UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY (0028) Degree: PHD,
Date: 1991 pp: 284
Advisor: POLT, JOHN H. R.
Source: DAI-A 53/05, p. 1537, Nov 1992
Subject: LITERATURE, ROMANCE (0313)
Order No: AAC 9228726 ProQuest - Dissertation Abstracts
This dissertation investigates the influence of the Enlightenment on the early articles of Larra. In his Los orígenes de la obra de Larra, José Escobar has shown the general nature of this writer's debt to eighteenth-century literature. The present work, therefore, adopts an approach that emphasizes ideology, including a variety of texts. The fact that Larra may not have read a particular book cited should not significantly affect the conclusions. Escobar's work proves that Larra was influenced by the previous century. The interest here is the nature of that inheritance.
This study is limited to El Duende Satírico and El Pobrecito Hablador, periodicals that comprise Larra's formative period. Although he later rejects this first venture, the reasons seem mainly stylistic, since the two reveal many similarities as regards content. Another reason to study them together is the fact that, unlike later works, both are creative units completely controlled by the author. The dissertation examines two areas of conflict. The first is the antagonism between the traditionalists and the petimetres. Both groups reflect changes that began during the Eighteenth Century. Their continued presence in Larra's work suggests that this struggle remains unresolved. Forced to choose between Spain and Europe, Larra, like the ilustrados, attempts to find a middle ground which will permit progress without the loss of national identity.
The problem of change reappears in the second chapter, but now from within. The end of the Eighteenth Century and beginning of the Nineteenth marks the demise of the Ancien Regime in Spain. As the relations between the classes evolve, Larra again follows the example of enlightened thinkers. He questions the role of the nobility. He pities and fears the lower class. The bourgeoisie offers a promising compromise, as does a new division of mankind based on intellectual capabilities.
The same mentality that imbues the works of eighteenth-century reformers appears in Larra's early writings and conditions his responses to the problems confronting Spain. In fact, much of the "Romanticism" one sees in Larra arises from the despair of a frustrated proponent of the Enlightenment.