Crossfire: Philosophy and the Novel in Spain, 1900-1934

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The marriage of philosophy and fiction in the first third of Spain's twentieth century was a fertile one. It produced some truly notable offspring - novels that cross genre boundaries to find innovative forms, and treatises that fuse literature and philosophy in new ways. In her illuminating interdisciplinary study of Spanish fiction of the "Silver Age," Roberta Johnson places this important body of Spanish literature in context through a synthesis of social, literary, and philosophical history. Her examination of the work of Miguel de Unamuno, Pio Baroja, Azorin, Ramon Perez de Ayala, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Gabriel Miro, Pedro Salinas, Rosa Chacel, and Benjamin Jarnes brings to light philosophical frictions and debates and opens new interpersonal and intertextual perspectives on many of the period's most canonical novels. Johnson reformulates the traditional discussion of generations and "isms" by viewing the period as an intergenerational complex in which writers with similar philosophical and personal interests constituted dynamic groupings that interacted and constantly defined and redefined one another. Current narratological theories, including those of Todorov, Genette, Bakhtin, and Martinez Bonati, assist in teasing out the intertextual maneuvers and philosophical conflicts embedded in the novels of the period, while the sociological and biographical material bridges the philosophical and literary analyses. The result, solidly grounded in original archival research, is a convincingly complete picture of Spain's intellectual world in the first thirty years of this century. Crossfire should revolutionize thinking about the Generation of '98 and the Generation of '14 by identifying the heterogeneous philosophical sources of each and the writers' reactions to them in fiction.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A carefully researched, clearly articulated study. Recommended for the specialist in Spanish culture and literature.
— Library Journal
Library Journal
This study covers the period from the ``generation of '98,'' a high point in Spain's intellectual life, to the eve of the Spanish Civil War, which signaled a disastrous decline for decades to come in that nation's intellectual and creative energies. Against the backdrop of contemporary European philosophical currents, the author (Spanish, Univ. of Kansas) sustains her thesis that the novelistic interplay of philosophy and fiction both transcends traditionally held generational categories and allows for an examination of multiple philosophical positions through the dialog of fictional characters. Major writers of the period under review include Unamuno, Baroja, Azorin, Perez de Ayala, J.R. Jimenez, G. Miro, P. Salinas, R. Chacel, and B. Jarnes. This is a carefully researched, clearly articulated study, not intended for the neophyte. Recommended for collections serving the specialist in Spanish culture and literature.-- Charles E. Perry, East Central Univ., Ada, Okla.
Examines the philosophical, sociological, and biographical background of the unusually powerful marriage of philosophy and the novel in Spanish literature during the first part of the 20th century. Studies six key works in the context of this interplay. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
"A carefully researched, clearly articulated study. Recommended for the specialist in Spanish culture and literature." — Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813118246
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 6/28/1993
  • Series: Studies in Romance Languages
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 9.38 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Roberta Johnson is professor emerita of Spanish at the University of Kansas and the author of numerous books including Carmen Laforet, El ser y la palabra en Gabriel Miró, and Gender and Nation in the Spanish Modernist Novel.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The Generation of '98: Early Philosophical and Personal Wars 16
2 Unamuno: A Bold New Hybrid 35
3 Baroja: A Solution to the Problem of Will 49
4 Martinez Ruiz: An Answer to Baroja's Solution 70
5 Unamuno: Last Attack on Rationalism 88
6 Baroja: Farewell to the Philosophical Novel 105
7 The Generation of '14: Taking the Lead 121
8 Perez de Ayala: Parody Wed to Aesthetic Theory 133
9 Juan Ramon Jimenez and Gabriel Miro: Kunstlerromane 154
10 Salinas, Chacel, and Jarne's: The Vanguardist Philosophical Novel 172
Postscript 190
Notes 192
Selected Bibliography 217
Index 226
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