalidating

my initial hypothesis that they might have been the work of

an artistically immature author. A cursory look at the

manuals supported their normative domestic nature. In

contrast, Burgos's life represented the antithetical

paradigm of the mujer modern, suggesting that she

prescribed a doctrine which she did not support.

Burgos's fictional protagonists did not hew to either

paradigm; while frequently located in domestic surroundings,

they do not enjoy the exemplary environment upon which

domestic manuals are predicated. I conjectured that

examining Burgos's espousal of apparently inconsistent

6 The depiction of domesticity has occupied an
important space in the criticism of nineteenth century
British and American literature. Nancy Armstrong's work on
Desire and Domestic Fiction raises questions which are
pertinent to Burgos's writing, as does Stephanie Smith's
Conceived by Liberty.

In "El Angel del Hogar: The Cult of Domesticity in
Nineteenth-Century Spain," Bridget Aldaraca points out that
"an ideal of womanhood which can be synthesized in the
phrase el Angel del hogar lived and breathed in the pages of
the women's and family magazines which abounded in Spain
from the 1850s on" (63).

paradigms would, at the least, illuminate some of the

difficulties inherent in writing from a doubly marginalized

position. I hoped, furthermore, that a scrutiny of the

practical manuals would elucidate the apparent duality in

Burgos's authorial position. That process began only when I

was able to peruse, in the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid,

Burgos's nonfiction writings and speeches.

As the investigation continued, I discovered that some

of my early assumptions about the practical manuals were the

result of inadequate or inaccurate information on Burgos's

corpus. Burgos had been largely ignored since the end of

the Second Republic and the inception of the Franco regime

shortly after her death. Although often mentioned as the

companion of Ram6n G6mez de la Serna, her writing was not

discussed in most literary histories.8 Elizabeth

Starcevic's 1977 dissertation and contemporaneous feminist

revisions of the canon began to bring Burgos to the

attention of American scholars, yet even such recent works

on the period as Roberta Johnson's Crossfire: Philosphy and

the Novel in Spain 1900-1934 and Robert Spires's Transparent

Simulacra: Spanish Fiction 1902-1926 give her only cursory


Doubts about the ideological coherence of Burgos's obra

may partially be the result of a dearth of information on

Burgos's omission from the canon is discussed by
Carmen Urioste Azcorra in Narrativa Andaluza.

her, which has sustained the impression that Burgos authored

myriad practical manuals on the same or similar topics and

that she produced them throughout her career. That belief

is fed, in part, by the similarity of the titles as well as

the lack of publication dates in the books. In some cases,

estimated dates of publication from the Biblioteca Nacional,

which I will show to be incorrect, have been reproduced in

Maria del Carmen Sim6n Palmer's extensive bibliography,

Escritoras espanolas del siglo XIX: manual bio-bibliogrAfico

(1991). Concepci6n Niflez Rey's unpublished 1992

dissertation on Burgos, the most inclusive treatment to date

of her life and corpus, perpetuates some of the same

misinformation. Chapter 2 of this dissertation corrects

errors in publication dates and explains that Burgos

authored fewer practical manuals over a shorter period of

time than has been thought. Based on these corrections, I

posit that the practical manuals were far less important a

part of Burgos's corpus.

Burgos's comments on her authorship of the

instructional manuals, made in paratextual material such as

prologues and introductions, further illuminates this

discussion of her work. By examining Burgos's "Carta

Pr6logo" to her editor, Francisco Sempere, in La cocina

modern, and the prologues to two editions of El arte de

seducir, this dissertation situates her statements of

authorial consciousness in the context of her difficult

economic circumstances. Her authorship of such "frivolous"

materials is made more understandable by a consideration of

the relationship between her needs, both financial and

creative, and her circumscribed position as a woman author.

Sandra Lee Bartky's study, Femininity and Domination:

Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression, contributes to

an understanding of Burgos's marginal position in her

culture and her profession.

The discussion of the "Carta Pr61logo" in Chapter 3

establishes the importance Burgos placed on affirming her

aptitude for the writing opportunity being offered to her by

an important publisher. Moreover, it illustrates Burgos's

conception, early in her career, that writing was of a piece

with--or similar to--sewing. Her corpus includes frequent

references to sewing, both as a creative activity and as a

reliable source of income for women. In her

"Autobiografia," she attributes her own authorial origins to

the cutting and piecing together of articles for the family

newspaper in Almeria.

Journalism, where short pieces are the norm, frequently

provided the introductory writing experiences of women who

would later author novels. In "Piecing and Writing," Elaine

Showalter points out the tendency for early women novelists

to conceive of the creation of longer works as the joining

together of such short pieces. While Showalter's evocation

of metaphors of quilting are especially pertinent to

American authors, a similar correspondence between stitching

and writing exists in the Spanish tradition. This

dissertation explains the relevance of that metaphor, the

cent6n, to Burgos's literary construction.9 Chapter 4

develops my theory of El arte de ser amada as a cent6n,

relating Burgos's use of that technique to her constant

pressure to produce. It also considers the structure of

that text in the context of Burgos's reluctance to challenge

directly the dominant domestic ideology, explaining that she

disguises in the cent6n a discourse which is masked by the

appearance of the text.

Chapter 5 scrutinizes three novellas, El tesoro del

castillo (1907), El honor de la familiar (1911), and La Flor

de la Playa (1920). They form a group in which Burgos

comments on the relationship of each protagonist to specific

domestic issues. Marriage or maternity is at the center of

the plot in all three works. This links them to one of

Burgos's prototypical manuals, El arte de ser amada, as

fictional expressions of her perspectives on women, love,

and their domestic role. Two of the three novellas

exemplify Burgos's use of the cent6n construction in

fictional texts. The existence of the technique in the

9 According to the Diccionario de la Lengua, the
cent6n, like the quilt, can be both a "[m]anta hecha de gran
nfimero de piececitas de patio o tela de diversos colors" or
an "[o]bra literaria, en verso o prosa, compuesta
enteramente, o en la mayor parte, de sentencias y
expresiones ajenas."

novellas as well as in the nonfictional texts, particularly

when considered in the context of Burgos's statements on

authorship, links the style she adopted to the pressures she

felt as a self-supporting woman author in early twentieth-

century Spain.

This dissertation explains how Burgos stitched together

a patchwork of remunerative writing activities, not only

supporting herself and her daughter, but also achieving

recognition by appealing to a burgeoning readership among

middle-class women. Burgos was able to transfer the

prominence she achieved among the female readers of

practical manuals and newspaper articles to the new novella

genre, thereby expanding her potential audience. Her

ability to produce at such a prolific rate was the result of

her apparently voracious reading and the procedure of

literary piecing and recycling she had first devised as a

journalist in Almeria.


"[M]&rtir del silencio" or "promiscuidad feminista..."?2

Carmen de Burgos began her literary career in 1900,

shortly preceding her separation from her husband Arturo

Alvarez Bustos, with the publication in Almeria of her

Ensayos literarios. This first work reveals the intention,

to which Burgos would remain committed throughout her

career, not to restrict her writing to one genre, but rather

to convey her ideas in diverse formats ranging from

informational pamphlets to lengthy treatises on political

topics and from novellas to full-length novels.

Ensayos literarios contains a few verses, some stories,

and an essay called "La educaci6n de la mujer." The latter

was prepared after Burgos had accomplished her first step on

the road to financial independence by earning the degrees of

Maestra de Primera Ensenanza Elemental in 1895 and Maestra

de Primera Ensenanza Superior in 1898 in Guadalajara. It is

probable that she wrote it as a requirement for the

oposiciones to secure what would be her first salaried

1 G6mez de la Serna, "Pr6logo" 15.

2 Ledesma Hernandez, "Pr6logo" iii.


position in the Escuelas Normales de Maestras about a year

after earning the second degree (Nfiez Rey, diss 10).

It is particularly ironic that, as Burgos was planning

for her economic independence by preparing the oposiciones,

she wrote in the transcript accompanying them that "'[l]a

mujer debe comprender y ayudar al marido con sus consejos,

para poder vivir unidos con esos lazos morales, que son los

que no pueden romperse nunca, los que forman la uni6n e

id6nticas almas'" (qtd. in Castafieda 21). Even if Burgos

had not actually planned to separate from her husband at

that time, her disillusion with their marriage was known in

Almeria. Her acquiescence to ideas about the model marriage

reflects societal interpretations of the institution.

Although she would continue to support the ideal of the

male-female bond as a permanent union of compatible souls,

she chose to break her own ties when her marital situation

became intolerable. In this comment, however, she

reinscribes the dominant ideology in almost the same words

later used by other women to try to convince her of the role

required of her in Spanish culture. Ram6n G6mez de la Serna

described this time of Burgos's life in the Prologue hew

wrote for her Confidencias de artists: "Carmen se divorci6

en medio del escAndalo provinciano y del odio de las

mujeres, que la [sic] decian al oido: 'una mujer debe ser

martir del silencio y de la sumisi6n'" (15).


In 1901, a year after passing her examinations, Burgos

added the essay on "La educaci6n de la mujer" to selections

of her fictional work and published them all as the book

Ensayos literarios. Her use of the word ensayos in the

title not only signals her entry in the essay genre, but

also suggests the experimental nature of her first foray

into publishing.

Burgos's financial circumstances dictated that, while

developing her literary voice, she must also avoid

alienating such a large sector of the public that she would

be left without readers. Her writing reveals that both her

personal aspirations and those she espoused for modern

Spanish women were often circumscribed by the dominant

negative attitude toward feminism, with its ostensible

dangers to the family and the state. As a woman attempting

to forge a career after leaving her husband, in an

atmosphere in which women were defined as uniquely suited

for domesticity, she was marginalized from the mainstream of

her culture on many levels.

The Prologue to Ensayos literarios, written by Antonio

Ledesma Hernandez apparently at the request of Burgos and

her husband (NWfiez Rey, diss 105), sets forth the socio-

cultural circumstances which would affect Burgos as a female

author for the duration of her career. Ledesma Hernandez

praises the value of Burgos's intellectual activity by

applauding her distance from the recent development of what


he considers to be exaggerated feminism, thus affirming her

value in terms of the moderation she represented. He

cautions her to avoid:

esa promiscuidad feminist que, no haciendo
diferencia entire la distinta misi6n moral y social
de ambos sexos, pretend igualarlos en actividades
y derechos, y crear una sociedad hist6rica donde
no haya preeminencias para ninguno, ni autoridad,
ni por consiguiente familiar ni Estado posibles.

From a contemporary perspective, this is an alarming

warning under the guise of support to the aspiring author.

Ledesma Hernandez's words leave no doubt that feminism was

an important and controversial issue at the time. Even the

person chosen by Burgos as apparently supportive of her work

saw feminism as dangerous to morality, to the family, and

even to the Spanish state. To a woman who was, apparently,

at the point of leaving her husband in a society where

divorce was nonexistent, his coupling of feminism with

suggestions of promiscuity, albeit ideological, must have

implied the possibility of the dire consequences of

blemishing her personal reputation as well.

Ledesma Hernandez's affirmation of Burgos's literary

efforts places him in an enlightened position regarding

women's options in Spanish culture; nonetheless, he

expresses the predominant contemporary outlook toward the
"polemica feminista.3 The persistence of the nineteenth-

3 For a discussion of the issues at stake in the
"feminist polemic" see Geraldine Scanlon, La Pol6mica
Feminista en La Espafia contemporanea (1868-1974) and Mary

century "Angel del hogar" stereotype of women into the

twentieth century would be a defining issue for Burgos

throughout her career.

In a probable reference to Burgos's article on "La

educaci6n de la mujer" contained in the volume, Ledesma

HernAndez warns that "el Arte, subordinado a esas corrientes

sociales," as it presumably is in her essay, "no es un arte

puro y libre, como necesita serlo para aspirar a la

realizaci6n de la eterna belleza" (v) In his opinion, the

writer cannot achieve the kind of independent subjectivity

necessary to strive toward eternal beauty if "he" considers

social issues; furthermore, a concern with acquiring an

audience determines that the writer's work will not be pure.

Ledesma HernAndez's language suggests, in addition, that the

dominant contemporary Spanish ideology, with its belief in

the family as a location of peace and stability, was

troubled by underlying turmoil. Thus, it was especially

dangerous to risk currying public favor:

[E]l escritor que se decide a buscar lectores,
tiene que vivir del favor del ptlblico, supeditarse
a sus gustos, dejarse llevar por esas turbulentas
corrientes, y si con ello sus obras ganan en
oportunidad, pierden en subjetivismo y en
independencia. (v)

Since Ledesma Hernandez had previously expressed his

concern that feminism, by not maintaining distinct moral and

Nash, "Experiencia y aprendizaje: la formaci6n hist6rica de
los feminismos en Espana."

I was unable to consult Burgos's essay.


social missions for men and women, represented a significant

threat to authority, family, and the Spanish state, it would

certainly figure among the turbulent currents of public

opinion he mentions. It is also possible that, since Burgos

separated from her husband shortly after the publication of

this text, Ledesma HernAndez was aware of those future

plans. Thus, although he addressed his Prologue to "'Sefiora

Dona Carmen de Burgos,'" emphasizing her married status, his

warning may also refer to the disorder inherent in the

impending termination of that union.

In any case, after leaving Alvarez Bustos and

relocating in Madrid with their daughter, Burgos's need to

support herself and her child would give added urgency to

her particular requirement to "buscar lectores." Through

her experience with the educational system, she certainly

would have been conscious of the paucity of literate women

and of the difficulties facing a female attempting to

generate a livelihood as a writer.5 Thus, she was

presumably aware that she would have to fashion a unique

audience within the reading public in order to support

herself and her daughter.

s Rosa Maria Capel Martinez states in El trabajo y la
educaci6n de la mujer en Espafta that in 1900 "[e]1
analfabetismo alcanza la sima [sic] del 71,4 por ciento
entire las mujeres, mientras para los hombres supone algo mas
de la mitad de ellos" (362). The overall 28.6% of women who
were literate were unequally distributed, with the highest
representation in northern Spain where female literacy
hovered closer to 50 per cent. On the other hand, female
illiteracy reached 83.6 per cent in Murcia.


