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Juan Goytisolo: The Author as Dissident

Juan Goytisolo: The Author as Dissident

Alison Ribeiro de Menezes
Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 214
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt9qdps1
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  • Book Info
    Juan Goytisolo: The Author as Dissident
    Book Description:

    This monograph offers two new perspectives on Spanish writer, Juan Goytisolo. First, under the themes of authorship and dissidence, it integrates his writing across several genres, providing a rounded assessment of his contribution to cultural debates in Spain since the sixties and arguing that resistance to repressive discourses characterizes his essays and autobiographies as much as his fiction. Second, it revises the prevailing critical interpretation of Goytisolo's fiction by building on four premises: that his novels are less clearly oppositional than prevailing interpretations imply; that, in order to engage with discourses of identity, he employs an idiom which, contrary to his own statements, is not a poststructuralist autonomous world of words; that a textual practice grounded in the recognizable experience of post-Civil War Spain, rather than one which seeks out the realm of pure textuality, is essential to Goytisolo's subversive political intentions; and that the autobiographical element of much of his work constitutes a more complex narrative aesthetic than has been appreciated. The book argues that if Goytisolo's work is interpreted as an ethical engagement with postmodernist theory, rather than as an illustration of it, then certain contradictions for which he has been criticized are seen in a new and valuable light. ALISON RIBEIRO DE MENEZES is a Senior Lecturer in Spanish at University College Dublin.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-407-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. vi-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: AUTHORSHIP AND DISSIDENCE
    (pp. 1-6)

    The humble proof-reader in José Saramago’sHistória do cerco de Lisboa, who inserts a negative in a text where the author had intended none, thus changing retrospectively the course of historical events, raises some of the most pressing questions preoccupying contemporary novelists: the issues of truth and relativity, the possibility and implications of multiple authoring, and the potency of authorship as narrative authority. Impersonalizing authorship, by turning it into a process involving one or more agents and various stages, does not, however, remove textual author-ity. As Cervantes magnificently demonstrated inDon Quixotefive centuries ago, it can also, paradoxically, reinforce...

  5. I: THE DISSIDENT VOICE

    • 1 AUTHORING THE SELF: COTO VEDADO AND EN LOS REINOS DE TAIFA
      (pp. 9-28)

      If, for twentieth-century writers, the question of authorship and its relationship to the authority of a ‘writing subject’ has posed considerable problems, then writing the life of the self – encapsulated perfectly, if in reverse order, in the very term auto-bio-graphy – makes these issues even more acute. The practice of autobiography necessarily confers on the autobiographical text an implied truth value upon which the weight of contemporary theory since existentialism and structuralism has cast considerable doubt. Unmoored from the Cartesian certainties of consciousness, contemporary autobiography stages an interplay between facts and imaginative creativity, replacing the original ‘confessional’ status of...

    • 2 CANONIZING DISSIDENCE: FOUR DECADES OF ESSAY-WRITING
      (pp. 29-58)

      Essay-writing is a flexible and subjective art. It ranges from reasoned intellectual argument to the travel essay, specializing, as Philip Lopate puts it, in misadventure, to the personal essay, which constitutes, in Samuel Johnson’s felicitous phrase, ‘a loose sally of the mind’.² To essay is to test out a position, and the essayist, according to Theodor Adorno, writes in full consciousness of the fragmentary nature of his art, seeking a utopian illumination through its practice yet acutely aware that his gesture can only ever be provisional and incomplete.³ For Adorno, the essay’s incompleteness is a mark of subversive thought, a...

  6. II: IDENTITY AND ALTERITY

    • 3 MEMORY, HISTORY, AND IDENTITY: SEÑAS DE IDENTIDAD AND REIVINDICACIÓN DEL CONDE DON JULIÁN
      (pp. 61-90)

      With the publication ofSeñas de identitdadin 1966 andReivindicación del Conde don Juliánin 1970, Goytisolo gave centre stage to the closely connected themes of memory, history, and identity. Identity, Goytisolo suggests, is intimately linked to one’s individual recall of the past set against the backdrop of the shared history of a community. Memory is the key to unlock this sense of identity by offering access to the past, from the perspective of the present, with a view to the future direction that the individual’s or community’s life may take. This is a phenomenological and non-teleological view, akin...

    • 4 MIGRATING SOUTH, WANDERING EAST: JUAN SIN TIERRA AND MAKBARA
      (pp. 91-114)

      InJuan sin Tierra(1975) andMakbara(1980) Goytisolo develops a number of themes already outlined inDon Julián, but from a more international and less purely Spanish perspective. The author’s search for a dissident literary identity, as the majority of critics have argued, is now subsumed into a wider political preoccupation with North–South and East–West relations.² Although certain autobiographical aspects of the earlier novels are retained – the opening allusion to a Cuban sugar plantation inJuan sin Tierra, for instance, deliberately recalls the manner in which Goytisolo’s great-grandfather amassed the family fortune³ – the focus broadens...

  7. III: DIVERGENCES AND CONVERGENCES

    • 5 THE AUTHOR AS VOYEUR: PAISAJES DESPUÉS DE LA BATALLA, LA SAGA DE LOS MARX, AND EL SITIO DE LOS SITIOS
      (pp. 117-141)

      A turn to the pictoral seems to characterize contemporary literary studies.² The late twentieth-century privileging of discourse, with its trend to read pictures and images as texts, seems now to have turned back upon itself, seeking the visual in the verbal, as well as vice versa.³ The roots of this might be traced to Foucault’s work on the panoptic gaze, but that, for him, was purely a surveillance act, and thus more restricted than the broad view of the visual that I wish to adopt here.⁴ Vision implies both to see and to be seen, but not necessarily in an...

    • 6 THE AUTHOR AS MYSTIC: LAS VIRTUDES DEL PÁJARO SOLITARIO AND LA CUARENTENA
      (pp. 142-166)

      WhenLas virtudes del pájaro solitariofirst appeared in 1988 the novel caused a certain sensation, its mystical theme taking readers by surprise. Research by Javier Escudero Rodríguez has since shown that this reaction was somewhat misplaced, given that an obsession with death and an emergent interest in mysticism can be traced in Goytisolo’s fiction to at least the time ofMakbara.² Indeed, looking back even further, we might recall from the discussion above (pp. 94–5) thatJuan sin Tierraopens with an allusion to Eastern mysticism, though, admittedly, a pejorative one. The appearance of a religious theme is...

  8. IV: AUTHORSHIP AND DISSIDENCE REVISITED

    • 7 THE AUTHOR AS INTERTEXTUAL CRITIC: LAS SEMANAS DEL JARDÍN, CARAJICOMEDIA AND TELÓN DE BOCA
      (pp. 169-186)

      In 2003, with the publication ofTelón de boca, Goytisolo rather dramatically announced an end to his fifty-year career as a writer of fiction.² Whether or not this turns out to be the case, the last three novels of Goytisolo’s career to date constitute a review of the main preoccupations of his writing sinceSeñas de identidad. In this sense, they bring us full circle, for each novel tackles anew the themes of authorship, identity, and dissidence with which this book has been concerned. But these novels are not just a review or summary of past works. They also offer...

  9. WORKS CITED
    (pp. 187-198)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 199-205)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 206-206)