Christine Henseler - This book applies models that reflect the fluid, mediated, hybrid, and nomadic global scenes within which Generation X artists and writers live, think, and work in Spain


Christine Henseler, Spanish Fiction in the Digital Age: Generation X Remixed, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
read it at Google Books


www.christinehenseler.com/



This book applies models that reflect the fluid, mediated, hybrid, and nomadic global scenes within which Generation X artists and writers live, think, and work in Spain. Henseler touches on critical insights in comparative media studies, cultural studies, and social theory, and conveys the nuances of multiple voices, facts, figures, and faces.



“This thoroughly engaging and highly original study not only sheds new light on contemporary Spanish literature and Spanish cultural studies, it proposes new and exciting ways of studying literature in the twenty-first century. Henseler adapts some of the devices used in the texts themselves to her own writing, providing a thought-provoking, multidisciplinary, and revitalizing approach. In an open (sometimes literal) dialogue with a wide-range of disciplines, the book demonstrates the remarkable impact that Spanish and global popular culture (from pop art to music videos), film, modern technology, and new media have had in the Spanish literary production of the democratic period. The book and its author are set to become essential references in every study of contemporary Spanish literature.”—Santiago Fouz-Hernández


“This is a book that not only uses interdisciplinary and intelligent tools of literary analysis appropriate of the twenty-first century, but also proposes new paths and leads to brilliant findings. A book that, most certainly, will become an international reference on the study of new Spanish narrative.”—Agustín Fernández Mallo


“In a time where some readers (and also some critics) in Spain are beleaguered by the latest changes in narrative, Henseler brings us new theoretical tools to achieve a better understanding of a prose profoundly sown with scientific, philosophic, artistic, and afterpop references. Henseler’s work shows an alternative, savvy, and compelling vision of contemporary Spanish literature. Spanish Fiction in the Digital Age is of utmost importance in the study of the relations between literature and social behaviors in Spanish contemporary narratives.”—Vicente Luis Mora


 “The big paradox is that American scholars seem to read and know more about Spanish fiction than most Spanish writers and critics. Once more, Christine Henseler sheds her bright light on us!”—Gabriela Bustelo

An Overview of the Book’s Nodes

1                                  Tales of Generation X
Noticing Generation X, 1950–70
The Brat-Packers, 1970–80
Generation X of the 1990s
Left Between the Blank: Tales of Generation X

2                                  Punked Out and Smelling Like Afterpop
 La Movida and Generation X
 Punk’s Dictum to “Tell It Like It Is”
From Avant-Pop to Afterpop
Historias del Kronen by José Angel Mañas, Afterpop

3                                  Generation MTV
The Rise of MTV
MTV Aesthetics and Generation X Fiction
Setting the Scene: Reading Music Video Clips
What Is Video Clip Literature?: Héroes by Ray Loriga

4                                  From MTV to The Real World of Generation X Fiction
“Reality-Based” Television
On the Road with Generation X
Generation X: A Postdocumentary “Realist Project”
The Real World of Big Brother in Veo veo by Gabriela Bustelo

5                                  From Generation X to the Mutantes
“X” Mutations
 Material Mutations
Rules of the Game
The Video Game Ático by Gabi Martínez

6                                  Generation X and the Mutantes, A Mash-Up

Mallo’s Punk Remake and Spam Poetics
Blank Mutations in Error
Avant-pop in the Digital Age
Mashing Nocilla Dream by Agustín Fernández Mallo

CONCLUSION
Generation X Remixed: A Conversation
Back to Ground Zero
From Analog to Digital Literary Criticism



