Juan Goytisolo Essay - Critical Essays

Goytisolo, Juan (Vol. 10)


Goytisolo, Juan 1931–

Goytisolo is a Spanish novelist known for his works of ideological social comment. A child during the Spanish Civil War, he often reflects his experiences with a powerful, violent realism in works that are documentary in character. Considered part of the Spanish new wave, he has earned the reputation of the best Spanish novelist of his generation. (See also CLC, Vol. 5.)

Mary E. Giles

Juegos de manos [The Young Assassins] … reveals a … consistent and coherent treatment of the theme [of the scapegoat figure].

The narrative of Juegos de manos is structured into five main parts, formalized as chapters; these in turn are subdivided into cinematographically presented episodes. Through each of these five parts the scapegoat motif gradually takes shape as the characters assume appropriate archetypal roles…. [The] scapegoat motif effectively clarifies the universality of the novel's specific vision of man….

The novel as a totality forcefully portrays the alienation and lack of purpose in a group of bourgeois Madrid youths….


(The entire section is 1133 words.)

Reed Anderson

Señas de identidad [Marks of Identity] is the detailed and intimate, yet broad and panoramic exploration of a personal crisis. Álvaro Mendiola, the author and protagonist (or perhaps Unamuno's term "agonist" would be more appropriate) portrays his own experience as a member of a specific generation of young Spaniards who were born during the thirties, and for whom the Civil War is one of their childhood memories. He is the descendant of a tradition-bound family of industrialists and landowners whose values he despises…. The complex contradictions between these profound roots in a reactionary and dying social class, and Álvaro's conscious efforts to align himself sincerely and integrally with progressive...

(The entire section is 1287 words.)

V. S. Pritchett

[The subject of exile] was established in "Marks of Identity" and "Count Julian;" now "Juan the Landless" … completes a trilogy…. [Goytisolo's] novels are a sustained skirl of love-hatred for the country he derisively calls "Sunnyspain" of the travel brochures, or "the foul Stepmother." He has the traditional Catalan contempt for the central power of Castilian government and culture, its stagnant bureaucracy, monkish fanaticism, and cruelty—the lifeless formality and obedience to custom which put a lasting puritan gooseflesh on the famous Spanish stoics and saints and on the spontaneous sexual life of the natural man…. Savage digs at the Castilian classics are among the farcical passages of "Count Julian."…...

(The entire section is 723 words.)