This book explores traditional and contemporary concerns surrounding gender and ethnicity in Chile through a textual analysis of historical novels depicting seventeenth-century figure, Catalina de los Ríos y Lisperguer. Drawing on theories from the Global North and South, it incorporates postcolonial perspectives and decolonial feminist methodologies to expose patriarchal, Eurocentric hierarchies constructed during the colonial era, which remain in Chilean society today. Through close readings, the book demonstrates that it is in the inconsistent and fluid depictions of characters that identities are deconstructed and reconstructed in ways that defy and transform social norms.
This is the first extended English-language study of this infamous historical figure, who is more widely known as la Quintrala. It is also the first to compare the literary portrayals by Mercedes Valdivieso and Gustavo Frías. Looking beyond the infamy which usually shapes interpretations of la Quintrala, the author presents these novels as an embodiment of the anxieties surrounding hybridity in Chile, where European heritage has traditionally overshadowed indigenous concerns, and patriarchal norms dominate the construction of gender. Written during a period of social and political upheaval in Chile, it makes a timely contribution to existing works in social and political science, popular culture and the ongoing discussions of this iconic figure.