“At last I killed her”: Rosalía de Castro's El caballero de las botas azules
Rosalía de Castro's 1867 novel, El caballero de las botas azules, sets out to discredit any and all prescriptive models of female behaviour. The novel is situated at an important point in the history of women's writing in Spain: after the Romantic movement, which celebrated women's emotional sensitivity while dismissing their intellectual capabilities, but before writers and activists such as Emilia Pardo Bazán and Concepción Arenal publicized their feminist agendas in the 1880s and 1890s. Insistently self-reflexive, the novel is essentially destructive, unambiguously refusing to offer women a way forward, but fulfilling an important role by clearing the way for these later manifestos. Building on the work of previous scholarship, this article makes the claim that the power of Castro's novel lies in its persistent refusal to instruct its readers, and in its own awareness of the contradictions that this creates.