The Problem of Woman in Late Medieval Hispanic Literature, Review by Ana M. Gómez-Bravo

Tomb of D. Maria Vilalobos
Tomb of D. Maria Vilalobos

This book review, written by Ana M. Gómez-Bravo, examines Robert Archer’s The Problem of Woman in Late Medieval Hispanic Literature. Calling the book “a masterly piece of scholarship and a solid exposition” Ana M. Gómez-Bravo goes on to say:

Here Archer joins recent new approaches to the topic (“the notion of woman”) […] emphasizing the homosocial nature of the discourse on women and its relation to the gendered power structures of the time. A conclusion that a reader of Archer’s book may draw is the realization that it is this very flexibility of the discourse on woman that helps not so much to undermine misogyny, though it may be thus used, but to help it survive, a factor of its being embedded and nurtured by patriarchy itself.

Gómez-Bravo notes the lack of consideration of the women authors whom defended women during the time period, such as Teresa de Cartagena and Isabel de Villena. Gómez-Bravo mentions how these inclusions would help “enrich and refocus the questions at hand.” Regardless, it is noted that Archer’s book helps lay a ground work for inquiries into medieval Hispanic womanhood.


Ana M. Gómez-Bravo “Robert Archer, The Problem of Woman in Late-Medieval Hispanic Literature. (Colección Támesis, Serie A, Monografias.) Tamesis, 2005. Medieval Feminist Forum 42, no. 1 (2006) : 146-148