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New Spain, New Literatures

Edited by Luis Martín-Estudillo and Nicholas Spadaccini

Publication Year: 2010

This volume, which includes essays on Catalonia, the Basque country, Galicia, and literature written by African immigrants, focuses on issues of "difference" that are at the center of current debates in Spain and elsewhere--the emergence of minoritized literatures, multilingualism and identity, new relationships between culture and institutions, the negotiation of historical memories, the connections between migrations and the redefinition of nationhood, and the impact of global trends on local symbolic systems.

Published by: Vanderbilt University Press

Title Page

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pp. iii


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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction: Contemporary Spanish Literatures: Enduring Plurality

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pp. ix-xvii

It is common knowledge that Spain’s transformation during the last several decades from an authoritarian, centralist State with a homogeneous population into a democratic, plurinational, and multicultural society has also been marked by a thriving cultural production, which highlights “difference” as a major asset. To a great extent,...

Part I: New Mappings / New Cartographies

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pp. 1

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1: On Rivers and Maps: Iberian Approaches to Comparatism

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pp. 3-26

For many years, scholars have studied the case of Spain, and even the entire Iberian Peninsula, as a separate entity within the confines of Europe.1 Countries such as Portugal and Castile, that were once leaders in the transformation of the Western world, opening up new and poignant ways of relationship with the Other, have become modern...

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2: Peripheral Being, Global Writing:The Location of Basque Literature

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pp. 27-42

The state in which the Center for Basque Studies is located, Nevada (USA), has, as its motto, a phrase that applies well to the journey taken by literature written in the Basque language up to the present time: “All for Our Country.” At the very least, it highlights the motivations to which many Basque writers ascribe when explaining...

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3: Galician Writing and the Poetics of Displacement: Ramiro Fonte’s A rocha dos proscritos

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pp. 43-60

Displacement, whether through forced or economic migration, political exile, or even leisure tourism, is a fundamental feature of modern life.1 As the quotation at the head of this essay from the Martiniquean scholar

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4: Memory and Urban Landscapes in Contemporary Catalan Theater

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pp. 61-79

In contemporary Catalan theater, memory figures largely as a hermeneutic of the cultural and political processes of the past sixty years. Within these coordinates, it rethinks the past and projects a future inside and outside of Catalonia. The history of drama and performance in Catalonia is intimately related with the memory of a...

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5: The New Capital of Spanish Literature: The Best Sellers

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pp. 81-96

“Nosotros no somos nada en el mundo, y las voces que aquí damos, por mucho que quieran elevarse, no salen de la estrechez de esta pobre casa” (84) (We are nothing in this world, and whatever we say here, as much as we want to elevate our voices, does not leave the narrowness of this poor house). With this sentence taken from Benito Pérez Galdós’ prologue...

Part II: Institutions and Literatures

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pp. 97

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6: A Hispanist’s View of Changing Institutions, or About Insects and Whales

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pp. 99-115

Balzac’s dedication of his 1846 novel about envy and revenge, Cousin Bette, to Michele Angelo Cajetani, Prince of Téano, comes from a generous motivation, since it wishes to celebrate a scholar, a “learned commentator of Dante” who had revealed to him “the marvelous framework of ideas on which the greatest Italian poet constructed his work”...

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7: Political Autonomy and Literary Institutionalization in Galicia

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pp. 117-133

The so-called “transition period” to democracy began in Galicia, as in the rest of Spain, after the death of Franco in 1975, although there is little consensus about the chronological order of an intrinsically labile and diffuse phenomenon (Vilavedra, “Unha achega ao discurso narrativo”). Some scholars insist that the beginning...

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8: Tensions in Contemporary Basque Literature

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pp. 135-147

It is always difficult to explain in so few pages the complex and ever-changing reality of a minority, or minoritized (depending on who is writing), literature, such as Basque literature.1 Dealing with a literature that is naturally less stable and more changing than so-called normalized literatures poses an added danger. Minoritized...

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9: The Persistence of Memory: Antonio Gamoneda and the Literary Institutions of Late Modernity

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pp. 149-162

The rise of Antonio Gamoneda to his current position of pre-eminence in contemporary Spanish letters requires some explanation. Although he was born in 1931, and hence ought to belong—chronologically—to the cohort of poets who came of age in the 1950s and 1960s, the famed “Generation of the 1950s,” Gamoneda was...

Part III: Challenging Identities

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pp. 163

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10: The Curse of the Nation: Institutionalized History and Literature in Global Spain

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pp. 165-181

Manuel Aza

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11: Postmodernism and Spanish Literature

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pp. 183-202

To understand what has happened in Spanish literature from the time of the Transition to the present, the only truly comprehensive way to proceed is by accepting postmodernity as the episteme (in the Foucaultian sense of the word) of democratic Spain; that is, by assuming that the structure of knowledge in that country...

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12: African Voices in Contemporary Spain

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pp. 203-231

The two former Spanish colonies in Africa, Morocco and Equatorial Guinea, provide ambivalent literary responses towards autonomous, indigenous, and national identities. The fact that Spain had been in those countries for quite a long time, and that nowadays, the presence of the Spanish government has been replaced by private...

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13: From Literature to Letters: Rethinking Catalan Literary History

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pp. 233-244

The 2007 Frankfurt Book Fair was perhaps the most important event in the history of modern Catalan literature.1 When two years earlier Catalan culture was formally invited to what is, arguably, the world’s most important book fair, Catalan politicians, writers, and cultural commentators alike greeted this honor as a unique opportunity to present...

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14: The Space of Politics: Nation, Gender, Language,and Class in Esther Tusquets’ Narrative

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pp. 245-259

Esther Tusquets’ writing has consistently been studied in relation to questions of gender, with a particular emphasis on gender identity. While a number of critics have acknowledged, more or less in passing, that social class is also a determining factor in the lives and identities of Tusquets’ protagonists, it is arguably the case...

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Afterword: Regarding the Spain of Others: Sociopolitical Framing of New Literatures /Cultures in Democratic Spain

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pp. 261-276

An artifact sums up perfectly the intersection of forces established in the first years of Spanish democratic culture: El imperio contraataca (1985), a video clip by the musical group Los Nikis in which Philip the Second appears in the garden of the Retiro de Madrid, accompanied by three electric guitarists, all in the dress of the...


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pp. 277-280


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pp. 281-296

E-ISBN-13: 9780826517258
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826517234

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2010

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Spanish literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
  • Politics and literature -- Spain -- History -- 20th century.
  • Literature and society -- Spain -- History -- 20th century.
  • Cultural pluralism in literature.
  • Spanish literature -- Minority authors -- History and criticism.
  • Cultural pluralism -- Spain.
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