The folletín: Spain looks to Europe

Elisa Marti-Lopez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


A critical approach to the nineteenth-century folletín must begin with an examination of this widely used term and with a revision of some of the prevalent ideas that frame our understanding of the literary and cultural nature of this novelistic production. The term folletín is not without problems. Based upon well-established critical notions, it has become a kind of critical steamroller that, while stressing some generally defined common traits, effectively cancels out all aesthetic differentiation among the texts included in this category. As we will see, some of these deep-rooted critical notions have to do with the poetics of the novel; others, with the Romantic understanding of literature as the highest expression of a nation's unique identity. Finally, the problematic nature of the term folletín is directly related to the highly influential distinction between High and Low forms of culture. Folletín refers first of all to the form of publication of a novel. It describes the market-induced fragmentation a novel underwent when published in the folletín section of a newspaper. This section used to occupy the bottom part of one or more pages, or the last one, of a newspaper or journal, and was generally used to publish a miscellany of social news and recreational items. The practice was first introduced in France in 1836 by the editors of the newspapers La Presse and Le Siècle as a means to increase sales and, due to its great success, it was immediately adopted by most major newspapers and journals all around Europe and America: In Spain it was already a well-established practice in the 1840s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to the Spanish Novel
Subtitle of host publicationFrom 1600 to the Present
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781139000222
ISBN (Print)0521778158, 9780521771276
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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