La función del lector en la prosa metaliteraria de Miguel de Unamuno

by Alvarez-Castro, Luis

Abstract (Summary)
It is customarily accepted among critics that Miguel de Unamuno’s poetry is a direct expression of both his longing for eternal life and his consequent interest in his audience as recipients of his legacy. The purpose of this dissertation is to apply this assumption to the study of Unamuno’s fictions in order to determine the extent to which the interest in the reader shapes his writing. By conceiving of his prose as a means of immortality, Unamuno explores the power of literature to articulate the inner self and more importantly to communicate with others. The originality of his fictions and the controversial creation of the ‘nivola’ are the result of combining metafictional experimentation with an attempt to constrain the readers’ hermeneutic freedom. The role that the reader plays in such fictions is twofold: on the one hand, the reader is an autonomous subject who is faced with new literary conventions. On the other hand, the reader becomes subjugated in the sense that his or her ability to create meaning is restricted by an ‘existential blackmailing’: the reader’s identity and his hope for eternal life is strengthened or weakened depending on his or her interpretation. Thus Unamuno’s prose offers a unique blend of ontology and hermeneutics. Vida de don Quijote y Sancho (1905) and Cómo se hace una novela (1927) are non-conventional essays—half literary criticism, half autobiography—that expose the intentional fallacy and declare the reader’s authority to freely interpret texts. In both of them, Unamuno asks for the reader’s collaboration in the process of meaning-making but also he reveals his purpose of shaping the reader’s consciousness. This contradiction adopts a fictional form in Niebla (1914) and San Manuel Bueno, mártir (1933). The reader of these texts is presented with several interpretive options—did Augusto Pérez commit suicide or was he killed by his author? Is Manuel Bueno saint and martyr or is he not? Yet the response to such choices is far from arbitrary: it is somehow inscribed in the text by means of metafictional strategies that convey a threat of depersonalization.
Bibliographical Information:


School:The Ohio State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:spanish literature miguel de unamuno 1864 1936 metafiction reader response


Date of Publication:01/01/2005

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.