Volume 39 Number 2

Susan L. Fischer (Ed.)

Self-Conscious Art: A Tribute to John W. Kronik

1996
183 pages
ISBN 0838753248
Bucknell Review

The essays in this volume, in analyzing a variety of texts' metafictional elements, embrace such questions as the limits of self-consciousness, the creative and circumstantial tensions that produce its various features, the ludic nature of art, the role of interpretation, and the aesthetic, social, and mythic reverberations of self-reflexive art. This issue of Bucknell Review also makes clear how recent commentary on metaliterature an d self-consciousness helps revise prior canonical views of Hispanic and other Western letters. More subjectively, it renders homage to John W. Kronik, recognizing his considerable contribution to advances in theoretical background and critical orientation within Hispanic studies and especially his stellar work as mentor to the entire literary profession during his years as editor of PMLA. H. L. Boudreau's theoretical article on intertextual relations between Unamuno and Galdos enables us to see their respective writings as steps in a process of writing, reading, rewriting, and self-discover. Nancy Newton's study of Unamuno's Amor y pedagogia offers an original rereading of the text as an invitation to the reader response and reelaboration, above all with respect to the whole issue of gender distinctions. Rosa Chacel and Maria Zambrano, the authors treated by Roberta Johnson, are closely akin to the previous generation represented by Unamuno, as evidenced by their personal and self-expressive view of literature. Maryellen Bieder's essay on Carmen de Burgos's novel La entrometida (The busybody), raises issues of perspective, creates a fiction within a fiction, and produces new insights into the process of gender construction. Robert Spires's contribution on Spanin's Juan Goytisolo and Mexico's Carlos Fuentes crosses a continental divide as it reveals how metafictional elements in three contemporary works of fiction come to subvert the authority of ruling discourses, making the reader participate in the unfolding process. Susan Fischer's article queries whether Adolfo Marsillach's turning of a Calderon play into a contemporary work in performance is an apropos rendering of the play's subtext or a mere pretext for metadisplay. While Fischer's discussion of page-gazing through subversive staging offers a postmodern sense of the open-endedness of both text and performance, Mary Gaylord's study of Cervantes's sonnet to the tomb of Philip II in Seville suggests how that composition foreshadows the interrogation of historical truth in Don Quijote and anticipates a poststructural view of language, literature, and reality. The remaining essays in this volume, in not explicitly dealing with Hispanic works, remind us that (Hispanic) literature must be studied in the context of Western letters and that other disciplines stand to gain from defamiliarizing historically insular Peninsular and Spanish-American fields. Marshall Brown traces a mystic strand of self-consciousness in Kant's philosophic writings, which he then relates to the ideas of lesser-known philosophers. Marvin Carlson brings us back to the present, showing how comedy thrillers staged in the 1970s and 1980s appropriate intertextual allusions and offer metadramatic comments on their own development.

Contributors: H. L. Boudreau, Nancy Newton, Roberta Johnson, Maryellen Bieder, Robert C. Spires, Susan L. Fischer, Mary Malcolm Gaylord, Marshall Brown, and Marvin Carlson.

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