Properties of Modernity
Romantic Spain, Modern Europe, and the Legacies of Empire
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: Vanderbilt University Press
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Friends, students, family, and colleagues have been the companions to this project over the last several years, and I am deeply grateful to them all for the frequent encouragement they have given me, often without knowing it. Conversations with several of my colleagues in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Berkeley—in particular, Estelle Tarica, ...
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Not long ago, it may have seemed odd to begin a book dedicated to the literary production of romantic Spain by evoking the Anglo-international twenty-four-hour news. In the increasingly corporate Information Age that some would simply sum up as the present, however, and as calls for literary and cultural studies to globalize eerily begin to echo neoliberal...
1. From the Narratives of the Modernity to Spanish Romanticism
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In the closing lines of his 1990 Nobel Lecture, “La búsqueda del presente” [The Search for the Present], Octavio Paz openly grapples, like others before him, with the elusive character of the modern. “Perseguimos a la modernidad en sus incesantes metamorfosis”—he writes—“y nunca logramos asirla. Se escapa siempre: cada encuento es una fuga” [We pursue ...
2. Beginnings without End
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In moving from questions of history and metahistory to the first work we shall consider, let us imagine for a moment a gathering, the coming together of a literary tertulia sometime in the summer of 1775. A group of young literati assembles in the university town of Salamanca to hear a new work that Jos
3. Rethinking the Modern in Saavedra’s Don Alvaro
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—Madrid, 1835. Days of liberal revolution and reform. Several decades have elapsed since Cadalso’s Noches lúgubres first began circulating. Ferdinand VII, the despot, bastion of absolutism, has been dead for almost two years. Political exiles have returned to Spain under a general amnesty, and debate in the capital—moderados versus progresistas—openly ...
4. Late Larra, or Death as Critique
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On the evening of 13 February 1837—not quite two years after the opening of Don Alvaro—Mariano José de Larra, one the most noted essayists of Madrid’s burgeoning newspaper world, put a revolver to his head, pulled the trigger, and successfully committed what would become the most famous suicide in Spanish literary history. The representation of suicide...
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An anguished gentleman dialogues in a cemetery with the gravedigger he has hired to unearth the body of his beloved; a Peruvian noble is driven to suicide at the edge of a cliff on a stormy night; in Madrid, a journalist’s essays chillingly ruminate on images of death shortly before he takes his life. In the works we have considered in the preceding chapters, a pained ...
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Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2006