Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Spanish & Portuguese

First Advisor

Nina Molinaro

Second Advisor

Javier Krauel

Third Advisor

Juan Herrero-Senés

Abstract

In my dissertation, I examine four novels and one collection of short fiction published between 1990 and 2007 by contemporary Spanish author, Juan José Millás, including La soledad era esto (1990), El orden alfabético (1998), Dos mujeres en Praga (2002), Cuentos de adúlteros desorientados (2003), Laura y Julio (2006), and El mundo (2007). I offer a theoretical model of bodies with which we may be better able to understand the nature of Millás’s fictional oeuvre. Specifically, I examine metaphors of physical bodies and texts as bodies as the principle ways in which Millasian characters repeatedly meditate on subjectivity.

My dissertation aims to address the following questions: How and when do physical and textual bodies intersect in Millás’s fictional narratives? How and why do his characters habitually modify these two types of bodies? And, what are the implications of repetitive bodies in his works? Millasian characters are isolated and lonely, and they repeatedly revert to the modification of their physical and textual bodies to attempt to make sense of their selves. The delineation of “bodies,” in both senses, affirms his characters’ experiences as subjective, individual, and claustrophobic, and more importantly, it highlights embodied politics of contemporary masculinity. As characters continuously search for points of reference for their subjectivities, they are repeatedly unable to escape the underlying hegemonic norms of masculinity and their narcissistic approach towards self frequently ostracizes characters and lodges them in a seemingly endless cycle of repetition.

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