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Title:The national award in narrative literature and the role of art in democratic Spain (1977 - 2011)
Author(s):Perret, Sally
Director of Research:Delgado, Luisa-Elena
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Delgado, Luisa-Elena
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Wilcox, John C.; Rushing, Robert A.; Tolliver, Joyce L.
Department / Program:Spanish, Italian & Portuguese
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):National Awards
Spanish Literature
Antonio Muñoz Molina
Carmen Martín Gaite
Kirmen Uribe
Alonso Zamora Vicente
Abstract:In this dissertation, I examine the history and function(s) of the National Award in Narrative Literature—a prize that is sponsored by the Spanish state—to highlight the role the award has played in the creation of “national cohesion” and therefore in maintaining a specific idea of Spain and of Spanish literature in the democratic period. Although the issuing of the National Award is just one of many practices that informs how the concept of the nation is understood, I argue that it is one of few that allow us to analyze ways in which literature has explicitly contributed to the image of Spain as a multicultural, yet cohesive nation-state. In order to further explore this idea, I first analyze the rules that have governed the National Award at four different stages in the democratic period to show how the prize has evolved to include a wider variety of author/texts of diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds than ever before. I then demonstrate how, as one of the more visible literary prizes in the country, the National Award also serves to promote a specific idea of literature as a “high art” worthy of praise. I maintain that it is because literature is viewed as a distinct space, one that is both tied to and distanced from reality, that the idea of a multicultural yet cohesive national literary canon can be sustained. Finally, I also explore the role the National Award plays in promoting democratic values, in general, and active citizenship, in particular. I claim that, in addition to being a practice that benefits the state, the National Award also has the potential to be a platform from which to discuss a wide variety of social issues. In all, I argue that the National Award in Narrative Literature can be read as a powerful metaphor of the limitations and possibilities that nearly thirty-five years of democracy have brought to Spain.
Issue Date:2012-09-18
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Sally Perret
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-09-18
Date Deposited:2012-08

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