Imagine a book that provides a detailed account of the fiction by so-called Generation X writers and post-Generation Xers (my term, not Henseler's) while at the same time giving you a hands-on feel for the porous, interactive aesthetics in which the writers engaged. Spanish Fiction of the Digital Age: Generation X Remixed is such a book. Christine Henseler's imaginative, collaborative, remixed text assays a new kind of literary criticism in which the scholar participates in an ongoing dialogue with other scholars, with the fiction writers, and with herself. Henseler includes sidebars (in shaded boxes) on nearly every page that contain responses to her ideas from other critics and from the authors she analyzes, as well as pertinent material from and links to the Internet. This practice upends typical academic quotations, which are filtered through the author's viewpoint to bolster an  argument. Henseler's discussion exists on the same plane as comments by others without reducing them to a single point of view. It is perhaps the closest one could come in the traditional print media to an interactive chat room, simulating what some writers attempted to achieve in their fiction: "it is through non-traditional means such as blogs, literary magazines, videos, or fanzines that Mutantes must insert their critical voices and break down barriers between authors, readers, and critics" (Henseler 152).
                Amazingly, Henseler accomplishes this feat without sacrificing sound scholarship. Spanish Fiction of the Digital Age is exceptionally well researched. Henseler knows the primary literature (not only in Spanish but in other languages--particularly English and German), the secondary literature, and a great deal about the media (MTV, video games, the Internet, and reality TV) that underpin the aesthetics of a sector of recent Spanish fiction. She cites all the significant bibliography on Generation X, such as Cristina Moreiras Menor's Cultura herida: Literatura y cine en la España democrática, whose final chapter is devoted to the phenomenon, Carmen Urioste's Novela y sociedad en la España contemporánea (1994-2009), which covers the same period from a more socio-political perspective, and the seminal articles included in Generation X Rocks: Contemporary Peninsular Fiction, Film, and Rock Culture that Henseler edited with Randolph Pope. Henseler's own approach is more akin to Eva Martínez Navarro's La novela de la Generación X, which "examined the role of television, video, and music on Gen X novels' themes, structures, and parameters" (Henseler 3).
              Henseler's interpretation of Spanish fiction in the digital age draws on these sources, but she deepens our understanding of how new technological media function and how writers with similar experiences with this media differ significantly in their literary appropriation of it. She makes an important distinction between "early" Generation X writers, like José Ángel Mañas and Ray Loriga, the so-called "dirty realists" who focus on drugs and rock and roll, and a later group, for which she suggests several names:  "the 'Nocilla Generation' based on Agustín Fernández Mallo's trilogy Nocilla Dream (2006), Nocilla Experience (2007), and Nocilla Lab (2009); the "After-Pops," in line with Eloy Fernández Porta's much acclaimed critical work in After-Pop: la literatura de la implosión mediática (2007); and the term [she] prefer[s], the "Mutantes," as best expressed in the short story volume Mutantes: Narrativa española de última generación (2007), coedited by Juan Francisco Ferré and Julio Ortega" (8). The latter are more cosmopolitan and project a less pessimistic view of life and media than the earlier writers.
              The book is divided into six chapters that follow a chronological format. Most center on a particular media phenomenon with an in-depth analysis of one work that exemplifies it. Chapter one surveys the history of the term Generation X. Chapter two focuses on the background to José Ángel Mañas's (by most accounts) watershed Historias del Kronen, including La Movida, Punk, and Avant-Pop, to conclude that Historias is Afterpop. Chapter three provides a comprehensive history of the rise of MTV and a detailed analysis of Ray Loriga's Héroes as an example of video-clip literature. Chapter four concerns the impact of reality-based television as exemplified in Gabriela Bustelo's Veo, veo. The Mutantes and video games, represented by Gabi Martínez's Ático, are chapter five's topic. The mash-up aesthetics of Agustín Fernández Mallo's Nocilla Dream occupy much of chapter six.
              In sum, this is a ground-breaking book. Its format, which simulates, assimilates, and remixes new technological media is fresh and innovative, and its content is a compelling, nuanced reassessment of recent Spanish fiction. Spanish Fiction in the Digital Age is playful and serious, informative and provocative--a delightful and instructive read. - Roberta Johnson


 "Generation X" in Spain moves through two waves. The first one takes place during the 1980s and 1990s, and the second one in the twenty-first century. The authors of the second wave are called "Mutantes" and more information about this group can be found in Spanish Fiction in the Digital Age: Generation X Remixed, by Christine Henseler.

