Prose of Juan Goytisolo
University of Texas, Austin
FOR Luis Buñuel, surrealism, among the most successful of the prewar “ismos” of modernist art and literature, provided a strong signifying system with which he created films whose techniques are still considered landmark experiments. Surrealism also inspired other members of Spain's Generation of 1927, including some of the country's finest poets, among them—García Lorca, Rafael Alberti, Luis Cernuda, and Vicente Aleixandre—who experimented with chaotic imagery and syntax, as well as postista poets of the Spanish postwar era such as Edmundo de Ory and Miguel Labordeta. Seventy-five years after the publication of the first Manifeste du surréalisme (1924) in Paris, surrealism as a literary language retains its force not only in Spanish poetry but also in the narrative fiction of Spanish prose writers such as Juan Goytisolo. In a 1972 interview reprinted in Disidencias, Goytisolo expressed his admiration for Buñuel's films, specifically Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Milky Way, and Simon of the Desert.1 My brief review of the relationship that resonates between Buñuel's films and some of Goytisolo's mature prose texts is based upon Roland Barthes notion of intertexuality as a “plurality of other texts”2 and Julia Kristeva's discussion of the intersection of texts where at least one other text can be read.3 My study intends to establish how surrealism as a system of signification and film as a narrative device, both represented in the cinema of Luis Buñuel, form a juncture of two significant intertexts in the mature narrative prose of Juan Goytisolo.
Early in his career Goytisolo acknowledges how film has changed the way we perceive and narrate stories: “En efecto, en 1956 no percibimos las cosas del mismo modo que hace cuarenta años: hemos adquirido la costumbre de VER CONTAR historias, en lugar de oirlas narrar a la manera de las novelas del siglo XIX” [In effect, in 1956 we don't perceive things in the same way as we did forty years