The fantastic in Spain during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries
This thesis has as its primary objective the drawing together and subsequent theorisation of diverse texts which can be understood to be examples of Spanish fantastic literature. It demonstrates that from nineteenth-century Realism and Naturalism (exemplified in narratives by Pérez Galdós, Alarcón and Pardo Bazán), through turn-of-the-century modernismo (Valle-Inclán and Zamacois) to twentieth- century proto-existentialism (Unamuno), a significant number of texts were produced which, in spite of the obvious differences between them, refute the widely held idea that 'the fantastic' and Spanish literature share little common ground. The thesis is therefore one more step along the journey of establishing that Spanish fantastic literature is as important and integral to the whole swathe of Spanish cultural production as it is in many other European countries. The critical analyses of the narratives push at the boundaries of previous interpretative strategies both in terms of the fantastic and of the texts themselves. The exception to this interrogation and reinvigoration of earlier interpretations is to be found in the approach to the narratives by Zamacois, which have hitherto received very little critical attention. These detailed readings draw out the complexities and intriguing perspectives which the fantastic in Spain presents to the attentive reader. By means of these textual analyses, the thesis also explores some of the various possibilities presented by the fantastic itself, putting flesh on the theoretical bones of several different critical discourses. Ultimately, this thesis charts a dynamic and coherent corpus of material which represents the process of the psychologisation of the supernatural from Romanticism onwards. Each successive text more starkly expresses the unreal horrors of the fractured human mind, as well as the mutations of the body. As such, the evolutionary history of the fantastic in Spain is shown to be more gripping and relevant than has hitherto been understood to be the case.