Generation of 1898 Short Fiction

Generation of 1898 Short Fiction Essay - Critical Essays

Generation of 1898 Short Fiction


Generation of 1898 Short Fiction

The Generation of 1898 refers to a group of Spanish short-story writers, novelists, poets, and essayists that was profoundly influenced by Spain's humiliating loss in the Spanish-American War (1898). As a result of their defeat by United States, Spain not only lost the valuable colonial lands of Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam, it also was dealt a severe blow to its national pride. The collapse of the Spanish empire, which had survived for nearly 400 years, prompted an orgy of national reflection. Young writers and intellectuals were at the forefront of this self-examination, criticizing the apathetic response of the Spanish people as a spiritual malaise and attacking the old governing order as responsible for the defeat. The Generation of 1898 believed that literature could be utilized to regenerate their country through biting social and political criticism, a renewed interest in the Spanish landscape, and a new interpretation of Spain's artistic tradition. The short stories produced by Generation of 1898 during this time incorporated these defining characteristics.

Recent critics have found the Generation of 1898 to be a limiting and confusing category. They cite recurrent comparisons between the Generation of 1898 and another popular Spanish literary movement in the early years of the twentieth century, known as modernismo. To differentiate between the two movements, they argue that the Generation of 1898 writers produced fiction and essays preoccupied with Spanish nationalism and social commentary, and the modernistas were concerned with aestheticism and literary innovation. It has been noted that several Spanish authors from that time were influenced by both movements, and they have been at one time or another included in both categories. Confusion regarding the two groups has led commentators to assert that the concept of the Generation of 1898 has obscured a clear understanding of Spain's aesthetic and intellectual development at the beginning of the twentieth century. Although the term has become firmly entrenched in literary jargon, a growing number of voices are calling for its elimination from the vocabulary of modern literary historiography.

Representative Works

Azorín [pseudonym of José Martínez Ruiz]
Bohemia: Cuentos (short stories) 1897
Castilla (short stories, sketches, and essays) 1912
Cuentos (short stories) 1956

Emilia Pardo Bazán
Cuentos de Marineda (short stories) 1892
Cuentos nuevos (short stories) 1894
Cuentos de amor (short stories) 1898
Cuentos sacroprofanos (short stories) 1899
Un destripador de antaño y otros cuentos (short stories) 1900
Cuentos dramáticos (short stories) 1901
Cuentos de la patria (short stories) 1902
Cuentos del terruño (short stories) 1907
La sirena negra (novella) 1908
Cuentos de la tierra (short stories) 1923
Cuentos completos. 4 vols. (short stories) 1990
The White Horse and Other Stories [translated by Robert M. Fedorchek] (short stories) 1993
Torn Lace and Other Stories [translated by María Christina Urruela] (short stories) 1996

Vincente Blasco Ibáñez
Cuentos valencianos (short stories) 1896

Gabriel Miró
Figuras de la passion del Señor. [Figures of the Passion of Our Lord] 2 vols. (sketches and stories) 1916-17

Miguel de Unamuno
El espejo de la muerte (short stories) 1913
Abel Sánchez [Abel Sánchez] (novella) 1917
Tres novelas ejemplares y un prólogo [Three Exemplary Novels and a Prologue] (novellas) 1920
La tía Tula (novella) 1921
Don Sandalio, jugador de ajedrez (novella) 1930
San Manuel Bueno, mártir, y tres historias más [Saint Emmanuel the Good, Martyr] (novellas) 1933

Ramon del Valle-Inclán
Femeninas (short stories) 1895
Epitalamio: Historia de amores (novella) 1897
Corte de amor: Florilegio de honestas y nobles damas (short stories) 1903
Jardín umbrío (short stories) 1903

Criticism: Overviews And General Studies

Donald L. Shaw (essay date 1975)

SOURCE: Shaw, Donald L. “Origins and Definitions.” In The Generation of 1898 in Spain, pp. 1-16. London: Ernest Benn Ltd., 1975.

[In the following essay, Shaw traces the origins of the Generation of 1898 and provides a definition of the literary movement.]


The loss of Spain's colonial possessions in continental Latin America in the early nineteenth century was greeted in the mother country with comparative indifference; but the emergence of a liberation movement in Cuba aroused intransigent opposition. Cuba had come to be seen as virtually part of Spain. Its economic importance, especially for Catalonia, was...

(The entire section is 6828 words.)

Antonio Ramos-Gascón (essay date 1988)

SOURCE: Ramos-Gascón, Antonio. “Spanish Literature as a Historiographic Invention: The Case of the Generation of 1898.” In The Crisis of Institutionalized Literature in Spain, edited by Wlad Godzich and Nicholas Spadaccini, pp. 167-93. Minneapolis: The Prisma Institute, 1988.

[In the following essay, Ramos-Gascón contends that “the myth of the Generation of '98 has done nothing but cloud our understanding of the aesthetic and intellectual development of the end of the last century and the beginning of the present one” and argues that the literary movement should be viewed within the scope of Spanish literature.]

In his 1968 essay “Second Thoughts on...

(The entire section is 9003 words.)

Maryellen Bieder (essay date 1995)

SOURCE: Bieder, Maryellen. “Gender and Language: The Womanly Woman and Manly Writing.” In Culture and Gender in Nineteenth-Century Spain, edited by Lou Charnon-Deutsch and Jo Labanyi, pp. 98-119. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995.

[In the following essay, Bieder examines the ways in which women writers in late nineteenth-century Spain maneuver and reposition their writing within gender boundaries.]

In the nineteenth century, male and female literary figures move in separate spheres, and the labels used to designate their activities meld the author's gender with the written product. The most common gendered pairs of words in the Spanish language to identify authors are...

(The entire section is 8764 words.)