Ledesma Hernandez's prologue defines the dilemma which

would face her as a writer: would she choose or be forced to

sacrifice authorial independence in order to appeal to the

tastes of majority public opinion? This plight would be

most obvious in the inherent conflict between Burgos's

nontraditional personal life and the professional position

she would achieve as a much-published expert on domestic

matters. While forging a path contrary to the dominant

domestic ideology for herself, she became well-known for a

series of practical manuals, specifically directed to the

female reader, which appeared to support it. These works,

in which Burgos advises women how to better perform

traditionally female duties while devoting their constant

attention to the maintenance of youth and beauty, assume her

authorial expertise and interest in those areas.

Within the physical boundaries of Burgos's first

published text, Ledesma Hernandez's statement on the

dangerous consequences of feminism delivers a threat which

would resonate through often contradictory statements in

Burgos's corpus. His prologue, although apparently

welcomed, was a metaphor for the penetration into her work

by ideological voices warning of the dangers of feminism.

The possibility of the dissolution of the family and, as a

consequence, the Spanish state, represented a significant

peril to Ledesma Hern&ndez and to other supporters of the

dominant ideology. It could be expected to exercise a

powerful monitory force on Burgos's potential readership.

In Femininity and Domination, Sandra Bartky compares

such often imperceptible interference to "oppression that is

economic and political in character" (22). While those

modes are certainly applicable to Burgos, Bartky carries her

analysis of oppression a step farther: she characterizes
"psychic alienation" in women which is comparable to the

psychologicall effects of colonialism on the colonized."

(22). Under these conditions,

[t]he psychologically oppressed become their own
oppressors; they come to exercise harsh dominion
over their own self-esteem. Differently put,
psychological oppression can be regarded as the
'internalization of intimations of inferiority'

The phenomenon described by Bartky is particularly apparent

in Burgos's career. In order to establish the conditions of

Burgos's oppression, my analysis of her authorship will take

into account the economic and cultural difficulties arising

from her decision to forsake the traditional female role for

women of her class, defined by Burgos's culture as domestic.

Accordingly, in this chapter I will explore Burgos's efforts

to establish herself in Madrid as an author and sole support

of her family. I will consider her efforts to maintain a

steady income through her teaching career while remaining in

an environment which was both financially and creatively

beneficial to her. Furthermore, I will consider the

heterogeneity of the genres in which she worked as an

indication of her strategy to maintain her literary


Burgos's efforts to establish a writing career would

certainly suffer from oppression within the male-dominated

literary world because of the extremely limited

participation of women in that realm. She expressed an

awareness of the importance of her unusual participation in

the daily press, as I mention in Chapter 1. That her corpus

contains a large number of practical guides addressing such

home-management skills as letter-writing, cooking,

budgeting, the creation of decorative objects to beautify

the home, personal beauty routines, and the "arts" of being

elegant and being loved implies that Burgos was experienced

in household vocations; they are, as their topics clearly

indicate, all "Guia[s] de la buena duefta de casa".6

Burgos's insistence in these works on women's domestic

function appears to support the limitation of women's sphere

of influence to the home, yet she did not live out this

paradigm herself. This leads us to question the degree of

authorial autonomy Burgos was able to exercise, given her

economic and cultural circumstances.

The significant quantity of such manuals in Burgos's

corpus, and their attribution by the Biblioteca Nacional and

NOftez Rey to her mature as well as her early years of

La mujer en el hoqar: Guia de la buena duefta de casa.

writing,' creates the impression that they characterize her

obra. I will explain, however, circumstances relating to

Burgos's production of these manuals which diminish their

relative magnitude in her corpus. Furthermore, by

presenting information about Burgos's efforts to establish

an economically viable career, I will confirm Bartky's

hypothesis comparing gender-based oppression to political

oppression: Burgos's conditions of authorship within the

literary empire were akin to those of an "internal colony"

within a geo-political one (22). I will address Burgos's

cultivation of a reading public through the press, leading

to the expansion of writing and publishing possibilities for

her. I will explain that, presumably as a result of her

newspaper articles, most of which appeared under the banner

of "Lecturas para la mujer," two of the most important

publishing companies of early twentieth-century Spain,

Sempere in Valencia and Sopena in Barcelona, sought to add

Burgos to their list of writers.

My research into the practical manuals Burgos prepared

for them has revealed details illuminating the apparently

repetitive nature of their titles; furthermore, my study of

the texts has led me to a new interpretation of their

chronological order, enabling me to locate them more

All of these works were published undated, but Nuftez
Rey's dissertation does not challenge the dates suggested in
the Biblioteca Nacional listings.

accurately in her corpus. That information will also be

introduced in this chapter.

"[A] buscar lectores"8

"[L]levo dentro muchos yoes..."9

Ensayos literarios demonstrates that Burgos attempted

to establish a relationship between her writing and her

position as an educator of women; in that domain, her

degrees and professional titles would have commanded

authority for her written words. In the same volume, she

also established her interest in writing in genres not

directly related to her official capacity. She confirms

that intention with her second work, a collection of

cantares called Notas del alma, published in Madrid in 1901,

contemporaneous with changes in her marital status,

employment, and location. In Notas del alma, however, she

does not show an interest in sacrificing subjectivity to

popularity as Ledesma Hernandez feared she might; rather,

she seems to heed his advice on the nature of art by

restricting the work to personal expression through a

collection of verses. These poems bear a clear relationship

to the personal disillusionment which resulted in the break-

up of her marriage (Nuftez Rey, diss 114).

The publication of Ensayos literarios and Notas del

alma is, as I have indicated, chronologically associated

8 Ledesma Hernandez, "Pr6logo" iii.

9 Burgos, "Autobiografia," in Al balc6n viii.

with several other momentous changes in Burgos's life which

signal her intention to redefine herself. It is clear from

the first that writing was an integral part of her plan to

construct a new life independent of her husband. In turn-

of-the-century Spain, however, writing was not likely to

have provided a living wage even for a male.10 After her

move to Madrid, Burgos was a self-supporting single parent

who, as Cansinos-Assens pointed out in La novela de un

literate, was "iLa primer [sic] mujer periodista que hace

reportajes y no es condesa ni beata como la Pardo Bazan!"

(189) As Cansinos-Assens's comment indicates, Burgos was

not supported by aristocratic connections and familial

wealth as was her literary contemporary, Emilia Pardo

Baz&n.1 Thus, her strategy would have to include

establishing both her own alliances and a base of regular

income-producing activities.

10 Carlos Serrano informed me that even Unamuno, with
his post as Catedratico in Salamanca, complained of not
earning a living wage (25 March 1998).

n Although Pardo Bazan claimed that her writing income
was important to her, Maryellen Bieder remarked in a
personal interview (29 March 1997) that a woman of her
social class would very likely have had an inheritance. It
is possible that, because of Burgos's father's position as
Portuguese Consul, even Burgos may have had some small
family support. But people who knew her, such as Ram6n
G6mez de la Serna, consistently mention her poverty: "Carmen
vino a Madrid a rehacer su vida, sin recursos, con su hija
en brazos, como esas pobres de mant6n con su hijo palpitante
bajo el mant6n.... Apenada, nerviosa, fatigada, escribia
para vivir ...." ("Pr61ogo" 15)

Burgos was trained for the teaching profession in the

Normal of Guadalajara, the only type of higher education

available to a woman at that time. Although she had secured

the necessary degrees by 1898, it was not until over a year

later that she participated in the examinations for a post

in the Normal, presumably preparing the essay on "La

educaci6n de la mujer" for that process, as previously

noted. It was consistent with her training for Burgos to

place teaching at the center of her design to stabilize her

financial position after leaving her husband.

From the first days of her employment in Guadalajara,

however, it is clear that she was also striving to advance

her writing career by assuring herself a propitious

environment in which to work. The existence of articles

written by Burgos for Madrid newspapers contemporaneous with

her post in Guadalajara indicate that she must have

endeavored to maintain close contact with the journalistic

community in Madrid. In 1901, she applied to the Colegio

Nacional de Sordomudos y Ciegos in Madrid to participate in

a course on the methodology of teaching people with visual,

hearing, and speech impairments. She was accepted, and

continued this course of study until 1905, thus utilizing

the possibilities existing within the Ministerio de

Educaci6n to relocate to Madrid where she could maintain

contact with the newspapers for which she was writing (Niftez

Rey, diss 13; Castafieda 27) .1

During these early years in Madrid, Burgos often

demonstrated her proclivity, begun with the essay on "La

educaci6n de la mujer," to link her writing to her

occupation as a teacher. By utilizing one profession to

assert her expertise in the other, she benefitted both.

Both a pamphlet on La protecci6n y la higiene de los nifos

and a small book on decorative hand-stitches, Moderno

tratado de labores, date from 1904; in order to improve her

standing in the educational system, Burgos took the

appropriate steps to have both works officially recognized

as meritorious for her career and of practical value for the

schools (Ni fez Rey, diss 13; Castafleda 27).

These efforts indicate that maintaining her teaching

occupation as a reliable source of income was an important

objective for her. At the same time, Burgos's bibliography

reveals other approaches to generating financial benefits

through paraliterary activities. Translating was a common

income-producing activity for many authors at that time, who

often regarded the work as humiliating, but financially

necessary. Cansinos-Assens, recounting his first meeting

with Burgos, describes translating as the duroo pan del

'2 Burgos's 1905 Spanish translation of Helen Keller's
autobiography, Sorda, muda y ciega, had a prologue by Eloy
Bejarano Sanchez, comisario regio of the Colegio Nacional de
Sordomudos y Ciegos.

exilio. Pero al novel literario en el desierto del an6nimo

es el inico que se le brinda y ha de roerlo y encontrarlo

blando" (188). Burgos's clear financial need, and her sole

responsibility for her daughter as she struggled to redefine

herself as a writer in the male-dominated Madrid literary

world, must have made her particularly well acquainted with

Cansinos-Assens's duroo pan del exilio."

Burgos's name, as translator, is affixed to the Spanish

versions of many late nineteenth- and early twentieth-

century philosophical, scientific, and esthetic works of the

time. There is evidence that she was not multi-lingual,

casting doubt on her ability to have translated from many

different languages.13 Nevertheless, her exposure to these

13 Given the kind of education available to Burgos in
Andalucia, it does not seem feasible that she translated
from English, German, Italian, and other languages. Rafael
Cansinos-Assens, who writes of his acquaintance with Burgos
in La novela de un literate, insists that she did not do all
of the translating for which she took credit, but frequently
contracted this work to him and to others. Indeed, he tells
that he first went to her home because she had heard that he
knew German and was interested in hiring him to translate
Nordau's Morganatic for a fee of "30 duros." He quotes her
as saying, "'Yo tambi6n traduzco..., del frances,
naturalmente..., no s6 otra cosa...'" (191).
In 1906 Burgos delivered a speech on La Mujer en Espafia
to the Italian Press Association in Rome; it was published
along with congratulatory telegrams and newspaper reviews by
the Valencian publisher Sempere. That text reveals that Il
Giornale d'Italia commented that Burgos's talk had been
"pronunciada en el dulce idioma de Cervantes" (57) and the
French paper, Le Petit Poete, reported that "[l]a ha
pronunciado en la lengua espaftola, pero los que saben el
italiano entienden el espaftol" (59). It seems likely that
Burgos would have delivered that speech in Italian had she
been capable. She is, nevertheless, given credit for the
versionn espaifola," probably published not long after 1910,
of the Italian Mantegazza's La fisiologia del placer

texts, whether or not in the original language, must have

broadened her knowledge of foreign opinions informing the

Spanish polemic on women's roles.

In addition to the questionable reputation Burgos

incurred among several of her male contemporaries by

claiming credit for translations she might not have done,"

the content of those works troubles both contemporary and

subsequent interpretations of her obra. From the

perspective of modern feminism, for example, Burgos's most

infamous "contribution" to the turn-of-the-century Spanish

discussion on women's rights was her 1904 "translation" of

P.J. Moebius's La inferioridad mental de la mujer. This

treatise, made available in Spain at least partially through

Burgos's labor and under her name, lent the weight of German

[original from about 1898].
In addition, I have observed that some of Burgos's
statements in the text of La mujer modern y sus derechos
(1927) seem to be based upon an apparent misunderstanding of
English, indicating that she did not have a command of that
language. Nonetheless, NWiez Rey suggests that it is very
possible that Burgos knew French and translated works from
pre-existing French versions into Spanish (personal
interview 20 June 1996).

