Thinker, writer, diplomat, feminist Rosario Castellanos was emerging as one of Mexico's major literary figures before her untimely death in 1974. This sampler of her work brings together her major poems, short fiction, essays, and a three-act play, The Eternal Feminine. Translated with fidelity to language and cultural nuance, many of these works appear here in English for the first time, allowing English-speaking readers to see the depth and range of Castellanos' work.
In her introductory essay, "Reading Rosario Castellanos: Contexts, Voices, and Signs," Maureen Ahern presents the first comprehensive study of Castellanos' work as a sign or signifying system. This approach through contemporary semiotic theory unites literary criticism and translation as an integral semiotic process. Ahern reveals how Castellanos integrated women's images, bodies, voices, and texts to feminize her discourse and create a plurality of new signs/messages about women in Mexico. Describing this process in The Eternal Feminine, Castellanos observes, "...it's not good enough to imitate the models proposed for us that are answers to circumstances other than our own. It isn't even enough to discover who we are. We have to invent ourselves."