Felicitas Guerrero, an Argentinian legendary character: history, tragedy and femicide

Proceedings of ‏The 3rd International Conference on Advanced Research in Social Sciences

Year: 2021

DOI: https://www.doi.org/10.33422/3rd.icarss.2021.03.320

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Felicitas Guerrero, an Argentinian legendary character: history, tragedy and femicide

María Inés Palleiro, Maria Eugenia Peltzer



In this presentation, we will deal with an Argentine female ghost, associated with a real young lady, Felicitas Guerrero, from the perspective of Folkloristics and Gender Studies.

Felicitas Guerrero (1846-1872) has been a historic character from an Argentinian aristocratic family,  who was first married to a rich man in his fifties, who died, along with the son of the couple, both victims of yellow fever. A short time later, Felicitas knew a younger man, Samuel Sáenz Valiente, to whom she ought to get married. But the same day of her marriage engagement, she has been killed by another young man who has been her lover, Enrique Ocampo. Her family had a beautiful church built in her memory, named St. Felicitas –which was also the name of a Roma saint of the 2nd. Century- declared as part of the cultural heritage of Buenos Aires city.

Her tragic decease made room to different legendary versions regarding her ghostly apparition and to  a filmic recreation of her biography we will deal with in this paper, from the  perspective of Folkloristics, Discourse Analysis and cultural heritage. The analytical approach is oriented to highlight how her high social position and untimely death transformed her into a  paradigmatic character, which favoured a process of identification with young women who had been victims of gender violence. Being aware that conflicts with the dead express living conflicts in the real world, and that the act of telling legends has the potential of affirming local cultures,  we consider the ghost of this young lady as a symbol of vernacular identity who claims for justice for her femicide.

Keywords: Felicitas Guerrero, Legendary Discourse, Argentina, Folklore, Cultural Heritage.