Cansinos-Assens repeatedly hints at sexual
indiscretion on Burgos's part when he writes of her literary
connections and of the work she secures, echoing Ledesma
HernAndez's suggestions of "promiscuidad feminista" He
devotes a chapter to "Nuevos amigos de Colombine" in La
novela de un literate in which he writes "Coquetea con-
todos, ... con Barriobero, ... y ... con Ram6n.... Segun
Dieguito, 61 es que se lleva la palma... Es un bohemio, no
anda siempre bien de dinero; pero ayuda a Colombine,
traduciendo cosas para Sempere, que ella firma y cobra...
iColombine no da de balde sus favores!..." (364)

scientific credence to theories asserting the physical

unsuitability of women for rational thought and for

contributions outside the domestic sphere. Burgos added her

own Prologue and commented on the content in a few textual

notes, but did not condemn the work (at least not at this

point in her career).15 Moreover, she affirmed that she

played a positive role in translating it and other works in

the "Autobiografia" she wrote in 1909 for Prometeo, the

literary magazine she developed with Ram6n G6mez de la

Serna. 6

Muchas traducciones y muchos pr61ogos: Naquet,
Moebius, Tolstoi, Renan, Darwin, Bovio y todos los
hombres cuya inteligencia puede influir sobre
nuestro pueblo de un modo ben6fico, destruyendo
las doctrinas de Loyola, han sido traducidos por
mi para la important casa editorial de Sempere,
que dirige en Valencia el gran novelist Blasco
IbAfiez. (xii)

Apparently while associated with the Colegio Nacional

de Sordomudos y Ciegos in Madrid, and perhaps even before,

Burgos also strove to cultivate her reputation as a

journalist. The manner in which she began to integrate

herself into the contemporary press is not clear from

written records, but it seems to be based on a combination

of socio-cultural circumstances which created a few,

15 In El arte de ser amada (1910-1913?), discussed in
Chapter 4 of this dissertation, Burgos minimizes the value
of Moebius's conclusions.
"6 "Autobiografia" was subsequently re-published in Al
balc6n. I cite from that version.

although narrowly defined, writing opportunities for a woman


Burgos may have had familial support establishing

contacts with the literary community in Madrid: Ensayos

literarios was dedicated to an uncle, Don Agustin de Burgos,

a senator living in the capital (Castaifeda 25; Nuflez Rey,

diss 10). She arrived there with some journalistic

experience, albeit limited, from as early as 1886 in

Almeria. There she had filled the vacuum created by her

husband's failure to attend to Almeria bufa, the paper owned

by his father. In the Autobiography in Al balc6n, she

recounts her journalistic beginnings:

Empec6 por cajista de imprenta, en la que poseia
mi padre politico. Despu6s escribi con las
tijeras para completar un peri6dico satirico. Mi
primer articulo mereci6 los honors de la critical
y la reproducci6n fuera de la provincia.... (xi)

That experience of producing apparently well received

articles by "writing" with scissors, that is, earning praise

for work that was only partly hers, was no doubt useful when

Burgos was called upon to demonstrate her expertise on the

range of topics not necessarily of interest to her, but

allotted to women authors.

Recalling in his autobiography, Automoribundia (1948),

the difficult years in which Burgos pieced together her

sustenance, Ram6n G6mez de la Serna wrote that Burgos lived

"independientemente aunque pobre, gracias a articulos mal

pagados, a un puesto de maestra y a traducciones" (210).

Even the three sources of income combined, however, left her

in desperate financial straits: G6mez de la Serna narrates,

"No hay estera ni lumbre en su casa. El frio es atroz"


Fortunately for Burgos, her arrival in Madrid

corresponded to a period of journalistic expansion which had

begun during the Restoration of the Bourbon Monarchy. As

Jos&-Carlos Mainer explains in La Edad de Plata, the press

and the "nueva literature" joined each other in an effort to

attract readers through a wider and more inexpensive

diffusion of literature than could be achieved by books

alone (60). This effort would have been mutually beneficial

to both the press and many writers of the younger

generation, leaving the book publishers to compete with

newspapers for the audience which had previously been

exclusively theirs.

Mainer fails to mention an additional demographic

factor which is particularly relevant to the career of

Carmen de Burgos: in 1900, women represented a little over

fifty per cent of the population, and that portion continued

to rise gradually throughout the first third of the century.

Moreover, female literacy began to increase during those

years and in the 1920s, literate women began to outweigh the

illiterate for the first time in Spanish history (Capel

Martinez, Trabajo 27, 362). If the press and the publishing

companies were going to compete to attract readers, they


would certainly need to take into account the growing number

of women who were becoming consumers of the written word.

By 1902 Burgos was already a player in the press's

pursuit of the woman reader. She contributed frequently to

several newspapers on topics obviously intended for a female

audience but widely disparate in subject matter, ranging

from fashion, recipes, and beauty, to feminism and suffrage.

In 1903, Augusto SuArez Figueroa, the Director of the Diario

universal, assigned Burgos to write a column called

"Lecturas para la mujer," and anointed her with the

pseudonym "Colombine." Later, Burgos related in her

"Autobiografia" that she did not know why the name was

chosen. Her interpretation of the nature of her namesake in

the Italian commedia, however, causes her to suggest that
"por la agilidad y por la frivolidad que necesita el

peri6dico mezclar a la sesudez de sus articulos de fondo y

sus political era necesario......" Burgos's comment

suggests her understanding that she was hired to provide a

"feminine touch" which would not include the treatment of

serious political issues. In any case, she writes that she

accepted the name because it was given to her by "un

In the article, "'Colombine' y Pierrot" published in
Al balc6n, Burgos relates that during her first day at
Diario Universal, Figueroa said that she would be called
Raquel in the paper, but that there was considerable
discussion and changing of the name. She did appear as
Raquel in the first issue of the paper, but it never was
sold to the public. The next day, he decided to call her
Colombine. For additional discussion of her interpretation
of the name, see Al balc6n (95-99).

periodista insigne, un maestro." Apparently as a result of

the success of her column, Suarez Figueroa named Burgos the

first female editor of the paper.

Ram6n G6mez de la Serna relates that during those

years, Burgos wrote for several other papers and fashion

magazines and "para dar variedad a su nombre empleaba los

seud6nimos ingenuos y romanticos de 'Raquel', 'Honorine'

'Marianella'" (Pr61ogo 15). In addition, she prepared

articles of literary criticism for the Heraldo de Madrid as

Perico el de los Palotes, political articles for El Pueblo

in Valencia as Gabriel Luna, and four articles per month for

the ABC. It is probably not coincidental that she used male

pseudonyms for the articles not specifically directed to


In the few years between 1900 and 1904, Burgos ended

her marriage; went to Madrid; competed for and won a

teaching position in Guadalajara; studied pedagogy for

people with sensory impairments in Madrid; wrote articles,

sometimes on a daily basis, for several newspapers; and

published five books. To describe as prodigious the labor

she undertook--stitching together a writing career from the

bits and pieces available to her--is to fail to do it

justice. G6mez de la Serna points out in Autormoribundia

that in spite of her remarkable effort, her economic needs

were scarcely met: "Los libros de ella salian en editoriales

que los vendian bien, pero por ello s61o recibia unos miles

de reales que se iban en pagar o10 imprescindible" (211).

Burgos's circle of readers must have widened

significantly through her daily articles in the Diario

universal; it is likely that it would have expanded

dramatically on December 27, 1903, when she authored a

controversial article, based on personal experience, calling

for the formation of a "club de matrimonios mal avenidos" to

study the possible basis for a divorce law in Spain. Burgos

evidently decided to capitalize on the ensuing publicity by

inviting such well known writers and intellectuals of the

day as Pio Baroja, Vicente Blasco Ibdfiez, Concepci6n Gimeno

de Flaquer, Franciso Giner de los Rios, Emilia Pardo BazAn,

and Miguel de Unamuno to contribute their opinions, through

letters to her column, on the advisability of such a law.

By initiating a conversation with established literary

figures, Burgos would have inscribed herself, to a certain

extent, into the literary circle in which those authors

moved. After publishing just twelve of the letters

received, however, Burgos terminated the discussion and

announced in the paper that she would continue it in the

form of a book; it was published in 1904 as El divorcio en

Espafia.18 Castafteda's biography of Burgos suggests that she

18 Burgos concluded in the book that Spanish opinion
was favorable to divorce and predicted optimistically that
it would be established, although she did not specify how

was probably responding to editorial pressure not to

continue the discussion in the paper, but, instead, chose

the less immediate and less widely-circulated option of a

book in order to avoid total abandonment of the divorce

issue (36). It is also likely that Burgos would have

profited more from a book contract than from a piecemeal

disclosure of the responses in the press. I would like to

suggest, in addition, that although books certainly reached

a far more limited public than the daily press, their

readers were of a higher socio-economic position. Thus,

Burgos could have advanced her authorial status by securing

the publication of her initiative along with the responses

she solicited, although some were merely a refusal to

comment on such a controversial issue.

Burgos's now published opinion in favor of divorce, and

her comparison of divorce to a recent papal reform giving

novice nuns the right to "separate" from the convent,

provoked the ire of the Catholic Church." Certainly,

divorce represented the ultimate threat to the family

structure and, as such, to the continuance of Catholic dogma

which was staunchly supported by conservative political

-" In El divorcio en Espafia, Burgos refers to a
telegram from Rome published in Diario universal in which
Pius X proposes to eliminate the perpetual nature of the
vows of novice nuns.

forces.20 Castafieda explains that "[c]uando [los del sector

conservador] se enteran de su campafa lanzan critics

feroces contra ella, llam&ndola 'la divorciadora'" (118).

El Siglo Futuro, which Castafteda describes as "el peri6dico

que defiende los intereses del Vaticano," was particularly

vigorous in the attack (118). Burgos, reacting to the

severity of the criticism, went to the editorial office to

see the director. But, she later wrote, "'[s]ali6 el

redactor-jefe, y como se negase a darme explicaciones y a

rectificar, le di bofetadas'" (in Starcevic 46). Needless

to say, this incident was widely recorded in the papers

(Starcevic 45). Eventually, El Siglo Futuro rectified its

verbal attack on Burgos, but her association with anti-

Church and anti-family forces, as well as her reputation for

nontraditional female behavior, were not easily shed.

A review of Burgos's 1904 production reveals that she

published original works on divorce, the care and protection

of children, and decorative sewing, as well as the prologue

and translation of Moebius's La inferioridad mental de la

mujer. The concurrence of these dates demonstrates that in

1903 and 1904 Burgos was in the paradoxical position of

using the print media to campaign both for and against

women's rights in general and the conventional family

20 Burgos did not support divorce as we now know it,
but rather a legalized separation giving a woman the right
to leave her husband's domicile without sacrificing all of
her possessions and parental rights over the children of the

structure in particular, thus simultaneously supporting and

undermining the traditional Spanish ideology of domesticity.

Today it is not necessarily regarded as inconsistent to

favor the existence of divorce and yet support the welfare

of children. In the dominant ideology of Catholic Spain,

however, marriage, procreation, and the succoring of

children were linked as the most highly esteemed social

goals for women.

Thus, Burgos occupied a unique position in Spanish

culture: in the same years, she accrued fame through

negatively perceived personal circumstances which

marginalized her from societal norms, yet she spoke

authoritatively as a paradigmatic "ama de casa" advising

women on sewing and child care. Burgos would continue to

represent this ambivalent position in the practical manuals

she wrote for two of the most important publishers in early

twentieth-century Spanish literature.

It was within this context of multiple careers and

conflict with social institutions that Burgos wrote of her

"muchos yoes" in the "Autobiografia" for Prom&teo:

Mi vida es sencilla o compleja, segfin se la quiera
considerar. No hay en ella escenas emocionantes
ni hechos melodramAticos dignos de ocupar la
curiosidad del pifblico. Mi vida se desliz6 dentro
de mi, y todas sus complicaciones nacieron en mi
espiritu... Ha variado de fases muchas veces--
tantas, que me parece haber vivido en muchas
generaciones diferentes--. Y yo tambidn he
cambiado de ideas... de sentimientos... ;Qu6 s6
yo!... Me rio de la unidad del yo, porque llevo
dentro muchos yoes: hombres, mujeres, chiquillos,
viejos... Me pelearia si discutiese con alguno...

pero les dejo que venza el que mas d6 la gana...
iTodas son buenas personas!... A veces,
imprudentes, demasiado confiados... suelen obrar
con ligereza y tener de qu6 arrepentirse...
Entonces intervengo. (viii-ix)

In this discourse, she expresses some embarrassment at the

public interest in her confrontations with social

institutions, revealing her perception of the conflict

between her behavior and that expected of the turn-of-the-

century Spanish woman. Addressing, as well, her "vidas" of
"profesora" and "periodista" (x-xi), she writes that the

first would be "tan insufrible como el matrimonio y el

cocido si yo no la supiera adornar de azul" (x). Thus, she

reveals her consciousness of the need to view her multi-

faceted responses to her economic situation through a

positive lens. Differing from Maria Pilar Rodriguez's

interpretation in her article "Modernidad y feminismo: Tres

relatos de Carmen de Burgos," I construe Burgos's

willingness to allow a particular "yo" to overcome the

others as a recognition of her pragmatic resolution of her

circumstances of marginality (382). In my opinion, Burgos's

statements reveal, not her incapacity to constitute a fixed

identity, as Rodriguez posits, but rather her capacity to

adopt the pragmatic positions that would enable her to live

independently. In writing of the "muchos yoes" that she

carries within, she celebrates her ability to weave such

often tangled threads into a distinct role in Spanish

culture. Ledesma Hernandez's Prologue to Burgos's first

work seemed to be a warning of the danger of allowing one

"yo" to triumph, for it could cause her to lose readers and

income if she moved too solidly into the camp of that

exaggerated and promiscuous feminism which he, and others,

regarded as a threat to Spanish society.

Books for women: Sempere and Sopena

At around the same time as she was conducting the

survey on divorce, Burgos became acquainted with Vicente

Blasco Ibdfiez, perhaps because of his agreement with her on

that issue or, more generally, his radical republican

stance, one with which Burgos would eventually associate

herself.21 Blasco was well connected with Valencia, an

importante centro difusor de formas culturales populares"

in the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth

(Mainer 62). More important still, his direction of

Editorial Sempere would turn out to be crucial to Burgos's

career. According to Jos6-Carlos Mainer, who does not

include Burgos in his discussion, Sempere was responsible

for translating the turn-of-the-century Parnassian favorites

which inspired "periodistas bohemios" to give birth to "la

expresi6n artistic modern" (29). Blasco's introduction of

Burgos to Franciso Sempere led to the establishment of a

publishing relationship between them which would eventually

generate hard-cover collections of her cuentos, several

1 Cansinos-Assens refers to Burgos as "la... bueno, la
amiga de Blasco Ibafiez," implying with his suspension dots
that the two were more than casual friends (188).

full-length novels, published versions of some speeches, and

the collection of instructional manuals discussed in

subsequent chapters. Cansinos Assens, in mentioning

Burgos's association with Blasco, states that, through it,

she "dispone, como de cosa propia, de la Editorial Sempere"


Emphasizing the role of certain publishers such as

Sempere in the literary "revoluci6n parnaso finisecular,"

Mainer also mentions the importance of Editorial Sopena in

Barcelona in making the great nineteenth-century European

novels available in Spain (29-30).22 These two editoriales

were responsible, as well, for the publication of the

majority of Burgos's practical manuals for women. The role

of Sempere, which I will develop more fully in the next

chapter, was more definitive in Burgos's career than that of

Sopena; nevertheless, I will explain that Sopena played a

surprising, if less formative, part in the circulation of

Burgos's work.

