Since his monumentally successful tetralogy, Antagonía, Luis Goytisolo has adapted his literary style to survive the changes in both the publishing world and the greater cultural context of post-Franco Spain. Indeed, his post-Antagonía novels can be divided into two phases: the structurally complex novels of the 1980s, and the more readable novels of the 1990s. Although these two groups of novels differ stylistically, they both form part of Goytisolo's ongoing critique of Western man's investment in subjectivity as either a controlling, self-governed force or a controlled subject, both of which occlude a viable notion of human agency. My study of his novelistic trajectory of the last two decades uncovers two guiding factors: 1) his desire to carve out a space for human agency in the wake of an oppressive dictatorship and 2) his recognition of the postmodernist lesson of complicitous critique, which asserts that we must appropriate the dominant methods of power in order to oppose them.
This article was originally published in Letras Peninsulares, Winter, 2001-2002.