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La novela en España (siglos xix-xx)

Paul Aubert



Texte intégral

1Jacques Beyrie
The Novel And History in the 19 th Century
[Novela e Historia en el siglo XIX]
History has an important place in the 19th-century Spanish novel. It was then that the merging of Fiction and History began in the historical novel, contributing to the renaissance of the genre just at a time when the reading public was expanding. But the two have more than that in common. The novel is presented as a history –that is, a series of events narrated in a seemly order. The new realist school may have eschewed history and placed the naturalist novel in opposition to the historical novel, but the Spanish novel continued to adhere to the narrative structures of History. Quite unlike the determinism of Zola, the krausian-positivist atmosphere of the 1880s fuelled faith in freedom and human potential. The humour of the Galdós’s latter style was a departure from physiological determinism and at the same time true to the historical context. And beyond the later Clarín –who in the early 1890s compounded the existential quest with chronological indetermination– individual and collective identity in the Spanish novel remained bound up with the problems of History.

2Jean-François Botrel
The Novel as an Editorial Genre (Spain 1830-1930)
[La novela, género editorial (España, 1830-1930)]
This paper is based on the hypothesis that besides being a literary genre, there are practical features whereby a work can be identified as a novel, to the extent that the novel can be identified by the reader as part of an editorial genre which adopted a number of different forms in the course of the period considered. In this study novels of all kinds were physically examined, bibliographic data for the period 1830-1930 were consulted and usages (verified or suggested) were «observed» with a view to compiling a species of inventory of general traits, some of them shared with other genres but combined in an original manner. The next step was to examine the associated usages and discourses, with the ultimate aim of characterising the novel and its variants as an editorial genre at four moments in the history of Spain (
circa 1839, 1860, 1890 and 1920).

3Yvan Lissorgues
Towards An Esthetic of the Realist Novel (1860-1897)
[Hacia una estética de la novel a realista (1860-1897)]
What is truly singular about the realist aesthetic in the second half of the 19th century is its quality of perfectibility-that is, the fact that it was constantly evolving. If we analyse the discourse on the novel, the outcome of a broad-based debate in which both novelists and the bulk of the intelligentsia of the period took active part, and we examine the actual works, we find that Spanish realism was a gradual conquest whose vigour is reflected in a surge of creative output and a number of masterpieces. For all the participants, irrespective of individual ideological positions or aesthetic conceptions, the novel was the genre that reflected evolution over time, and the debate, rekindled by the discussions revolving around naturalism, focussed on the problems arising in connection with language, style, portrayal of the setting, impersonality, the illusion of reality, the raw material of the novel and so forth. While the most imperious and dynamic aspiration was to build up an aesthetic of the novel in obedience to a set of ethics, the debate (implicit in the books and explicit in the discourse) touched on the most profound (philosophical and metaphysical) issues surrounding the questions of art and reality. So much so, indeed, that the great nineteenth century Spanish realist movement made some decisive contributions to the art of mimesis, and more important still was the effort of novelists (Valera, Alarcón, Pérez Galdós, Pereda, Clarín, Palacio Valdés, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Picón, etc.) to transcend from mimesis to a poiesis of reality.

4Francisco Caudet
Mimetic Fallacy in the Novelas contemporáneas of Galdós
[La falacia mimética en las Novelas contemporáneas de Galdós]
The term «mimetic fallacy» was coined to question the widely-accepted concept of nineteenth-century realism. The thesis presented in this article is on the one hand that in the 19th-century novel reality is not readily transposed to fit bourgeois literary codes –as presented by Galdós in Observations on the Contemporary Novel in Spain– and on the other hand that faced with the refusal of reality to conform to a series of restrictive codes, the novelist –in this case Galdós– gradually abandoned realist writing. There is therefore a real reality above –or beyond– literary reality, and literary reality tends to ignore real reality when the latter fails to conform to the mental framework of the supposedly impartial observer-transcriber. Thus, from Ángel Guerra on, his realism tended towards a spiritualist or didactic-social utopianism. Ideology is hence a filter which irretrievably breaks down realist writing too. To talk of realism in the sense of a faithful copy of real reality is –as it is presented here– a fallacy. This thesis also applies –or at least that is the intention of this article– to other naturalist writers. Zola, the maître d’école of naturalism, is a paradigmatic example; suffice it to recall the gulf between Germinal and Travail.