"Spanish “Generation X” writers include a particular base group, or first wave, of writers publishing in the early to mid- 1990s, including the well-known names of José Angel Mañas, Ray Loriga, Benjamín Prado, Lucía Etxebarria, and Gabriela Bustelo. Although these writers have publicly rejected the term (as most Generation X’ers do), it is important to note that they do not just fit into the demographic, but their rejection of being categorized as a literary group in itself points to a GenX consciousness. These authors fit perfectly into the GenX demographic: they were born between 1962 and 1977 and began to publish in the early 1990s. Their lives were defined by socially improved conditions and both the men and women have high levels of education and have worked in a variety of professions. These writers were and are still active in the music industry, visual arts and television, as actors, and film and television directors. They consume movies, television, computer games, and music from around the world. They are multilingual and have lived and traveled abroad, often for long periods of time. They are the first generation to grow up fully immersed in technology. Their worldview was shaped by MTV when its repertoire consisted of 100% music video clips and when advertising became a source of entertainment rather than an interruption of it. Their lives were first determined by technologies that asked them to get up and change a channel, record a video, listen to a tape, or pick up the phone. Today, the first group of Spanish GenX writers’s comfort with technology displays itself readily in their web pages, their blogs, and their use of electronic mail.
              In this book I extend the “Generation X” label to a second group of writers who recently have been dubbed the “Nocilla Generation,” based on novelist Agustín Fernández Mallo’s trilogy Nocilla Dream (2006), Nocilla Experience (2007), and Nocilla Lab (2009). They have also been termed the “After-Pop” generation, in line with Eloy Fernández Porta’s much-acclaimed book After-Pop la literatura de la implosión mediática (2007).[i] These novelists still belong to the “Generation X” demographic. They were born in the 1960s and 1970s, although they are on average 5-10 years younger than the first cohort. The work of writers such as Juan Francisco Ferré (b. 1962), Andrés Neumann (b. 1977), Jorge Carrión (b. 1976), or Mercedes Cebrián (b. 1971), is less minimalist and colloquial in style; it includes less references to the world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and it presents less of a disenchanted and nihilist worldview than their forerunners. Their work suggests a maturation of the GenX perspective, one in which cynicism has paved the way for a more more well defined presentation of self and a more conscious engagement with technology." - Excerpt from Spanish Fiction in the Digital Age: Generation X Remixed


Generation X in Spain

Christine Henseler, Generation X Goes Global: Mapping a Youth Culture in Motion, Routledge, 2012.
read it at Google Books


This edited volume is the first book of its kind to engage critics’ understanding of Generation X as a global phenomenon. Citing case studies from around the world, the research collected here broadens the picture of Generation X as a demographic and a worldview. The book traces the global and local flows that determine the identity of each country’s youth from the 1970s to today. Bringing together twenty scholars working on fifteen different countries and residing in eight different nations, this book present a community of diverse disciplinary voices. Contributors explore the converging properties of "Generation X" through the fields of literature, media studies, youth culture, popular culture, sociology, philosophy, feminism, and political science. Their ideas also enter into conversation with fourteen other "textbox" contributors who address the question of "Who is Generation X" in other countries. Taken together, they present a highly interactive and open book format whose conversations extend to the reading public on the website www.generationxgoesglobal.com.


'This exciting collection of essays explores Generation X as a global phenomenon in an approach that combines literary, political, and cultural analysis. The result is a cutting-edge volume that offers a broad, international, and rich study of Generation X, making the book essential reading for anyone interested in new insights into Generation X and global views on youth culture.' Sonia Baelo-Allué


'Recommended. Contributors successfully demonstrate that Generation X is the first "global generation," influenced by both domestic and international events at an unprecedented rate. It is noteworthy that as the book was compiled, each contributor had a chance to read what others wrote for the project and discuss their essays through the project's wiki site. As a result, each chapter is in conversation with the others, helping create a holistic perspective on the generation…[T]he book is an informative source for students and researchers of global youth culture.' –  Y. Kiuchi


Hybrid Storyspaces: Redefining the Critical Enterprise in Twenty-First Century Hispanic Literature
Co-edited with Debra Castillo (Cornell University)
Hispanic Issues On Line,
 2012. (free access)
Generation X Rocks: Contemporary Peninsular Fiction, Film, and Rock Culture Co-edited with Randolph Pope (Univ. of Virginia).
Hispanic IssuesVanderbilt University Press, 2007.
Market Matters: Literary Commodities and Exchanges in Hispanic Publishing The Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies. Volume 9, 2006. Co-editor Alejandro Herrero-Olaizola (Univ. of Michigan) 
En sus propias palabras: escritoras españolas ante el mercado literario Madrid: Ediciones Torremozas, 2003.


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