Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Speaking through the body: the eroticized feminism of Gioconda Belli

While female authors have been writing about "women's issues" for centuries, their foregrounding of women's bodies is a relatively new phenomenon. This "literature of the body" is perceived as a way for women to claim back what is and has always been theirs. Gioconda Belli's literature of the body presents a mosaic of images of woman, through which she empowers women to claim back their body and to celebrate it as the site of the multiple facets of woman. After a brief introductory chapter presenting my topic, I move to Chapter 2, which explores how Belli embodies "woman" in her poetry. In order to contextualize her representation, I first look at several poems by Rubén Darío as examples of idealized canonical portrayals. I also analyze poems written by a number of women authors who preceded Belli, thereby demonstrating a distinct progression in the treatment of women-centered literature. Belli's representation of the erotic woman is the focus of Chapter 3, though I also examine some poems by another Central American woman poet that illustrate the boldness of her work, particularly because this author was the first Central American woman writer to celebrate women's eroticism. These poems also serve as a tool by which to investigate the similarities and differences they present with Belli's poetry. In Chapter 4 I explore how Belli embodies motherhood. This was a primary topic of her first collection of poetry, and one which is a significant element in each of her works to some degree. In the final chapter I examine the multiple ways in which Belli embodies another subject dear to her heart--Nicaragua--her homeland. As with the other topics that form the basis of my analysis, the nation is a subject Belli approaches from many perspectives. Most importantly, Belli's exploration of each of these issues displays a discernible evolution, an evolution that adds a true depth to her work, one which I endeavor to bring to light in this dissertation.