Burgos's connection with such pivotal figures in the

diffusion of nineteenth-century European classics and

twentieth-century modernist literature broadens the view of

-2 Mainer explains that "el arte espafiol de la crisis
de fin de siglo hubiera sido impensable sin el fuerte
impact del conocimiento y convivencia con los extranjeros"
(58). That impact was provided by authors such as Hugo,
Dumas, Scott, Dickens, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, made
available in Spain by Sopena. Sempere was publishing
Kropotkin, Nietzsche, Engels, and Nordau, whose work Burgos
mentions frequently.

early twentieth-century Spanish literature presented by

Mainer. His emphasis on the importance of foreign works in

the Spanish "ruptura modernista," and his concomitant focus

on the burgeoning intellectual audience, leads him to ignore

another minority readership that, as we have seen, was

increasing: women. Sempere and Sopena did not slight this

share of the market, however; both took women readers into

account by developing women's collections which relied

heavily on Burgos's work. In the following chapter, I will

discuss the relationship between their understanding of that

female audience and Burgos's corpus of instructional manuals

for women.

Franciso Sempere was evidently aware that he could not

afford to disregard the growing public of women readers.

Concurrent with his cultivation of an elite audience

interested in foreign authors, he was actively involved with

Carmen de Burgos in the creation of a Biblioteca para la

mujer. It is apparent that he did not consider his list of

recent fiction by male authors sufficient to attract the

gradually increasing literate female population; rather, his

extensive "Library for Women" consists of domestic

instructional manuals, designed to educate women of the

reading class in matters considered appropriate to them at

the time. His selection of Burgos, a controversial Spanish

female author with a journalistic reputation for writing on

topics of interest to women, would be likely to secure an

immediate following for the works.

Sempere's notion of appropriate reading matter for

women differs markedly from that of Adolfo Posada and Emilia

Pardo Bazan. Their earlier attempts to create a wide female

audience based on international feminist readings had been

unsuccessful. In Carmen de Burgos: defensora de la mujer,

Starcevic points out that "frustrado fue el intent de

Emilia Pardo Bazan de introducir en la peninsula las ideas

forAneas." She cites Pardo Bazan addressing that issue:

'Cuando yo fund la 'Biblioteca de la Mujer', era
mi objeto difundir en Espafta las obras del alto
feminismo extranjero, y por eso di cabida en ella
a 'La esclavitud femenina' de Stuart Mill, y a 'La
mujer ante el socialismo' de Augusto Bebel. Eran
aquellos los tiempos apost61licos de mi interns por
la causa. He visto, sin g6nero de duda, que aqui
a nadie le preocupan gran cosa tales
cuestiones...' (24)

"[H]uyendo de lo molesto..."23

By the time Burgos began to write for Sempere, probably

around 1905, she had achieved a new level of literary

standing, but had experienced serious difficulties

sustaining her teaching career. After the publication of El

divorcio en Espafta, and perhaps as a result of unfavorable

reaction to it in the Escuela Normal de Guadalajara, Burgos

requested and was awarded a grant from the Ministerio de

23 Burgos, "Autobiografia," Al balc6n ix.

Instrucci6n POblica to study educational systems in other

European countries.24

She traveled in France, Italy, and Switzerland from

early October, 1905 to the end of September, 1906. In

Switzerland, it is probable that Burgos attended, although

not as an official delegate, an international conference on

women's education which she later mentions in La mujer en el

hogar and Vademecum femenino. During her travels, she met

feminist writers and visited with the Paris delegation of

the Lyceum Club of London. She also talked with the

philosopher Max Nordau, whose work she mentioned favorably

in several texts, and with Alfred Naquet, who sponsored

France's divorce law. Her welcome by the intellectual

community and continued correspondence with Nordau and

Naquet attests to her standing outside of Spanish

educational circles." If the Ministerio de Educaci6n or the

Catholic Church hoped that this trip would bring Burgos more

into line with traditional Catholic family doctrine, her

activities did not fulfill that expectation. On the

contrary, she seems to have pursued a strategy of self-

24 NOftez Rey states that the Directora de la Escuela
Normal Central, in awarding Burgos the grant, made it clear
that she had been the only applicant (Burgos 24).
25 At her request, Nordau contributed a letter to
Vademecum femenino in which he states his negative opinion
on women's use of the corset. His biography mentions his
meetings with Burgos during his exile in Madrid in 1914.
The Hungarian expatriate Nordau advised her on the Jewish
situation, which was one of her interests.

education on the most controversial issues of the day, with

foreign liberal reformers as her teachers.

In Rome in April of 1906, she was invited to speak to

the Asociaci6n de la Prensa on the topic of "La mujer en

Espafia."26 Burgos's talk seems to have been a major event,

attended by "representaci6n de las dos embajadas, de

pensionados de la Academia de Espafia, de gran parte de la

colonia y de un pdblico numeroso y select donde estaba en

mayoria el bello sexo" (Il P6polo Romano quoted in La mujer

en Espafia 55). Also in attendance was Concepci6n Gimeno de

Flaquer, author of La mujer (1877) and a conservative

feminist who had responded in the negative to Burgos's

survey on divorce.27 The speech was published by Sempere

with an appendix including selections from the

congratulatory telegrams Burgos received from Nordau and

Naquet on the occasion of the speech. The Appendix also

featured a compilation of press reviews, including some from

a French paper, several from Italy, and some from Burgos's

Madrid paper, the Heraldo. They refer to Burgos as "[l]a

26 The speech was later published with the same title
by Sempere. At forty-eight pages of text, it seems lengthy
for a talk, but it ends with the words "Grandes aplausos"
giving the impression that it is a faithful reproduction of
her talk. See the list of Works Cited for the complete
2' The Rome paper La Tribuna commented on the presence
of Gimeno de Flaquer at the speech, referring to her as "la
notable literate espafiola ..., novelist y autora de
escritos filos6ficos sobre el feminismo, audaz propagandista
de estas ideas" (La mujer en Espafia 56).

notable escritora" (quoted in La mujer en Espafta 52), and

"[l]a redactora del Heraldo de Madrid y distinguida

escritora" (Arturo Matei, quoted in La mujer en Espafla 53),

and "[l]a bella y culta sefora Carmen de Burgos, escritora,

conferenciante y periodista espanola" (La Vita, quoted in La

mujer en Espafia 57). These comments certainly indicate that

Burgos's work was highly respected in certain circles, and

also that she was considered primarily a journalist on

women's issues at that time.

Sempere's edition of La mujer en Espafia includes a list

of Burgos's works, with publication dates. Under the

heading "Originales," it includes such works as Ensayos

literarios (1900), featuring the Ledesma Hern~ndez prologue,

and Notas del alma (1901). Appearing under "Traducciones,"

but parenthetically called an "arreglo" is Modelos de cartas

(1905).2- I will fully discuss the significance of the

arreglos and analyze an example of Burgos's technique of

textual arrangements in the following two chapters. Modelos

de cartas must be the first practical manual in the Burgos-

Sempere Biblioteca para la mujer and is grouped with those

works in subsequent lists.

Perhaps this work, which would be excluded from the
category "Traducidas" in a subsequent list in Al balc6n, is
called a translation here because the women's series on
which Burgos and Sempere would collaborate had not yet been
created. Furthermore, it is likely that Burgos borrowed
heavily from published sources in other languages in
assembling the practical manuals; this would account for the
use of the term "arreglo."

"'[M]e perseguia por liberal..."29

The nature of Burgos's experiences outside of Spain,

while seen as successful by some, appeared to damage rather

than promote her teaching career. Her position in the

educational system, with the only guaranteed (albeit small)

income she had, continued to deteriorate. Her associations

abroad with people well known for their espousal of liberal

causes immediately preceded a time of political conservatism

in Spain. Prior to 1907, Burgos was probably protected

politically within the educational system by Segismundo

Moret, a friend of the Burgos family and President of the

Partido Liberal (Nfiez Rey, diss 34). In 1907, however, the

conservative Antonio Maura formed what would be called the

"gobierno largo" and appointed Faustino Rodriguez San Pedro

as the new Ministro de Educaci6n.

From her first essay on "La educaci6n de la mujer,"

Burgos had spoken in favor of reforms in the educational

system, and she continued to do so in her Heraldo articles

(Castafieda 29). Her teaching career began to be impeded by

a series of actions by the Ministerio. Nufiez Rey suggests

that this apparent harassment of Burgos was concurrent with

and a result of the formation of the conservative government

(34). There is evidence to support Burgos perceiving it as

such: in a footnote in La mujer en el hogar, addressing the

issue of educational reform, she writes that she "no logr6

9 Burgos qtd. in G6mez de la Serna, "Pr6logo" 22.

sacar de su ensuefo rutinario al entonces ministry, don

Faustino Rodriguez San Pedro" (6). Furthermore, G6mez de la

Serna recounts a conversation he had with Burgos in which

she recalls some of the more frequently repeated critical

anecdotes about her, and I cite,

'He hecho que vociferase contra mi, en el Senado,
el obispo de Jaca, y, desde el puesto en que
cumplia mi deber, desafie al ministry que me
perseguia por liberal, a aquel infausto Rodriguez
San Pedro....' (Pr61ogo 22)

Unless Burgos was appropriately recertified as a

Profesora de Ensenanza Superior, she would not be able to

continue to teach at the Escuela Normal in Guadalajara

(Nnfez Rey, diss 31). It was as part of that process that

she had her book, Moderno tratado de labores, officially

recognized by the educational system. Yet remaining in

Guadalajara was not Burgos's aim; since the termination of

the course at the Colegio Nacional de Sordomudos y Ciegos in

1905, she had sought to be permanently reassigned to Madrid.

In March, 1907, she left Guadalajara for a post in the

Secci6n de Ensenanza de la Mujer in the Escuela Superior de

Industries in Madrid, but her re-certification was delayed

and, as a result, she was instead re-assigned to Toledo.30

Since Burgos was resistant to leaving Madrid, it is

likely that she resumed her pattern of commuting to her

teaching post because, not long after her commission in

3o The novella El honor de la familiar, written in 1911,
suggests Burgos's reaction to the repressive atmosphere she
found in Toledo. It will be discussed in Chapter 5.

Toledo, she was anonymously denounced to the Ministerio de

Instrucci6n Pfblica. The statement avers that Burgos was

apparently not dedicated to her teaching, citing her for

"falta de asistencia a clase sin autorizaci6n, por no

completar su horario de classes, por no haber dado tres

conferencias que le restan de su viaje al extranjero como

manda el reglamento, por no residir en Toledo" (Castafeda

30). There is not sufficient evidence available to show

whether these charges were justified, or invented as part of

the political harassment suggested by N0ftez Rey. Burgos,

however, responded that they were "'falsas calumnias

an6nimas de personas que pretenden, por fines que

desconozco, dafarme en mi buen concept professional que

tanto estimo'" (Burgos, Expediente de Maestra, in Castafeda

31). Her expediente was successful and she was exonerated

of the charges as unproven and because of her "fama de

persona de gran cultural y deseos de perfeccionar sus

conocimientos en el extranjero" (Castafiada 31).

Burgos's career in the educational system may have

suffered from her statements on divorce and her liberal

activities both in and outside of Spain, but her literary

reputation did not. In 1905, the year Burgos left Spain,

she and Emilia Pardo Bazan had been the first women admitted

to the Ateneo of Madrid. After her return in 1907, she met

Eduardo Zamacois, who contracted with her to write for his

new series, El cuento semanal, the prototype for the new

genre of the novela breve.3 As a contributor to its

premier year, Burgos's name would be associated with such

well known authors as Jacinto Octavio Pic6n, Jacinto

Benavente, Felipe Trigo, and Emilia Pardo BazAn. Her

burgeoning literary career, however, would hardly have

remunerated her sufficiently to support her Madrid lifestyle

with its famous tertulias, the "mi6rcoles de Colombine."

As this dissertation has shown, the years in which

Burgos established a publishing relationship with Sempere

were characterized by paradox. She was increasingly

desirable as an author, yet apparently anathema to the two

principal Spanish cultural institutions: the Catholic

Church and the educational system. Yet Burgos's first book

for Sempere, Modelos de cartas, had established her as an

author who would help him, one of the most active and

influential publishers of the era, to attract a specifically

female audience. As such, it established Burgos as one of

the very few females among many important male novelists who

were regular Sempere contributors. Furthermore, it promised

to supply Burgos with additional regular income.

Sempere was the first major book publisher to claim

Burgos's assumed domestic expertise for his inventory, but

El cuento semanal, while new in ways which will be
discussed in Chapter 5, was also related to such traditional
genres as the folletin and novela por entregas.
The first novella Burgos authored for El cuento semanal
was El tesoro del castillo, the twenty-fifth issue in 1907,
the inaugural year of the series.

he was certainly not the last.3' Nevertheless, his

collaboration with Burgos in generating a woman's library

resonated throughout her career. It both located her in a

unique position from which to address women's issues and it

enabled her to reach an audience different from the

newspaper-reading public. Burgos had been a mother, a

teacher, and, as a working journalist not living with her

husband, a spokeswoman for unmarried and working-class women

facing harsh economic realities. Purchasers of her Sempere

books, however, would be unlikely to come from the working

classes, as unlike working women, her buyers were

sufficiently wealthy to purchase books, and they had the

luxury of considering household management their primary

concern. As she writes in El arte de ser amada (discussed

3' Over the course of Burgos's career, Sempere did not
restrict his publication of her work to advice books for
women, publishing as well novellas, novels, and collections
of her interviews. The following works by Burgos, excluding
the practical manuals which will be discussed separately,
were published by Sempere: Cuentos de "Colombine", 1908; Los
inadaptados, 1909 (a collection of stories containing, in
addition to the eponymous one, "Amor de esposa," "iVeinte
aios!", and "En la paz del campo"); La voz de los muertos,
1911; Leopardi, n.d. [1911]; Cartas sin destinatario, n.d.
[1912]; En la guerra, n.d. [1912] (a collection of stories
containing, in addition to the eponymous one, "La indecisa,"
"Siempre en tierra," "La justicia del mar," "El veneno del
arte" and "El honor de la familiar) ; Al balc6n, n.d. [1913,
according to Palau; 1914, according to Cejador]; La
malcasada, 1923; La mujer fantistica, 1924; Amadis-"e Gaula,

in Chapter 4), Burgos would communicate specifically with

the "clase media acomodada" (168).

