Spanish and Portuguese ETDs

Publication Date



Through his prose Gabriel Celaya expounds his very personal philosophy that lies within his entire literary production. Called "the social poet" whose verses pretend to tell "things as they are," this author, rooted in the intellectual tradition, is considered one of the outstanding spokesmen of the so-called "Here and Now."

The social aspect of his work has its roots in a dialectic that stems from the ideas of Nietzsche, the "be-with" of Heidegger, and a profound knowledge of the Oriental world. All of this provides the author with a personal vitalism that comes to the surface in his writings as a sheer joy of living.

In order to understand the motivation of his well-known desire for "a minimal justice here on earth," I attempt to reveal a common link in all his prose works beginning with Tentativas (1946) to his last novel Los buenos negocios (1965), I divide the study in three parts: "The Theme of Lazarus" which shows a metaphysical death which all his characters undergo; "The Mothers" which help ONE to know himself; "The ONE and the OTHER"--a system that explains dialectically the reason for being of all his philosophy.

My research reveals a cycle that repeats itself in each work studied: the necessity of the alienated modern man to isolate the "self" as a means to understand himself again. Instead of philosophies, Celaya proposes a rediscovery of the ontogeny of man in genere. Once the lost symbolism is recovered, man is as if resuscitated and can begin to live again without falling into the ancient trap of the "self" which brought about his expulsion from paradise.

Although Celaya is known for his social poetry, directed to middle-class man, he is not a writer for the masses. In the best of literary tradition he speaks to the common man and at the same time can satisfy the demanding reader with a dialectic that combines both worlds: the popular and the intellectual.

Degree Name

Spanish & Portuguese (PhD)

Level of Degree


Department Name

Spanish and Portuguese

First Committee Member (Chair)

Sabine R. Ulibarri

Second Committee Member

Tamara Holzapfel

Third Committee Member

Theodore Sackett



Document Type