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Open Access Publications from the University of California

(Re)Conceptualizing Violence in Contemporary Spanish Literature, Drama, and Film

  • Author(s): Greenhalgh, Matthew Carey
  • Advisor(s): Herzberger, David K
  • et al.

This project explores the impact and role that violence plays in Contemporary Peninsular Literature and Culture. I approach violence in three ways: language, torture, and situational ethics in a trilogy by Javier Marías, Tu rostro mañana; a play by Antonio Buero Vallejo, La doble historia del doctor Valmy; and two films, El laberinto del fauno, by Guillermo del Toro; and Goya en Burdeos by Carlos Saura. This analysis focuses on how representations of violence provide critical commentary against social injustices, oppressive political figures, and state-sanctioned censorship and torture. In Section One, I analyze the violent act of torture through its use as a literary and visual aesthetic. In Section Two, I examine how language is used to control others, and how it subsequently represents the oft-unnoticed beginning of oppression that trends towards violent action. Lastly, in Section Three, I focus on situational ethics to examine the impact that violence has on unique individuals—aggressors, victims, and witnesses. The four works I analyze each explore violence and test the justification of its use. Throughout this project, I maintain an understanding that the study of violence is a continually evolving field studied from varying disciplines. As a theme, these works critique how we view violence in the past and present, leading us to reconceptualize it as we move toward the future.

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