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Applying recent European and Anglo-American feminist scholarship to the problems of gender representation, Charnon-Deutsch challenges the prevailing idea that the 19th-century Spanish novel is woman centered. The author's examination of novels by Valera, Pereda, Alas, and Galdos demonstrates that these works are instead a complex exploration of male identity. Decoding the gender ideology of women's roles, discourse, and representations, Charnon-Deutsch uncovers in the novels multiple configurations of androcentricity as well as voyeuristic tendencies, which she interprets as a means of mastering what is threatening to the male psyche.