FicciÓn Erotica EspaÑola Desde 1970

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As a liberating mode that challenged and transformed the traditional values of Spain in the 1970s, the wave of erotic fiction anticipated the cultural and political turnover that followed Franco’s death in 1975. However, this fictional mode did not always run parallel to the assimilation of democratic values; rather, it often served to expose the internal contradictions Spaniards faced in the private sphere as they embraced more egalitarian attitudes. High and low erotic genres became the imaginary/liberatory arena in which gender, sexual, social and cultural differences could be played out, subverted, reappropriated, and renegotiated without substantial political consequences, often disengaging desire from the commitment to progressive attitudes toward change.

This monograph does not try to encompass or rigidly define the vast realm of erotic fiction. Instead, it systematically evaluates the development of sexual and sentimental themes through a close historical and contextual study of more than 40 novels and short stories, which are linked by a number of love paradigms (adolescent love, jealousy, adultery, homosexual desire, women’s epistolary writing, etc.) and archetypes (don Juan, vampires). The book also delineates the role that these themes play in a type of fiction that exhibits elements of the Bildungsroman, the picaresque, the pastoral novel, the generational chronicle, the psychological novel, and tales of the fantastic.

An understanding of the symbolism, visual style, characters, motifs, and practices of sexual desire is key to a greater understanding of the social, religious, and existential themes present in the Spanish collective imaginary. This, in turn, allows for a revealing analysis of the evolution of eroticism vis-à-vis the democratic coming-of-age of contemporary Spain.


“This new study [by Dr. Altisent] will confirm her place as one of the most important critics currently writing on Spanish fiction, for it is likely to establish itself as the standard work on the role of eroticism in the Spanish contemporary novel and short story ... It also provides a detailed tour of the erotic in the avant-garde before touching down in the heady days of the late 1970s when Spain’s sexual ‘destape’ caused its northern neighbors – accustomed to seeing Spain via Franco’s cloudy rhetoric of sexual denial – to gasp ... This is an extraordinary book, elegantly written, knowledgeable, a joy to read. The scholarship evident in this work is solid, detailed, and lucid; its informational nuggets are sprinkled with the magic of scholarly judgment ...” – (from the Prefacio) Professor Stephen M. Hart, University College, London

“Spanish society has undergone major transformations since the end of a socially and culturally repressive forty-year dictatorship and the transición to a modern democratic state beginning in the 1970s ... While studies of gender and sexuality in contemporary Spanish literature tend to take a feminist, psychoanalytic, or queer theory approach, this study interrogates the classification of sexual behavior through a wider range of historical and theoretical approaches ... This uniquely valuable study of the literary production in the Transition, the Destape, and more recent developments in Spanish fiction is written in highly accessible language, with clear delineation of themes and approaches ...” – Professor Emilie L. Bergmann, University of California, Berkeley

“Emerging from the dark shadows of forty years of reactionary dictatorship, Spain would soon reach out to the rest of Europe and the world, as a modern, open, and strikingly innovative society. In this book, Dr. Altisent has documented, explored, and brilliantly analyzed a crucially important aspect of Spain’s literary achievement as a full-time partner in modern European society and culture ... This book will remain as an indispensable reference, as must reading, for years and for generations to come. All of us who study Ibero-Romance literature – Hispanists, Portuguesists, Catalanists – owe Dr. Altisent our profound thanks for this splendid achievement.” – Professor Samuel Armistead, University of California, Davis

Table of Contents

I. Erotismos Finiseculares
1. Hacia una reconfiguración de lo sexual
2. La liberación femenina incompleta
II. Paradigmas Del Deseo
1. El amor y el tiempo
2. Transgresión, Tabú, Exceso. De la fantasía a la actuación
III. Figuras Del Deseo
1. La primacía del cuerpo
2. Personas sexuales
3. El cuerpo erógeno
4. Eros plural. Eros solitario
IV. Retóricas Del Deseo
1. Amor counicable e inefable
2. La primacía (autorreflexividad) textual
3. El erotismo y los géneros narrativos
V. El Género Sexual
1. Homoerotismo masculino
2. Lesbos. Del amor entre mujeres
3. ¿Existe una literatura erótica femenina?
Índice alfabético

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