Skip to content

Benjamín Romero Salado

Benjamín Romero Salado is a Ph.D. candidate in Spanish at the University of Virginia. He received a MA in Languages, Literatures and Cultures (Spanish) at the University of Delaware. His dissertation, entitled “Intersubjectivity and Self-fashioning through Collage in Carmen Martín Gaite’s Visión de Nueva York”, explores the construction of identity through visual representation in an interdisciplinary effort to situate the presence of the static image in literary studies.

Self-Portraits in the City: Constructing Identity through Collage in Vision of New York by Carmen Martín Gaite

Identity formation’s complex dynamics are in continuous transformation and these changesdemand various interdisciplinary critical standpoints. Most current and popular negotiations of theself include, for example, ordinary practices such as self-image representation on social platforms and fashion decisions that inform ones portrayal in society. These particular forms shed a new
light onto older critical concepts such as self-fashioning (Greenblatt 1980) and intersubjectivity (Oliver 1998) under an overarching performative quality drawn from Judith Butler’s ideas on gender. Collage, as a 20th-century practice, benefits from these considerations especially when dealing with self-representation in its later manifestations, namely photo-collage and femmage (Schapiro and Meyer). Taking Carmen Martín Gaite’s Vision of New York collage journal as a case study for this paper, I explore the ways in which the author chooses and produces her at-the-time identity as a writer and female entrepreneur in a visual medium during her first visit to New York in 1980. Using a selection of collages, I argue that the author fashions herself in a series of self-portraits among famous writers, female characters from popular culture, and a number of artifacts of mass consumption. This continuum of intersubjective relations finds collage as the medium to locate and (re)produce her persona as a writer coming out of a period of intellectual autarchy during Franco’s dictatorship. This intertextual play of images serves as a site of differentiation and reconfiguration of the self that ultimately places the author in a multimodal artistic tradition. In my analysis, I ultimately juxtapose both visual and literary approaches in an broader discussion of identity as a construct. References: Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Routledge, 2006. Greenblatt, Stephen. Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare. University of Chicago Press, 1980. Oliver, Kelly. Subjectivity without Subjects: From Abject Fathers to Desiring Mothers. Rowman & Littlefield, 1998
Keywords: self-fashioning, intersubjectivity, performativity, literary studies, visual studies, collage.