Imperiales esperpentos ibéricos
As Naus, de António Lobo Antunes, ante Tirano Banderas, de Valle-Inclán
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.