Goytisolo, Luis

Goytisolo, Luis
b. 1935, Barcelona
   Since his early beginnings as a writer, Goytisolo has wrestled with and placed special emphasis on narrative structure as a way to universalize the content of his literary works. Even in his early novels, oriented towards realism, such as Las afueras (The Outskirts) (1958) and Las mismas palabras (The Same Words) (1962), narrative fragmentation and juxtaposition play an important role, which Goytisolo carried to its limits in his tetralogy Antagonía (Antagony), Fábulas (Fables) (1981), Investigaciones y conjeturas de Claudio Mendoza (Claudio Mendoza's Inquiries and Conjectures) (1986) and later works. However, starting with Antagonía, his most ambitious narrative project, Goytisolo assumes a new stance towards literature. Now he gradually replaces his engagement with the sociopolitical realities of Spain with a preoccupation with the inner self and a search for personal authenticity. Concurrently, he reflects on the mechanics of the writing and reading process, flaunting and laying bare the nature and conventions of narrative, and becomes one of the metafictional writers par excellence in Spain.
   Although Goytisolo was born in Barcelona and has resided there ever since, he has adopted Spanish, rather than Catalan, as his literary language. His first steps into fiction-writing date from the late 1950s and early 1960s, with Las afueras, winner of the Biblioteca Breve Prize in 1958, and Las mismas palabras. The action in Las afueras, as in most of his narrative, takes place in Barcelona or its whereabouts, and it depicts the disenchantment of those who won the Civil War, the marginalization of the poor, and social class confrontations.
   In Recuento (Recount) (1973), the first of Antagonía's novels, Goytisolo pursues and expands his social concerns and provides a parodic representation of the Catalan bourgeoisie, the overall Catalan culture, the Francoist establishment—the church, the family, the army and so on—and, even, of Marxist ideology. The turning point in the novel, and in Goytisolo's literary career, arises when the narratorprotagonist is imprisoned because of his clandestine activities within the Communist Party (PCE) against the Francoist government. This experience, which parallels Goytisolo's own in 1960, marks the end of the protagonist's struggle for social justice and the beginning of his career as a writer. From this point on, Goytisolo's narrative becomes extremely self-conscious, exposing the conventions involved in the writing and reading processes.
   In each of the remaining novels that compose Antagonía, Goytisolo will place special emphasis on a specific metafictional activity. In Los verdes de mayo hasta el mar (The Greens of May Down to the Sea) (1976) Goytisolo unveils the complexities involved in the writing process. In La cólera de Aquiles (The Wrath of Achilles) (1979) the text becomes the product of the different manipulative readings furnished by the narrator-protagonist; and Teoría del conocimiento (Theory of Knowledge) (1981) focuses on the appropriation and agency of the word.
   Goytisolo carries on his self-reflective ruminations in Estela del fuego que se aleja (The Fire Wake that Recedes) (1984), winner of the Critics Prize in 1984, where he uses the metaphor of the book to equate it to a life written by somebody else. In La paradoja del ave migratoria (The Paradox of the Migratory Bird) (1987), Goytisolo portrays the intermingling of various texts created imaginatively by the protagonist in the instant that precedes his death. And in Estatua con palomas (Statue with Pigeons) (1992), winner of the National Narrative Prize in 1993, Goytisolo creates a pseudo-autobiography which, in fact, is everybody's autobiography.
   The pervasive use of metaphor in Goytisolo's fiction serves to encapsulate the meaning of his narrative creation. Some metaphors, as the description of one of Velázquez's paintings in each of the novels of Antagonía, reflect the narrative structure of the novels themselves. Others—the sea, the garden, the portrait of the Ideal City, the Old Wise Man or the bronze eagle—purport to be, among other things, archetypal representations of inner realities that include the unconscious, the anima, or repressed feelings. And with another cluster of metaphors—the eye, the number three, concentric circularity or the book-Goytisolo enlarges the narrative horizons of his narrative to pursue a cosmogonic and theogonic vision of the world.
   One of Goytisolo's key narrative motifs is the voyage. Sometimes, as in Recuento or Los verdes de mayo hasta el mar, it takes the form of an initiatory descent into areas of the protagonist's unconscious in order to achieve individuation and regenerate himself as a writer or as a new human being. Sometimes, as in Estela del fuego que se aleja or La paradoja del one migratoria, the journey functions as a metaphor for the course of life. In fact, travelling seems to be one of Goytisolo's favourite hobbies. In 1987 he took a trip to several Asiatic countries and to the USA, and as a result of this experience he published a series of articles for six weeks in El País. In 1989 and 1991 he visited several African countries and filmed a documentary series for Spanish television (RTVE) entitled "Indico".
   Goytisolo has emerged as one of the most astute practitioners of metafiction, and his narrative has gained him the reputation of being hermetic and complex. Nevertheless, he articulates a view of literature that reconciles metafictional theory and practice with an existential search for self-authenticity.
   Major works
   Goytisolo, L. (1958) Las afueras, Barcelona: Seix Barra l (novel).
   —— (1962) Las mismas palabras, Barcelona: Seix Barral (novel).
   —— (1973) Recuento, Mexico: Seix Barral (novel).
   —— (1976) Los verdes de mayo hasta el mar, Barcelona: Seix Barral (novel).
   —— (1979) La cólera de Aquiles, Barcelona: Seix Barral (novel).
   —— (1981) Teoría del conocimiento, Barcelona: Seix Barral (novel).
   —— (1981) Fábulas, Barcelona: Bruguera (fables).
   —— (1984) Estela del fuego que se aleja, Barcelona: Anagrama (novel).
   —— (1986) Investigacions y conjeturas de Claudio Mendoza, Barcelona: Anagrama (novel).
   —— (1987) La paradoja del ave migratoria, Madrid: Alfaguara (novel).
   —— (1987) Luces del Pacífico (collection of travel articles on different Asiatic countries and the USA published in El País).
   —— (1992) Estatua con palomas, Barcelona: Ediciones Destino (novella).
   Further reading
   - Spires, R.C. (1984) Beyond the Metafictional Mode. Directions in the Modern Spanish Novel, Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky (a very perceptive analysis of twentieth century Spanish metafiction, including Antagonía).
   - Clotas, S. (1983) El cosmos de "Antagonía", Barcelona: Anagrama (an excellent collection of critical essays centred on Antagonía).
   - Sobejano-Morán, A. (1993) La metaficción creadora en "Antagonía" de Luis Goytisolo, Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press (a useful study of Antagonía's metafictional techniques).

