Texts of Madrid


Persiles y Segismunda, Historia Setentrional was the last work by Cervantes and was published posthumously near simultaneously in 1617 in Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Valencia, Pamplona and Paris. The character Bruja Zenotia was based on Elena de Céspedes.

El vergonzoso en palacio is a Spanish palatine comedy written by Tirso de Molina. The exact date of its original publication is disputed, with early dates of publication being suggested at 1601 and later dates of first publication being as late as 1612. The work focused on female sexual typology, with one of the three main female protagonists in the comedy being a latent lesbian. One edition was published in 1624 in Barcelona, and other editions were published in Madrid in 1630, 1817, 1826 and 1839. It was produced in theaters including at Teatro Español in 1894, Teatro Juan Bravo in Segovia in 1919, Teatro Maria Guerrero in Madrid in 1948, Festival de Teatro Clásico de Almagro in 1989 and Teatro de la Comedia in Madrid in 2020.

Primera, y segunda parte de las novelas amorosas, y exemplares by María de Zayas Sotomayor was published in 1659 and again in 1734, 1786, 1795, 1814, 1885, 1948, 1950, 1965, 1968, 1980, 1983, 1990, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2006 and 2017 in Madrid. It was published in an Esperanto translation in Madrid in 2000.Her work has been translated and published in English with the title Exemplary Tales of Love and Tales of Disillusion. It contains stories about sexual equality male violence. While the author is viewed as one of Spain’s first feminists, her works approach the topic of female desire from a patriarchal perspective, not one a transgressive proto-feminist perspective where women get to define their own sexual desires.

José del Castillo y Ayensa published a scholarly translation of the work of Sappho, in Spanish Safo, in Madrid in 1832. His translation was titled, Anacreonte, Safo y Tirteo / traducidos del griego en prosa y verso por José del Castillo y Ayensa. At the time, Sappho was not viewed as inherently about female desire and instead was viewed as being about the persecution of her work by others over time and the reasons for Sappho’s suicide, namely her unreciprocated love for Phaon. It was republished in Madrid in 1859 and in Barcelona in 1910. This translation has not been republished since. If you can read Spanish, it is worth downloading digital copies of the translation from a Spanish library to better understand how Enlightenment period Spaniards viewed a woman important to modern Spanish lesbians.

Poesías by Carolina Coronado is a Spanish language 1923 reprint of a collection of poems by a Sappho inspired writer. There are several other editions and compilations available in Spanish. There are a few English language translations, but these editions are difficult to purchase. Collections of her poems were first were printed in Madrid in 1843. There were published again in Madrid in 1848, 1848, 1852, 1900, 1953, 1979, 1983, 1991, 20001. They were also published in San Fernando in 1850, in Barcelona in 1946, in Mérida in 1986, 1993, 1999, Badajoz in 2001, 2003 and 2017, Dueñas in 2003, Córdoba in 2009, and Cáceres in 2010.

Mi Vida, a three volume Spanish language set, by Victorina Durán was published many years after her death in 2018 in Madrid. These volumes contain her previously unpublished autobiographies that discuss her lesbianism. The third volume is one that describes her lesbian adventures, though the names are changed by the author to protect the privacy of her lovers.

“De la de Lesbos malograda musa!” is a poem by Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga likely written in Madrid that compares her life experiences to those of Sappho that was written in January 1843. While the author was not a lesbian, her experiences would inspire other lesbians in later generations because of her willingness to eschew gender roles and follow her own path.

Ellas y ellos y ellos y ellas is a book by Carmen de Burgos originally published in Madrid in 1917. It was one of the early published novels featuring a lesbian character published in Spain, and has been subsequently translated to English and Italian. It was republiched in Madrid in 2016.

La mujer moderna y sus derechos by Carmen De Burgos was originally published in 1927 in Madrid. It was one of the most important feminist works of its era. An English language translation of the book by Muna Lee was printed two years later in 1929. The book was printed again in Madrid in 2007, 2008, 2014 and 2018, and in Almeria in 2011.

Puñal de claveles is a novella by Carmen de Burgos first published in 1931 in Madrid. It is available in print in English alongside two other novellas by de Burgos. The story is an optimistic one paying homage to the author’s native Andalucía. It would be the inspiration, along with a crime that took place in 1928, for another famous homosexual’s work, Federico García Lorca’s Bodas de sangre. Unlike Burgos’ work, his story is depressing. The book was republished in Spain in Almería in 1991, as de Burgos, like other lesbian authors, was written out of history in Francoist Spain. It was republished in Almería in 2011, in Dalías in 2017 and in Madrid in 2016.

Quiero vivir mi vida by Carmen de Burgos was originally published in 1931 in Madrid and has been translated into English. The book borrowed heavily from the ideas of medicalization of lesbianism espoused by Doctor Gregorio Marañón. The main character, Isabel, is an intersexed lesbian with interests in what were then considered manly pursuits including hunting and fishing and a dislike of feminine pursuits such as playing with dolls, sewing and activities in the home. de Burgos’s own lesbianism did not prevent her from depicting lesbians in a damaging light to the broader public in her own writing.

