The short story comes naturally. A joke, or a scrap of news, or a bit of gossip all these are short stories in embryo. So its surprising that even passionate readers are sometimes wary of the short form. Perhaps reading short stories is more strenuous than reading a long novel because you have to keep starting over again, plunging with each new beginning into a new place with a new set of rules. But that strenuousness is the joy of the form too. Because stories are short we have to read carefully, taking in every detail because everything counts. Each story is its own miniature adventure, posing its own question.
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(1990) The novel of the Spanish civil War ( cambridge: Cambridge University Press (a very comprehensive survey of the genre). Ignacio soldevila durante encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. In the fast-moving world we live in, it might be said that the short story is suited to our hectic lifestyles. Next month a business weekend will be dedicated to exploring the often misunderstood genre. The Rhys davies Short Story conference, which takes place at Swansea university, is organised by The Rhys davies Trust in partnership with Literature wales and Swansea University. The first event of its kind in the uk, it seeks to bring short story writing to a national audience. Taking the reputation of one of Wales most renowned short story writers Rhys davies as a starting point, it provides an opportunity to enjoy the craft of the short story. There will be a wide-ranging programme of talks, panel sessions, masterclasses and performances all centred on the short story, both modern and traditional. The three-day event will feature talks and workshops from a line-up of writers, including Edna obrien, will Self, tessa hadley, janice Galloway, meic Stephens, dai smith, Claire keegan, cynan Jones, rachel Trezise, shena Mackay, jon Gower and more. Here some of them share their craft. Tessa hadley, human beings think in short story shapes.
As in the last days of Pompeii, we may be seeing the final splendid fluorescence of the novel in book form before it is finally extinguished. See also: cultural institutions and movements ; detective fiction ; Francoist culture ; intellectual life ; science fiction Further reading - amell,. (1996) The contemporary Spanish about novel : An Annotated, Critical Bibliography, westport, ct: Greenwood (a valuable guide to the study of the field). (1990) Writers and Politics in Franco's Spain, london: routledge (one of the most lucid studies in English of the novel in relation to its sociopolitical context). (1989) Myth and History in the contemporary Spanish novel, cambridge: Cambridge University Press (an indispensable study). soldevila durante,. (1998) la novela desde 1936, 3 vols, madrid: Cátedra (an updated edition of one of the most comprehensive studies of the contemporary Spanish novel). (1984) beyond the metafictional Mode : Directions in the modern Spanish novel, lexington, ky: University Press of Kentucky (sets the discussion of the Spanish novel in the context of contemporary critical theory).
Francisco Umbral, who made his name with his satirical newspaper commentary on current events, is also a successful novelist, whose production is to madrid what Marsé"s is to barcelona, and includes Travesía de madrid (Across Madrid) (1966 a mortal Spring ( Mortal y rosa, 1975. Equally popular is Manuel vázquez montalban, whose commentary on society is more ideologically consistent than Umbral's, and who has written a very successful series of detective novels from yo maté a kennedy (I Shot Kennedy) (1972) to El premio (The Prize) (1996). Antonio muñoz molina, in beatus me (Happy the man) (1986) and El jinete polaco (The polish Rider) (1991 with absolute technical mastery and great lyrical depth, constructs a mythologized version of the story of his forebears. Javier Marías has been very successful in adapting to the new conditions of the market, and is widely respected outside Spain, as the conferring of the Impact Prize in Dublin in 1997 confirms. Publishers" statistics suggest that Arturo pérez-reverte, with his unrepentant return to the pleasures of the classic adventure novel barbing of the nineteenth century, is the most widely read of the 1990s novelists. This rich and varied production, however, lives on the edge of the abyss. The flight from literature in educational syllabuses reflects a general lack of interest, paradoxical in view of the huge expansion of the reading public in absolute terms. Readership figures, however, cannot be considered in isolation from the expansion of the population and the spread of formal schooling.
Cayo) (1978) and Los santos inocentes (The holy Innocents) (1981). José luis Sampedro's best work dates from the post-Franco period. The mature juan goytisolo has produced makbara (1980 paisajes después de la batalla (Landscapes After the battle) (1982) and Las Virtudes del pájaro solitario (The virtues of the solitary bird) (1988 as well as his autobiographical volumes Forbidden Territory ( Coto vedado, 1985) and realms. Carmen Martín gaite achieves a perfect blend of memory and fantasy in The back room ( El cuarto de atrás, 1978 and, after two decades of silence, ana maría matute has brought out Olvidado rey gudú (The forgotten King Gudu) in 1996. The younger members of this generation reached full maturity in the 1990s. Juan Marsé, whose bitter satire on Francoism, The fallen ( si te dicen que caí was published in 1973, painted in other novels, up to and including El amante bilingüe and Ronda del guinardó, a vast fresco of Barcelona society. Luis goytisolo has followed up his monumental Antagonía (197381 based on Dante's divina commedia, with Estatua con palomas (Statue with doves) (1992 a complex mixture of autobiography and historical fiction.