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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  • Goytisolo, Luis — ► (n. 1935) Novelista español, hermano de José Agustín y Juan. Su obra traza una elaborada crónica generacional que se inicia con su primera novela, Las afueras (1958) premio Biblioteca Breve y Las mismas palabras (1963), aparte los textos… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Luis Goytisolo — Gay (Barcelona, 17 de marzo de 1935) es un escritor español. Es conocido principalmente por su tetralogía Antagonía. Es hermano de los también escritores José Agustín Goytisolo (1928 1999) y Juan Goytisolo (1931). Contenido 1 Biografía 2 Obras …   Wikipedia Español

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  • Luis Vicente de Aguinaga — es un poeta, ensayista, traductor y profesor mexicano nacido en Guadalajara en 1971. Experiencia editorial y académica Es licenciado en letras hispanoamericanas por la Universidad de Guadalajara y doctor en letras románicas por la Universidad… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Goytisolo — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: José Agustín Goytisolo (1928–1999), spanischer Dichter Juan Goytisolo (* 1931), spanischer Schriftsteller und Journalist Luis Goytisolo, spanischer Schriftsteller Diese Seite ist …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Goytisolo Gay, José Agustín — b. 1928, Barcelona    Writer and lawyer    The elder brother of Juan and Luis Goytisolo, José Agustín Goytisolo is known primarily, though not exclusively, as a poet. After studying Law, he became editor in a publishing house, and was active as… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture

  • Goytisolo — Goytisọlo   [gɔi̯ ],    1) José Agustín, spanischer Lyriker, * Barcelona 13. 4. 1928, ✝ ebenda 19. 3. 1999, Bruder von 2) und 3). Als entschiedener Vertreter der Poesía social trug er zur Schaffung einer neuen Dichtungssprache bei, die der… …   Universal-Lexikon

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