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The Great Chiasmus


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…Unamuno often entertains a view of the universe as an enormous system of embedded and embedding forms, structures nested within other structures in seemingly endless series. -From The Great Chiasmus In The Great Chiasmus, Paul R. Olson explores the use of the chiasmus in the work of Miguel de Unamuno. The chiasmus, a reversal in the order of words or parts of speech in parallel phrases, appears on a variety of levels, from brief microstructures ( blanca como la nieve y como la nieve fria ), to the narrative structures of entire novels, and even, Olson suggests, to encompass the stages in Unamunos novelistic work. Olsons close readings of the texts in terms of this structure lead to observations on Spanish history, events in Unamunos life, the psychological dimensions of his characters, and the authorial self found within his texts. The Great Chiasmus shows us how Unamuno uses grammar to reflect apparent contraries as freely reversible and thus identical. In this connection, Unamuno explores concepts usually considered opposites-spirit and matter, word and flesh.


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