Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences


Hispanic Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Ana Rueda


Conventional understandings of perception have long undergirded traditional readings of Modernist texts in adopting a predominantly subject-centered perspective that separates subject from object in a vertical and hierarchical relationship. I argue that a consideration of Virginia Woolf’s short stories in dialogue with four generations of twentieth-century Catalan women writers who followed her work closely suggests an entirely different epistemological framework of perception in which subject and object are fluidly and horizontally organized. Mercè Rodoreda, Concha Alós, Montserrat Roig and Carme Riera establish a horizontal fictional dialogue that constitutes a return to matter that decenters the subject, resulting in an alternative understanding of quotidian reality in which objects acquire an agency proper to subjects and active trans-corporeal interchanges and interactions are continuous. I draw an evolutionary thought line between these stories and current feminist new materialisms that propose precisely the dissolution of constructed binomial limits between perceiving and perceived, human and non-human, and nature and materiality as a liberating new way of conceiving our world because it redefines social power along a horizontal axis. I thus locate Woolf and her Catalan counterparts on an epistemological continuum—and an intergenerational theoretical genealogy—with theorists such as Donna Haraway, Stacy Alaimo, and Sara Ahmed, whose collective new materialist thinking ideates a salutary shift toward care economies and democratized social dynamics.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)