Kathryn Everly. What does literature reveal about a country's changing cultural identity? In History, Violence, and the Hyperreal by Kathryn Everly, this question is applied to the contemporary novel in Spain. In the process, similarities emerge among novels that embrace apparent differences in style, structure, and language. Contemporary Spanish authors are rethinking the way the novel with its narrative powers can define a specific cultural identity.
The novels discussed in this study reconfigure the individual's relationship to narrative, history, and reality through their varied interpretations of Spanish history with its common threads of national and personal violence. In these books, culture acts as mediator between the individual and the rapidly changing dynamic of contemporary society. The authors experiment with the novel form to challenge fundamental concepts of identity when the narrative acknowledges more than one way of reading and understanding history, violence, and reality.
In Spain today, questions of historical accuracy in all foundational fictions--such as the Inquisition, the Spanish Civil War, or globalization--collide with the urgency to modernize. These novel texts appeared first in Odas elementales and were continued in several additional collections during the s.
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Gorostiza and Villaurrutia combined complexities of language and death imagery with carefully worked poetic form; Gorostiza's Muerte sin fin is one of the great twentieth-century poems in the Spanish language, and Villaurrutia's major collection is Nostalgia de la muerte Prose fiction during these decades showed a pattern of development parallel to but distinct from that of the experimental poetic forms of vanguardism.
The jungles, the plains, the cities, and the conflicts of modernization became the settings for a number of compelling works, as first-rank writers established an international readership and set the stage for the Boom period in the latter half of the century. The Mexican Revolution of provided the motivation for one of the most significant examples of a regionally specific prose fiction. The central figure is Mariano Azuela — , a novelist and medical doctor who himself fought in the Revolution. His most famous novel, and the prototypical novel of the Revolution, is Los de abajo , in which Azuela depicts with graphic detail and a cyclic structure the disorderly development of the conflict.
Once again, the author was himself a participant, and his personal view of such figures as Carranza and Villa make his account an especially compelling one. His protagonist is ultimately swallowed up by the "green hell" of the jungle, and Rivera's vivid first-person descriptions remain the most significant dimension of the novel. Social protest is a central concern of the indigenist novel, particularly that set in the Andean region.
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In his Raza de bronce the Bolivian Alcides Arguedas — represented the unresolved conflict between indigenous people and landowners, though more in a spirit of submission than protest. The protest is intensified in the works of the Ecuadorian Jorge Icaza — , whose Huasipungo is probably the most representative indigenist novel.
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The indigenous community mounts a disorganized and unsuccessful rebellion against the despotic landholders who want to remove them from their small parcels of land huasipungos. Many of the short stories of the Uruguayan Horacio Quiroga — , most especially those from Cuentos de amor, de locura y de muerte , reveal a sharp awareness of both the remote Argentine-Uruguayan setting of Misiones and the unusual narrative techniques of Edgar Allan Poe. The "master" Don Segundo is seen through the eyes of his young admirer Fabio, and becomes the shadowy embodiment of the entire gaucho tradition.
The Chileans Eduardo Barrios — and Pedro Prado — should be considered here, through their best novels are not necessarily regional in setting. Barrios is best known for El hermano asno , a psychological study of the closed world of a monastery; Prado's master-work is Alsino , a fanciful poetic novel about a young boy who grows wings.
The last half of the twentieth century was a period of considerable tension, brought on by the Cold War, the Cuban Revolution, widespread guerrilla movements, and the growing drug trade. Against that backdrop, however, literary expression has shown extraordinary development in all genres. In poetry the major figure is the Mexican Octavio Paz — , whose imposing work won him the Nobel Prize in Paz was also a brilliant cultural and literary essayist; El laberinto de la soledad , a commentary on modern Mexican culture, and Los hijos del limo , on the interconnections between romanticism and the avant-garde, are only two of many influential works.
Lezama's anguished and self-reflective poetry found its fullest expression in La fijeza and Dador ; both his essays and his novel Paradiso reveal similar complexities. Parra is best known for Poemas y antipoemas , which set in motion a denunciatory poetic style. Rojas is passionate, irreverent, and at the same time brilliantly sensorial in his poetic language. Materia de testamento is an excellent collection of his recent work. A number of writers born in the s or later have made significant contributions to the development of contemporary poetry, but there is space here only for the most schematic of representations.
The drama has enjoyed spectacular development over the past several decades, a transformation that critics have referred to as the "new" Spanish American theater. Significant initial contributions to that development were made by the Mexicans Xavier Villaurrutia — and Rodolfo Usigli — In El juicio and El pan de la locura , Gorostiza uses realistic staging for pointed social commentary.
In the s, a group of brilliant younger dramatists began to make their presence known and have continued to express themselves up to the present. The plays of Egon Wolff Chile, , especially Los invasores and Flores de papel , depict the invasion and destruction of middle-class values. Loss of freedom and movement is the dominant theme in the plays of Griselda Gambaro Argentina, , as seen sharply in Los siameses and El campo , staged in The novel and the short story have also enjoyed extraordinary development over the past several decades, and critics have used the stock-market term "boom" in discussing what has been seen as the new narrative in recent Spanish American literature.
