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Writing and Heritage in Contemporary Spain

Writing and Heritage in Contemporary Spain: The Imaginary Museum of Literature

Series: Monografías A
Volume: 309
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Writing and Heritage in Contemporary Spain
    Book Description:

    This is an innovative exploration of cultural heritage and the literary traditions that shape the contemporary literary scene in Spain. Through a coalescence of museum studies, metacriticism and traditional literary criticism the study interweaves discussion of museum spaces with literary analysis, exploring them as agents of memorialisation and a means for preserving and conveying heritage. Following introductory explorations of the development of museums and the literary canon, each chapter begins with a "visit" to a Spanish museum, establishing the framework for the subsequent discussion of critical practices and texts. Case studies include examination of the palimpsest and unconscious influence of canonical cores; the response to masculine traditions of poetry and art; counter-culture of the 1990s; and the ethical concerns of postmemory writing. STUART DAVIS is a Lecturer in Spanish, Girton College, and Newton Trust Lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Cambridge.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-033-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Stuart Davis
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    Situated on the calle Serrano, just north of some of the boutique shopping streets in Madrid, the Museo Lázaro Galdiano stands proudly amid the early twentieth-century apartment blocks and offices of the district, some of the busiest Madrid thoroughfares passing close by. A house, large enough to warrant being called a mansion, built in the first decade of the 1900s in a neo-Romantic style, with a gravel driveway to the entrance, flanked by shrubs and lawns, denotes a peaceful oasis amid the pandemonium of the capital city that surrounds it. This is a place of refuge and calm. Only a...

  5. 1 Presenting the Museum
    (pp. 11-47)

    The essence of the museum lies in a number of qualities. Museums have a rich and varied history, and indeed still now encompass a wide range of areas of knowledge and uses. The museum’s function, as designated by the International Council of Museums/Conseil International des Musées, is as ‘a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment’.³ As Donald Prezoisi points out, anything (tangible or intangible, it seems)...

  6. 2 Never-Ending Story: Canon Fever
    (pp. 48-73)

    Like many grand national museums, the Biblioteca Nacional de España (BNE) has an imposing presence just a stone’s throw from one of the main thoroughfares of Madrid’s city centre, the Paseo de Recoletos. From the street, the eye is drawn above the railings to the building’s frieze, populated with muses, deities, human allegories of arts, war and peace; above the frieze atop the building sits Spain herself, a laurel wreath held aloft in her hand, and above her flies the national flag. The façade is supported by eight neo-classical columns, standing above a trio of door arches, themselves reached by...

  7. 3 Working Models, Model (Re)Workings: Cervantes and Goytisolo
    (pp. 74-110)

    Lying just over twenty miles north of Madrid, the city of Alcalá de Henares (motto: ‘Ciudad del saber’) attracts thousands of visitors every year who relish the World Heritage Site status of the city centre, the famous ancient university and its literary associations. Alcalá boasts of being the birthplace of several famous Spaniards, including royals (such as Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragón), the painter Eugenio Lucas Velázquez and writers such as the Arcipreste de Hita (Juan Ruiz) and one Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, after whom the tourist train from central Madrid is named. Although it is widely held...

  8. 4 The Authoritative Gaze: Cristina Peri Rossi
    (pp. 111-145)

    Should one venture on a Sunday to the Museo del Prado, Spain’s eminent art gallery, be prepared to join a queue of the like-minded, eager to experience and see some of the greatest masterpieces of Spanish and European art on a day when entry is free to all. On first approaching the building, towards either the Puerta de Goya or Puerta de Velázquez, the visitor encounters an impressive neo-Classical building, surrounded by immaculately maintained lawns, shrubs and lampposts. Facing the Puerta de Velázquez, a statue of the master painter himself before you, a glance up above the colonnade reveals a...

  9. 5 Generations Apart? The ‘Generation X’ in Spanish Literature
    (pp. 146-178)

    While in the previous chapter we witnessed the creation of an imaginary museum where the contents were the focus of our attention, in this chapter we attend to an example of a museum, and subsequently a literary generation, where location and façade take primacy over the content. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s museum in Bilbao, opened in October 1997, is housed in what is undoubtedly a famous and iconic building, not only for its striking design by the celebrated architect, Frank O. Gehry, but also for its role in rejuvenating both the city in which it stands and also museum...

  10. Conclusion: What Do We Do with the Gifts of the Past?
    (pp. 179-198)

    My first ever visit to Spain occurred at the age of eighteen, on a school exchange from my sixth form college with a school near Valencia. I remember little of the trip, except that my small amount of Spanish was laughably inadequate for most situations and that, as a vegetarian at the time, eating was usually no pleasure – while my host family enjoyed eating octopus, much to my horror, I was provided with a bowl of boiled cauliflower. My second visit, a year later as an undergraduate languages student, was more successful. I flew out to stay with a...

    (pp. 199-214)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 215-222)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 223-223)