In addition to the financial advantage for Burgos, she

garnered the prestige of being a Sempere author; through her

published literary conversations with him, one of which I

will discuss in the following chapter, she declared herself

a player in the writing community. Burgos would go on to

author, or "arrange," as she sometimes styled it, similar

practical manuals for several publishers, some of which may

have been connected to Sempere.33 As I will discuss in the

next chapter, Burgos occasionally disclaimed this work, but

proudly reasserted its value in Sempere's publication of her

Obras completes. Moreover, the existence of the Sempere

series led to the Quiere Usted...? women's collection

33 The possible relationships among publishers is
unclear. Sempere published Tesoro de la belleza as Volume I
of Burgos's Obras completes seriese practice). Its inclusion
in that series indicates that it was part of the series
Burgos prepared for Sempere. Yet, the original edition of
that text was titled El arte de seducir and published by the
Sociedad General Espafola de Libreria.
The latter also published El arte de ser mujer (belleza y
perfecci6n) in the "Introducci6n" to which Burgos writes, "A
veces hasta yo misma, a pesar de tener mi antifaz de
Colombine, me he ocultado bajo otro disfraz, mas tupido, y
burlonamente aristocratico, de Condesa X, de Princesa X, o
de Madame X, bajo los cuales, sin embargo, me ha sabido
conocer el lector" (10).
The list of Burgos's works which appears in Al balc6n,
published by Sempere, includes La mujer en el hogar, but
there is another edition published by Prometeo in the
Biblioteca Nacional. Both appear to be the same except for
the title page. There are, as well, Prometeo editions of La
cocina modern and Vadem6cum femenino, indicating a possible
connection between Sempere and Prometeo, both of which were
located in Valencia.

published by Sopena in Barcelona, which expanded Burgos's

circulation in northern Spain.

Through her association with instructional domestic

literature for women, Burgos has been considered a reluctant

feminist who advocated personal and, eventually, political

rights for women while continuing to support their role as

housewives. Burgos's positions vis a vis the restriction of

women to domestic functions will be discussed in the next

two chapters. The remainder of this chapter will resolve

bibliographical and chronological questions relating to the

repetitive nature of the titles of her practical manuals,

clarifying the roles played by Sempere and Sopena in the

development of that domestic corpus.

The Sempere Series

The majority of the practical manuals Burgos wrote for

Sempere were published without dates; in addition, the often

repetitive nature of the titles of Burgos's books of advice

has resulted in considerable confusion about her nonfiction

corpus. Through careful examination of the texts, I have

arrived at a plausible chronology of these works.

Contrary to certain estimated dates in the catalogue of

the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, and to Nafez Rey's

attributions indicating that some of Burgos's "Manuales de

uso practice" were written as late as 1920, I have concluded

that she probably composed most of her practical manuals for

Sempere between 1905 and 1913. The back of the title page

in many of the texts bears the information, "Esta Casa

Editorial obtuvo Diploma de Honor y Medalla de Oro en la

Exposici6n Regional de Valencia de 1909," thus indicating

that the texts so labelled post-date that Exposition. In

several texts, that page carries the additional message, "y

Gran Premio de Honor en la Internacional de Buenos Aires de

1910," leading me to conclude that the texts which convey

that notice post-date those which mention 1909. I have

determined the end-date of 1913 from a list of Burgos's

published works appearing in Al balc6n, a collection of her

previously published newspaper articles issued as a book by

Sempere. This text is dated to 1913 by Palau y Dulcet (470)

and by the library of Pennsylvania State University; Cejador

assigns it to 1914 (290). If Al balc6n is, indeed, from

1913 or 1914, all of the works listed in it must pre-date

its publication, thus placing them between 1909 or 1910 and

1913 or 1914, with Modelos de cartas, at least, dating as

early as 1905.34

Burgos, in addition, occasionally cited some of her own

texts in others she prepared on related topics; her

citations, where they appear, corroborate the order of

published works appearing in Al balc6n. Her footnotes, for

example, make it possible to conclude definitively that

34 Nflez Rey concurs in attributing Al balc6n to 1913,
but doesn't seem to have used the information available in
it to re-date the manuals. Castafeda, as well, attributes
Al balc6n to 1913 in her Bibliografy of Burgos's works

Salud y belleza precedes El tocador practice. In the

edition of Vadem6cum femenino which I have studied,

published by Prometeo (in 1918, according to Nfiez Rey), she

footnotes Arte de saber vivir and Las artes de la mujer,

thus establishing that she wrote both of those prior to

Vademecum femenino.35 According to Sempere's list of

"obras de la misma autora publicadas por esta casa" in Al

balc6n, however, an edition of Vademecum femenino was also

published by Sempere and prior to Al balc6n, hence prior to

1913 or 1914. Burgos establishes that El arte de ser amada

post-dates 1911 by mentioning therein an event that occurred

in 1911; the back of the title page lists Modelos de cartas,

La cocina modern, Arte de saber vivir, Salud y belleza, Las

artes de la mujer, La mujer en el hogar and Vademecum

femenino as previously prepared "arreglos" by the same

author. In Arte de la elegancia, she cites La mujer en el

hogar, Las artes de la mujer, and Arte de saber vivir as

references, again confirming the order given in Al balc6n.

I have, therefore, concluded that the works prepared by

Burgos for Sempere between the dates mentioned above

include, in suggested chronological order, Modelos de

cartas, La cocina modern, Arte de saber vivir, Salud y

belleza, Las artes de la mujer, La mujer en el hogar,

35 In addition, Burgos includes in the text a letter
written to her by Max Nordau and dated November, 1907 (123).

Vadem6cum femenino, El arte de ser amada, Arte de la

elegancia, El tocador prActico, and La mujer jardinero.

Of those titles, the only ones I can assign to a

specific year are Modelos de cartas, previously discussed,

and La mujer en el hogar economica dombstica): Guia de la

buena duefia de casa, which is signed "Arreglada por Carmen

de Burgos (Colombine)," and names Burgos as "Profesora de

esta asignatura en la escuela superior de artes industriales

de Madrid." N&nez Rey indicates that Burgos held that

position from July 23, 1910 to January 1, 1911;

consequently, the text must have been published during that


This does not mean, however, that Burgos's

instructional guides were restricted to only the early years

of her career. Sempere's post-1924 publication of her Obras

completes is really a re-edition of the previously published

practical series for women.36 The first volume, Tesoro de

la belleza (arte de seducir), states: "Desde 1924 que

comienza la publicaci6n de las obras completes de Carmen de

Burgos, no podrAn reimprimirse fuera de esta colecci6n sus

obras practices para la mujer." While in the past, Burgos

had, in some instructional texts, denied her authorial

responsibility by referring to them as "arreglos," in this

36 The Obras completes editions did not include any of
the fiction that had been published by Sempere. It seems
that, in spite of its name, it was intended merely as a re-
publication of Burgos's practical texts.

first volume of her "Obras completes," she reclaims the work

as hers. By providing a new Prologue to this edition,

Burgos at once reaffirms her authorship and reasserts the

value of her practical manuals in what was, by that time, an

extensive body of work:

Al comenzar ahora la publicaci6n de mis obras
completes, entire el gran ndmero de novelas, de
critics, articulos y libros de viaje, no quiero
dejar en el olvido esta series de libros, de un
interns especial para la mujer (5).

Volume I of the Obras completes, for which Burgos proudly

claims authorship, is a re-edition of El arte de seducir,

originally published under the pseudonym "Condesa de C***,"

possibly in 1916.3' Burgos's authorial position vis a vis

this and other practical texts will be discussed in the next


The second volume of this series was Ultimos models de

cartas, a re-edition of Modelos de cartas, Burgos's first

practical book prepared for Sempere's women readers. The

third volume, Hablando con los desciendentes, was published

in 1929, ostensibly in the same series, using the same

format and cover design, but by Compafia Ibero-Americana de

Publicaciones, S.A., Editorial Renacimiento in Madrid. The

apparent change in publisher for the third volume of the

series seems to signal the end of Burgos's long relationship

with Sempere. The new publisher of Volume III of the "Obras

completes" was also the publisher of the series La Novela de

3' Madrid: Sociedad Espafola de Libreria.

Hoy, for which Burgos wrote nine novellas between 1929 and
1932; it is likely, therefore, that there was a relationship

between that change in publisher and Burgos's authorship of

other works for Ibero-Americana in the same years.3e

Sempere's 1924 re-publication, under the title "Obras

completes," of the practical manuals Burgos had written for

him much earlier in her career is, I believe, an attempt to

(re)claim exclusive publishing rights to her corpus for his

editorial and to capture another generation of women readers

with an apparent retrospective of the work of a woman author

who had, by those years, achieved widespread popularity for

her novellas. If his intention was to issue new editions of

all of Burgos's work, the undertaking would indeed have been

prodigious, for by the time of her death in 1932, Burgos had

authored eighty-nine novellas, twenty-four practical

manuals, eleven novels, and twenty-one nonnarrative works.39

38 The novels Burgos authored for La Novela de Hoy in
those years were: Se qued6 sin ella, Febrary 8, 1929; El
dorado tropico, February 7, 1930; La piscina, la piscina!,
May 9, 1930; Vida y milagros del picaro Andresillo Perez,
December 26, 1930; La ironia de la vida, June 10, 1931;
Perd6nanos nuestras deudas, September 11, 1931; Puial de
claveles, November 13, 1931; Guiones del destiny, March 4,
1932; Cuando la ley lo manda, April 29, 1932.

39 This count is based on Nufez Rey's classifications
and totals which do not account for the Sempere-Sopena
repetition of texts, which I will explain in the next
section, nor for works listed as novels which are really
anthologies bearing the title of one of the novellas
contained within.

The Sopena Series

My investigation of Burgos's practical manuals has made

it apparent that Editorial Sopena in Barcelona, which, as

Mainer established, was also involved in the promotion of

contemporary foreign fiction, was equally interested in

developing a bibliography of Burgos's books for women.

Furthermore, even at first glance, the titles of the Sopena

books written by Burgos bear a remarkable similarity to

those published by Sempere: whereas Sempere published

Modelos de cartas in 1905, and Ultimos models de cartas in

the Obras completes series between 1924 and 1929, Sopena

marketed Nuevos models de cartas. Sempere published La

cocina modern prior to 1913 and then its re-edition, La

cocina prActica in the Obras completes in about 1925. In

the interim, apparently, Sopena had published Quiere usted

comer bien?. Burgos reasserts the validity and promotes the

sale of the Sempere Obras completes version, however, by

declaring in that text: "Esta edici6n, anica recomendada por

su autora, contiene, seleccionadas y corregidas, todas las

formulas de sus libros 'La Cocina Moderna' y 'ZQuiere V.

Comer Bien?' adembs de un gran ndmero de nuevas recetas."

Sopena seems to have won the competition for Burgos's last

words on food, however, by producing a posthumous re-edition

of ZQuiere usted comer bien? in 1949. Sempere's Salud y

belleza, from the 1910-1913 group, is repeated in Sopena's

EQuiere usted ser bella y tener salud?; similarly, Sempere's

El arte de ser amada is echoed in Sopena's title ZQuiere

usted ser amada?. Sempere's El tocador prActico, again

published between 1909 and 1913, probably precedes Sopena's

similar eQuiere usted conocer los secrets del tocador?.

Books in Sopena's Quiere V....? series, as in the case

of the Sempere series of practical manuals, were published

without dates. Unfortunately, in the Sopena works, there is

little textual evidence by which to propose dates for the

works. In ZQuiere V. ser amada?, Burgos mentions others of

that series as having been published "recientemente," so it

is logical to assume that they were published within a few

years of each other. The Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid and

the Nifez Rey dissertation concur in assigning the works to

1916 and 1917.

My further examination of these works reveals that the

parallels between the Sempere and Sopena series extend

beyond the similarity of the titles and into the works

themselves. Indeed, I have verified that ZQuiere V. ser

bella y tener salud? is exactly the same text as Salud y

belleza, and this is also true of the two books on "ser

amada" and the "tocador." While I have not examined Modelos

de cartas and Nuevos models de cartas because their content

does not fall within the scope of this dissertation, I

assume that the correspondence of titles indicates that they

are also identical texts. The dates I have proposed for the

Sempere works indicate that their publication precedes the

Sopena editions. I have not discovered any evidence that

Sopena had the cooperation of either Sempere or Burgos in

"borrowing" the texts.40 Sopena's lists of Burgos's

previously published works, however, mentions Al balc6n,

indicating that the Sopena books post-date its probable date

of publication in 1913 or 1914. As might be expected,

however, they do not include the parallel Sempere titles

published prior to Al balc6n. They do incorporate El arte

de ser mujer, published by the Sociedad Espafiola de

Libreria, for which NWiez Rey suggests the year 1920. Since

El arte de ser mujer, accordingly, pre-dates the Sopena

series, either its date must be earlier than 1920, or that

series must be later than the estimated 1917.

There are only a few minor differences between the

texts in the two series. Sopena consistently uses a larger

font; as a result, their editions have more pages and the

Indices have been appropriately re-numbered. In the

Prologue to Sempere's El tocador prActico, which Burgos

calls "Dos palabras," she cites her own Salud y belleza,

"publicada por esta Casa Editorial" (vii). The same "Dos

palabras" appears in the Sopena EQuiere V...? version, but

without the citation referring to another Sempere text. In

Salud y belleza, the word "Sprit" is used to discuss

"coqueteria" (Chapter XXI); the spelling has been changed to

4o Carlos Serrano suggested that the practice existed
by which Sopena might have bought the rights to this series
from Sempere (conversation, 25 March 1998).

