During the last decade, María de Zayas has become one of the most studied early modern women writers, with much of the criticism about her work coming from a gender studies perspective. Her Amorous and Exemplary Novels (1637) echo French author Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptameron and are in line with the new novelistic current initiated in Spain by Cervantes and others. However, Zayas moves beyond both tradition and innovation, by featuring a modernized Decameronian frame that functions as the articulating spine of the novels’ complex gender dynamics. This talk will consider Zayas’s framing devices in relation to post-classical narratology discussions on situatedness and intentionality that may allow us to better understand her narrative world within the context of early modern story-telling, as well as to further reflect on the rise and development of the novel in Western European culture.
Dr. Jaén received her B.A. from the Universidad Complutense (Madrid, Spain) and her Ph.D. from Purdue University. Her research fields include early modern peninsular literature and psychology, cognitive literary studies, contemporary poetry and film, and women and the Spanish Civil War. She is co-author of Épocas y Avances (Yale University Press 2006), co-editor of Cognitive Literary Studies: Current Themes and New Directions (University of Texas Press, forthcoming), and currently works on a monograph on Golden Age Spanish literature and medical philosophy, in which she explores the ideas of Hippocrates, Galen, Vives, and Huarte de San Juan in relation to Cervantes and Calderón de la Barca. She has also published articles on Peninsular and Latin American literature, comparative literature, and literature and cognition, and has presented her work at national and international conferences. Dr. Jaén is an executive member of the Modern Language Association Cognitive Approaches to Literature Discussion Group (presidency in 2011) and a member of the Purdue Cognitive Literary Studies Steering Committee. In 2005 she co-founded the Literary Theory, Cognition, and the Brain Working Group at the Whitney Humanities Center in Yale University, where she taught for six years. She comes to Portland State from Wabash College, where she held an appointment as Byron K. Trippet Assistant Professor. Among the courses that she has recently taught are "The Baroque," "Brains and Fictions: Literature and the Human Mind," "Cognitive Approaches to Spanish Golden Age Literature," and "Modernity in France and Spain."