Associate professor, Hispanic Literatures
Christian Claesson received his Ph.D. in Hispanic Literatures from Harvard University 2009 and is currently Associate Professor of Spanish at Lund University, Sweden.
He wrote his dissertation on Uruguayan writer Juan Carlos Onetti and Argentinian writer Juan José Saer and has focused on Spanish and Latin American 20th century literature. Aside from “Cosmopolitan and Vernacular Dynamics in World Literatures”, he is also involved in a research project on subjectivity and social criticism in the different narratives of the ongoing Spanish crisis.
Towards a Comparative Understanding of the Contemporary Literatures in Spain
My project constitutes a comparative understanding of the contemporary literatures in Spain. There have certainly been attempts to include non-Spanish letters in overviews of the literature in Spain, as well as university courses that include elements of non-Spanish letters, but no comparative project seems to have been undertaken. Spanish literature is a construction that needs to be problematized from the perspective of comparative literature, not only because regionalist movements are as strong as ever, but also because nobody has a clear picture of the general literary production in Spain. In a previous project, I studied how “Spanish” literature represented and responded to the severe economic, social, historical and constitutional crisis that has whipped the country for the last decade, but notwithstanding my efforts to cover ground, I also understood that I was unaware of how the crisis was treated in the (untranslated) non-Spanish language literatures—even though these treat issues belonging to the same national reality. The focus, then, will be on how literatures in the official languages could by studied on a horizontal plane and how this study could be configured theoretically and historically.
Even though literary history must be taken into account my primary focus is the current situation. Historical comparisons have been made and are underway, but no study has been made on the contemporary period, with its specific cultural and political circumstances. A global understanding of contemporary letters in Spain demands a postmonolingual approach prepared to break with previous literary, cultural, institutional, and political conventions.