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A Companion to the Twentieth-Century Spanish Novel

A Companion to the Twentieth-Century Spanish Novel

Edited by Marta E. Altisent
Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 356
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  • Book Info
    A Companion to the Twentieth-Century Spanish Novel
    Book Description:

    This collection of studies by eighteen prominent theorists and critics offers a diverse panorama of the modern Spanish novel seen through the prism of Spain's recent political, cultural and ideological history. It considers the development of the novel as a social mirror and as a changing literary form, torn between the tradition of stern realism and the aesthetics of rupture affecting all Western literature from the Avant-Garde to the Postmodern age. While some essays emphasise the Spanish cultural context and canonical writers, others are of a broader nature, grouping lesser-known writers under certain literary tendencies: the metaphysical novel, the urban novel, recuperative accounts of the Civil War, feminine first-person narrations, and the rise of the popular detective, historical, and erotic novels. Three studies address the resurgence of the Catalan, Basque and Galician novel and their departure from a poetics of identity to one of global concerns. Interdisciplinary approaches address the reciprocal impacts of literature and cinema, and the effects of the marketplace on the consumption of fiction are not forgotten. The Companion provides ample bibliographies and a valuable chronology, while all titles and quotations are translated into English. Contributors: Marta E. Altisent, Katarzyna Olga Beilin, Ramón Buckley, José F. Colmeiro, Stacey Dolgin Casado, Sebastiaan Faber, David K. Herzberger, Carlos Alex Longhurst, Kathleen N. March, Cristina Martínez-Carazo, Alfredo Martínez Expósito, Nina L. Molinaro, Gonzalo Navajas, Mari Jose Olaziregi, Janet D. Pérez, Randolph D. Pope, Josep Miquel Sobrer, H. Rosi Song.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-620-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)

    The purpose of this volume is to provide an overview of the development of Spanish fiction in the twentieth century. TheCompanionis intended as a reference tool for both the specialist and the general reader interested in understanding the intellectual and aesthetic trends that have shaped the Spanish novel during what was an extraordinarily turbulent time in Spanish history. While the volume is geared towards the student of hispanic literary studies, we hope it will appeal also to specialists in a number of disciplines such as Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies.

    The eighteen contributors survey a selection of factors...

  4. List of Contributors
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. 1-14)

    The isolation Spain endured during a substantial part of the twentieth century, with its history of anarchism, civil war, dictatorships, democracy, and finally unprecedented economic revival, has helped to shape its culture’s slow and uneven absorption of the main intellectual currents of modern western thought. Their influence would be felt in ways that were often anachronistic and marginal during the two periods of democratic transition (1931–33 and after 1975) and also in the works of Spanish intellectual dissidents living both in Spain and beyond its borders. The essays in this volume show Spanish novelists involved in a process of...

  6. PART I Continuing Traditions and Changing Styles

    • 1 The Spanish Novel in the Twentieth Century
      (pp. 17-29)

      The evolution of the Spanish novel in the twentieth century runs parallel with the twists and turns in national attitudes to the central ideas and events that shape the world at the time. For much of the century, leading Spanish novelists viewed the social and cultural condition of their country with pessimism and contempt, seeing Spain as cut off from the rest of Europe. Their works analyze the causes of this marginalization and offer a number of diagnoses for the country’s ills. The extension and depth of their criticisms varied with the author’s ideological perspective and the gravity of the...

    • 2 The Early Twentieth-Century Novel
      (pp. 30-44)

      Literary creativity is multi-directional. It looks backwards, sideways and forwards. A writer will follow or subvert a tradition, will be aware of what his contemporaries are doing, and will hope to surpass them. Literary historiography by contrast can only look in one direction; it is a discipline that seeks to order the past and whose understanding of that past is a function of the taxonomy employed. At its simplest, the taxonomy of the modern Spanish novel consists of a series of labels that purport to describe a succession of approaches to the writing of fictional prose. After the early nineteenth-century...

    • 3 Tales from the Avant-garde
      (pp. 45-59)

      Spain has traditionally boasted a Golden Age of the Arts, aSiglo de Oro,following hard upon the high point of Spanish empire in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Recent critics have suggested that it would be equally appropriate to talk about anEdad de Plata, a Silver Age, extending from the final collapse of that Empire in 1898 to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil war in 1936.¹ During these three decades, both artists and men of letters sought to portray the dramatic image of a Spain torn between the conservative and traditional values it had once fostered and...

