El hallazgo del escriba Book (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • R. Montes, Manuel


  • This adapted version of a doctoral research explores, questions and analyzes how the literary creative process became a canonical theme in the Spanish language novel tradition. It traces the origin, continuous presence, development, and current status of the figure of the writer as a main character who seeks their artistic identity through the intimate, subjective ordeals, and uncertainties of telling a story. Focusing primarily on the paradigmatic contributions of Juan Carlos Onetti’s La vida breve/The Brief Life (1950); Josefina Vicens’ El libro vacío/The Empty Book (1958); Roberto Bolaño’s Los detectives salvajes/The Savage Detectives (1998); and Enrique Vila–Matas’ Bartleby y compañía/Bartleby & Co. (2000), this dissertation unfolds the path that has been reshaping the concept of a fictional hero by increasingly addressing the failure of narrators who do not find themselves. Instead, they lose almost everything, except for an ephemeral yet enlightening experience of invention. The principal inquiries attended are: How has the writer as a fictional character evolved to reach its contemporary preeminence in the Spanish language novel? How does writing fiction, closely exposed while occurring or about to occur, embody a fruitful disenchantment rooted in the inevitable loss of individuality and self–assurance? What are the repercussions of this increasing trend both in literary and academic criticisms, and also in the constant reformulation of the canon? The detailed review of the writer’s figure as a main character begins with Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (1605) as the primary touchstone and starting point of the genre. This critical study then spans over some of the most transcendental works pertaining to the literary movements of the Picaresque era (XVI–XVII centuries), Neoclassicism (XVIII), Realism, Romanticism, Naturalism and Modernism (XIX–XX), aiming to highlight a wide bibliographical route that thematically precedes the arrival of Juan Carlos Onetti’s The Brief Life in 1950. One of the initial drafts of this research, conceived entirely at The University of Cincinnati and entitled Aurea mediocritas, has received the prestigious National Prize of Literary Essay «Alfonso Reyes» 2014 and was published as a book in Mexico the same year.

publication date

  • 2020


start page

  • 489