Books

Drama, literatura, filosofía: Itinerarios del realismo y modernismo europeos. Madrid, Fundamentos: 2015.

PEREZ-SIMON cover drama literatura filosofia

This monograph questions historiographical accounts traditionally based on clear-cut distinctions among literary and philosophical discourses in order to better arrive at a description of the multiple points of convergence that existed in narrative, dramatic and philosophical texts in nineteenth and early-twentieth century Spain and Europe.

Each of the three chapters is composed of a theoretical introduction, which establishes the methodological foundations of comparative inquiry, and two case studies. The first chapter, “Diálogo y escena dramática en la novela,” examines a varied group of authors who adopted dramatic patterns (dialogue and descriptions resembling stage directions) as a way to achieve the ideal of an impersonal art in the years of transition from realism to modernism. Benito Pérez Galdós’ novelas dialogadas and James Joyce’s dramatic epiphanies are two examples of a practice also visible in the hybrid works of R. M. Valle-Inclán, among other contemporaries. In the second chapter, “Teatro y filosofía,” I examine a corpus of dramatic works that evidence an uneasy yet fascinating relationship with philosophy very much in a Platonic fashion. The case studies are George Bernard Shaw and Miguel de Unamuno, two authors who saw theater as the perfect vehicle to embody their thought while also reshaping a tradition of philosophical dialogue that goes back to the Bible and Plato. Finally, the third chapter, “El drama virtual,” is concerned with a varied range of closet dramas that emerged as exuberant, dislocated narratives in the wake of Freud’s psychoanalysis. I study Gustave Flaubert’s final version of La tentation de St. Antoine and Joyce’s “Circe,” a 200-page nightmare in Ulysses.

See four book reviews:

Anagnórisis 12 (dic. 2015): 282-287.

Tropelías 25 (2016): 373-375.

Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics 38.1-2 (2015): 132-135.

452ºF. Revista de Teoría de la literatura y Literatura Comparada 15 (2016): 259-260.

You can read all the reviews in a single document.

Read the book’s Introduction (39 pages).

Go to the publisher’s website.

‘Despistemes’: La teoría literaria y cultural de Emil Volek (antología de textos). Madrid: Verbum, 2018.

‘Despistemes’: La teoría literaria y cultural de Emil Volek (antología de textos) is a critical edition of 15 essays by Czech scholar Emil Volek, professor of Hispanic Literatures at ASU since 1976, on topics in the fields of Spanish cultural studies, Spanish literary history, and literary theory. Of the 15 essays, five are my original translations from English into Spanish, two are also first translations (from Czech into Spanish, by Jarmila Jandová and Emil Volek himself) and the rest are articles originally published in Spanish-language academic journals. Besides translating five essays, and editing and annotating all the 15 texts in the anthology, I have written a 60-page prologue that situates Volek’s scholarly trajectory in the context of recent debates in the field of literary theory, in particular the discussions that followed the arrival of the so-called post-structuralist theory in the American academy in the late 1960s.

Unlike other scholars who fled communist Czechoslovakia and eventually joined departments of Slavic languages in North American universities, Volek represents a unique case in view of his ability to develop and amplify the theoretical principles of the Prague School while applying them to a rich corpus of cultural artifacts pertaining to the Hispanic world. The publication of this critical anthology of his texts will continue the dialogue among diverse schools of criticism that he himself has represented for years, with the particularity that this anthology specifically addresses a Spanish-speaking community of scholars.

Read the book on Google Books.

Go to the publisher’s website.

Baroque Lorca: An Archaist Playwright for the New Stage.

(under contract with Routledge)

This book defines Federico García Lorca’s trajectory in the theater as a lifelong search for an audience. It studies a wide range of dramatic writings that Lorca created for the theater, in direct response to the conditions of his contemporary industry, and situates the theory and praxis of his theatrical reform in dialogue with other modernist renovators of the stage (Gordon Craig, Pirandello, Artaud). This book makes special emphasis on how Lorca engaged with the tradition of Spanish Baroque (Calderón, Cervantes) in order break away from the conventions of the illusionist stage and, ultimately, arrive at an intersection of ritual and theater that would involve the audience in an experience of collective atonement. The five chapters of the book analyze Lorca’s different attempts to change the dynamics of the Spanish stage from 1920 to his assassination in 1936, at the age of 38: His initial incursions in the arenas of symbolist and historical drama (The Butterfly’s Evil Spell, Mariana Pineda); his interest in puppetry throughout the 1920s (The Billy-Club Puppets and In the Frame of Don Cristóbal, and the two ‘human’ farces The Shoemaker’s Prodigious Wife and The Love of Don Perlimplín and Belisa in the Garden); the central piece in his project of ‘impossible’ theater (The Public); his final access to the commercial stage by adopting and altering the generic formula of ‘rural drama’ (Blood Wedding, Yerma and The House of Bernarda Alba); and his last and most explicitly political play, one that takes the violence to the spectators’ seats (The Dream of Life).