Altisent, Marta E.

Dr. Marta Altisent is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Spanish Literature in the Department of Spanish and Classics at the University of California, Davis. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She teaches and lectures on such topics as Spanish Avant-Garde poetry, Spanish Civil War testimonial fiction, Catalan literature and women’s writing. Dr. Altisent has written two books on the short stories and literary essays of Gabriel Miró, respectively, and a critical edition of Max Aub’s Cuentos Mexicanos (Delaware: Juan de la Cuesta Monographs, 2005) and has published numerous articles on Spanish, Latin American, and Catalan writers of the 19th and 20th centuries.

FicciÓn Erotica EspaÑola Desde 1970
2006 0-7734-5868-9
As a liberating mode that challenged and transformed the traditional values of Spain in the 1970s, the wave of erotic fiction anticipated the cultural and political turnover that followed Franco’s death in 1975. However, this fictional mode did not always run parallel to the assimilation of democratic values; rather, it often served to expose the internal contradictions Spaniards faced in the private sphere as they embraced more egalitarian attitudes. High and low erotic genres became the imaginary/liberatory arena in which gender, sexual, social and cultural differences could be played out, subverted, reappropriated, and renegotiated without substantial political consequences, often disengaging desire from the commitment to progressive attitudes toward change.

This monograph does not try to encompass or rigidly define the vast realm of erotic fiction. Instead, it systematically evaluates the development of sexual and sentimental themes through a close historical and contextual study of more than 40 novels and short stories, which are linked by a number of love paradigms (adolescent love, jealousy, adultery, homosexual desire, women’s epistolary writing, etc.) and archetypes (don Juan, vampires). The book also delineates the role that these themes play in a type of fiction that exhibits elements of the Bildungsroman, the picaresque, the pastoral novel, the generational chronicle, the psychological novel, and tales of the fantastic.

An understanding of the symbolism, visual style, characters, motifs, and practices of sexual desire is key to a greater understanding of the social, religious, and existential themes present in the Spanish collective imaginary. This, in turn, allows for a revealing analysis of the evolution of eroticism vis-à-vis the democratic coming-of-age of contemporary Spain.