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Products for grant FT-56909-09

Tracing the Ghost of Colonial Experience in 19th-Century Spanish Literature
Mary Coffey, Pomona College

Grant details:

“Realism, Fantasy and the Trope of Colonial Relations in Galdós's Fiction.” (Book Section)
Title: “Realism, Fantasy and the Trope of Colonial Relations in Galdós's Fiction.”
Author: Mary L. Coffey
Editor: Jennifer Smith and Lisa Nalbone
Abstract: Benito Pérez Galdós’s second series of Episodios nacionales in particular reveals a concern with Spain’s colonial history, directly referencing American territorial losses during the reign of Fernando VII. In “Realism, Fantasy and the Gendered Trope of Colonial Relations in Galdós’s Fiction,” Mary Coffey argues that in this series, written from 1875 to 1879, Galdós attempts to mitigate the trauma of the nation’s imperial decline through the creation of a new metropolitan foundational fiction that allegorizes an acceptance of diminished status. Yet the literary realism employed with success early in his career proves inadequate for the subject matter of post-1898 metropolitan/colonial relations, and in 1909, when Galdós writes El caballero encantado, he turns to the crafting of a cuento inverosímil for his fantastic portrait of imperial reconciliation. Notably, in both the family romance of his early fiction and the dreamlike fantasy of his later work, Galdós’s treatment of Spanish colonialism constitutes varying forms of metropolitan wish fulfillment. At the core of his allegorical representations at both points in his career is the traditional gendered trope of metropolis and colony. From Salvador Monsalud’s affair with an indianilla in the second series of Episodios to the complex courtship of a Spanish nobleman and a Colombian heiress in El caballero encantado, Galdós attempts to provoke a re-assessment of Spanish imperial history through the prism of gender relations.
Year: 2016
Publisher: Routledge
Book Title: Intersections of "Race," Class and Gender in Fin-de-siècle Spanish Literature and Culture