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With the death of Franco and the disappearance of censorship, publishers abandoned experimentalism in favour of a return to classic narrative and the rediscovery of history. The first notable example of this trend was The Truth About the savolta case ( la verdad sobre el caso savolta, 1975 by Eduardo mendoza, which won the Critics" Prize in 1976. Many of the novelists of the mid-1960s adapted to the new situation: for instance, manuel vázquez montalbán, elbenzu, javier Marías,. Armas Marcelo, lina foix, and Félix de azúa. After 1975, a huge range of sub-genres was cultivated: historical, adventure, erotic and detective write fiction, and a mixture of all these, including some innovative experiments. This development was in part the effect of changes in publishing, which, influenced by American models, moved towards more aggressive marketing, stimulating demand and turning the novel into a product, the acquisition of which became a marker of cultural standing. The publication of best-seller lists was a marketing ploy to persuade the public to equate sales figures with literary value.
Though the sheer volume of material published in the 1980s and 1990s makes it impossible for even the professional critic to arrive at an overview of the entire genre, certain features stand out. The survivors of earlier generations are still remarkably productive. Francisco ayala published Recuerdos y olvidos (Recollections and Omissions) in 1982, and Rosa Chacel Acrópolis in 1984 and ciencias naturales (Natural Sciences) in 1988. Cela, winner of the nobel Prize for Literature in 1989, published mazurka for Two dead Men ( mazurca para dos muertos ) in 1983, and Cristo versus Arizona (Christ Against Arizona) in 1988. Torrente ballester's creativity has shown no sign of flagging: la isla de las jacintos cortados (The Island of Plucked hyacinths) appeared in 1980, dafne y ensueños (Daphne and Dreams) in 1983, la rosa de los vientos (The compass Rose) in 1985, and yo no soy. Miguel Delibes" critical vision of society is sustained in El disputado voto del señor cayo (The disputed Vote.
This whole group of novels is characterized by an expressive richness and lyricism which give the lie to any facile assumptions about the allegedly prosaic nature of the writing. This poetic density derives not only from the satirical mode employed in Time of Silence but also from the emergence of a hitherto unknown novelist who would be the standard-bearer of this generation, juan Benet. His work is demanding and difficult, mixing fantasy and allegorical substitution in the manner of Kafka, but nevertheless offers a metaphorical interpretation of the contemporary history of Spain, especially in Return to region ( Volverás a region, 1967 and the series Herrumbrosas lanzas (Rusty lances). Social criticism of this kind inevitably put younger writers at odds with the previous generation, and Benet came to be seen as the protector or patron of those who were seeking to mark out a territory for themselves in the highly circumscribed field of literature. The new censorship law of 1966 abolished prior censorship of manuscripts but still prescribed heavy penalties for published work considered critical of the Franco regime.
The first attempts to take advantage of the new law cost authors and publishers substantial fines. Ecclesias-tical censorship, however, was abolished, which opened the way to the reappearance of eroticism in the novel. The risks inherent in this were avoided by emphasizing formal experimentation and minimizing references to current social and political realities, making a virtue of what was actually a pressing necessity, given the persistence of censorship. Experimentalism drew in some long-estab-lished writers like cela, author of Oficio de tinieblas, 5 (Tenebrae) and Torrente ballester, whose la saga / fuga. (The saga/Flight. B.) (1972) was loudly acclaimed by the younger generation. Alvaro cunqueiro, a neglected novelist with a playful imagination, won the nadal Prize in 1968 with Un hombre que se parecía a orestes (a man who looked like orestes which prompted the reprin-ting of his earlier work. Juan goytisolo continued his earlier vein of sociopolitical criticism, intensifying the satire by incorporating it into a more deliberately experimental framework in Marks of Identity ( señas de identidad, 1966 count Julian ( reivindicación del conde don Julián, 1970 both published in Mexico, and John.
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In Spain, meanwhile, a new generation of writers who experienced the civil War as children was coming to maturity, and rediscovering pre-war Marxist-inspired social-critical fiction, an aspect of literary history suppressed by Francoist culture, as well as Italian neo-realism in both the cinema and. These writers cleverly cultivated a feigned objectivity and a series of rhetorical devices which enabled them to evade censorship, producing a vast range of social-critical literature which won considerable acclaim with the public, and was awarded several literary prizes. Ignacio aldecoa won the juventud Prize in 1953 for his short story "Seguir de pobres" (Always poor and in 1962 there appeared Time of Silence ( tiempo de silencio by luis Martín-Santos, a novel which occupies a similar place in the evolution of the genre. The most important landmarks are: Rafael Sánchez ferlosio's The One day of the week ( El Jarama which won the nadal Prize and the Critics" Prize in 1955; Aldecoa's El fulgor y la sangre (Radiance and Blood) (1954 jesús López pache-co's Central Eléctrica (Power Station. Caballero bonald's Dos días de setiembre (Two assignment days in September, biblioteca Breve prize, 1962). The strength of this movement was such that it carried along with it some of the leading novelists of the previous generation, such as Cela, whose The hive ( la colmena, 1951) is regarded, somewhat ques-tionably, as marking the beginning of neo-realism. Delibes" Smoke on the Ground ( Las ratas, 1962) and Elena quiroga's Algo pasa en la calle (Something's Happening Outside) (1954) also exemplify this trend.
