Dream of Reason


Dream of Reason

Rosa Chacel
Translated by Carol Maier

European Women Writers Series

718 pages


October 2009


$70.00 Add to Cart

October 2009


$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

A masterpiece of modernist fiction about one man’s search for meaning, Dream of Reason (La sinrazón) reveals Rosa Chacel as an intellectual and literary innovator whose work stands alongside that of Joyce, Proust, and Woolf.
This meditative novel, grounded in the thinking of Spain’s great modern philosopher Ortega y Gasset, unfolds as the journal of a bourgeois chemist who makes his way in Buenos Aires just before and during the Spanish Civil War. Tracing his relationship with three women, Santiago Hernández explores the power of his own intentions and the limits of human reason. His introspective experiment, set against the background of world-altering events, documents the workings of a self-absorbed mind speculating on the inseparability of self and circumstance and is a brilliant enactment of how, from such tensions, narrative emerges.

Author Bio

Rosa Chacel (1898–1994), one of the most promising pre-Civil War writers, was “rediscovered” in her native Spain after returning to Madrid from an exile of more than three decades. In addition to La sinrazón, her many works include Teresa, Memorias de Leticia Valle, and Barrio de Maravillas (The Maravillas District, Nebraska 1992).
Carol Maier also translated Chacel’s Memoirs of Leticia Valle (Nebraska 1994), for which she won the Modern Language Association’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a translation of a literary work, and the Eugene Kayden Translation Competition’s Meritorious Achievement Award.


“Rosa Chacel’s La sinrazón is one of the best, most original, and most daring novels of twentieth-century Spanish literature. . . . It is time that her importance in the history of world literature be recognized.”—Javier Marías, author of A Heart So White and Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me

Dream of Reason confirms Rosa Chacel as a major Modernist writer, the equivalent of a new-found Proust meditating on memory and selfhood, an image-driven Woolf with a profound philosophical bent. But reading Chacel is its own unforgettable experience. . . . This is the novel we’ve needed to fill in a world touched gingerly, if at all, by Borges and Cortázar, yet one quintessentially Argentine, and inimitably Chacel’s. She is the reader’s inside outsider on the touring force of psychology, philosophy, history.”—Barbara Probst Solomon, journalist and author of Arriving Where We Started

“Against a backdrop of world-shattering events, the impact of art and thought informs elegantly drawn conversations . . . Chacel's masterpiece is a book where the death of a fly provides as much opportunity for self-knowledge as ‘love’s pure drift.’”—Publishers Weekly

"Much more than a 'novel of ideas,' this story of Santiago's eventual recognition that his command of reason avails little against the stony silence of an unresponsive God is fresh, bold, and consequential."—Jack Shreve, Library Journal

"Dream of Reason is an astounding philosophical novel in the tradition of Sartre and Proust, writers to whom Chacel does not suffer by comparison."—Andy Barnes, www.belletrista.com

Table of Contents

Translator's Introduction
Carol Maier
Introduction to the Third Edition of La sinrazón
Rosa Chacel
Dream of Reason

Also of Interest