Snippet: A study of the literary present by Javier Aparicio, in four volumes

Javier Aparicio (Barcelona, 1964; professor of Spanish and comparative literature at Pompeu Fabra University) recently published the fourth volume of a massive study on the literature of the 20th and 21st centuries. Beyond listing authors and their works, Aparicio is interested in the process of literary creation itself and in the new paradigms that rule the trade.

Volume 1: Lecturas de ficción contemporánea. De Kafka a Ishiguro [Readings of contemporary fiction, from Kafka to Ishiguro], “among other aspects a critical inventory and a reading guide” (Antonio Lozano, La Vanguardia);

vol. 2: El desguace de la tradición. En el taller de la narrativa del siglo XX [The scrapping of tradition: in the workshop of 20th century literature], “an immersion into the works that challenged orthodoxy in the most extreme form;”

vol. 3: Continuidad y ruptura. Una gramática de la tradición en la cultura contemporánea [Continuity and disruption. A grammar of tradition in contemporary culture], “a CSI analysis of how the old literary patterns grab or parasitize that what is considered brand new;”

vol. 4: La imaginación en la jaula. Razones y estrategias de la creación coartada [imagination in the cage. Reasons and strategies for restricted creation]

The publisher’s comment:

La imaginación en la jaula. Razones y estrategias de la creación coartada is a study that gives in to the evidence that it is not licit any longer to talk about imagination and creativity in the same way as before. The reasons are various and simultaneous revolutions. They are examined and contextualized to give the last word to the reader. In this 21st century of uncertainties, uneasiness and obsolescences, certainties are born and die in the field of art at excessive speed. The internet has accelerated the creative process. It has eliminated intermediaries through blogs and platforms for desktop publishing that inject the anxiety of immediacy into creators who did not even want to be ones. It has democratized the creative legitimacy by banishing whatever scale of values. It has often converted artists into “creators of content” whom it helps to recycle and produce, but it also watches them through websites that act as laboratories that monitor and ‘standardize’ [Span. “adocenar”=”make into dozens”] creation. Everything is provided so that all produce more and produce quicker. But the peripheral and the apparent supplant the seminal and true, and creation is distorted or undermined.

SOURCE: Ediciones Cátedra; “Cultura/s”, La Vanguardia, May 30, 2015, pp. 12-13 (printed edition)


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