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The Gothic Fiction of Adelaida García Morales

The Gothic Fiction of Adelaida García Morales: Haunting Words

Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 172
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  • Book Info
    The Gothic Fiction of Adelaida García Morales
    Book Description:

    The Gothic as a literary mode extending well beyond its first proponents in eighteenth-century England is well established in English studies but has been strangely under-used by Hispanists. Now Abigail Lee Six uses it as the paradigm through which to analyse the novels of Adelaida García Morales; while not suggesting that every novel by this author is a classic Gothic text, she reveals certain constants in the work that can be related to the Gothic, even in novels which one might not classify as such. Each of the novels studied is paired with an English-language Gothic text, such as Dracula, Frankenstein and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and then read in the light of it. The focus of each chapter ranges from psychological aspects, such as fear of decay or otherness, or the pressures linked to managing secrets, to more concrete elements such as mountains and frightening buildings, and to key figures such as vampires, ghosts, or monsters. This approach sheds new light on how García Morales achieves probably the most distinguishing feature of her novels: their harrowing atmosphere. ABIGAIL LEE SIX is Professor of Hispanic Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-471-3
    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-vii)
  4. List of abbreviations
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    This book has twin aims: one is to offer a deepened understanding of Adelaida García Morales’s fiction through reading her texts as Gothic,¹ for it is my contention that such a reading can shed new light on how she achieves the extraordinary haunting effect of her narratives. The second aim depends on the success of the first: it is to demonstrate by this example of one writer the usefulness of the Gothic label to Hispanic Studies generally and as such, the present monograph is the first in a larger research project which hopes to put the termGothicon the...

  6. 1 El Sur, seguido de Bene (1985) and Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890/1891): Physical and Moral Decay
    (pp. 7-25)

    El Sur[The South] andBene, two short texts published in one volume, launched Adelaida García Morales on her very successful career. Despite their brevity (El Suris only 52 pages long andBene58), they already contain much of what would come to be identifiable as this author’s hallmarks, many of which this study is arguing can be subsumed under the umbrella term of Gothic features.² Whether it was for the convenience of the publishers or in obedience to a desire on the author’s part to present the texts as linked, the result is thatEl Sur, seguido de...

  7. 2 El silencio de las sirenas (1985) and Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794): The Sublime
    (pp. 26-40)

    El silencio de las sirenas[The Silence of the Sirens] is set in an isolated village in the Alpujarra mountains of southern Spain. The two principal characters, Elsa and the narrator, María, are outsiders to the community and the mountains and are portrayed as relating to their geographical setting with the wonder and appreciation of its beauty and majesty that locals – for whom it is nothing more nor less than normality – do not share. The main storyline contains many elements familiar to readers of Gothic fiction: the doubling of characters – Elsa, the protagonist and Agustín Valdés, the...

  8. 3 La lógica del vampiro (1990) and Bram Stoker, Dracula (1897): Vampirism
    (pp. 41-54)

    This chapter will propose a reading ofLa lógica del vampiro[The Logic of the Vampire] predicated upon an exploration of the vampire motif which the author’s choice of title spotlights. In keeping with some – but not all – of her fiction,¹ this title highlights a disjunction between the main storyline and the underlying subject matter of the text, the former being ostensibly about the first-person narrator, Elvira’s search for her missing brother, Diego, culminating in the confirmation of her worst fears, that he is dead, having probably committed suicide. The setting is in and near Seville, the protagonist’s...

  9. 4 Las mujeres de Héctor (1994) and Henry James, The Turn of the Screw (1898): Ghosts
    (pp. 55-70)

    Adelaida García Morales already had ghosts in mind when she wroteEl Sur, seguido de Bene. In addition to the gypsy ghost ofBene, the author referred to the dead addressees as ghosts and went on to explain that ‘de esta manera se hace presente, es algo que va más allá del recuerdo, es hacer que el personaje muerto casi vuelva a aparecer’ [in this way the dead character makes himself or herself present, it’s something that goes beyond recollection, it’s making him or her almost re-appear.]¹ However, thatcasi[almost] is significant and the removal of it marks a...

