Evita, Inevitably

Performing Argentina's Female Icons Before and After Eva Perón
Jean Graham-Jones
Examines Argentina’s most iconic female figures, from saints to pop singers, politicians to anarchists


Evita, Inevitably sheds new light on the history and culture of Argentina by examining the performances and reception of the country’s most iconic female figures, in particular, Eva Perón, who rose from poverty to become a powerful international figure. The book links the Evita legend to a broader pattern of female iconicity from the mid-nineteenth century onward, reading Evita against the performances of other female icons: Camila O’Gorman, executed by firing squad over her affair with a Jesuit priest; Difunta Correa, a devotional figure who has achieved near-sainthood; cumbia-pop performer Gilda; the country’s patron saint, the Virgin of Luján; and finally, Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Employing the tools of discursive, visual, and performance analysis, Jean Graham-Jones studies theatrical performance, literature, film, folklore, Catholic iconography, and Internet culture to document the ways in which these “femicons” have been staged.

“In this dazzling genealogy of performance, Jean Graham-Jones proves that Eva Perón, whatever she may have lived to regret, had more than one life to give for her country—‘many, many’ more, in fact. Based on compelling readings of dozens of newly researched works in several genres, Evita, Inevitably documents the historic mash-up of quasi-Marian ‘femiconicity’ and multi-mediated hyper-representation that shows how for many Argentinians (but not for Argentinians alone) nothing is more real than Myth.”
—Joseph Roach, Yale University

“The use of performance pieces coupled with historical background and analysis of the femicons makes for a thought-provoking read. The writing is crisp, the topic new and engaging, and the approach—which includes very popular female figures such as Difunta Correa, the Argentine anarchist Soledad Rosas, and Gilda—demonstrates that there can be a blurring of high and low, and that those distinctions are false.”
—Tamara Falicov, author of The Cinematic Tango

“In examining the changes in iconic construction from textual forms in the nineteenth century to increasingly virtual realms in the twenty-first century, Graham-Jones pioneers scholarship on virtual iconicity, national myth making, and globalized celebrity, and effectively ushers Eva Perón studies into the twenty-first century.”
—Brenda Werth, author of Theatre, Performance, and Memory Politics in Argentina

Illustration: Ave, Daniel Santoro, 2011. Courtesy of the artist.

Jean Graham-Jones is Professor of Theatre at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Praise / Awards

  • “A fascinating treatment of myth-making in modern Argentina, focusing on the iconisation of women who have played a decisive role in the construction of the country’s national imaginary. Eva Perón vies with the country’s patron saint, the Virgin of Luján, and pop performer Gilda with President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. A compelling positing of the packaging of Evita within wider discourses of celebrity, stardom and artistic performance.”
    --Maria Delgado, Times Higher Education "What are you reading?"

  • "An incisive look at Argentina’s most prominent female icon...Both graduate and undergraduate students interested in performance studies, feminism, and even postcolonial theory will find the scholarship in this book valuable."
    --The Drama Review
  • "The book is remarkable for its contribution to performance and theater and its female-centered topics and theoretical frames. It is also extensively researched with detailed notes and background material."
    --Sarah Misemer, Latin American Theatre Review
  • "Jean Graham-Jones explores the many performative incarnations of Evita  a fascinating study that invites broader consideration of how national icons manifest deeply rooted cultural anxieties."
    --Theatre Journal

  • "Evita, Inevitably will appeal not only to Argentine experts but also to all those interested in cultural performance, feminism, and their unpredictable crossing within local and transnational landscapes."
    --Contemporary Theatre Review
  • "Well focused, yet couched within larger traditions of world performance studies, literature, and history, Graham-Jones’s discussion moves fluidly across genres, thus creating an engaging and well-rounded study of her subjects, framed within a variety of discourses."

Look Inside

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 282pp.
  • 15 illustrations.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2014
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-07233-0

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  • $94.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2014
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-05233-2

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  • $37.95 U.S.

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  • Argentina, biography, popular culture, cultural history, Eva Peron, Difunta Correa, Camila O'Gorman, Gilda, icons, Virgin of Luján, celebrity