Requiem for a language spanish, peasant réquiem por un campesino español, 1953 a, man's Place (. El lugar del hombre, 1939 The king and the queen (. El rey. Reina, 1949 or the pseudo-autobio-graphical volumes. Chronicle of, dawn crónica del alba, also translated as, before. Noon are important landmarks in Spanish fiction. Of equal importance is the work of Eduardo Blanco Amor, beginning with la catedral y el now (The cathedral and the Child) (1948). When he returned from exile, his Los miedos (Fear shortlisted for the nadal Prize in 1962, was greeted in official circles with a deafening silence, as was the lyrical, meditative concierto en mi menor (Concerto in e minor) (1964 by another early returnee, the poet. As well as writing on Spanish themes, the exiles reflected their experience of their adoptive communities in Europe and North and south America, in novels published mainly in Mexico and Argentina, and subsequently smuggled into Spain: ayala's death as a way of Life ( muertes.
one in which existential works, with emphasis on personal dilemmas rather than social or political issues, predominated. Miguel Delibes, who won the nadal Prize in 1947 with. La sombra del ciprés es alargada (The long Shadow of the cypress is the most talented and successful exponent of this pessimistic literature. Those few novelists who were able to continue working in exile were, by contrast, not inhibited from dwelling on the recent past. Abandoning the avant-garde techniques he had practised as a member of the "Generation of 1927" (the generation of Lorca, dalí and Alberti max Aub, in most of his work written between 19, collected under the title. El laberinto mágico (The magic Labyrinth cultivated a documentary approach which has, over the years, enhanced his reputation as the major novelist of the civil War. In similar vein, Francisco ayala published in 1949 two collections of short stories which offer a detached view of human experience and of the evils of the civil War, Usurpers los usurpadores ) and, la cabeza del cordero (The lamb's head). Sender, who had written sociopolitical fiction before 1936, continued to produce in exile a vast output, in which the recourse to fantasy is the vehicle of critical reflection on the recent past.
Nada andrea ) won the 1944 Nadal Prize, which for many years was to enjoy the same prestige as the Prix Goncourt in France. Critical reception was hostile because of what was regarded as the defeatist atmosphere of these novels, and the absence of spiritual values. It was precisely this, however, which enabled them to make such an impact in a society unsettled by the horrors of the civil War and the abject misery which characterized the early years of the regime. By contrast, the official ideology, inspired as it was by nazism and Fascism, was optimistic. A new, triumphant, imperial age had write dawned, and the creative artist was required to adopt the attitude of Adam in the garden of Eden: with no previous history, and a brilliant future before him, he was to renounce the forbidden fruit, that is, liberal and. Literature, however, needs to draw nourishment from its roots, and, since writers were officially prevented from seeking these in the recent past, they looked back to the imperial period of the "Catholic Monarchs ferdinand and Isabella and Philip. The picaresque novel of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, together with the works of Cervantes, provided not only a literary model, but also a critical vision of human experience. It is therefore not surprising that the novelists who, in good faith, sought to connect with these roots produced writing which was completely in tune with the sensibility of their readers, but opposed to the official ethos. The portrayal of subhuman behaviour in Cela's first novel.
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The establishment of the Franco regime at the end of the civil War had negative consequences for all cultural activity, not least the novel. Those pre-war novelists who were not dead or exiled found themselves, for the most part, reduced to silence, leaving the field open for those who accepted the regime. These included figures from earlier generations such as Wenceslao fernández flórez, foxá and Claudio de la torre, who were joined by younger writers like gonzalo torrente ballester and Camilo josé cela. The novelists who received the most ample coverage in the official press had either fought on the Franco side in the civil War or were members of the falange: Cecilio benítez de castro, ignacio agustí, torrente ballester, rafael García serrano and juan. Nevertheless, this did not guarantee them immunity from political and ecclesiastical censorship, as Torrente ballester and García serrano found to their cost. The reading book public, however, preferred translations of English and American novels, which were published in large numbers, exploiting the upheaval created by wwii, and the difficulty of enforcing copyright. Nevertheless, independently of official approval, Spanish novelists did achieve some resounding successes, notably cela, with. The, family of Pascual duarte la familia de pascual duarte, 1942 which was rejected by several publishers, and Carmen Laforet, whose.