5Roberta Johnson
1902: Origins of the Intellectual Novel
[1902: Inicios de la novela intelectual]
The origins of the Spanish intellectual novel that emerged around 1902 lie in the history of ideas in Spain in the second half of the 19th century. Miguel de Unamuno, Ρíο Baroja and José Martínez Ruiz (Azorín) were educated at a time when Spain was belatedly coming to embrace modern philosophy, with krausism, positivism, socialist thought and, a little later, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. These orientations represent a series of philosophical conflicts that writers of the so-called Generation of 98 explored and criticised in novels like Amor y Pedagogía, Camino de Perfection or La Voluntad (all 1902). Thanks to the freedom that the novel gives to present multiple points of view, the genre offers a medium in which very different philosophies can he explored together. Thus, in Amor y Pedagogía, Fulgencio Entrambosmares represents German idealism, while Avito Carrascal speaks for science and positivism. In Camino de Perfección, Fernando Ossorio rehearses a number of philosophical postures, moving through a series of literary genres from determinist decadentism to dialectical realism. In La Voluntad, ideologies clash through characters and situations which are presented as paradigms unconnected by logical nexuses. Later novelists like Ramón Pérez de Avala and Benjamín Jarnés carried on the tradition of the intellectual novel, but their fictions tended to parody the serious intellectual novel as expounded by Unamuno, Baroja and Azorín.

6María-Dolores Albiac Blanco
Perseus and the Mirror. Autobiography and Literature
in Pre-War Europe
[Perseo y el espejo. Autobiografía y literatura en la preguerra europea]
Perseus confronted a menacing reality without looking it in the face, preferring rather to view its reflection in his shield, and thus defeated the gorgon Medusa by approaching it obliquely. Likewise, the writings of Pérez de Ayala reflect his biographical concerns (ethical and intellectual) without adopting the direct, autobiographical form and resorting to the confessional
I. This is mirror play which presents the reader with the reality perceived by the author, but without the author appearing in the story, which thus gains in detachment and objectivity. The work is hence more believable and effectively renders the author more convincing to the reader. This article analyses biographical elements in the work of Pérez de Ayala which are little known because they belong to his intellectual biography. These are texts and situations from works of other authors clearly reflected, paraphrased or glossed in some of the works of Pérez de Ayala. The authors against whom these are checked are Cadalso, Clarín and Unamuno.

7José Enrique Serrano Asenjo
Ideas on the Novel in the 1920s. Metanovels and Other Doctrinal Texts
[Ideas sobre la novela en los años veinte: metanovelas y otros textos doctrinales]
This article proposes a reading of three novels which deal with the novel itself, set in the 1920s:
El novelista (1923) by Ramón Gómez de la Serna, El profesor inútil (1926) by Benjamin Jarnés and Cómo se hace una novela (1927) by Miguel de Unamuno. The analysis takes into account the key writings which appeared in the Spain of the time in the theoretical debate on the genre, largely by Píο Baroja and José Ortega y Gasset; it also seeks to place the reflections on the narratives in question in the context of the crisis of the novel that had been going on in the West since the end of Naturalism. What is clear in the end is the inveterate permeability of works of this kind, now most particularly to lyricism and the essay, and most important of all, its intensely epistemological intent.

8Fulgencio Castañar
An Overview of Commitment in the Second Republic
[Panorámica sobre el compromiso en la Segunda República]
The intention of this paper is to offer a general overview of the politically committed novel as it appeared during the Second Republic. Instead of treating this as a «social novel» in the traditional way, in view of the intense political undercurrent in all of them the author favours the idea of commitment, seeing it not as something specific to a group or a generation but as a general tendency in art. It was the weight of socio-political events which, after 1926, inspired new aesthetic departures reinforced by trends abroad –Russian and North American realist narrative embodying social criticism, German pacifist narrative– which moved in the opposite direction to the avant-gardism then triumphant in Spain, The unity of left-wing writers in opposition to the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera collapsed following the proclamation of the Second Republic, and there were other tendencies whose ideology was reformist and also totally counter-revolutionary. The problems of the real Spain –in mining, agriculture and industry– provided the cores around which the narrative events of these novels were woven. And despite the general belief to the contrary, these novels were not always cast in the realist mould, some having an allegorical element to them while others had a clear satirical bias. A brief note on the most significant novels of the period provides a general overview of a kind of narrative which came to a bloody end with the Civil War in 1936.

9José-Carlos Mainer
Conversions. On the Image of Fascism in the Spanish Novel of the Early Post-War Period.
[Conversiones: sobre la imagen del fascismo en la novela española de la primera postguerra]
Fascism is linked to the existence of the masses in their post-1918 form, and the aesthetics of fascism can be found embedded anywhere in literary history: in avant-gardism, in kitsch, in neoclassicism and in neoromanticism. This article investigates the Spanish fascist ideology in three texts which are linked by the common notion of conversion. El Vidente (1939) by Ernesto Giménez Caballero recounts how the author and Antonio Tovar discovered the philosopher Donoso Cortés, who had identified himself with reactionary romanticism a century previously. Javier Mariño. Historia de una conversion (1943) by Gonzalo Torrente Ballester is a portrait of the «rebel» who returns to the faith in the international Paris of 1936. Rosa Krüger (1939) by Rafael Sanchez Mazas is intended as a parable of the destiny of the male, the quest for the ideal woman and the triumph of duty over passion, but its apparent Europeanist harmony betrays the presence of those Ideen ohne Wörter evoked by Spengler in 1919.

