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Looking at Iberia

A Comparative European Perspective

Series:

Santiago Pérez Isasi and Angela Fernandes

This collection of new essays by scholars from across Europe focuses on the key theoretical and historical questions within the rapidly growing field of Iberian studies, which is taken by the authors to mean the methodological consideration of the Iberian peninsula as a complex and multilingual cultural and literary system. Dealing with a wide range of issues and cultural output from a comparative European perspective, the essays question the concept of ‘Iberian’ itself, query its suitability as a starting point for academic research and consider it in relation to other more established concepts and identities, such as Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Basque and Galician, as well as wider European and Western identities. The contributors examine the relationship between the reality of ‘Iberia’ and the mythical, historical and artistic narratives created to support or represent this collective identity, with a particular focus on the period from the nineteenth century to the present day.

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Part III Contemporary Iberia: Plural Identities and Artistic Representation

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Ângela Fernandes Iberian and Romance Identities: Literary Representations of the Centre and the Margins The place of an Iberian cultural identity within the Romance world seems to be a rather neglected issue, probably due to its scarcely controversial potential nowadays. The discussion of a Romance identity, with its roots in Roman classical culture and the Latin language, lost most of its allure during the twentieth century, as new topics of geocultural tension became more relevant. The Romance background is nevertheless an essential clue to understand Iberian cultures. Therefore, my aim is to ref lect upon Iberian and Romance cultural identities, considering not only the Latin matrix of the Western world but also the literary dimension of such powerful ideas and images. The novel Um Deus Passeando pela Brisa da Tarde [A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening], published in 1994 by the Portuguese author Mário de Carvalho (b. 1944), will be the main point of departure for this ref lection, as it portrays some key issues connected with the con- cepts of Roman identity and Iberian dif ference. Moreover, we may find in this novel the debate over the relationship between the centre and the margins – in geographical, cultural and symbolic terms – as well as the discussion of the status of borderline locations, which is rather significant when considering the Iberian Peninsula. In order to delve further into this question, two other Portuguese narratives will also be considered: the opening story of the 1935 essay Pyrene, by...

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