This work examines canonical works of the Spanish novela negra genre - "Eduardo Mendoza's El misterio de la cripta embrujada", "El laberinto de aceitunas", and "La aventura del tocador de senoras". Unlike previous studies, this work explores folkloric elements to demonstrate that there is a pervading culture of carnival informing Mendoza's parody of the traditional crime novel. In the wake of Francisco Franco's long dictatorship, various new forms of literature emerged in Spain. A new period of transformation, the so-called Spanish Transition, fostered an environment of experimentation and innovation free from the restrictive barriers of Franco's regime. The Transition proved a period of great hopes and expectations as well as disillusionment and disappointment. This time, above all, provided an opportunity to reflect critically on the history and experience of the nation in the twentieth century. Eduardo Mendoza is one among a generation of writers that experienced the early years of the Transition, the subsequent emergence of the Socialist Party and the reintroduction of Spain to Europe and, indeed, the rest of the world post 1975.This noted Catalan is one of several distinguished writers working within a new genre, the Spanish novela negra, or crime novel.
In particular, he has written three novels "El misterio de la cripta embrujada" (1979), "El laberinto de las aceitunas" (1982) and "La aventura del tocador de senoras" (2001); each featuring an unlikely detective known as Ceferino. This book examines Eduardo Mendoza's three crime novels as a carnivalesque discourse. The work relies on the theory outlined by Mikhail Bakhtin in two of his foundational texts, "Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics" (1929) and "Rabelais' World" (1940). In 1929, Bakhtin sketched out the idea of "carnivalization" as the transposition of the spirit of carnival into art. It was not until his thesis (now known as Rabelais' World) was published in 1960 however that his vision of carnival was understood and the link between the carnivalized text and popular culture emerged. This research focuses on Bakhtin's four 'categories of carnival': free and familiar contact, eccentricity, carnivalistic mesalliances, and profanation, in order to develop a critical framework by which a text may be defined as carnivalesque.Through a comprehensive examination of what each of these categories entails, Bakhtin's paradigm is linked to Eduardo Mendoza's crime trilogy and these texts are consequently defined as undeniably carnivalesque.
The conclusion suggests several possibilities as to why Eduardo Mendoza, as a contemporary Spanish crime fiction writer, employs a carnivalesque discourse to depict post-Franco culture. The Transition and the decade between 1982 and 1992 are defined as periods of rupture from the official order. These years are considered an ideal environment for the unleashing of a carnivalesque ambiance in Spain that inherently effected the aesthetic production of the period, and specifically the works of Eduardo Mendoza.
Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd
Number of pages: 212