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.