This collection of studies by eighteen prominent theorists and critics offers a diverse panorama of the modern Spanish novel seen through the prism of Spain's recent political, cultural and ideological history. It considers the development of the novel as a social mirror and as a changing literary form, torn between the tradition of stern realism and the aesthetics of rupture affecting all Western literature from the Avant-Garde to the Postmodern age. While some essays emphasise the Spanish cultural context and canonical writers, others are of a broader nature, grouping lesser-known writers under certain literary tendencies: the metaphysical novel, the urban novel, recuperative accounts of the Civil War, feminine first-person narrations, and the rise of the popular detective, historical, and erotic novels. Three studies address the resurgence of the Catalan, Basque and Galician novel and their departure from a poetics of identity to one of global concerns. Interdisciplinary approaches address the reciprocal impacts of literature and cinema, and the effects of the marketplace on the consumption of fiction are not forgotten. The Companion provides ample bibliographies and a valuable chronology, while all titles and quotations are translated into English.
Contributors: Marta E. Altisent, Katarzyna Olga Beilin, Ramón Buckley, José F. Colmeiro, Stacey Dolgin Casado, Sebastiaan Faber, David K. Herzberger, Carlos Alex Longhurst, Kathleen N. March, Cristina Martínez-Carazo, Alfredo Martínez Expósito, Nina L. Molinaro, Gonzalo Navajas, Mari Jose Olaziregi, Janet D. Pérez, Randolph D. Pope, Josep Miquel Sobrer, H. Rosi Song.
A Companion to the twentieth-century Spanish novel, ed. by Marta E. Altisent. Tamesis, 2008. 343p bibl index afp; ISBN 9781855661745. Reviewed in 2009may CHOICE.
Altisent (Univ. of California, Davis) divides this collection of 18 essays by diverse hands into six parts: "Continuing Traditions and Changing Styles" (four essays); "Rewriting History and Myth" (four essays); "The City as Literary Space" (two essays); "New Voices, New Perspectives, New Modes" (four essays); "Visual Narrative" (one essay); and "Plurilingual Spain" (three essays). The book focuses on the Spanish version of the modernist revolt against national cultural traditions and chronicles and analyzes how literature reflects the Civil War and Franco era. It also shows how democratic Spain produced a literature as varied and complex as the country's explorations and experiments in politics, gender identity, and linguistic expression during the last 25 years of the 20th century. The 18 authors are from both sides of the Atlantic, and range from eminences in the field to younger scholars rapidly establishing themselves.
Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. -- S. Miller, Texas A&M University
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