Mi / 10:00 – 11:30

Literary Populism

Internal Colloquium, open to members of the University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr)

Bécquer Seguín, KWI International Fellow

Virtual Meeting

This talk examines the making of Fernando Aramburu’s 2016 novel Patria. It argues that the novel’s origins are to be found in a 2011 op-ed in El País written by Aramburu, which, once novelized, became into one of most widely read and decorated works of Spanish literature in recent memory. A fictional recreation of the Basque conflict between the armed, pro-independence group ETA and the Spanish state, the novel has been celebrated for frequently shifting its viewpoint from victim to perpetrator. While narrative technique of alternating viewpoints from one chapter to the next is relatively common, in Patria it reaches an extreme I call “literary populism.” Literary populism names the strategy of novels that purport to depict “real people” over elites, to paint society as Manichean, and to turn social and political questions into highly charged moral quandaries. Embracing this framework for understanding Basque society, Patria has become the inadvertent handmaiden of a resurgent Spanish nationalism, fanning the flames of a new wave of right-wing populism that has, elsewhere, plunged Europe into a social-democratic crisis.

The ColloKWIum provides a platform to present and discuss ongoing as well as emerging research projects. It does not solely address research projects from within the KWI, but is also open to guest lectures which tie in with the KWI’s research agenda.

Internal Colloquium, open to members of the University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr).