Many scholars of Latin American modernismo have highlighted key male figures such as Rubén Darío, José Enrique Rodó, and José Asunción Silva as being central to the development of the movement’s stages, but a number of women who were writing during the modernist era have been largely overlooked. Virginia Elena Ortea (1866–1903), an understudied author from the Dominican Republic, offers a collection of modernist metaphors for her creative process in the book Risas y lágrimas (1901) that deserve further examination. Despite the seemingly romantic title of the collection, various short stories, including “En tu glorieta” and “Reverie,” employ preciosista and even decadent imagery and metaphors for the poetic process in apparent reference to canonical modernists like Darío. As Dr. Clark argues in this essay, Ortea’s feminist adaptation of modernist symbols advances a critique of sexist currents within modernismo, an exploration of female subjectivity, and a proclamation of her creative process.
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