"Esprit" in .Quiere V. ser bella y tener salud? Sempere's

edition of El tocador prActico was published with an error

in the "Indice," numbering from Chapter VII to IX and

omitting VIII; it ends with XXIII and an "Ap6ndice." Sopena

has corrected that mistake, ending with XXII and the

"Ap6ndice," and has reversed the order of a few of the

chapters. As a consequence, Chapter XIV on "Los ojos" in

the Sempere edition becomes XII in the Sopena version, thus

maintaining "Los cuidados de la boca" as XIII in both texts.

Similarly, by moving "La belleza de la mano" from XVII in

the Sempere text to XV, "Cultura especial del cuerpo" is

kept as XVI in both texts. In this case, Sopena has used

the same font as Sempere for chapter headings, sub-headings,

and text; the two texts appear almost identical. Sopena

begins the text a little higher on the page, however, with

the effect that the page-breaks fall in slightly different

places in each. I also observed that in the chapter on "Los

ojos" in Sempere's El tocador practice, Burgos says "Los

velos son muy perjudiciales para la vista" (131 emphasis

mine); this has been misspelled as "vellos" in the Sopena

edition (148).

It is tempting to speculate that this work, because of

the similar physical appearance of both texts, was the first

to be re-used by Sopena. It can be suggested that, perhaps

in subsequent editions, and as a result of complaints from

either Burgos or Sempere, Sopena decided to adopt a

different appearance for their texts. The only evidence I

have seen of Burgos's cognizance of, and perhaps

participation in, the Sopena series is the statement

mentioned above in the Sempere "Obras completes" edition of

La cocina prActica in which, speaking of herself in the

third person, she cites both La Cocina Moderna and ZQuiere

V. comer Bien?" as "sus libros" (title page). In any case,

it is clear that, by re-issuing Burgos's works for women

readers, Sopena had recognized their popularity and,

consequently, taken advantage of the possibility of securing

their portion of the female audience for his editorial.

Without knowing the degree of collaboration that

occurred among Burgos, Sempere, and Sopena, we cannot

determine whether the publication of Burgos's texts under

different titles by different publishers involved deceit.

It may well have resulted in additional payments from Sopena

to Burgos. By modern standards it appears lacking in

creative integrity, but it is incumbent on the reader not to

condemn Burgos's possible role in the process of double-

marketing her work. Rather, this discovery is new evidence

of the measures Burgos might have been compelled to

undertake in order to forge a financially beneficial

literary career. The distribution of her work by two well

known companies provided Burgos with the opportunity to be

associated with great Spanish and foreign writers, it

disseminated her work through Barcelona as well as Valencia,

created a potential following of women readers who might

also read her novellas, and, almost certainly provided her

with needed income.

Since Burgos apparently made her initial contact with

Sempere shortly after her newspaper article on divorce, at a

time when both her personal reputation and her teaching

career were under attack, the impetus to claim expertise in

the education of women and to identify herself with them by

writing on domestic matters is clear. Her statements on

divorce in the press had moved her into the ranks of that

'feminismo exagerado ... esa promiscuidad feminist" of

which Ledesma Hernandez had warned in the Prologue to her

first work, Ensayos literarios, only a few years earlier.

All authors are, to a certain extent, in search of a

readership and, as a result, susceptible to the pressures of

the tastes of the public. The high illiteracy rate among

women meant that Burgos, writing for women, had a smaller

potential pool of readers than her male colleagues. In

addition, she was financially constrained to, as Ledesma

Hernandez had said, "vivir del favor del piblico." Writing

a domestic series for Sempere was the kind of "oportunidad"

referred to by Ledesma HernAndez, whereby Burgos would

probably gain readers, but lose "en subjetivismo y en

independencia." As I will discuss in the next chapter, her

textual comments to Sempere in the Prologue to La cocina

modern aver that "El Arte ... no es un arte puro y

libre....' (Ledesma Hern&ndez v).

The significance of two major publishers, considered by

Mainer to be an integral part of "la ruptura modernista,"

"sharing" Burgos's work is, I believe, apparent. Mainer's

portrait of "La Edad de Plata" overlooks the increasing

female readership of which those publishers were obviously

well aware, presenting instead a unidimensional view of a

male, presumably intellectual, audience. Sempere and Sopena

made a deliberate effort to assemble a female constituency,

to the extent that they both publicized Burgos as one of

their authors. Although Sempere published Burgos's fiction

as well as her nonfiction, it was her "how-to" books that he

specifically directed to the female audience by including

them under the rubric, "Biblioteca para la mujer." His

vision of female readers, then, was one of women who needed

or desired to improve their domestic skills.

In the following chapter, I shall consider Sempere's

proposal to Burgos that she write a cookbook, an offer

someone in her economic position was not likely to refuse.

As a woman who was responsible for the financial support of

herself and her child, she would certainly have been

susceptible to economic oppression which might have led her

to accept such an assignment. Burgos lived in a strongly

patriarchal society in which women were culturally

dominated, denied legal rights, and stereotyped as uniquely


designed for and capable of only familial and domestic

duties. The scarcity of women in the literary world

deprived Burgos, as well as Sempere, of models for a female

author's literary production. These "messages of

inferiority" are what Bartky calls "special modes of psychic

alienation" (23). The following chapter will consider

whether Burgos's domestic manuals express such psychic

alienation or, instead, testify to the author's conscious

appraisal of her literary circumstances.



Burgos's nontraditional life made her susceptible to

attack on many levels. It is possible that she contributed

to the misconceptions and controversy which characterized

her as an individual by furnishing misleading details about

her life.1 Her character was probably publicly blemished,

as well, by such contemporaries as Cansinos-Assens who later

perpeuated the innuendoes in his diaries.2 The tendency for

1 The misunderstanding regarding Burgos's age is an
example of confusion she created: her colleagues at El
liberal maintained that she was born in 1879, which seems to
have been the information she gave. NOfez Rey determined,
however, that Burgos was baptized in 1867, so 1867 is now
accepted as that of her birth. Starcevic points out the
disparities perpetuated by texts which mention Burgos:
Granjel assigned Burgos's birth to 1879, Cejador to 1876,
and the Diccionario de Literatura espafola edited by the
Revista de Occidente to 1878 (Defensora 39).
Starcevic's text suggests that Burgos might have hoped to
make her relationship with G6mez de la Serna (1888-1963)
less scandalous, at least to their literary colleagues, by
narrowing their age difference.

SNuiez Rey frequently demonstrates the inaccuracy of
Cansinos's remarks. For example, she explains his assertion
that Burgos traveled to America during World War I to escape
a scandal provoked by the publication of El abogado in which
Eduardo Barriobero apparently recognized himself as the
title character. Ndfiez Rey points out that the novel in
question was not published until 1915 and that Burgos's trip
took place in 1913 thanks to a grant from the Junta de
Ampliaci6n de Estudios. She asserts that Cansinos's
information is based on "los juicios insidiosos que
difundian los maledicentes" and laments that "las memories


members of the literary establishment to portray Burgos in a

negative manner has continued even into the last decade of

the twentieth century. In Juan Manuel de Prada's 1997 novel

Las mascaras del heroe, the protagonist impugns Burgos's

honesty and morality, as had Cansinos-Assens.3 Federico

de Cansinos ofrecieram [sic] una imagen tan deformada de la
autora" (58).
Cansinos was a contemporary of Burgos, but La novela de
un literate was written in 1957 at the behest of Aguilar.
The three-volume work covering the years from 1882 to 1936
was purportedly based on his diaries.

3 In de Prada's novel, the fictional
protagonist/narrator Pedro Luis de GAlvez (who was a real
author in that period) calls Burgos an "escritora sin
gracia, partidaria ac6rrima de una repiblica federal,
sufragista y algo machorra." In a single sentence, de
Prada's character reiterates the canonical defamations of
Burgos, maligning her writing, her politics and her
femininity. He continues, impugning her honesty as well as
her appearance: "Firmaba Carmen de Burgos sus obras con el
seud6nimo de Colombine, que parecia haber elegido su enemigo
mas burl6n, pues nada recordaba en la escritora esa aura de
inquietante misterio que atribuimos a la amada de Pierrot.
Ella se excusaba con etimologias latinas:
--Firmo Colombine porque en mi coraz6n late una paloma.
Podria latirle una paloma o un guacamayo de la selva
amaz6nica, pero a la envoltura de care le sobraban arrobas
por los cuatro costados. Carmen de Burg.r, Colombine,
recorria los Circulos Culturales r.:njrl.i3~no conferencias
para un publico femenino en las que se empezaba vindicando
el divorcio y se terminaba, en medio de un frenesi de
aplausos, instaurando un regimen de matriarcado donde no se
excluyesen el amor sAfico y la castraci6n. Antes de
aceptarla como inquilina, mi padre le hizo promoter que no
llevaria al caser6n compafias poco recomendables ni
organizaria saraos tumultuosos. Colombine no vacil6:
--Se lo prometo, pierda usted cuidado.
Pero, por supuesto, incumpli6 su promesa desde el primer
dia." (51)
Contrary to the accusations de Prada attributes to his
narrator, my investigation has not revealed any evidence of
support by Burgos for homosexual love nor castration,
although she did sanction heterosexual unmarried unions. De
Prada's attribution of the these words to someone who was a
well-known author at the time is particularly damaging to

Utrera's Memorias de Colombine: la primera periodista (1998)

is a more sympathetic treatment of her place in the early

twentieth-century Spanish literary world, but the author's

incorporation of the words of others, for example Cansinos-

Assens's, into what is purportedly Burgos's narrative merely

continues the misinformation that surrounds her.4

Because of Burgos's controversial progressive views,

she was particularly vulnerable to conservative attempts to

discredit her political opinions as well as her behavior.

Such criticism accelerated after the Spanish Civil War with

revelations of her participation in the Masonic movement,

anathema to Franco's project for a Spain rooted in

traditional Roman Catholic doctrine (Billoch).5 It was

inevitable that attacks on Burgos's ideology would have


Utrera writes the Memorias as if he were Burgos, thus
adding autobiographical authenticity to a text which often
relies upon other sources. He attributes the following,
clearly based upon Cansino-Assens's text, to her: "El joven
poliglota tiene la imagen de mi que corre por Madrid:
Colombine, la dama roja, la... bueno, la antigua de Blasco
Ibafez que dispone, como de cosa propia, de la editorial
Sempere" (72).

5 Billoch's article states that Burgos founded "La
Logia 'Amor'" 2 December 1931 (84). In the article, female
Masonic lodges are accused of intensifying "el fervor laico
entire sus afiliadas. Los discursos, las frases, todo tiende
a cultivar la rebeldia spiritual de la mujer, a emanciparla
de la llamada tirania religiosa" (74). In addition, they
were purported to stimulate the passions. The women sang
songs which "harian enrojecer a un mono" (75).
The article was published 31 August 1939 which, it
states, was the "Afio de la victoria." Thus, the political
perspective from which the article was written is clear.

carried over to denigrate her writing. Burgos's place as an

author, however, should ultimately be determined by the

literary choices she could and did make.

Ideological paradoxes in Burgos's obra have been

pointed out by a modern critic of Spanish turn-of-the

century literature, Maria Pilar Rodriguez. In a 1998

article, she writes that Burgos's refutation of "los

principios fundamentals de la independencia femenina," is

incongruous with her recommendation of "el matrimonio y la

maternidad como la formula mAs deseable de desarrollo

femenino" in the domestic manuals (382). This dissertation

examines similar issues, but it locates Burgos within the

context of her marginal position as one of the rare women

trying to fashion an economically viable writing career. It

considers Burgos's authorship of instructional literature

for women in the context of her economic state, her desire

to write, and the dominance of the domestic ideology.

This chapter will focus on the principal problems of

authorship which have surrounded Burgos's production of

domestically-oriented literature for women. The

insinuations of others have frequently stimulated questions

about Burgos's credibility; those issues will be examined.

The chapter will scrutinize, as well, some of Burgos's

statements on her creative role in the production of

prescriptive literature for women.

In the practical texts, Burgos often utilizes extra-

textual material such as Prologues and Introductions to

comment on her role as author of literature designed for the

female reader. Such glossing explicates her position vis a

vis the content of the text to follow. This chapter will

examine several of the extra-textual statements in which

Burgos expresses differing attitudes toward the value of the

work she is producing, thus indicating a tension between her

actual output and her desired literary goals. Through an

interrogation of the "Carta Pr61ogo" to La cocina modern,

it will develop an interpretation of Burgos's authorial

position as she perceived it early in her career. An

examination of the "Preliminar" to El arte de seducir,

written after Burgos had produced some fictional texts,

reveals her consciousness that instructional manuals for

women were called "frivola y ligera."

Prologue: "iDiablo de Sempere!"

Conversations in which an author and an editor

delineate the text they are producing are often kept between

them. In the case of the editorial dialogue between Carmen

de Burgos and Francisco Sempere, however, readers are let in

more than once on her side of the discussion.6 In a "Carta

Pr6logo" to La cocina modern [1906-1909], Burgos putatively

6 Another occasion in which Burgos directly addressed
Sempere is the "Dedicatoria" to him in Al balc6n [1913?], a
collection of articles which had previously appeared in
various newspapers. Since it does not relate to the
practical manuals, it will not be discussed here.

responds to a letter from Sempere requesting that she

prepare a cookbook. As Burgos's second work in the Sempere

series of practical works for women, La cocina modern is

evidence of his continuing interest in employing her as a

regular contributor.7 It is obvious from the publication of

the work that Burgos agreed to undertake it, but the "Carta

Pr61ogo" insinuates that she did not wish to associate her

name with a cookbook without commenting on her decision to

do so.

