The novelist Luis Goytisolo has collected his essayistic-literary articles in The Future of the Word (Taurus, 2002) ever since the years of the Transition. This is a work in which some of the themes that reach full development in the current essay begin to come to light. But it is only here, in Nature of the Novel, that the author sets out and develops the fundamental ideas which the title alludes to. What is this literary genre we call the novel, what do we understand by this term today? When does it begin? What are its origins and characteristics? What are the direct and indirect factors that contribute to its creation as a genre, even the unconscious components that exist in its beginnings? Why does it appear to have entered into crisis now? Questions and answers, in some cases, that will become evident to the reader and yet nobody had asked until now.
This is an essay written by a novelist, not by a philologist or a critic, similar to those which were written in their day by Paul Valéry, Aldous Huxley or T.S. Eliot, and which Luis Goytisolo regards so highly. And if the best critics tend to be (when they try) mediocre novelists, novelists and poets can be excellent critics as they can perceive the problems from the inside.This is something that without doubt Luis Goytisolo has achieved with this work: an essay about the novel which reads like a novel.
Luis Goytisolo (Barcelona, 1935) won the Premio Biblioteca Breve with his first novel, Las afueras, and he has since become on of the most prestigious figures in the world of Spanish literature. He is the author of various novels, including Antagonía. Among numerous prizes, he was awarded the Premio Nacional de Literatura. He is a member of the Spanish Royal Academy.