These two novels represent a sensitive probing of the feminine psyche but at the same time make effective use of a poetic style and experimentation in point of view. In the s the movement toward a new narrative can be seen clearly in the works of Jorge Luis Borges Argentina, — , whose brilliant short fiction was collected first in Ficciones and then in El aleph El informe de Brodie contains some of Borges's best later work.
Asturias was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in The unusual historical and musical background of Alejo Carpentier Cuba, — found brilliant expression in his novels and short stories, especially in El reino de este mundo , a novel based on the Haitian revolution, and the shorter historical pieces of Guerra del tiempo Juan Carlos Onetti Uruguay, is a prolific novelist and short-story writer, whose masterworks are La vida breve , a complex interplay between fiction and reality, and El astillero , in which the pointless rebuilding of a ruined shipyard becomes an allegorical reference to Uruguayan reality.
In the s other younger writers began to contribute to the developing new narrative. Augusto Roa Bastos Paraguay, — received international attention for Hijo de hombre and Yo, el supremo , the second a contribution to the so-called dictator novel. Juan Rulfo Mexico, — produced two masterworks. The s and s saw the publication of an unusually large number of first-rank narrative works, and the consequent coining and wide use of the Boom terminology to characterize the production of those decades.
The most celebrated feature of the novel is an open-ended "Table of Instructions," which invites readers to follow an idiosyncratic and rather whimsical pattern established by the author or to invent their own approaches to the reading of the novel. La ciudad y los perros , a complex narration set in a real Lima military academy, was the prize-winning first novel by Mario Vargas Llosa Peru, ; even more involved was his second novel, La casa verde Guillermo Cabrera Infante Cuba, — published the highly inventive and very Cuban Tres tristes tigres in Set in the banana-growing region of Colombia, the work develops the history, often in magical terms, of the fictional town of Macondo and its leading family.
Since the mids, there has been a noticeable break with past generational models, as new writers shaped by more recent history have arisen, and new genres and forms have gained prominence. The most pronounced characteristic of Spanish American fiction since the mids is its distance from the writing models associated with Magical Realism, the literary genre that predominated in the Spanish-language editorial market during the s. At least two important milestones indicate this transition.
The first is the appearance in of the controversial anthology of short stories McOndo , coedited by Alberto Fuguet Chile, b. In the same spirit has emerged the self-proclaimed "Crack Generation" ofMexican writers, whoannounced themselves with a collectivemanifesto in In this generation of prolific writers, the most prominent include Jorge Volpi Mexico, b. The noteworthy writers born approximately during the s include Diamela Eltit Chile, b. Daniel Sada b. The literary figures born around the s who merit emphasis include the Mexican authors Mario Bellatin b.
The characteristics of the narrative production of the past few years include the current relevance of the detective genre and, in some ways, the new historical novel , in addition to the increasing prevalence of the theme of social and political violence, reflecting the extreme violence that still plagues the region. Mayra Santos Febres Puerto Rico, b.
Political and social violence in areas devastated by internal warfare, drug trafficking, and corruption over the past twenty years can be found in the work of Horacio Castellanos Moya El Salvador , b. The neobaroque poets have reacted against the Anglo-Saxon conversational poetic tradition imposed by the continental poets of the Generation of continued in the so-called social poetry of the s and s. There are also a number of older poets who have acquired iconic status among the young: Peruvians Jorge Eduardo Eielson — and Blanca Varela b. Nueva historia de la novela hispanoamericana.
Hanover, NH: Ediciones del Norte, Anderson Imbert, Enrique. Spanish-American Literature: A History. Revised and updated by Elaine Malley. Translated by John V.
Balderston, Daniel, and Mike Gonzalez, eds. Encyclopedia of Latin American and Caribbean Literature — London and New York : Routledge, Brotherston, Gordon. Latin American Poetry: Origins and Presence.
Cambridge, U. Brushwood, John S. Austin: University of Texas Press, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, Covington, Paula H. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Forn, Juan, ed. Barcelona: Anagrama, Forster, Merlin H. Foster, David William. Handbook of Latin American Literature. New York: Garland, Franco, Jean. An Introduction to Spanish-American Literature. Lockhart, Darrell B.
Lyday, Leon F. Woodyard, eds. Historia de la literatura hispanoamericana.
Subject Area: Literature & Art
Madrid: Alianza Editorial, — Castillo, eds. Latin American Literature and Mass Media. Peden, Margaret Sayers. Boston: Twayne, Rela, Walter, ed. New York: Greenwood Press, Madrid: Alhambra, West-port, CT: Greenwood Press, Latin American Writers. New York: Scribner, Stabb, Martin S.
Taylor, Diana. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, Williams, Raymond Leslie. Bibliography assembled by Merlin H. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. June 25, Retrieved June 25, from Encyclopedia. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.