Idle Fictions

The Hispanic Vanguard Novel, 1926–1934, Expanded edition

Idle Fictions

Book Pages: 200 Illustrations: Published: December 1982

Latin American Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

The "idle fictions" of the vanguard novel of the 1920s and 1930s in Spain and Spanish America represented a kind of interlude of playfulness--a vacation or parenthetical insertion--in what was perceived as the established course of the modern Hispanic novel's development. Yet, as Pérez Firmat argues, though this genre saw itself as recreative and interstitial, it deliberately precipitated "a class war not between social classes but between literary classes." Concentrating on source material not widely available, Pérez Firmat reconstructs the reception these novels received at the time of their publication, then develops a reading of them based on the intellectual context of this reception. A new preface and an appendix on vanguard biographies have been added to this paperback edition.


“This witty and provocative study represents a radical departure from the traditional volumes of Hispanic literary criticism. It breaks the established patterns in isolating the novels under study and treating the vanguard movement as a self-generating phenomenon. Perez Firmat’s book may be irreverent and iconoclastic; it is also richly perceptive, thoughtful, and a good read as well.” — Maryellen Bieder, Modern Language Studies

"Pérez Firmat provides rich insight into the esthetic values and the artistic tensions that prevailed in the '20s and '30s (not only in the Hispanic world). His is a book of consummate originality that bears the imprint of a critic as strong-minded as he is perceptive. It is certainly a work of enviable maturity." — John W. Kronik, Cornell University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Gustavo Pérez Firmat is Professor of Spanish in the Department of Romance Studies and Professor in the Program in Literature, Duke University. He is the author of numerous books.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface to the Paperback Edition ix

Introduction xi

Part 1: Criticism

1. The Vanguard Novel as a Discursive Category 3

2. A Pneumatic Aesthetics 40

Part 2: Novels

3. Closed World 67

4. Decharacterization 81

5. From Palimpsest to Pastiche 100

6. The Novel as Matrass 121

Conclusion: Hermes in and out of the Subway 139

Notes 143

Bibliography 154

Appendix: Vanguard Saints 169

Index 179
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1423-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-0528-6
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