Niebla therefore does not refer to the plot, and even if the word crops up regularly and playfully in the novel, it refers indirectly to what Unamuno believed a novel should be. This is then his nebulous experiment. As an alternative he proposes to let the novel write itself, without plan. The plot is to unfold in a muddled and disorderly fashion, similarly to life. They will speak a great deal even if they have nothing to say but this language will portray them.
There is consequently a great deal of dialogue, or the most natural of spontaneous of languages, in Niebla. This writing without a goal is however, at a great distance from the later Surrealist "automatic writing". Niebla then reads very similarly to a play.
There is no Modernist twisting of meanings. Language in its social aspect becomes suspect. Alternatively, he also wants to explore the inner language and how to get into the mind of the protagonist without making the author too impossibly intrusive. Rather than a Woolfian stream of consciousness, we have a dog. This is a charming dog. The suitably named Orfeo becomes the Alter-Ego of Don Augusto, so that we know what he thinks, again through dialogue, and at the end the dog will also utter his own words.
This literary role of the dog is explicitly explained to us by Unamuno, who increasingly interferes in his novel.
But the most striking aspect of this novel is Unamuno playing with himself and his Authorship. It all begins with the fictitious Prologue of a fictitious writer who disagrees with the real author on what is the true plot of the novel. The author will then later on creep in the novel to tell us that his characters are talking about him and rebelling against him, but he laughs at their futile efforts, since he is the god of this literary creation Yo soy el Dios de estos dos pobres diablos nivolescos.
Who do you think got the upper hand? At the beginning of my reading, the clarity and simplicity in the writing disappointed me. I felt a divergence between the intentions and the form, but as I proceeded, I detected more and more of the humour and laughed out loud several times. I applaud Unamuno in his ability to formulate a parody of something which was not quite there yet.
View all 34 comments. Politically unsettling times at the onset of The Great War. Fragmentation in the world and a tendency to see through a glass darkly perhaps was the inspiration for "Fog" written by Miguel de Unamuno. Augusto, a pampered, wealthy intellectual, still reeling two years after his mother's death, was bored with life.
Bored, until the day he spotted a girl with beautiful eyes.
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He followed her home and gleaned the necessary information. She was single, orphaned, and lived with her aunt and uncle. Left almost destitute by her father after a stock market crash, she gave piano lessons to pay off the heavily mortgaged house she had inherited. Up until now, Augusto existed in a fog. He now had wild dreams about the undying love of his own creation. Augusto, introverted and unsure of himself, confers with friend Victor. Victor tells him that Eugenia's presence has awakened Augusto's senses to women collectively. Feelings for a singular woman will help him to consider branching out and experiencing life and love.
Augusto's "over the top" fascination with Eugenia is problematic since Eugenia has a fiance, Mauricio. Despite Mauricio's presence, Augusto is selfless. He pays off Eugenia's mortgage and eliminates her debts. While Eugenia's aunt calls Augusto her favorite suitor, strong willed Eugenia is determined to marry lazy, unemployed Mauricio, a bum who detests the idea of work.
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She feels that Augusto is trying to "buy her". The fog that is life envelopes Augusto. He converses with his dog Orfeo, who listens to his soliloquies and thoughts on love. Augusto wants to end his own life. He visits author Unamuno, his creator. Unamuno informs him that he is just a character in a novel and only an author can make life or death decisions for the characters.
It is very creative and thought provoking.
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A most enjoyable tome. View all 3 comments. It may just be that in this period words seem to not want to come at me -they almost seem to refuse to be summoned, or maybe they want me me to seek them harder, and I can't. So it may be me, it may be the words, but in this case I think it is the book. I don't feel like there is much about it to be said. You should probably know, before my attempt at saying something , that I am a huge admirer of Luigi Pirandello 's work. To me, he is one of a kind, and he is unequalled. My Spanish professor swears up and down that Unamuno and Pirandello never read each other's works, but their philosophies are disconcertingly similar, and, useless to say, Unamuno's appears to me ad the rough copy of Pirandello's.
This may be due exclusively to the fact that I'd read and loved. And reread. And reloved Pirandello before Unamuno's arrival in my literary panorama, or it may be due to the fact that Pirandello's world is so wide and deep and ample no matter the dimension you're considering, and Unamuno gave me not even the littlest hint of the vertigo Pirandello gives me. Now, moving on to the book: Niebla is one of the most interesting literary experiments I've ever had the pleasure to see.
It's about the collision of two worlds, the real and the fictional ones, and this I can't help but enjoy. It's the story that the author uses as background where the main flaw of the book lies: uneventful, uninteresting, gray. Un-meaningful more than meaningless, and I can't say whether the latter would have been a less unappreciative adjective.
Especially when reading books that I know have been written following a solid and sound conceptual system, I expect to and enjoy finding in each episode of the plot a more or less veiled reference to that system. I like when actions are soaked with thoughts.
And what I felt was that in this book, if not very superficially, they weren't. I think I will just stick with Pirandello. View all 5 comments. Shelves: netgalley , fiction , spain , philosophical , dog , humor , magical-realism. A philosophical novel, recently republished, with a sufficient dose of the fun factor to make it a pleasure for me.
Unamuno was a leftist novelist, playwright, and essayist who served as a professor of Greek and Classics at the University of Salamanca. It A philosophical novel, recently republished, with a sufficient dose of the fun factor to make it a pleasure for me.
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It plays on proto-existentialist concepts such as the absurdity of the illusion of free will, the Shakespearean sense of our life as being like actors on a stage, and more ancient notions of our existence being but a dream by our God. The special and delightful twist comes when our main character, Augusto, recognizes Unamumo himself as the god-author responsible for his torments in seeking love. Recognizing this book as innovative does not prove it to be a fun read for contemporary readers.
Let me paint the scenario a bit to help you see if it could be your cup of tea. We meet Augusto who is an aimless aristocrat. Strike one against our loving him. But he begins to charm us with his innocence and naivete and can readily appreciate his impetus to seek love to fill some of the emptiness he feels in life.
A random encounter and glance with a woman on the street, Eugenia, leads him to follow her and then to dig information about her from the concierge at her residence. Strike two against him for stalking. A windmill he must tilt at is that Eugenia is already engaged to marry. Maybe he is deluded, but his eloquence can be fetching: Thanks to love, I can feel my soul in a palpable way, I can touch it. The very core of my soul aches, thanks to love. And what is the soul if not love, if not the incarnation of pain? As Augusto recognizes that only virtue can win the day for him, he bides his time while demonstrating selfless generosities to Eugenia.
Meanwhile, the love awakened in his heart opens him to the susceptibility of falling in love with other women he encounters. The laundry girl, Rosario, catches his eye, and soon the dance of affection ensues between them. I found myself engaged in a hit at the plate beating a strike-three count. Just as he is about to take his fate into his own hands, we get the absurdity of him taking his case to the author. But the reader gets the last laugh. In the beginning was the Word, and through the Word everything was created. As a sliver of a sample of this perfect end to the tale, Orfeo concludes: Man is such a strange animal.
This book was provided by the publisher for review through the Netgalley program. View all 7 comments. Oct 04, Fabian rated it really liked it. It is an important feat, a relevant historical artifact in how the writer tries to break ties with classic conventions of the novel.
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In the s. This is an extension of that very Spanish trait--the one in which the writer cannot unglue himself from his creation, indeed intrinsically becoming part of the work himself. While Unamunos influence on the Spanish modernist literature is evident, I failed to pay him the respect he may have deserved.
Some of the identity games that may have been new and interesting thoughts to the then Spanish audience are today utterly uninteresting.
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