Academic journal article Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

Roas, David and Teresa Lopez Pellisa, Eds. Visiones De Lo Fantastico En la Cultura Espanola (1970-2012) [Visions of the Fantastic in Spanish Culture, 1970-2012]

Academic journal article Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

Roas, David and Teresa Lopez Pellisa, Eds. Visiones De Lo Fantastico En la Cultura Espanola (1970-2012) [Visions of the Fantastic in Spanish Culture, 1970-2012]

Article excerpt

Roas, David and Teresa Lopez Pellisa, eds. Visiones de lo fantastico en la cultura espanola (1970-2012) [Visions of the fantastic in Spanish culture, 1970-2012]. vol. II. Benalmadena, Malaga (Spain): E.D.A., 2014. 292 pp. Paperback. ISBN 978-84-92821-69-3.

This book is the second of three volumes (1) arising from a 2012 conference sponsored by the Grupo de Estudios sobre lo Fantastico (GEF) [Study Group on the Fantastic], based at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. Supported by a significant grant from Spain's Ministry of Science and Technology, the GEF represents the most sustained attention from the Spanish academy to the nation's fantastic literature. Although specialists in peninsular literature will benefit the most from these essays, any reader of Spanish interested in cases studies of the fantastic will find much of interest. The collection includes studies of works by canonical authors Juan Jose Millas, Cristina Fernandez Cubas, Javier Marias, and Antonio Munoz Molina (with two essays on Jose Maria Merino), as well as treatments of works by recent writers Fernando Iwasaki, David Roas, and Rodolfo Martinez.

The flexibility of the term "fantastic" always requires serious critics to stake out their theoretical warrants before proceeding to analysis of specific texts or authors; each essay in Visiones de lo fantastico cites authorities ranging from Freud, Borges, Bioy Casares, Ocampo, Cortazar, Callois, Vax, Besssiere, Lugnani, Todorov, Campra, and Cesarani to contemporary Spanish writers such as David Roas (whose work is cited in every essay save one). The volume consists of fourteen essays by scholars from Spain, Italy and the United States, ten concerning the fantastic in Spanish narrative (novel, story, and micro-story), and one each devoted to manifestations of the fantastic in Spanish theater, film, specialized magazines, and comics. The contributors vary in their views of what constitutes the fantastic, and the sometimes intertextual dialogue between the essayists helps refine and clarify the warrants underlying each distinct "vision of the fantastic."

Two chapters address the fantastic in specialized magazines and comics. Miguel Carrera Garrido gives a panoramic review of the Biblioteca Universal de Misterio y Terror, forty issues of stories published at first weekly and then bi-weekly during 1981-1982. Carrera convincingly argues that the Biblioteca marks a moment of transition from a long history of derivative pulp literature in Spain to more nuanced and original stories with less emphasis on gore and more on the creation of psychological terror. He also discusses the phantasmagoria of the cover art and illustrations and how the new style of stories changed artwork's role in creating horror and telling the tale. Julio Prieto argues that the comics series Historia de taberna galactica and En un lugar de la mente by Catalonian artist Josep Maria Bea, published in the late 1970s and early 1980s, not only participated in the cultural dialogue of Spain's Transition to democracy, but exemplified what Prieto calls an "intermedial fantastic." Prieto persuasively claims that Goya's grotesque sketches and paintings make him the first "author" or creator of fantastic effects in Spain. Bea's comics drink of a fantastic tradition steeped in imagery, specters and apparitions, and justify expanding traditional definitions of the fantastic to include intersemiotic slippage between genres, media and discursive practices. Sadly, the rich theoretical arguments by Carrera and Prieto do not leave much space for specific examples from the Biblioteca and the comics.

Ivan Gomez and Fernando de Felipe recover the presence of a fantastic tradition in Spanish cinema that specialized criticism has systematically effaced. Javier Pulido's "golden age" of fantastic films from 1967-1976 (with the rise of the Profilms production company and the practice of co-producing films with other European partners) did much to expand and consolidate fantastic cinema in Spain, but Gomez and de Felipe recount the work of Spanish cineastes such as Segundo de Chomon at the turn of the twentieth century, and later Edgar Neville Romree, Lorenzo Llobet-Gracia, Carlos Serrano de Osma, Antonio del Amo, and a host of others during the 1940s and 1950s. …

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