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La nación novelada: Los inicios de la novela histórica gallega

Gabriel J Garcia-Bajo, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Nationalism is an inherently modern ideology which empowers the claims of a community to be considered, at all effects, as a differentiated and sovereign entity. It has often found in historiography an important ally: the narration of the past allowed Nationalism both to assert the diachronical continuity of the identity it vindicates, and to construct a stable, collective subject: the people. Moreover, Romantic Nationalism offered a mythic description of the past and present of this historical subject, which was appropriated by numerous European nationalities in order to articulate their own political aspirations. Such was the case of Galicia in the 20th Century, when several intellectuals tried to stop the dissolving of her signs of identity—mainly the Galician language—by the politics of the Spanish government. This dissertation focuses on the beginnings of Modern Galician Literature. It analyzes the development of the historical novel, a literary genre which opens an immense space for the national imaginary to enter the writing of fiction. It gives nationalist writers the opportunity to inscribe the narration of the national past in their own fiction. Our main purpose is to show to what extent these historical novels appropriate the mythical narrative of Romantic Nationalism in order to construct their own national identity. We first describe the complexity of Nationalism and the strategies of 19th Century Nationalism which so strongly influenced Galician intellectuals. Then we follow a literary and ideological analysis mainly of two authors: Antonio López Ferreiro and Ramón Otero Pedrayo. We conclude that López Ferreiro conformed to a reactionary nostalgy of the Ancient Regime, and completely ignored the interpretative manners of Nationalism. By contrast, the work by Otero Pedrayo follows to the end all the premises of romantic Nationalism. However the disparity of their historical recreations, both writers have recourse of history to lament modernity and the disappearance of the old social system.

Subject Area

Romance literature|Literature

Recommended Citation

Garcia-Bajo, Gabriel J, "La nación novelada: Los inicios de la novela histórica gallega" (2000). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9988784.