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Juan José Millás

Knickerbocker, Dale

Juan José Millás

The Obsessive-Compulsive Aesthetic

Series: Currents in Comparative Romance Languages and Literatures - Volume 123

Year of Publication: 2003

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt/M., Oxford, Wien, 2003. 307 pp.
ISBN 978-0-8204-6244-8 hardback  (Hardcover)

Weight: 0.560 kg, 1.235 lbs

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Book synopsis

The five novels written by Juan José Millás between 1988 and 1998 (El desorden de tu nombre; La soledad era esto, Volver a casa; Tonto, muerto, bastardo e invisible; and El orden alfabético) display an increasing preoccupation with a limited number of themes, principally identity and social criticism. They also demonstrate the constant reiteration of a specific group of motifs, an increasing use of metafictional devices, and the use of bizarre or mentally disturbed protagonists. Millás presents writing as the compulsive expression of obsessive thought. This book explains Millás’s literary signs as corresponding to the clinical symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Using Fredric Jameson’s concept of the political unconscious, the obsessive-compulsive aesthetic is found to constitute Millás’s individual manifestation or working-through of an anxiety present in the collective unconscious of Spain and provoked by the rapid political, social, economic, and cultural changes experienced during those years.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Author: Dale Knickerbocker is Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. He received his Ph.D. in Hispanic literature from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Dr. Knickerbocker specializes in contemporary peninsular narrative and literary theory and, in addition to his recent work on Juan José Millás, has published on authors including Camilo José Cela, Luis Martín-Santos, and Gonzalo Torrente Ballester.


Currents in Comparative Romance Languages and Literatures. Vol. 123
General Editors: Tamara Alvarez-Detrell and Michael G. Paulson