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Memory and Trauma in the Postwar Spanish Novel: Revisiting the Past by Sarah Leggott

In recent years, much Spanish literary criticism has been characterized by debates about collective and historical memory, stemming from a national obsession with the past that has seen an explosion of novels and films about the Spanish Civil War and Franco dictatorship. This growth of so-called memory studies in literary scholarship has focused on the representation of memory and trauma in contemporary narratives dealing with the Civil War and ensuing dictatorship. In contrast, the novel of the postwar period has received relatively little critical attention of late, despite the fact that memory and trauma also feature, in different ways and to varying degrees, in many works written during the Franco years. The essays in this study argue that such novels merit a fresh critical approach, and that contemporary scholarship relating to the representation of memory and trauma in literature can enhance our understanding of the postwar Spanish novel.

The volume opens with essays that engage with aspects of contemporary theoretical approaches to memory in order to reveal the ways in which these are pertinent to Spanish novels written in the first postwar decades, with studies on novels by Camilo José Cela, Carmen Laforet, Arturo Barea and Ana María Matute. Its second section focuses on the representation of trauma in specific postwar novels, drawing on elements from trauma studies scholarship to discuss neglected works by Mercedes Salisachs, Dolores Medio and Ignacio Aldecoa. The final essays continue the focus on the theme of trauma and revisit works by women writers, namely Carmen Laforet, Rosa Chacel, Ana María Matute and María Zambrano, that foreground the experiences of female protagonists who are seeking to deal with a traumatic past. The essays in this volume thus propose a new direction for the study of Spanish literature of 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s, enhancing existing approaches to the postwar Spanish novel through an engagement with contemporary scholarship on memory and trauma in literature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611487152
Publisher: Bucknell University Press
Publication date: 10/28/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 182
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Sarah Leggott is associate professor of Spanish and head of the School of Languages and Cultures at Victoria University of Wellington.

Ross Woods is a lecturer in Spanish at Victoria University of Wellington.

Table of Contents

Sarah Leggott and Ross Woods
Section One. Revisiting the Past: Memory and History
The Ghosts of the Past: Revisiting La familia de Pascual Duarte
Ross Woods
Remembering the Canon: La familia de Pascual Duarte and Nada revisited
Anne Walsh
War, History, and Memory in Arturo Barea’s La forja de un rebelde
Alison Ribeiro de Menezes
Memory and History in Ana María Matute’s Los soldados lloran de noche
Francis Lough
Section Two. Reading the Wounded Generation: Pluralistic Trauma
Opening and Closing History’s Wounds: Mercedes Salisachs’ Los que se quedan
Christine Arkinstall
Representing Individual and Collective Trauma: Dolores Medio’s Nosotros, los Rivero
Sarah Leggott
Ignacio Aldecoa’s El fulgor y la sangre: The Politics of Memory under Franco
Julia van Luijk
Section Three. Narrating Traumatic Experience: Uncovered Trauma
“The Unsuspected Truth”: Silence and Trauma in Carmen Laforet’s Nada
Federico Bonaddio
The Trauma of Coming of Age in Rosa Chacel’s Memorias de Leticia Valle and Ana María Matute’s Primera memoria
Daniela Omlor
The Cathartic Exercise of Memory in María Zambrano’s Delirio y destino
Beatriz Caballero Rodríguez
About the Contributors

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