Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Looking for Paradise. Utopia as a Social Issue in Basque Poetry

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2016), 93, (10), 1173–1195.

Abstract

The study of spatial issues in literature has been an object of serious questioning in the last few decades, due to its close connection with identity and territory, but also with the socio-political concerns. From the period before the Spanish Civil War up to the present day there has been in the twentieth century an intense reflection on the poet’s relationship with the issue of fictional space as a means of examining national identity, sometimes with nostalgia for a lost paradise, and sometimes with a dream of an ideal future in utopia. This paper reviews the representation of space in contemporary Basque literature and the evolution from the representation of an Arcadian land of the past to a quest for a new Eden in the future that will overcome present-day conflicts. For that purpose, some texts of modern Basque literature are discussed and a poem by Bernardo Atxaga ‘Written in USA’ (2002) is closely analysed.

El estudio de asuntos relacionados con el espacio en la literatura ha sido objeto de análisis en profundidad a lo largo de las últimas décadas, debido a su relación directa con la identidad y el territorio, pero también con asuntos socio-políticos. Desde el periodo anterior a la Guerra Civil española hasta hoy ha existido en el siglo veinte una intensa reflexión en lo concerniente a la relación del poeta con el asunto del espacio ficticio, como una forma de analizar la identidad nacional, en ocasiones con la nostalgia de un paraíso perdido, y en otras como el sueño de una utopía futura. Este artículo revisa la representación del espacio en la literatura contemporánea vasca y su evolución desde la representación de una Arcadia del pasado hasta la búsqueda de un Edén futuro que pueda superar los conflictos presentes. Para ese propósito, se mencionan textos diferentes de la literatura vasca moderna y un poema de Bernardo Atxaga titulado ‘Escrito en USA’ (2002) es analizado con detenimiento.

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Imaz, Lourdes Otaegi