"Nuevas Andanzas y Desventuras de Lazarillo de Tormes": Politica y cultura en el palimpsesto de Camilo Jose Cela

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Donald A. Randolph - Committee Chair


Camilo Jose Cela's third novel, Nuevas andanzas y desventuras de Lazarillo de Tormes (1944), is a re-elaboration or palimpsest of the XVI century Lazarillo de Tormes. This palimpsest is analyzed as a cultural and political endorsing vehicle for the Spanish fascist movement, the Falange of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera. It is argued that Cela's novel is a subtle discursive instrument of Falangist cultural/political proselytism. A text that makes use of Spanish picaresque (imitation and repetition) to legitimize itself, in order to rehabilitate the genre (transformation) according to Falangist doctrine. The study is structured in four chapters. The first characterizes the context (Spain, 1939-1945) and associates it to Genette's palimpsest theory. Several reasons for the symbiosis are then considered. The second chapter studies the novel's structure and organization, and examines the manner of its inclusion into the picaresque textual tradition. Chapters three and four detail the transformation that takes place in the rewriting. Lazaro is turned into an antipicaro. His narration functions on one side to criticize those social and cultural traits hostile to the spirit of the new Francoist Spain, and on the other to 'promote' the falangismo's tenets. It censures what the party deems unacceptable in the Spanish society of the time. It also advocates what the party wishes for this society and its citizens to become. Lazaro himself is a prototype for the new Spanish man. His autobiography hopes to amend the legacy of Lazarillo de Tormes and the picaresque genre, while opportunely presenting his story as a disguised apologia of Spanish fascism.


Literature, Modern; Literature, Romance

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