This study in the interdisciplinary field of law and literature analyses the representation of law in the work of twentieth-century Spanish writer Carmen de Burgos (1867-1932). Drawing on Anglo-American legal theory and Spanish historical practice, it argues that her narratives of legal critique were used as a means of political propaganda, in which she introduced the question of women's rights into the public domain.
Burgos can be considered one of the most important proponents of the feminist movement in the lead-up to the Second Republic and presents a particularly interesting case study, since she combined her writing career with a political agenda. Given the remarkable similarities between de Burgos's critical analysis and recent feminist legal theory, her writings are still disturbingly relevant today.
This study also explores the relationship between melodrama as a genre of manichean worldviews and law as a system of binary oppositions and discusses de Burgos's subversion of the former as a means to criticise the latter.
Anja Louis is a lecturer in the Department of Spanish at the University of Sheffield.