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Hurts So Good: Representations of Sadomasochism in Spanish Novels (1883-2012)


This dissertation analyzes how, for over a century, Spanish novels have used sadomasochism (the derivation of pleasure through physical and/ or psychological pain) to criticize the Catholic Church from an anticlerical position, to denounce Francoism, and to sublimate the political left’s disillusionment with the post-Franco democratic era into an alternative sexual revolution. First, in the introduction, I review sadomasochism theory, both international and Spanish. Next, chapter one shows how Armando Palacio Valdés’s Marta y María (1883), Emilia Pardo Bazán’s Dulce Dueño (1911), and Victor Ripalda’s El pájaro azul (c.1930) use “holy sadomasochism” the confluence of religion and sadomasochism, through religious flagellation to promote an anticlerical agenda, especially in relation to women. Chapter two reveals how Juan Marsé’s Si te dicen que caí (Mexico, 1973. Spain, 1976) and Isaac Rosa’s El vano ayer (2004) use representations of sadomasochism in war and politics to denounce Francoism. Chapter three explores the possibility of the use of BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism) as a sublimation of the left’s desencanto with the democratic era into an alternative sexual revolution in the post-Franco democratic-era erotic novels Pedro Sempere’s Fritzcollage (1982), Almudena Grandes’s Las edades de Lulú (1989), and Luisgé Martín’s La mujer de sombra (2012).

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