Wilkes University’s Dr. Paola Bianco has recently published a book encompassed with the writings of Spanish-speaking women.
The book, ‘Mujeres con Voz Propia’ which translates to ‘Women in their Own Voices,’ came as a realization after Bianco discovered her avid interest in Hispanic women writers.
“I found myself utilizing many pieces written by Hispanic women in my classes, and thought it would be nice to take on a project that could better represent women writers around the world,” said Bianco.
“I am truly excited this book finally came to be,” said Bianco.
“I started this quest alone, but then I realized I could use the help of other experts on Spanish literature,” she said. Those experts are Professor Maria Fraser-Molino from Pamlico College, and Professor Emeritus Maria A. Salgado from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“I feel like the story and the piece of Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz more or less epitomizes what the entire book is about, which is why I started the book with her.”
Bianco is referring to Mexican nun Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz. Born in 1651, she was the first public feminist in Latin America. Being pushed by her father to marry, she chose convent instead, for she knew convent was presently the only way she could get an education.
“I’m not focusing much on your typical, famous Spanish female writes, I wanted to write about the lesser known, because I felt that doing so would make this book unique,” said Bianco.
Bianco also gives voice to a Filipina and an Equatoguinean Spanish writer.
“Because the Philippines and Equatorial Guinea was previously colonized by Spain, I thought it was appropriate to include female writers of those times,” she explained.
“At the end, it is all about women issues throughout time and culture, and I think this book could serve as a unification of all women writers.”
Each written piece is followed by the background of the author in hopes of clarifying the inspirations behind each text.
“I believe this book will be very helpful for all the students in Bianco’s courses, I know
she has put a lot of effort into this,” said Dr. Rafael Garcia, professor of Spanish and colleague of Dr. Bianco.
All the subjects in the book pertain to woman issues and are organized in categories such as the independence of women and defense of women education.
“Not only did I want to write a textbook about women writers who were seen as lesser citizens in a way, but to give a voice to lesser known writers around the world.”
Indigenous women who were writers were also given a voice in Bianco’s book. These women were not only poor, but of a then-considered ‘lesser’ race in 1600s Mexico.
The book deals with issues of identity and what it means to be a woman, and how women slowly began to own the right to define themselves.
Bianco’s book will serve as a tool for her to teach in her new class ‘Mapping History of Women Writers’ this fall.
The book was published in December last year, by Panda Publications.
“It is an anthology of how their own convictions were heard in entirely different times and places.”