'Vidas' Book Series (Espasa-Calpe) by @manuelpm


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Issued at University College of London (April 2012)
Blueprint for a paper in which I study 2 biographies' series
Spin-off from my PhD dissertation (Plutarco de Moda. La Biografía Moderna en España, 2009)
Theoretical considerations
Socio-Cultural Context
Features of the Book Series
Legacy & Conclusions

Manuel Pulido Mendoza
PhD Hispanic Studies
Twitter: @manuelpm

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'Vidas' Book Series (Espasa-Calpe) by @manuelpm

  1. 1. Vidas Book Series (Espasa-Calpe) Blueprint for a paper in which I study 2 biographies series Spin-off from my PhD dissertation (Plutarco de Moda. La Biografía Moderna en España, 2009) Theoretical considerations Socio-Cultural Context Features of the Book Series Legacy & Conclusions Manuel Pulido Mendoza
  2. 2. How old do you thinkthe word biography and the genre are?
  3. 3. Definition of Biography as a Literary Genre West and other World Cultural spheres have long traditions of Life-Writing But Biography is a 17th C neologism − First appeared in England and France − Secular Third Estate life-writing, Individualism, personal records in paper, Rationalism & Science − Lit. Convention of Enlightment, Industrial Revolution, Romanticism, Bourgeois Soc.
  4. 4. How do you define a biography?
  5. 5. Definition (2)Different from other forms of Life-Writing: Memories, Diary, Autobiography, récit de vie -sociology tool-, self-fiction...As a literary form, conventionally, is a restrospective life-facts account of a third person.
  6. 6. How do youdistinguish fiction from referential literature?
  7. 7. Critical Aproaches towards Biography  BUT: Referentiality still matters in 50-60s: Biography as an Art a pragmatic level (P. Lejeune, D. Cohn): 70-80s: (Postmodern Ap.) Biography as a Plot, Creation of – Sources the language or fiction, Negation of the subject factual account (verifiable) 90s: Cultural Studies: broadening – Narrative the subject perspective – Narrator identity (Author=narrator)
  8. 8. Modern Biography FormsNon fiction, referential: Fiction:  Historiography  Historical Novel  Literary essay  Biofiction
  9. 9. Which event changed the history and theaesthetics of 20 C.? th
  10. 10. History of New or Modern Biography  WWI: Dehumanization  Extension of literacy  New Technology  Aesthetics changes: − Abstract Avant- Garde − Reaction / Back
  11. 11. New Biography between wars... First appeared as a literary mock of the Bourgeois (Victorian) conventional biography: − UK: Bloomsbury group: V. Woolf, L. Strachey, H. Nicolson, A.J.A. Symons − France: R. Rolland, A. Maurois − Germany: E. Ludwig − Austria: S. Zweig − Italy: G. Pappini
  12. 12. ...And between aestheticsBest-seller, competing with novel (Ortega)Psico-biography (Freud)Subjective time (Bergson)Neo-Romanticism: Hero vs MassesOnly the work counts (New Criticism),Imposibility of the genre (Existentialism)
  13. 13. How this affected toSpain and Spanish Biography?
  14. 14. Socio-cultural Causes for “Vidas” Series in Spain WWI Neutrality BUT Colonial War / Dictatorship / Restoration Regime  Celebrated the century of crisis Romanticism in 1930 Economic development:  Celebrated the century of LatAm Publishing Industry during 20s Independence Educational & Propaganda Tools  Back to human form after abstract Avant-garde Hispanic life-writing tradition  Best-seller genre in Ferias del European models of New Biography libro Madrid (1933-1936): (authors & series) biografías noveladas.
  15. 15. Ortega y Gassets Cultural LeadershipThe mind after the biograghy fashion:Philosophy: Vital Rationalism, European LiberalismIdeas sobre la novela: Nova Novorum (Chacel, Rodríguez- Fischer)Cultural leadership and sponsor: Rev. Occ., El Sol, Espasa-Calpe (Papelera Española)Biographer himself
  16. 16. Melchor Fernández Almagro, Series editor Historian, journalist, writer, essay writer García Lorcas and other progressive intelectuals friend Became Ortegas colaborator, editor of the series Vidas españolas del siglo XIX” in Espasa-Calpe Expert on 19th C. Spanish History and Law, wrote Orígenes del régimen constitucional en España (1928) The colection was successful thanks to its pluralistic ideological approach
  17. 17. Evolution of Vidas Series in Espasa-Calpe2018161412 Vidas extraordinarias10 1st ed. VEHAXIX 1st+2nd ed VEHAXIX 8 6 4 2 0 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942
  18. 18. Characters by Class, Origin, Gender605040 Column 130 Column 2 Column 32010 0 Nobiliary&Church / other classes Spanish / American / Both Men / w omen
  19. 19. Features of Vidas EHASXIXMost successful: Hispanic American Longest (1929-1942, Presence (after Torres 59 volumes, 17 Bodet) reimp.) Ideologies: plural but with a moderate tone; anCharacters social evolution classes: open to Literary forms: broader extent historiographic, literaryWomen: 1 author, 7 essay (Baroja). characters, 11,86% Theoretical considerations
  20. 20. Some covers-Retro design (Tipography & Filigree)-Title: Name and description or motto-Symbolic Motive or Design related to the biographee
  21. 21. Antonio Marichalar, editor of Vidas Extraordinarias 1927 Poetic Groups member Literary critic (The Criterion, El Sol, Rev. Occ.) and biographer Introductor of English Lit. in Spain (Strachey, Woolf, Joyce, Conrad,
  22. 22. Features of Vidas ExtraordinariasNo space or time limitSpanish (1/3) and successful Foreign authors (2/3)Good translators and Spanish authorsMore womens biographies (5 of 14)
  23. 23. ConclusionsBiography was a broad Espasas: Model for cultural battlefield in Modern Spain further series, started a tradition of ModernIt explains identities in Biography conflictIt offers a better Its still relevant in a understanding of social level Modern Spain and its Currently Biographical approaches to LatAm & Studies in Hispanic Europe World are in