    • 4 The Social Realist Novel
      (pp. 60-74)

      In the Spanish post-war novel, the term neorealism is used for the reemergence of realist writing, never completely absent even though it had become unfashionable with the Generation of 1898 during the heyday ofmodernismoand during the so-calledvanguardismocharacteristic of the Generation of 1927. Neorealism emerges in the work of writers such as José Díaz, dubbed in 1930 the ‘New Romantics’. Reacting against the vanguardist ‘dehumanization’ of art and the advocacy of ‘pure’ art, or ‘art for art’s sake’, they felt compelled by the dramatic events of the Civil war to focus once again on social and political...

  7. PART II Rewriting History and Myth

    • 5 The Novel of the Spanish Civil war
      (pp. 77-90)

      For over seventy years now Spanish novelists have struggled to turn their country’s most recent civil war into literature. This task has not been easy. They have had to work under changing but always problematic circumstances that posed significant obstacles and burdened them with unusually heavy responsibilities. First, there was the war itself, which broke out in July 1936 after a group of right-wing army officers tried and failed to overthrow the left-wing government of the popular Front. From the very beginning of the conflict, writers found that they themselves and their work were being used as propaganda in support...

    • 6 The Novels of Luis Martín-Santos and Juan Goytisolo
      (pp. 91-100)

      From the early 1960s through the decade following Franco’s death in 1975, a group of left-wing Spanish writers published novels which integrate three interdisciplinary theories related to the ongoing plight of the alienation of contemporary man: (i) Karl Marx’s socioeconomic theory of alienation (1984a); (ii) Roland Barthes’s theory of the linguistic method by which the ruling class naturalizes social myths for the purpose of mass consumption, followed by his proposed ‘demythifying’ process by which the self-serving intentions of social myths may be unmasked (1957); and (iii) the eclectic, new realism of the German playwright, poet and literary theorist, Bertolt Brecht.¹...

    • 7 Post-War Historical Fiction
      (pp. 101-113)

      Nearly all the historical fiction published in Spain during the Franco years (1939–75) can be fully understood only in the larger context of the writing of history during that period. while it is clear that Franco used raw military power to win the Spanish Civil war and to establish his regime by force, the need to sustain his authority and legitimacy over time required other and more elaborate mechanisms. One of the most compelling was the regime’s attempt to assert control over the history of the nation, to make history an instrument of the government’s own progamme – in other...

    • 8 Spanish Detective Fiction as a Political Genre
      (pp. 114-126)

      One significant aspect of the development of detective fiction in Spain in the latter part of the twentieth-century is its emergence as a political genre. The modern Spanish detective novel, and the urban thriller ornovela negrain particular, has been used by Spanish writers, both during the Franco regime and since, as a vehicle for social observation and cultural criticism, to voice dissent and disagreement with the prevailing political ideology.

      The new Spanishnovela negraoften subverts the traditional detective story, with its firmly roots in the idea of preserving bourgeois legal and social order and punishing transgression. Detective...

  8. PART III The City

    • 9 Madrid in the Novel
      (pp. 129-136)

      The word Madrid covers a huge, diverse, and ever-changing city that became larger and more complex during the course of the twentieth century. It went from half-a-million inhabitants in 1900 to close on six million today (Parsons 2003). The new city grew around the capriciously laid out center of what was known as the ‘villa’, with its Plaza Mayor, Royal Palace, Puerta del Sol, and Retiro Gardens, to name but a few of the landmarks made famous by the novels of Galdós, especially *Fortunata y Jacinta(1886–87). As it did so, it incorporated the old, reinterpreted it, and completely...

    • 10 Images of Barcelona
      (pp. 137-158)

      Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain and the capital of Catalonia, is often defined by comparison with Madrid. Throughout the twentieth century, the widening gulf between the two cities has determined much of Catalonia’s national ethos, itself defined by reference to Castilian-speaking Spain (Arkinstall 2004: 22). For Spaniards, Barcelona is both the place where European novelties first arrive in the peninsula and also a narcissistically self-regarding city. Barcelona’s physical peculiarities have both nourished and curtailed its political aspirations, but it has always been the driving force behind a Catalan nation with no state but a desire to define its...

  9. PART IV New Voices, New Perspectives, New Modes

    • 11 Narrating women in the Post-war Spanish Novel
      (pp. 161-173)

      Women writers have participated in all the movements, styles, genres, debates, and themes that we find in twentieth-century Spanish literature. However, peninsular literary historians, if they have considered them at all, have tended to group these women together in order to segregate them from their male counterparts, as if their work was in some way inherently inferior. This phenomenon continues to occur well into the twenty-first century. The writers themselves complain that, as a result of this kind of gender-based segregation, they feel compelled to tell different stories. As laura Freixas reports (1996: 19–20, my translation): ‘it is not...