10Ignacio Soldevila Durante
The Novel of Exile
[La novela del exilio]
The ambiguous heading of this communication is reviewed from the various possible interpretative standpoints. The article then goes on to discuss the state of the issue, historiographically speaking, and to report the reflections that the very concept of the novel of exile have provoked and will continue to provoke in the author and others, an approach which is then expanded to take in the notions of exiled novel and novel of internal exile. The article further states and examines the problem of relations between the novel of exile and the novel of internal exile, the problem of the effects of this separation during the Franco years, and the problem of the critical appraisal to which they subjected one another. The conclusion defends the need rapidly to rid historiography of the divisions maintained hitherto in the study of the vast field of the Spanish novel from 1936 to 1975.

11Geneviève Champeau
Reception of the Post-War Realist Novel
[Recepción de la novela realista de postguerra]
The term «realism» refers to a common aesthetic agenda from which different formal solutions arise according to the period and the context in which they are produced. The relativism of the notion is further intensified if we consider it from the standpoint of reception. In post-war Spanish literature the debate on realism closely identified aesthetics and ideology: a work was only accepted as realist if the view of the world that it proposed coincided with that of the reader. As a result, it was around the notions of «tremendism», «objectivism» and «social realism» that ideological confrontations crystallised between essentialism and empiricism, and profound divergences appeared beyond the confines of a common agenda of social criticism, between dogmatic and antidogmatic, globalising and relativist positions. The different types of post-war realism represent a map of the ideological tensions of the period.

12Manuel L. Abellán
Social Determinism in Mid-Century Realism
[Dererminismos sociales del realismo del medio siglo]
Whatever detractors or epigones may say, the alleged trends of social realism in mid-century –narrative, poetry and drama– had little to do with the political-aesthetic commitment of their authors even where there was such an underlying commitment. The social novel or critico-social narrative was the arena that emerged from the conditions created by the two groups that supported the Franco regime –the group of religious origin and the group of lay origin, each with its separate ideological referents. As soon as the dialectical struggle between the two groups faded into the background, social realism vanished.

13Jean Tena
The Novel in the Sixties: Tiempo de silencio And the Liberation of Writing
[La novela de los sesenta: Tiempo de silencio y la liberación de la escritura]
The new socio-economic and cultural conditions of the nineteen-sixties brought an end to the cycle of social narrative, the predominant genre of the preceding decade. In Tiempo de Silencio (1962), Luis Martin Santos adopted a new aesthetic approach to the sociological ingredients of the novel, one that revealed the contradictions of reality. A veritable summa, Tiempo de Silencio defined the novelist’s new role: to provoke, to unsettle, to sow doubt and not to explain the world with false simplifications. Driven by novelists of several generations from 1966 on, this «Copernican revolution» combined with other narrative trends (Benet, the first signs of experimentalism, etc.), to make the sixties a decade of transition for a literary genre that was in a permanent state of crisis but always buoyant.

14Jean Tena
From Experimentalism to «Renarrativisation»: the Novel in the Seventies
[Del experimentalismo a la «renarrativización»: la novela de los años setenta]
The explosion and variety of narrative forms in the nineteen-seventies defy any serious attempt at analysis or classification. However, as against experimentalism or «de-realisation» (La saga/fuga de J. B., 1972), there emerged new variants of the nexus with the referent: parable; recording of memories, crime novels, etc. Paralleling these narrative lines and some idiosyncratic tendencies (Benet, Tomeo and others), there begin to emerge some postulates of the post-modern approach that would dominate the succeeding decades: commitment to literature; creative freedom; mixing of styles; «renarrativisation» (deconstruction, rewriting, parody); metacreativity and so on. The novels of Mendoza, Merino, Luis Goytisolo and many others establish a fundamental complicity with the reader –that is, the pleasure of reading.

15Georges Tyras
The Spanish Romas Noir post-1975: Rejuvenation of a Genre?
[La novela negra española después de 1975: ¿renovación de un género?]
Among the critics of the genre there have lately been attempts to lay down a pre-history of the Spanish roman noir, when the truth is that with a very few dubious exceptions, the roman noir as a variant of detective fiction in Spanish dates from the death-throes of the Franco regime. The causes that gave birth to this genre are analysed in three phases: i. – The detective novel in general literature appeared in the late 19th century, at a time when bourgeois society was laying down roots. It emerged as an alternative to realism, which the crisis of positivist doctrine had begun to undermine. 2. – It appeared similarly in Spanish literature at a time when traditional realism had become outworn and experimentalism had proved incapable of proposing solutions suited to the new context. 3. – In the history of both general and Spanish literature, the complex pattern of cross-reference and interchange between mainstream literature and genre literature leaves interstitial spaces that come to be filled by another universe – and that universe is what we know as contemporary literature. The corpus examined here is what we call the Spanish roman noir, which contains a number of works of sufficient literary weight (La verdad sobre el caso Savolta, Ronda del Guinardó, Galíndez, Papel mojado, Land Rover) to shift the parameters of the genre.

© Casa de Velázquez, 2001

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