Rosa Chacel Y Las Artes PlÁsticas

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In this book, the author explores a variety of literary uses of the visual arts in La Escuela de Platón, an autobiographical trilogy where Rosa Chacel relates her coming of age as an artist while creating a vivid chronicle of the cultural and intellectual environment experienced by her generation. Chacel’s background in sculpture and painting gives this trilogy its unique perspective, while her experiences as a woman in the male dominated art world influence the structure of the novels.

The book gives an overview of the cultural context of the Generation of 1927, which illustrates the limitations confronted by a woman wishing to develop her artistic vocation. This is followed by a thorough review of the inter-relations between literature and the visual arts, as a preamble to the analysis of the uses of painting and sculpture in the novels.

The author studies the ways in which painting and sculpture become an integral part of the narrative at various levels, from the most superficial mention of a painting by Velázquez to the most complex coding of themes in the statue of Ariadne. There are some allusions to well-known paintings which are merely decorative in the narrative; but some iconographical elements become important tools in character development. The work of art can also introduce in the narrative encoded themes related to gender and vocation, becoming an important hermeneutic tool. This analysis of the various uses of visual arts in La Escuela de Platón reveals that the ekphrastic impulse is at the core of Chacel’s narrative.


“It is difficult to believe that it has only been in approximately the last twenty years that historians and critics of Spanish literature have reexamined the literary history and canon to fill in the gaps where women were left out ... Rosa Chacel, the Spanish avant-garde novelist and integral member of the Generation of 1927, was a victim of this general oversight ... The author’s study is not only an excellent introduction to the entire corpus of Rosa Chacel’s narrative work and to the cultural life of twentieth-century Spain, but it is also an analysis of ekphrasis in its numerous modalities which, as the author expertly demonstrates, is at the core of Chacel’s novelistic technique.” – (from the Preface) Marlene Gottlieb, Dean of Arts and Humanities, Lehman College & Graduate Center, The City University of New York

“In a cleverly-wrought study, the author analyzes Rosa Chacel’s trilogy, La Escuela de Platón, from the perspective of the visual arts. She places Chacel in the context of Spanish literary history and offers the reader a useful and informative chapter on the relationship between the verbal and the visual arts ... A particularly interesting aspect of this book is its approach to Chacel’s narrative as the confluence of vital experience, aesthetics, and literary creation ... this study captures the essence of Chacel’s aesthetics and the message inherent in her inclusion of the arts in her writing: all artistic creation is motivated by the search for Beauty.” – Luis Pérez Botero, Professor Emeritus, University of Saskatchewan

“Although Rosa Chacel, a member of the Generation of 1927, has often been overlooked in favor of her male counterparts, her work merits attention for its intellectual content as well as for her literary technique. In this well thought-out and illuminating study, Dr. Fernández-Klohe deals with the uses of the visual arts in the three novels that make up the trilogy La Escuela de Platón (Barrio de Maravillas, Acrópolis, and Ciencias Naturales) ... It is the analysis of the different and numerous uses of the visual arts in the narrative that represents a valuable contribution to the understanding of this intellectually complex author ... This book is an important contribution to the study of this brilliant and unique writer.” – Tina Pereda, Ph.D., Director Casa Hispana, Nazareth College, Rochester, New York

Table of Contents

1. Coordenadas Generacionales
2. La Relación entre artes. Dialéctica entre la imagen y el verbo
3. ‘Pictura et Poesis’: De la artes Plásticas a la literature
4. Barrio de Maravillas o la function genésica del eros
5. Acrópolis: Hacia una Hermeneusis de la verdad y de la forma
6. Ciencias Naturales o la Memoria como exploración ontological
Indice Onomástico

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