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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name


First Advisor

Francisco J. Higuero


This dissertation explores the existentialist concept of the individual self as spirit as observed by Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, as it presents itself within the inner psyche of the autodiegetic narrator of each of three contemporary Spanish novels: La tempestad by Juan Manuel de Prada, El misterio de la cripta embrujada by Eduardo Mendoza, and La mirada de la muñeca hinchable by Javier Tomeo.

The first chapter deals with the narrator of La tempestad, Alejandro, as he travels to Italy and discovers his individual self via earnestness, through a series of realizations facilitated solely be Venice and its inhabitants. The discovery of the self is extended to that of spirit, which, in the Kierkegaardian sense, leads the narrator to despair. This chapter follows the psychological movement of the narrator, which begins with innocuous passivity and ends in a state of merciless suffering.

The second chapter provides an analysis of the concept of the choice between the esthetic and ethical stages via the autodiegetic narrator of El misterio de la cripta embrujada, Loquelvientosellevó, in which it is demonstrated that this psychiatric patient is not only sane, but capable of solving crimes that others cannot. In this chapter, Kierkegaard’s observation of anxiety as originating from the freedom to be able is explored as it presents itself within the inner psyche of the narrator as a result of inwardness.

The third chapter exposes the absence of both the ethical and esthetic stages as evidenced throughout the narration of Juan P in La mirada de la muñeca hinchable, as he demonstrates a complete lack of self, and therefore, the inability to discover his self as spirit. This chapter analyzes details of the narration in which these absences contribute to an overall sense of nonexistence, further proving that, as compared to those of the other novels analyzed in this dissertation, this narrator is the furthest away from his self.

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