Burgos's public response provides a unique perspective

on her attitude toward the authorship of this and, by

extension, other practical manuals she prepared. Written

early in her career, this Prologue reveals Burgos's

consciousness of her position in the literary hierarchy.

This section will analyze the Prologue as a statement of the

self-conscious position Burgos takes as an author in

Sempere's Serie practice para la mujer.

In the "Carta Pr6logo," Burgos apprises the (presumably

female) reader that Sempere's demanda de escribir un libro

de cocina" evoked in her a "[s]orpresa grandisima" (v). A

modern reader who has been exposed to feminist literary

interpretations might anticipate such a reaction from a

well-known journalist with a history of supporting expanded

rights for women. Burgos intimates, however, that her

surprise does not spring from indignation at being asked to

7 Modelos de cartas was the first.

prepare such a traditionally "female" work. She

differentiates herself from her arrogant (presumably male)

colleagues, "genios al uso," writing: "[f]uera genio al uso,

y mi sorpresa llegaria al enojo, capaz de romper la antigua

y leal amistad, asombro de autores que no conocen editor tan

rumboso y campechano..." (v). Unlike the temperamental

geniuses, in style at that time, who might have been

offended by Sempere's request, Burgos's response is

purportedly caused by his divination of her cooking ability:

"iDiablo de Sempere! ... ha adivinado que guiso mejor que


Burgos structures a comparison between two of her

talents in which her culinary abilities transcend her

writing skills. What explanations can be offered for the

fact that a journalist like Burgos, who had published three

books and was writing daily articles for Madrid newspapers

on a variety of topics, would praise her domestic

proficiency at the expense of her writing expertise? A

possible interpretation is found in Sandra Bartky's

definition of women's psychic alienation as it appears in

Femininity and Domination. She explains that

psychologically oppressed groups, among which she includes

colonized peoples and women, "come to exercise harsh

B My interpretation of this sentence is based on an
understanding of "fuera" as the imperfect subjunctive of the
verb ser, that is, "[si yo] fuera...." It should be
remembered that genio suggests both talent and bad temper.

dominion over their own self-esteem" (22). Burgos was

operating in a domain--writing--dominated by the group of

genios to which she alludes in the Prologue. Her condition

as a "colonized" subject in that realm might explain her

apparently enthusiastic affirmation of Sempere's presumption

of domestic competence.

Furthermore, to her literary contemporaries as well as

the public, Burgos's name affixed to the translation of

Moebius's La inferioridad mental de la mujer must have

associated her with the prevailing ideology: Moebius

contended that women had smaller brains than men and that,

as a result, they were incapable of rational thought. His

text was considered by many to be the scientific proof

justifying the continued restriction of women to the

domestic sphere. Although Burgos did not accept that his

research confirmed women's inferiority, neither did she

contest the underlying premise of biological determinism and

women's domestic destiny.9 How then could she and other

9 In the "Pr6logo de la traductora" to La inferioridad
mental, Burgos makes clear her negative view of Moebius's
work, stating that she tried to "despojar[se] de todos los
prejuicios" because "era tanto el escandalo de que venia
precedido" (5). She asserts, contrary to the author's
conclusions, that translating a controversial work of
science does not intimidate her: "pude penetrar seriamente
en las deducciones atrevidas del neur6pata" (5).
Burgos avoids directly confronting the issue of "a que
sexo corresponde la superioridad mental," yet casts doubt on
Moebius's conclusions, asserting that "el autor no logra
llevar al espiritu un complete convencimiento, sin duda
porque la antropologia y la biologia no se hallan aun asaz
adelantadas para sentar principios absolutos" (10).
Nonetheless, she does not challenge the notion of gender-

women claim that their writing skills, which required

rational thought and worldly experiences, merited the

awarding of literary contracts?

Cooking, unlike journalism, was situated within the

supposedly intuitive realm for which women were purported to

be biologically suited. A long cultural tradition had

equipped them to move comfortably in that zone, in which

they were expected to both achieve and profess mastery. It

is certainly possible that, early in her career, Burgos

found writing to be a more arduous exercise than cooking.

Under such circumstances, she may well have been voicing

genuine doubts about her authorial ability to meet the

writing expectations of an editor as significant as Sempere.

It is obvious that Burgos eventually became aware of

the implications of authorial weakness inherent in this

statement. Sempere's Obras completes [1925?] re-edition of

La cocina prActica, was promoted on the title page as "Esta

edici6n, UNICA recomendada por su autora, contiene

seleccionadas y corregidas, todas las formulas de sus libros

La cocina modern& y ZQuiere V. comer bien?" It advertised

determined roles, writing that "[l]a diverse aptitud de los
dos sexos no indica inferioridad en ninguno de ellos, sino
modalidades diferentes, arm6nicas y necesarias para la
march de la humanidad" (10). Furthermore, she affirms the
essentialist concept that "la mujer tiene un papel active de
excepcional importancia, admirablemente determinado dentro
de su sexo" (11).

the inclusion of the "Carta Pr61ogo a la primera edicion."10

While the impression created is that the Prologue is

reprinted from that edition, it now states, ";Diablo de

Sempere! ZC6mo ha adivinado que guiso lo mismo que

escribo?" (emphasis added). As a more established author,

Burgos apparently no longer deemed it necessary to profess

the superiority of her cooking skills.

It is likely, however, that Burgos's averred humility

early in her career was the result of a pragmatic appraisal

of her position in the literary hierarchy. The rare woman

author in Spain was at constant risk of societal

condemnation, open to being called anything from

"marisabidilla" to "marimacho." And Burgos had taken on

the traditionally male role of sustaining home and family,

making her femininity especially susceptible to censure.

She could hope to minimize such criticism by emphasizing her

commonality with other housewives and by downplaying her

worldly experience. As a result, she locates her

proficiency in the kitchen instead of at the desk, assuring

Sempere in the letter that the paragraphs she is sending are

"muestra elocuente de mi culinaria erudici6n" (vi). Her

previous expression of authorial modesty, then, appears to

be a deliberate prise de position aimed more at her readers

than at Sempere, the stated destinatario of the letter.

0 It is interesting to note that this text evidences
the participation of Ram6n G6mez de la Serna: a drawing
showing Spain's regional specialties bears his signature.

Thus, it is possible that Burgos genuinely lacked the

confidence to proclaim her expertise in the field for which

she was publicly known, but it is more likely that she

cannily structured a niche from which she could assert her

domestic authority to other women."

Such a strategy would explain why she chooses to insist

on her cooking prowess, praising her culinary abilities in

both national and foreign dishes, "capaces de hacer que se

chupen los dedos los que los saboreen." Rather than

emphasize her reputation as a hostess of sophisticated

literary tertulias, she focuses instead on her domestic

life, writing that her pleasure comes "viendo el gusto y

apetito con que los [platos] rebafa mi familiar "

In an early twentieth-century Spanish context, Burgos's

reference to her family, sitting around the table licking

their fingers to fully savor her meals, would have evoked

the image of a happy domestic scene of a mother, a father,

and several children. In Burgos's case, however, the

husband and father was absent; thus, the family consisted of

herself, her daughter, and sometimes her sister Catalina.

It is not known whether, in Burgos's early years in Madrid,

her audience would have been aware that she had initiated

the separation which resulted in her single-parent status.

u It is interesting to note that after Emilia Pardo
Bazan's less than successful attempt to structure a
Biblioteca de la mujer on feminist readings, she produced
two cookbooks. Modern editions are still available in

Nevertheless, at the very least, the woman who would be

advising other women from the pages of this book was known,

by the time of its publication, for her newspaper articles,

her teaching, her travel, and her stand in favor of divorce.

While her nontraditional paradigm presumably would not

be a problem for the editor contracting with her for her

writing expertise, her audience might well have noticed the

discontinuity between her life and her recommendations."

It is perhaps to counter potential criticism that Burgos

reassures Sempere that she finds domestic tasks very

important: "Le confieso a usted en secret que a veces dejo

la pluma porque siento la nostalgia de la cocina." Of

course, this ostensibly secret confession to Sempere was not

secret at all, for the inclusion of the letter in the text

opens it to her readers as well. Lacking the resources to

employ others, necessity may have occasionally drawn Burgos

"1 The similarity to Martha Stewart, a contemporary
"diva of domesticity" who has also separated from her
husband, comes to mind. Stewart, whose career situates her
in the public eye, must have difficulty sustaining for
herself the domestic values she espouses. Indeed, if she
finds domesticity as rewarding as she claims, why has she
persevered in committing herself to a sphere which
necessitates the abandonment of her own hearth?
Aside from whatever personal motivation she might have,
it is reported that her empire is worth about $150 million.
In a television interview, Bryant Gumble suggested that
Stewart spends most of her time on the set of her television
studio in Westport, Connecticut, a replica of her home
kitchen (Stewart).

back to the kitchen."~ It is unlikely, however, given the

effort with which she constructed her writing career, that

she longed to abandon it to return to her former domestic

situation. But this confession, true or not, would have

inspired empathy for Burgos from her female public; her

professed yearning to substitute their work for hers would

have reaffirmed their housewifely value.

Burgos utilizes the Prologue to La cocina modern in

order to position her authorship of the text within the

context of her relationship to Sempere. In praising their

friendship, she flatters him as generous and genial.

Sempere had helped her by publishing a volume which included

her Rome lecture on "La mujer en Espafia" [1906] together

with the laudatory comments Burgos received in the Spanish,

French, and Italian press. In the speech, Burgos attacked

the traditional Catholic doctrine on the role of women and

reiterated her support for divorce." The apparent

'1 Burgos's sister Catalina lived with her in Madrid,
facilitating Carmen's career by assuming some of the
domestic responsibilities of the household.

The lecture was given in the Asociacidn de la Prensa
Italiana on 28 April 1906. In it, Burgos claimed that women
were not the "escorpiones venenosos y perniciosas hidras de
que huian los padres de la Iglesia" nor the "encarnaci6n de
una castidad contraria a la Naturaleza" (31). She asserted
that the lack of divorce is a greater disadvantage to women
than to men and publicized her book, Divorcio en Espaia.
Burgos raised several other controversial issues in the
speech, emphasizing the difference between "la leyenda del
pais de opereta que se suele presentar" and "la realidad
tristisima" of Spanish women (10). She addressed the
poverty and servidumbre of rural women, particularly in
Andalucia; the inequality of the distribution of wealth

acceptance of such controversial notions in the homeland of

Catholicism would likely have facilitated Burgos's

opportunity to voice similar ideas in Spain. Moreover,

since Burgos had experienced difficulties with the

educational system and the Catholic Church before leaving

Spain, Sempere's support would presumably have made it more

difficult for those institutions to censure her publicly.

It is clear from the "Carta pr61ogo" that Sempere is

offering Burgos the opportunity to write a second book in

what would be a developing series of practical guides for

women. Her economic circumstances were a constant concern

for Burgos, and this must have been a very attractive

proposal. The chances for success of this book, and the

possibility of writing more, would be enhanced by

cultivating her credibility as an advisor to other women.

Potential benefits inhered in her ability to represent the

dominant masculinist ideology she apparently repudiated.

among the Spanish regions and classes; and feudal aspects of
Spanish culture. She lamented the lack of physical
education for women and the absence of coeducation which
perpetuated a male vision of women as "mitad odalisca mitad
virgen cristiana" (41).
Yet, while denouncing that stereotype, Burgos echoes
another in denying women the right to vote: "ahora darle el
derecho de voto es poner un arma peligrosa en manos de un
nito." She moderates that infantilization, "Claro que no
por ser mujer, sino por ser ignorante" (46). Nevertheless,
the connection between women and juvenile behavior has been
While proclaiming that "el porvenir depend de la uni6n y
la competencia es perjudicial siempre," (20-21) she attacks
"el ejercito de feministas exaltadas" (30) who, in her
opinion, suffer the "funestos delirios de igualdad entire los
dos sexos" (30).

That realization no doubt encouraged Burgos to downplay the

difference between the wage-earning public path she was

pursuing and the unpaid private one she would write for

others. The possible reward for convincing both Sempere and

readers of her appreciation for and abilities as a "buena

duefa de casa" was great (La mujer en el hogar). She

appeared to be taking to heart Ledesma Herndndez's warning

that "el escritor que se decide a buscar lectores, tiene que

vivir del favor del pfblico..." (v).

"[A]cepto el encargo..."

Since Burgos had already challenged the ideology of

domesticity in her writing as well as in her personal life,

her authorship of a book on cooking could not but present

ideological problems. Cooking, especially in homes without

servants, implied women's work within the domestic space;

authoring a cookbook could be seen as supporting their

restriction to that realm. Accordingly, while praising

herself in the "Carta Pr6logo" as an appropriate choice to

author the book, Burgos also distances herself from the

project, underscoring Sempere's role as its initiator.

Figuratively placing her discourse within brackets, she

opens and closes by remarking that he has asked her to

undertake the preparation of this cookbook. Her Prologue is

virtually a contractual agreement to the terms he has

proposed, which she makes clear in her closing words:

"acepto el encargo de arreglar el libro de cocina que me


"[H]ace de la pluma aguja"

Drawing immediate attention to her inferior position in

the editor-author power relationship, Burgos's first

sentence states that preparing a cookbook is "nada de

extraordinario" for one who "trabajando como obrera, hace de

la pluma aguja para ganar el sustento." This metaphor is

best explained in light of the historical circumstances of

working women in early twentieth-century Spain.

The need to work was considered humiliating for women

of all but the lowest classes, but some work for literate

women was gaining a limited degree of respectability. The

job of costurera, or seamstress, remained low in the

employment hierarchy: it indicated a complete lack of

academic education and the need to perform domestic tasks

for other women rather than for oneself." Burgos

considered the tedious work of clothing repair as

particularly monotonous, having referred to it in a a 1904

work which will be discussed below as the "pesado trabajo de

costura" (Moderno tratado de labores 2). Yet, she claimed

to regard more artistic sewing, las labores, as "obras de

arte" which "satisfacen la aspiraci6n de realizar la

belleza, y sirven de entretenimiento agradable en la vida

'5 Burgos illustrates the position of costurera within
the hierarchy of female employment in La rampa.


mon6tona que la mujer esta generalmente obligada a soportar"


In referring to herself as a costurera, Burgos leaves

behind her roles as journalist and intellectual. Her pen

becomes a wage-earning tool; like the needle, it may be a

creative one, but it is limited in its authority and

potential for gaining artistic and financial recognition.

