Lucretius in the novel Crematorio by Rafael Chirbes

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Ángel Jacinto Traver Vera

Abstract

This article explores the influence of Lucretius on the novel Crematorio (2007) by the Valencian novelist Rafael Chirbes (1949-2015). Considered one of the best Spanish novelists of the 21st century, Chirbes acknowledged in several interviews the Lucretian influence on his novel and, indeed, among the funds of his library, there was a De rerum natura profusely underlined by his own hand, which will guide us in the search for concrete resonances from the Roman Epicurean. Chirbes shares Lucretius’ materialistic view of universe and uses his writings to denounce the vices of society, with a purpose of moral reform. The main motifs adapted from Lucretius are the general materialist concept of life and universe, the human being as dust, the eternal recycling of the universe’s matter and of living beings, the violence in sex, the Hell in life, and the rebuttal of wealth as a factor of evils.

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