Mi Vida en el Manicomio

Mi vida en el manicomio, by Ángles Villarta who was born in Asturias in 1919, is a book that was self-published in Madrid in 1953 about the author’s experience living in a women’s asylum in Oviedo.  Among the topics the author touches on in the book are her dissatisfaction with her own femininity.  The book gives an idea about women’s sexuality and the lack of control women had over their owner sexuality in the Franco period of the late 1940s and early 1950s.  The book has a seen where a young girl comes up and tells the author that she will marry her one day, and no one seems bothered by this.  It turns out the young woman, who has mobility issues, escapes to the mountains on a regular basis where she sheds the trappings of femininity and dresses like a man.  The young woman only engaged in performative femininity for the benefit of the psychiatrists.  The author interpreted the marriage proposal as part of the woman’s masculine personality.

Acrópolis by Rosa Chacel is a 1984 book based on the Círculo Sáfico de Madrid of the 1920s. The fictional work was based on the group that included Marisa Roësset, Victoria Kent, Carmen de Burgos, Irene Polo, Carmen Conde, Matilde Ras, Elena Fortún and Victorina Durán. It was first published by Seix Barral in Barcelona. It was reprinted again in 1991 and 1994 in Barcelona.

Su cuerpo era su gozo by Beatriz Gimeno is a 2005 fiction book based on real events about the repression felt by a lesbian couple who lived during the Franco regime. Originally published in parts in El Pais in 2001, it gave voice to the suffering endured by lesbians who deviated from regime imposed norms. Places that feature in the book include Valencia and Madrid.


Mi hija Hildegart is a 1977 Spanish language film that dramatizes the life and death of Hildegart Rodríguez Carballeira, a woman who played an important role in discussing, educating and promoting women’s sexuality in early 1930s Spain.

Hildegart oder Projekt: Superwoman is a 2017 Austrian produced documentry film in the German language about the life of Hildegart Rodríguez Carballeira and her death at the hands of her mother. It was directed by Barbara Caspar.

Seis Hermanas is a Spanish historical drama set in Madrid that originally ran on RTVE from 2015 to 2017 and is available online. In one episode, the character Celia talks to Carmen de Burgos about lesbian love by telling the story of teachers.

La Coquito is a 1915 erotic comedy novel by male author Joaquín Belda originally published in Madrid that features a lesbian love story. The novel was adapted to a film of the same title in a Spanish-Mexican co-production with its official release in Madrid on 26 December 1977, and in Mexico on 16 November 1978. The novel was republished again in 1995 in Madrid. The film was directed by Pedro Masó. Both were loosely based on the life of Consuelo Portela, a singer born in 1885, though this is never acknowledged by either the author or the film makers. Trailers for the film are available online.

Muchachas de uniforme, in English Girls in Uniform and in German Mädchen in Uniform, is a 1931 German film directed by Leontine Sagan based on a book by Christa Winsloe. It was one of if not the first lesbian themed movies in history. It appeared in Madrid by 1934 on a limited basis. It appred again in Spain at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona in August 2015. A remake of the film was produced in 1955, with the film being released in Spain on 31 January 1977 in Madrid and 28 November 1977 in Barcelona.

Pedro Almodóvar’s 1982 Laberinto de pasiones was a screwball comedy that featured a sex addicted pop star in Madrid who has a relationship with the gay son of a leader of a fictional Middle Eastern country. It was celebrated at the time by LGB community as a step towards liberation from the repressive Franco era censorship that saw gays and lesbians condemned and erased.

Ainadamar is an opera by composer Osvaldo Golijov and playwright David Henry Hwang based on the life of Margarita Xirgu Subirá and specifically her friendship with Federico García Lorca. Events in the opera take place in Montevideo, describing events in Madrid, Granada and elsewhere. The actress was Garcia’s muse. A recording of Ainadamar won a pair of Grammy’s in 2007 for Best Opera Recording of 2006, and Best Classical Contemporary Composition. The opera has had limited runs in Spain, debuting in the country at the 2011 Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada on the stage of the Teatro del Generalife in Alhambra, in 2012 at the Festival Internacional de Santander, with a limited run at the Teatro Real in July 2012 Madrid, and at the Teatro Campoamore de Oviedo in late 2013.


A history of gastronomy from the Civil War exists as there were a few anarchist publications, including those of Mujeres Libres, that provided recipes, menus and nutrition advice. Most of these publications were based out of Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. One dish was French fries with sautéed in lard with onions and herbs. Another was eel with tomato. A third was egg plant stuffed with meat, garlic and parsley. A fourth was rice with bacalao. A recipe for a vegetable soup included turnips, carrots, onions, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, noodles, green cabbage and oil.


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