Camila O'Gorman, a transgressive aristocratic woman who proudly defied the values of Family, Church, and Society in nineteenth-century Argentina, was executed beside her lover, the priest Ladislau Gutiérrez. Since her execution by dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas, her life and death represent a myth of rebellion and repression in the Argentine imagination, inspiring many works of literature and film.
This dissertation studies three major works inspired by her life: the short story "Camila O'Gorman" (1876) by Juana Manuela Gorriti, the film Camila (1984) by María Luisa Bemberg, and the novel Una sombra donde sueña Camila O'Gorman (1973) by Enrique Molina. It proposes that each author shaped the images of the female protagonist by imprinting on the character of Camila the authors' personal reaction to the political climate in which they lived. Roland Barthes's Mythologies marks the main theoretical frame and distinctive theories on nationalism, narrative, film and genre are also applied.
Chapter One situates the political climate of Camila's contemporary life. It studies the mythologies created to support and undermine Rosas' power. Moreover, it gives an account of three women who actively participated in politics: Mariquita Sánchez, Encarnación Ezcurra, and Manuela de Rosas.
Chapter Two studies Gorriti as a nation builder. Her story "Camila O'Gorman" reinforces the ideals of a liberal progressive nation. By portraying Camila as a negative symbol, Gorriti adheres to the conservative view on women.
Chapter Three inserts the life and work of Bemberg into the development of politics in Argentina. The film Camila addresses the parallel violence of the military regime in the 1980's. The character of Camila is portrayed as a defiant daughter, complying with the feminist views of the eighties.
Chapter Four addresses Molina's Surrealist ideals, which determined his poetic analysis of Argentine history, foreshadowing the Proceso dictatorship. In his novel, Camila is represented as a Surrealist muse, who seeks liberty, love and poetry.
The historical analogies recovered by the authors lead one to conclude that mythologies of Camila O'Gorman reappear in Argentina in times of political change and debate the rank of women in society.