Readers’ Response to Isabel Allende’s Fiction: A Critical Study of Her Cross-Cultural Popularity in Britain and Spain

Author: Fanjul Fanjul, María C.
Year:2014
Pages:256
ISBN:1-4955-0280-5
978-1-4955-0280-4
Price:199.95
Aim of this research is to explore and critically interrogate Isabel Allende's popularity cross-culturally in Britain and Spain. It analyses readers' responses to Allende's works as well as the discourses surrounding her public representation, an approach that is 'readerly' but must also take account of production and text. This approach is intended to further the understanding of Allende's work which so far has always been analysed from a textual perspective. However, the relationship between Allende's popularity, her texts, public representation and readers has not yet been analysed in detail.

Reviews

“… until now Allende’s work has not received the depth and range of exploration it richly deserves. In breaking away from the traditional classifications Fanjul’s bold step is compelling. Her particular lens, “popularity”, opens for readers a complex space, inviting examination and reflection on what draws us into reading that will be of great value for academics, writers and publishers.”
-Dr. Mercedes Carbayo-Abengózar,
Nottingham Trent University, UK
School of Arts and Humanities


“Recognizing the importance of the wider cultural context, Fanjul examines the larger discursive formations around the figures of Isabel Allende as author, historical actor and celebrated Woman. She shows how this larger context often enters into the readings that her book group member made of Allende’s novels.”
-Professor Richard Johnson,
Independent Scholar


Table of Contents

Abstract
Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter One: Why Is Isabel Allende So “Popular”?
-Theoretical Elaborations on The Research Question
Introduction
Exploring the Term “Popular”
What is Involved in Reading?
From Theory to Research:
From Encoding/Decoding to the ‘Nationwide’ Audience
A) Ien Ang: Watching ‘Dallas’: Soap Opera and the Melodramatic Imagination
B) Janice Radway: Reading the Romance
Cultural Consumption in Contexts(s):
-Audiences and Their Everyday lives
Conclusion
Chapter Two: Researching Allende’s Readers:
-From Reading to Negotiating New Identities
Introduction
Allende’s Readers Where Are You?
Reading Groups’ Geographical Distribution
Initial Challenges
British and Spanish Reading Groups’ Specificity Based
On Response Given by the Group
Questionnaires
Conclusion
Chapter Three: ‘Escribiendo Para El Mundo’:
-Isabel Allende’s Appeal From An “Extra-Literary” Perspective
Introduction
Setting the Context: Early Socio-Historical Factors Contributing to Allende’s Transnational Success
Isabel Allende: The Woman Novelist
Isabel Allende: The Political Activist
Isabel Allende: An Ambiguous Relationship with The Canon and The Academy
Conclusion
Chapter Four: British and Spanish Readers’ Responses to Isabel Allende’s Fictional Characters:
Introduction
Characters’ Coherence and Credibility
Readers’ Involvement with Allende’s Characters:
Exploring Gender Identities
Exploring Masculinities
Female Characters’ Political Possibilities
Conclusion
Chapter Five: British and Spanish Readers’ Responses to the Historical and ‘Magical’ in Allende
Introduction
The Historical: A Means to Appraise Allende’s Novels as “Truth”
Temporal and Spatial Markers
Magical Realism and its Significance for Readers
The ‘Magical’ as an obstacle to the Development of Historical Processes
Conclusion
Chapter Six: British and Spanish Readers’ Responses to the “Literary” in Allende
Introduction
The “Literary” in Allende
The “Popular” in Allende
Allende’s Translated Texts
Conclusion
Conclusion: The Readership Perspective on Allende’s “Formulae” of Success
Introduction
Allende’s Popularity:
-Successfully Producing Appealing Public Images
Allende’s Popularity:
-Successfully Connecting with Readers’ Worlds
Allende’s Popularity:
-Successfully Crossing the “Literary” “High/Low” Divide
A Recipe for Success:
-Allende’s Multiple Appeals
Bibliography
Index