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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Actitudes socio-políticas de Vicente Blasco Ibáñez Clavero, Dolores

Abstract

Blasco Ibáñez's political and social outlook is still a controversial subject in the field of Spanish literary criticism. He has been called a radical, a communist, a socialist and an anarchist on the one hand, and, on the other, a petit bourgeois whose ideology lacked depth and who wrote largely for pecuniary interest. This thesis considers his socio-political attitudes apparent from a study of selected works from all phases of his literary career. Chapter I studies Blasco's early commitment to the Spanish Republican Party and the period of his political activity as a Parliamentary Deputy. It is shown that from his early youth Blasco was opposed to extremism of both right and left, but that he adopted a radical attitude largely out of political necessity. This resulted in literary works of considerable ambiguity: "La barraca", "Cañas y barro", and above all his "novelas de tesis" clearly demonstrate this point. Although written apparently to defend the cause of the peasant and the proletariat, Blasco in fact allows the reader to conclude either that the revolution is impossible, or that, should it ever take place, its results would be negative. Chapter II studies "Los argonautas", written after Blasco had abandoned politics, and "Los cuatro jinetes del Apocalipsis". In the first novel, released from his commitment as a political figure, Blasco arrived at a rampant defence of capitalism as the only effective road to social reform and progress. In "Los cuatro jinetes", the novel written about and during the First World War, he is seen to return to an ambivalent position, partially to be explained by his loss of faith in the power of technology and private capital alone to solve social problems. Chapter III deals with two late works, "Estudios literarios" and "La vuelta al mundo de un novelista" in which Blasco pours out his thoughts and opinions directly without the vehicle of fiction, revealing his suspicion of radical political ideologies and his inability to face up to the facts of poverty and its associated ignorance. The final conclusion is that, in spite of the variety of circumstances during Blasco's extremely active life, no notable changes occurred in his socio-political attitudes which were clearly progressive for the Spain of his time but never radical. However, it seems evident that he became increasingly sceptical towards the solutions to social problems offered by the different political creeds and consequently he adopted utopic attitudes as a form of escapism. But his firm belief in action as the main justification of human existence demanded of him a more positive response. This he achieved through his lifelong commitment to the republican ideal and his strong belief in the mission of the novelist as educator of the masses.

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