Constructions of the body through the gothic idiom in three "radical naturalist" novels of Alejandro Sawa

Podadera, Carlos (2018) Constructions of the body through the gothic idiom in three "radical naturalist" novels of Alejandro Sawa. Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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This thesis considers instances of corporeality in three novels (Crimen legal, Criadero de curas and Noche) by Spanish novelist Alejandro Sawa (1862-1909) from the point of view of anti-clerical Gothic aesthetics. Despite the presence of many a literary Gothic element in these novels, these works had traditionally been considered mere by-products of the influence of French naturalist author Emile Zola (1840-1902). This would be due to the “radical naturalist” sobriquet which Sawa himself chose to identify his novels with. However, this thesis contests such considerations of Sawa as a “naturalist” author and focuses instead on the Gothic influences received through French Romanticism, Spanish popular novels of the fin-du-siècle and anti-clerical propaganda, previously unexplored. The exploration of the works considered will be guided by theories such as Julia Kristeva’s concept of “abjection” or affect theory, at the core of which lies a concern with the body and/or the corporeal. In reading Sawa’s oeuvre under a Gothic lens of corporeality, aspects of his work which had been previously unacknowledged come to the forefront. Such aspects are, for example, Sawa’s dependency on the middle-class representational idiom he allegedly so much despised, or the relationship of his novels with the anti-clerical, misogynistic nation-building project of Spain in the late nineteenth century. The image of the Spanish realist canon and the perception and understanding of Zola’s works within the Spanish letters in the last third of the nineteenth century, especially with regards to corporeality, are now more nuanced, as is Sawa’s literary standing.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: Alejandro Sawa, Naturalism, Radical Naturalism, Gothic, Anti-clericalism, Corporeality
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2018 16:43
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:57

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