ABSTRACT

This chapter explores the friendship between the nineteenth century Spanish writers Concepción Gimeno de Flaquer and Carmen de Burgos, and how queerness in literary salons played an important role in their relationship. Their falling out led Burgos to create characters in her fiction based on Gimeno de Flaquer whom she named “emperatriz de las cursis” (“the empress of pretentiousness”) and the “portaestandarte del feminismo” (“standard-bearer of feminism”). Unflattering characters based on Gimeno de Flaquer also appeared in at least three of Burgos’s novellas: En la sima (In the Chasm; 1908), El veneno del arte (The Poison of the Art; 1910), and La entrometida (The Busybody; 1921). Burgos incorporated Gimeno de Flaquer and other women into her fiction, which allows us to take note of the societal suspicions that loomed over women who challenged established gender norms in their lives and attitudes. Burgos’s works help us to recognize these negative characterizations because she uses negatively charged adjectives related to “lo raro” (“queerness”) when she writes about these women. Judith Butler’s theorizing is helpful for framing my analyses of Burgos’s work in these contexts. I interpret Burgos’s writing as a testimony of which practices were queer and disruptive to female gender expectations that were circulating in the first part of the twentieth century in Spain. My research aims to highlight the codified language that writers like Burgos utilized in their fiction to address how their friendships and social networks functioned, including how women related to one another, and often broke affective social norms.