By implying that she is undertaking this project as if it

were an allotment of piecework, she also implies that she

regards her authorial possibilities as restricted, thus

indicating her lack of autonomy within the male-dominated

literary power structure. Moreover, by portraying herself

as an obrera, she equates herself to other women of

restricted possibilities, thereby endeavoring to ingratiate

herself to them.

The processes of both writing and reading this text

involve the repetition of language that, as Leo Bersani

writes, "'doesn't merely describe identity but actually

produces moral and perhaps even physical identity'" (qtd. in

Gilbert and Gubar 11). By preparing a cookbook, Burgos

reproduces the ideology which assumes that domestic chores

are uniquely women's responsibility. Furthermore, modeling

women's innate suitability for the domestic role, she

appears to advocate the tenets of biological essentialism

prevalent in her day. At the same time, she supports the

notion that many women need assistance to better perform the

domestic role allotted them by society in spite of their

being, according to the same sources, uniquely suited for


This text, like other practical manuals she wrote, is

generated by but also produces a domesticating process.

Burgos's contract to prepare this book is a tacit agreement

that she will participate in that process, but she partially

resists proclaiming the text hers. By insisting on

Sempere's paternity of the text, she attributes to him at

least part of the responsibility for recreating the model of

the "angel of the hearth."

From the perspective of modern feminist criticism,

Burgos's consciousness of the similarity between the pen and

the needle evokes Gilbert and Gubar's comparison of the pen

to the sword. Addressing the creative process among

nineteenth-century women authors, they say that the pen "is

not only mightier than the sword, it is also like the sword

in its power--its need, even--to kill." They link this

destructive attribute of the pen to "metaphorical maleness"


The needle, while traditionally considered a female

tool, possesses physical attributes similar to those of the

sword. Unlike the sword's connection to maleness and

destruction, however, the needle's association with women's

hands links it to creativity and production. Yet,

particularly in Burgos's era, it often signified women's


labor performed in the domestic territory and in the service

of others. As such, it implied a restricted dominion. For

Burgos, as the following pages will show, it is an

appropriate signifier of her conditions of authorship in

early twentieth-century Spain: literary creation is not

impossible, but it is circumscribed by the omnipresence of

domesticity and by male domination of literary production.

An examination of one of Burgos's first books, Moderno

tratado de labores (1904), contributes to a clarification of

her understanding of the role of the needle in the

production and economy of the turn-of-the-century Spanish

woman. This small volume is an illustrated instruction

manual for decorative hand-stitching.*6 In it, Burgos

advocates the continued teaching of this traditional subject

in the schools and urges women to persist in learning and

practicing it. These recommendations appear to support

domestically-oriented educational goals for women, but

Burgos's emphasis is another. She wishes to promote the

aesthetic advantages of hand-made over machine-made objects.

In this context, the manual becomes a defense of hand-

sewing, traditionally creative and often income-producing

for women, from competition by the sewing machine.

16 In the text, Burgos differentiates "labores de
adorno" such as "bordados" from "la costura, calceta,
remiendos, zurcidos, etc." (3). She considers labores an
art form for which it is necessary to study "la pintura y la
perspective" (4).

Sewing machines had recently been modernized to use

electric rather than pedal power, leading to a process of

relocation from home to factory, where electricity could be

better utilized. As public places, factories were not

considered appropriate locations for women's work; if this

trend continued unchecked, men would gain economic and

creative control in a historically female domain. Their

objects would be assembled at greater speed than hand-sewn

ones, but would be of lower quality and less artistic merit.

Hand-stitching enabled women to produce both decorative

and utilitarian objects in the private sphere. They could

acquire the skill in school or from each other; as such, it

was work available to various socio-economic levels.

Middle-class women, for whom "real" (income-producing)

employment was not an option, could demonstrate their

economic value and satisfy, to a certain extent, their

artistic bent by fabricating items for their homes. Upper-

class women could allow lower-class women into their homes

to stitch for them; there they would, presumably, be able to

work under safe conditions. It was, therefore, considered

an appropriate form of productivity and one in which some

women helped others to improve their economic circumstances.

The sewing machine represented a possible threat to one of

the few income-producing domains reserved for females; in

celebrating the benefits of hand-sewing, Burgos is also


attempting to protect the limited empowerment available to


For Burgos, a needle in a woman's hand represents a

realm of artistic creativity that is restricted in its

possibilities, less rewarded, and endangered by male

dominance, but for all that, it is women's domain. In this

light, the needle is a metaphor applicable to Burgos's

literary production of practical manuals: she would write on

domestic topics assigned to women authors by publishers like

Sempere, yet she would attempt to protect and expand women's

options through them; she would rely upon them for her

sustenance; and she would recognize that she was, in this

genre, a "worker" and not an "author."

"Necesidad de guia"

Burgos's Prologue to La cocina modern confirms

Sempere's active involvement in the selection of the theme

for at least one of the conduct manuals written early in the

series. Nonetheless, in a later text, La mujer jardinero,

Burgos suggests in the Introduction that "una biblioteca

para la mujer tan complete como la que ofrece esta Casa" was

incomplete without a book on gardening. Although she hints

at having played some part in the choice of this or other

topics, it is important to assign responsibility for

thematic decisions in the Sempere and Sopena series with

caution: the titles of Burgos's texts cannot be assumed to

accurately represent her individual literary choices vis a

vis the "necesidad de guia" of Spanish women (de Le6n 9)."

The topics, whether chosen by Burgos or Sempere, would

have been predicated on the assumption that the growing

female readership would respond to a perceived informational

vacuum in corresponding areas. Since Sopena (and Burgos's

other publishers) also solicited and reproduced these

instructional texts, we can assume that women, indeed,

bought them and read them. Their titles delineate an area

in which Burgos's publishers and, probably to a lesser

extent, Burgos herself assumed women's interest to reside.

At the least, they reflect the author's complicity in the

literary system which determined that turn-of-the-century

Spanish women "needed" guidance toward the "better"

womanhood to which Bartky refers.

The titles of Burgos's conduct texts are less coercive

than that of La perfect casada in insinuating that a woman

concentrate solely on becoming a "perfect wife." They do,

nevertheless, proclaim that the domestic sphere is at the

This citation from Fray Luis de Le6n's La perfect
casada appears in the following context: "Este nuevo estado
en que Dios ha puesto a vuestra merced, sujet6ndola a las
leyes del sancto matrimonio, aunque es como camino real, mas
abierto y menos trabajoso que otros, pero no carece de sus
dificultades y malos pasos, y es camino adonde se tropieza
tambien, y se peligra y yerra, y que tiene necesidad de guia
como los demas...." (9).
Since the Sopena series was a republication of texts
prepared for the Sempere series, Burgos's degree of thematic
choice is an equal concern in both.

nucleus of the Biblioteca para la mujer.l' Titles such as

El arte de ser amada and La mujer en el hogar presuppose, as

clearly as does La perfect casada, that women's fulfillment

lies in acquiring a man and a home of her own.19 In light

of women's limited property rights and earning potential,

the only culturally acceptable option was to marry. In

order to be assured a domestic domain in which she could

play a role, albeit fixed, she needed to appear attractive

as a spouse. Burgos's preparation of an extensive corpus

dedicated to this end, the inventory of the texts in her

other works (including novels), and the choice to write many

of them under her real name, certainly identify her with the

advancement of the dominant domestic ideology.

The multiple editions of these texts (produced by

Sopena and others) cause them to represent a substantial

proportion of Burgos's literary corpus.2" Their

significance, however, must be framed within the context of

'l Sempere also published Burgos's fiction, so it
cannot be assumed that he considered this Serie Practica to
be the only reading suitable for women. These texts,
however, are grouped together and titled so as to create the
impression of their unique appropriateness for the woman

Burgos's earliest text to challenge traditional
domesticity, El divorcio en Espafa (1904), was not published
by Sempere. Neither was La mujer modern y sus derechos
(1927). As a result, the Biblioteca para la mujer maintains
its domestic homogeneity.

0 It appears that Burgos authored 27 practical manuals
when the multiple editions, re-prints, and updated versions
are counted. When they are subtracted, however, the
quantity is reduced to 16.


Burgos's place as a colonized subject in the Spanish culture

of the early twentieth century and, particularly, in that of

the literary establishment. By leaving her husband and

undertaking a writing career, Burgos did, indeed, initiate

what Bartky calls feminist changes in behavior. It may well

be, however, that the economic oppression she suffered and

her marginal position in the literary world prevented her

from developing a "radically altered consciousness" of

herself (12).

"Libros originales," "Arreglos," "Traducciones"

Burgos's statements in the Prologue to La cocina

modern insinuate that she was cognizant of occupying an

ambiguous position: that of writing as an authority to other

women on traditionally female topics while fashioning for

herself a traditionally male career. This Prologue is but

one example of the extra-textual information which

contributes to the impression of a problematic association

between Burgos and the practical manuals.

In some cases, it is not Burgos's extra-textual

discourse, but rather the paucity or contradictory character

of such paratextual data as bibliographic information which

complicates the study of her connection to the instructional

texts. Chapter 2 of this dissertation addresses such

problems as the difficulty of establishing a chronology of

Burgos's works resulting from the absence of publication

dates and the republication of texts. In addition, some of

the paratextual information in Burgos's texts is

characterized by discrepancies obscuring the particulars of

her degree of creative responsibility.

In Burgos's works, the text is frequently preceded by

lists of her previous writings and appearances; it is likely

that this information was prepared by the publisher. Such

enumerations of the practical manuals often create an

additional impediment to discerning Burgos's creative role,

for they sometimes differ from one book to another. These

lists arrange Burgos's texts into several genres;

occasionally the works mentioned are only those published by

the same editorial, but often the inventory appears to be

more complete. The names of the divisions vary from text to

text with the categories becoming more numerous as her

career advances. The classifications were expanded from

four in La mujer en Espafta (Originales, Conferencias,

Traducciones, En preparaci6n) to nine in Quiero vivir mi

vida (Novelas, Viajes, Criticas, Novelas cortas, Varios,

Conferencias, Traducciones, Biblioteca para la mujer, En


This dissertation has previously addressed the

appearance of Modelos de cartas under the heading

Traducciones in La mujer en Espafa (1906), Burgos's first

work to be published by Sempere. In 1931, Biblioteca Nueva

published Burgos's last work, the novel Quiero vivir mi

vida.21 That edition contains an apparently complete three-

page bibliography of "Obras de la autora" in which

Traducciones are itemized, but do not include Modelos de

cartas nor any conduct manual.22 Instead, a separate

category has been created for them. Called Biblioteca para

la mujer, it is described as "Numerosos libros originales y

arreglos de obras practices para la mujer, como
de la belleza, ,
mujer>, El arte de la elegancia>, etc. etc."23 If Burgos

had once considered Modelos a translation, she (or her

publisher) reconsidered that interpretation in a work of

fiction published late in her career. What circumstances

of Burgos's authorial position might explain the relocation

of Modelos de cartas from the category of translated works

to a new one? And, more importantly, what are the modern

implications of the apparently indiscriminate use of the

terms "libros originales," "arreglos," and "traducciones"?

The significance of these terms will be discussed in the

next section.

21 Burgos dedicated this novel to Dr. D. Gregorio
Marai6n, who wrote its Prologue.

22 The habitual use of the Traducciones classification
indicates that Burgos or her publishers considered them an
important facet of her work.

23 As this citation indicates, the "etc." appears in
the text. The grouping does not specify which works were
considered to be "arreglos" and which to be "libros


Chapter two of this dissertation addresses the issue of

Burgos's participation in what some authors considered the

undesirable "business" of translating. Burgos, unlike

contemporaries such as Rafael Cansinos-Assens, neither

denigrated nor concealed that aspect of her work. Instead,

she proclaimed her role as translator on the title page of

many works by well-known contemporaneous authors,

philosophers, and scientists. If Burgos did translate some

or all of the Sempere/Sopena practical manuals, only the

initial placement of Modelos de cartas hints at that. The

label "Traductora" does not appear on the title page of any

of the practical manuals, as it frequently does on her

better known translations.

It is likely that Burgos considered more distinguished

the translation of modern literature and social and

scientific theory than that of practical manuals for women.

And perhaps it suited her professional aims to be considered

the author and not the translator of domestic manuals, thus

currying the favor of her female audience. Her admission to

relying on others for the kind of knowledge considered

natural to women in early twentieth-century Spain would not

have ingratiated her to those supporting the dominant

ideology. Her translation of such works would, perhaps,

even be considered a confession of dereliction of domestic

responsibility. In a culture replete with images of women

as angels of the hearth, failure to embody those virtuous

qualities was likely to result in societal condemnation. It

is possible, then, that Burgos preferred to affirm her

authority in domestic matters by denying her role as mere

translator of these works.

During the course of writing this dissertation, Maria

del Carmen Sim6n Palmer disclosed to me that she suspected

that Burgos's practical manuals might be translations. That

notion would partially explain my observation about the

initial placement of Modelos de cartas. Sim6n Palmer had

not been aware of that detail, but rather had derived her

opinion from the conventional nature of titles such as "El

arte de ..." which, she noted, were reminiscent of French

titles of the period (personal interview).

As a result of that conversation, I examined volumes of

the Catalogue G6n6ral de la Librairie Frangaise covering the

late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While they

include many titles beginning with the words L'art de.... on

a variety of subjects and by a variety of authors, none are

exact duplicates of Burgos's. This does not prove

conclusively that Burgos's texts are not translations, but

it does reveal that "L'art de...." was common titular

language. This apparently fashionable wording could well

have inspired Burgos to model her works after similar French


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