Mist – Miguel de Unamuno

Mist is the first book I read from Miguel de Unamuno, one of Spain’s famous names, and it won’t be the last. Unamuno is an exciting author. I think we should read at least one of his books just because he is interesting. However, Mist is not only interesting, but it touches on many different topics. This metafiction novel is actually a novel of ideas, and it contains comedy, a tragic love story and colourful characters.

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Mist - Miguel de Unamuno

The main protagonist of Mist, Augusto, is unemployed, a well-off young man. I like him from the very first pages. The story begins when Augusto falls in love with Eugenia (or thinks he is in love). However, Augusto has not been in love before and only finds himself confused when he talks about love with his best friend, Victor. And Victor is trying to bring a new genre to literature.

As luck would have it, Eugenia falls in love with another man, but this man is unfortunately not in the standards of Eugenia. Eugenia’s mystical anarchist brother-in-law and an old-fashioned aunt have entered the world of Augusto. Oh, and of course, Orpheus, that cute dog, the only friend of man!

Towards the end of the book, Unamuno cameos, and they talk with Augusto about death. And the rest is fiction. There are dozens of paragraphs in the book that will make you think about life and people. With this novel, published in 1914, Unamuno marks one of the first works of modernism. I am not sure that it will create a great reading pleasure for everyone, but I would say it is a good choice to meet the author. Enjoy!

Mist - Miguel de Unamuno

Mist

A revolutionary landmark in world literature that introduces the anti-hero/anti-novel, undergirded by philosophy

A towering figure of political, philosophical, and literary controversy, Miguel de Unamuno was the undisputed intellectual leader of the brilliant Generation of 1898 that ushered in a second golden age of Spanish culture. In the vast and varied body of his work, none conveys his intellectual legacy more effectively than Mist, a monument of the philosophical novel and a masterpiece of modern experimental fiction.

Dispensing with the conventions of action, time and place, and analysis of character, Mist proceeds entirely on the strength of dialogue that reveals the struggles of what Unamuno called his “agonists.” These include Augusto Perez, the pampered son of a recently deceased mother; the deceitful, scheming Eugenia, whom Augusto obsessively idealizes; and Augusto’s dog Orfeo, who gives a funeral oration upon his master’s death. Mist even includes a chapter that explains Unamuno’s theory of the antinovel.

Anticipating later writers such as Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, Unamuno exploited fiction as a vehicle for the exploration of philosophical themes. First published in 1914, Mist exemplified a new kind of novel with which Unamuno aimed to shatter fiction’s conventional illusions of reality. It is an antinovel that treats its fictionality so ironically. This historic reissue includes a foreword by Theodore Ziolkowski.

Miguel de Unamuno

Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo was a Spanish essayist, novelist, poet, playwright. Philosopher, professor of Greek and Classics, and so later rector at the University of Salamanca.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Reading Challenge 2020 – Spanish Language

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