This essay develops the genealogy, range, and modes of operation of the modern or revelatory moment—a non-religious, endless instant in which an ordinary event becomes extraordinary—in the first and last novels by Miguel de Unamuno. As a literary, psychological, and philosophical phenomenon, the modern moment clearly interested Unamuno through his creative life, from Paz en la guerra to San Manuel Bueno, mártir. The modern moment manifests itself in both urban and natural settings, provoking experiences of symbolic rebirth, daily life, and death. Through his interest in the modern moment, Unamuno’s work becomes deeply connected with Sigmund Freud’s concept of “oceanic feeling,” the theosophical movement pioneered by Helena Blavatsky, and the English High Romantics’ understanding of the connection between the human being and nature. Finally, the study links the modern or revelatory moment to two heroic experiences: that of the mythic hero studied by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Paz en la guerra’s Pachico Zabalbide), and the tragic Greek hero analyzed by Freud in Totem and Taboo (San Manuel Bueno, mártir’s Don Manuel Bueno).


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pp. 101-121
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