Hilma Contreras’s Counternarratives
This chapter discusses the literary oeuvre of Hilma Contreras (1913–2006), unjustly ignored by literary scholars, even after the author became the first woman to receive the national literary prize for her lifetime’s work. Contreras’s writing offers a several-decades-long critical preoccupation with Dominican gender formations, and additionally, Contreras’s un-studied dictatorship novel La tierra está bramando (1986) is a rare exception to the largely male-authored canon of Dominican dictatorship novels. Specifically, I show how Contreras’s dictatorship novel explores the crucial question of how Dominican cultural practices, despite having been appropriated by the Trujillato for its ends, can still foster collective forms of action, relations, and alliances to challenge it.
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