Ramón Gómez de la Serna is unanimously considered by critics as the forerunner of the avant-garde in Spain. Although his works have been studied by many important scholars, the scope of his literary production still allows for new approaches and analysis. This thesis is divided into four parts. The first deals with Ramón’s life and his relationship with the European avant-gardes; this relationship cannot be ignored in an attempt to understand the most important meaning of his works and to grasp the essence of his poetics. Besides his many journeys, his success in France, his discussed franquismo and his exile in America after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, three more important aspects are underlined: the organization of the first cubist exhibition in Madrid in 1915, the importance of objects in his life and literature, and how he became a well-known figure, much more than a famous writer in the first thirty years of ninteenth-century Spain. The second chapter focuses on the importance of humour in his works and how this aspect has been studied by critics in ninteenth-century Spain. The essays of Pío Baroja, Wenceslao Fernández Flores, Antonio Botín Polanco, Evaristo Acevedo, Santiago Vilas, José-Carlos Mainer, Raquel Pelta and Ramón himself are analyzed from a diachronic perspective. The second section of the chapter is dedicated to the proposal of a rigorous theoretical model of humour based on Laura Salmon’s study I meccanismi dell’umorismo and on her analysis and interpretation of Bergson’s, Freud’s and Pirandello’s theories of humour. The third and last chapter is a first attempt to study Ramón’s work through the rigorous theory of humour proposed in the second chapter. The presence and mechanisms of humour are studied in four important books, published when Gómez de la Serna became known as a “humourist”: Disparates (1921), Variaciones (1922), Ramonismo (1923) and Caprichos (1925). The fourth part of the thesis is the presentation of 21 important writings that Ramón published in the review “Ondas” in 1927 and 1928, and that are still relatively unknown even to the majority of critics, as they were not included in Ventín Pereira’s book Radiorramonismo.
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