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Imperiales esperpentos ibéricos

As Naus, de António Lobo Antunes, ante Tirano Banderas, de Valle-Inclán

Pedro Santa María de Abreu    Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal    



The grotesque, as a transtemporal category in its contemporary Iberian version of grotesque esperpento, is the main focus of this book. Through a comparatist perspective, we analyse the Portuguese novel As Naus (or The Return of the Caravels) by António Lobo Antunes (1988) in contrast and comparison to the Spanish novel Tirano Banderas by Ramón del Valle-Inclán (1927). These two literary works embody the esperpéntico grotesque as a mode of representation which deconstructs institutionalized powers, official history and glorified heroes. In doing so, they build a process of hetero-mimesis and introduce a counter-representation of the pretentious or fictionalized narratives of the official historiographies. We analyse As Naus from expressionism and, more precisely, from the esperpéntico grotesque, with all the contextual and relational implications of this decision. The grotesque is perceived not only as a transtemporal category but also as a transterritorial representation mode. Our intention is, above all, to question the concepts and commonplaces of Literary Studies, taking into account our research and teaching experiences. In this pursuit, we attempt to grasp key formative moments of the western Poetics to better understand the place of grotesque literary representation in the hierarchy of representation modes in which solemn, realistic or epic modes have been prevalent until the contemporary era. Throughout this progressive deconstruction and paradigm shift, we always take philosophy into consideration, from Aristotle to Nietzsche, and the relationship between eras such as the Baroque and the Decadence-Symbolisms of the nineteenth century. Along the entirety of this path of gradual nihilification through grotesque artistic representation, metaphor clearly takes a leading role. Utilized and legitimised since the dawn of time, it is reassessed through the esperpéntico grotesque.

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March 21, 2022
Dec. 8, 2021
Copyright: © 2023 Pedro Santa María de Abreu. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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