Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Modern Languages and Literatures (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Elena Grau-Lleveria

Second Committee Member

María Y. Gavela

Third Committee Member

Lillian Manzor

Fourth Committee Member

Aurora Morcillo


This dissertation explores the construction of autobiographical projects in four contemporary Spanish narratives: Entre amigas, written by Laura Freixas (1998), Sangre by Mercedes Abad (2000), El pájaro de la felicidad, directed by Pilar Miró and La vida secreta de las palabras by Isabel Coixet (2005). I argue that these artistic productions are alterations of the traditional Künstlerroman and that, they all share aesthetic and ideological characteristics distinctive of the Postmodernism and Postmodernity. These texts review, restructure and extend the traditional literary genre of the modern artist novel in two ways. The use of literary and philosophical theories allows me to analyze two aspects of these narratives that are almost never examined together. On one hand, I examine the artist novel with female protagonists created by women authors without considering them as an exception of the masculine norm. On the other hand, I explore how the main characters of these texts use the concepts of past and history as elements that allow them to deconstruct the grand narratives of Bildungsroman, all these mediated by the use of autobiographical postmodern strategies. The postmodern forms of the autobiographical projects: the revision of the past and the re-appropriation of history from a biographic perspective, propose an interesting combination of individual history that superimposes national history. However, this takes place without the annulment of any of the two and without transforming them into structures of narratives of formation (Bildungsroman). The literary and cultural phenomenon analyzed in this dissertation indicates that these “artist texts” privilege the personal experience of history and not the place of the subject in history. Therefore, the concept of subject (one of the grand narratives of Modernity that is also disarticulated on this period of Modernity) is recovered in the narratives of this study through the mediation of the artistic production. Nevertheless, from my perspective, it’s not about reinstituting a subject variant but about the positive denial of the implicit concept of subject from a political and philosophical vision, all these characteristic of the period of Modernity. Thus, these (de)formation-formation narratives disarticulate the multiple versions of Bildungsroman and Künstlerroman. It’s precisely in this sense that art acquires a different function with respect to the “modern artist texts”. Art becomes the vehicle by which the different protagonists can revisit, redefine, and create their own life projects. These life projects always materialize themselves in a continuous present that, without negating the past or future, conceive a notion of time that supersedes monolithic and holistic visions of the I.


Postmodernism; Postmodern artist text; Autobiographical narratives; Kunstlerroman; Contemporary Spanish Narratives