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A Companion to the Twentieth-Century Spanish Novel by Marta E. Altisent

By Marta E. Altisent

This number of reports via eighteen admired theorists and critics deals a various landscape of the trendy Spanish novel noticeable during the prism of Spain's contemporary political, cultural and ideological heritage. It considers the advance of the unconventional as a social reflect and as a altering literary shape, torn among the culture of stern realism and the aesthetics of rupture affecting all Western literature from the Avant-Garde to the Postmodern age. whereas a few essays emphasise the Spanish cultural context and canonical writers, others are of a broader nature, grouping lesser-known writers less than yes literary developments: the metaphysical novel, the city novel, recuperative bills of the Civil struggle, female first-person narrations, and the increase of the preferred detective, ancient, and erotic novels. 3 stories deal with the resurgence of the Catalan, Basque and Galician novel and their departure from a poetics of identification to at least one of worldwide matters. Interdisciplinary ways tackle the reciprocal affects of literature and cinema, and the consequences of at the intake of fiction usually are not forgotten. The better half offers abundant bibliographies and a worthy chronology, whereas all titles and quotations are translated into English.

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We can see this most clearly in his invention of the esperpento. This was not some new literary form aimed at further undermining the realist credo of the objective presentation of reality. Instead, it submitted reality to a process of violent distortion through hyperbole. Unlike Unamuno, Valle-Inclán viewed Spanish culture as the underbelly of modernity, a caricature of European reality that, in a progressive and liberal society, could serve only as a model to avoid. The esperpento was a process that depended on an extreme deformation of an already deformed reality.

Nineteenth-century history was a major source for Baroja’s novels, historical events sometimes providing an oblique entry into, or exit from, a wholly fictional plot (for example, the attempted assassination of King Alfonso XIII on his wedding day which marks the beginning of La dama errante (1908), or THE EARLY TWENTIETH-CENTURY NOVEL 33 the 1871 rising of the Paris Commune which brings Las tragedias grotescas to an end). But in the 22-volume Memorias de un hombre de acción (1913– 34), which represents fully one-third of Baroja’s total novelistic output, history plays a more prominent role as the writer reconstructs the life and exploits of a notorious spy employed by the Liberal government to penetrate Carlist lines and help bring about the defeat of the insurgents during the civil war of 1833–39.

There are many more writers writing today than at any time in the past, but they do not exercise the huge social and cultural authority that the comparatively small number of major figures enjoyed in the past. Globalization has seen individuality supplanted by conformism, the lone voice by the many. The old novel, written along predictable guidelines, has evolved once again into the most popular of all kinds of writing. The phenomenon of the instant international best-seller is the product of mass marketing, while other literary genres, such as poetry, have been less affected because they appeal to a much smaller readership.

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