  10. 5 La tía Águeda (1995) and Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (1764): Frightening Buildings
    (pp. 71-85)

    In this novel, Marta, a young girl who has recently lost her mother, is entrusted by her father to the care of the eponymous aunt (his elder sister) and in this unfamiliar small-town environment and disciplinary regime, the ten-year-old feels lost, trapped, orphaned and exiled from her home in Seville. As if the situation were not frightening enough, a ghost also appears in the house, that of Martín, Águeda’s husband who dies in the course of the narrative, haunting his widow thereafter. Having discussed the representation of ghosts in Chapter 4, this one will not place the focus on the...

  11. 6 Nasmiya (1996) and Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca (1938): Fear of the Other (Woman)
    (pp. 86-102)

    Nasmiyais about one family in a community of Spanish converts to Islam living in Madrid. It focuses on the emotional fall-out occasioned by Khaled, the husband of Nadra, the narrator, who precipitates the central storyline by deciding to take a second wife. Nadra is his first wife and the mother of three children of this still supposedly happy union. The new wife, Nasmiya, unlike Khaled or Nadra, is a second-generation Spanish Muslim; she is young, beautiful, and appears to have no difficulty with the idea of sharing her husband, just as her own mother shared her father with another...

  12. 7 El accidente (1997) and Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886): Keeping Guilty Secrets
    (pp. 103-118)

    As far as its premise is concerned,El accidente[The Accident] resembles the author’s earlier work,Las mujeres de Héctor, since the main driver of the plot is once again an accidental murder, this time of an old man called Emilio. However, in this later narrative, the haunting that follows is not of the paranormal variety, but a combination of guilt, fear, and indecision on the psychological level, plus a flesh-and-blood haunting of the culprit, named Fernando, by the victim’s sons, who intimidate him with their repetition of the proverb ‘Quien a hierro mata, a hierro muere’¹ [Live by the...

  13. 8 La señorita Medina (1997) and Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White (1859–60): Discovering Guilty Secrets
    (pp. 119-132)

    Published in the same year asEl accidente, La señorita Medina[Miss Medina] also revolves around a secret, but unlike it, this is one that the original possessor has taken with her to the grave. The novel opens in a manner reminiscent of the author’s first narratives,El SurandBene, since a first-person narrator is talking directly to her dead sister, Nieves, and indeed, as one learns more about her in the course of the novel, this Nieves turns out to be another social misfit, like the father inEl sur, quite alien to the rest of the family’s...

  14. 9 Una historia perversa (2001) and Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818–31): Creating Monsters
    (pp. 133-150)

    This chapter will discuss what makes readingUna historia perversa[A Perverse Story] such a Gothic experience: it will consider, first, how Adelaida García Morales utilizes elements that make up the Gothic villain and second, the Gothic treatment of the issue of creation by men, which can be read as doubly transgressive since it is a ‘usurpation of divine powers of creation [… and] also a male appropriation of the female ability to give birth’.² As inFrankenstein, the consequences of such a double transgression in the Spanish novel are both monstrous and disastrous for all concerned, including the creator...

  15. Conclusion
    (pp. 151-154)

    Similarly to Mary Shelley before her, Adelaida García Morales’s own life has been assumed to be reflected in her fiction. Referring toEl Sur, seguido de Bene, Robert Saladrigas asserts that this text is ‘uno de los ejemplos más claros de fusión de la vida con la obra’ [one of the clearest examples of the fusion of life and work].¹ The author concurs that the childhoods narrated in that first volume were inspired by her own, although not a straight autobiographical transposition.² How then does a reading of her fiction as Gothic inflect this relationship between the writer – in...

  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 155-160)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 161-164)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 165-165)