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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Imagining the Dream Factory: Movie Stars and Hollywood in Spanish Interwar Novels
by Monroe, Molly Elizabeth, Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2019, 266; 22615362
Abstract (Summary)

As film transitioned from a new technical marvel to story-telling device, the role of movie stars became increasingly important at the end of the first decade of the 20th Century. Stars served at both the hands of the industry and the public—raising capital for film projects and increasing the chance of a movie’s success due to the public’s desire for and identification with the movie stars. Like in many countries, Spanish audiences flocked to theatres in order to see their favorite stars on screen, including many imported from Hollywood. Throughout the 1920s, stars became an everyday part of modern life, appearing beyond the screen in magazines, newspapers, and kiosk novels. Many Spanish writers and artists at this time incorporated aspects of cinema into their production, whether that was cinematographic techniques in their style or the theme of Hollywood and movie stars in their content.

For this dissertation, I interrogate writers’ uses of the movie star in literary works by three authors living and writing in Spain in the 1920s and 30s, César Arconada’s Vida de Greta Garbo (1929) and Tres cómicos del cine (1931), Ramón Gómez de la Serna’s Cinelandia (1923), and Rosa Arciniega’s Vidas de celuloide (1934), in order to determine the reasons for including stars as a literary device. In dialogue with theoretical considerations from Star Studies in an attempt to answer that question, it is clear that featuring stars goes beyond simply an interest or passion for cinema. All three authors’ works incorporate the movie star into their own particular style and political and narrative ideals. Movie stars are a tool that allow the authors to explore concerns with artistic movements, society’s experience of modernity, and the growth of industry and capitalism during the interwar period. The figure of the movie star permits these writers to dialogue with contemporary society and, at the same time, they begin many of the theoretical conversations that will eventually lead to recognized theories on stars years and decades later.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Herrero-Senés, Juan
Commitee: Krauel, Javier, Acevedo-Muñoz, Ernesto, Martucelli, Tania, Larson, Susan
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: Spanish and Portuguese
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 81/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Romance literature, Literature, Film studies
Keywords: 1920s and 1930s Spain, Arconada, César, Gómez de la Serna, Ramon, Arciniega, Rosa, Spanish literature, Star studies
Publication Number: 22615362
ISBN: 9781088379141
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