    • 12 Changing Sexual and Gender Paradigms
      (pp. 174-185)

      The emergence of overt sexual themes in the Spanish novel of the last quarter of the twentieth century is closely related to the profound changes (political, legal, religious, and social) taking place in Spanish society over those years. while some of these changes affected other western nations at approximately the same time (and there was a corresponding boom in homosexual themes in mainstream literature), there are some peculiarities in the case of Spain. Strictly censored during the dictatorship, erotic literature gradually became associated with a set of forbidden topics, such as violence, nudity, drugs, and critical comments about the conservative...

    • 13 Disquieting Realism: Postmodern and Beyond
      (pp. 186-196)

      In this chapter we shall examine the common narrative strategies and world views that surface in the works of Antonio Muñoz Molina, Juan José Millás, José María Merino, Enrique Vila-Matas, Adelaida García Morales, and Cristina Fernández Cubas. Many of the narrative techniques and ideas that these authors share could be considered postmodern; others, however, might better be though of as examples of something Navajas (1996b) calls ‘beyond postmodernity’. He suggests (1987) that one important characteristic of postmodern narratives is the lack of any unitary meaning of the kind we find in the typical nineteenth-century realist novel, and that this has...

    • 14 Anti-conformist Fiction: The Spanish ‘Generation X’
      (pp. 197-208)
      H. ROSI SONG

      The works of the late 1980s and 1990s from a new generation of Spanish writers have proved popular but have been dismissed with disdain by many established critics. Some of these writers achieved recognition very young, as in the cases of pedro Maestre, whoseMatando dinosaurios con tirachinaswon the 1996 Premio Nadal, and José Ángel Mañas and Juana Salabert, shortlisted for that same prize in 1994 and 1996 respectively forHistorias del KronenandArde lo que será(Urioste 1997–98). Some, more openminded critics have seen this new crop of writers not only as professionally successful but also...

  10. PART V Visual Narrative

    • 15 Film, Politics, and the Novel
      (pp. 211-222)

      The twentieth century was the century of the cinema. Its establishment as an art form is inseparable from the rich dialogue it has maintained with literature. The relationship between author, work, and society that informs all art has a particular relevance for the cinema, since it is both a stage for artistic performance and a mass medium. There are also strong links – ideological, aesthetic and economic – between cinema and the novel, as indicated by Rafael Utrera’s remark that: ‘by providing characters and stories for the screen, novels shape the themes and modes of expression in popular cinema’ (1985: 20). In...

  11. PART VI Plurilingual Spain

    • 16 The Catalan Novel
      (pp. 225-234)

      One of the driving forces of Catalan literature in the twentieth century has been the determination to modernize, the feeling that it was imperative to look to Europe and not to gaze back fondly over the glories of Spain’s erstwhile empire. But to identify oneself culturally with things Catalan was to accept not only a language but a tradition and a sense of nationhood that could be restored by looking back at history. Modern Catalan culture is characterized by this push and pull between tradition and innovation. Catalan writers have had to compensate for the fact that, in living memory,...

    • 17 The Galician Novel
      (pp. 235-246)

      To understand the current Galician novel, it is necessary to understand the history and status of the geographical region and its language over the centuries. There is occasionally some confusion as to what constitutes a Galician novel, because of the complex circumstances that led to the creation of the autonomous region today. It is easy to identify a Galician novelist by his or her place of birth, which would be one of the four provinces in the northwestern corner of the Iberian Peninsula: A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense, and Pontevedra. A fair number of novelists from previous centuries would fit this...

    • 18 Basque Fiction
      (pp. 247-258)

      Most introductions to Basque literature begin with a survey of the language and of present-day Basque society. This is because Basque literature is virtually unknown outside the country and few Basque authors have managed to cross frontiers. But it is also the case that the socio-historical context itself, and particularly the language, have played a large part in shaping the written word.

      We are not dealing here with Basque authors of international standing who wrote in Spanish, such as Pío Baroja, Miguel de Unamuno, Gabriel Celaya, Blas de Otero, Ignacio Aldecoa, or Luis Martín-Santos, but of Basque authors who used...

    (pp. 259-263)
    (pp. 264-272)
    (pp. 273-324)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 325-344)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 345-345)