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Neophilologus

, Volume 97, Issue 1, pp 85–96 | Cite as

A Blinding Brilliance: Pío Baroja’s Story of the Eye

  • David F. RichterEmail author
Article
  • 123 Downloads

Abstract

This article examines motifs of blindness and corporeal decomposition in Pío Baroja’s best-known novel, Camino de perfección. Through grotesque images of decay and an aggressive sun which blinds, Baroja’s text undermines ocularcentric values and challenges notions of propriety in artistic expression. In essence, the constant recurrence to blindness and the violent nature of the sun contest privileged hierarchies concerning the primacy of vision and subjectivity in literature and art. Considering the persistent fluctuation of narratological voices and viewpoints in Baroja’s 1902 text, both form and content engage in a treatise on multi-perspectivism and difference. Through its unique ethics and aesthetics, Camino de perfección anticipates the transgressive considerations of vision discussed by later European thinkers of the avant-garde, including the French intellectual Georges Bataille. The present study investigates the importance of blindness in Baroja’s volume and demonstrates that through the annihilation of vision, along with the interrogation of the novelistic genre, Baroja’s story of the eye is ahead of its times, surrealist and postmodern avant la lettre.

Keywords

Pío Baroja Camino de perfección Georges Bataille Vision The sun 

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Notes

Acknowledgments

I express sincere thanks to Andrés Zamora for offering helpful commentary on early versions of this essay. I am also grateful for the insightful suggestions from the anonymous reviewers of Neophilologus.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Languages Philosophy and Communication StudiesUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

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