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An Inevitable Re(Emergence): Trauma in Novel Trilogies From Post-War Spain and the Twenty-First Century.

  • Author(s): Montes de Oca, Yenisei
  • Advisor(s): Herzberger, David K.
  • et al.
Abstract

This study analyzes three novel trilogies and one tetralogy that deal with the inherent trauma developed in Spain during the Civil War and its subsequent Francoist repression. When Spain became a democracy following the death of Franco in 1975, small indicators of trauma began to appear as the silenced memories inevitably arose; as time passed, this trauma has moved closer to the surface in various forms of narration.

Each of the works studied here implicitly bear a silenced memory that arises belatedly as an unspeakable phenomenon. Chapter 1 analyzes Los mercaderes, a trilogy by Ana María Matute that deals with the physical and symbolic return to the narrator's traumatic childhood in an attempt to understand her present. This trilogy also touches upon the understanding of a traumatic past through the memory of others. With Trilogía de la memoria, I claim in Chapter 2 that Josefina Aldecoa portrays the transmission of a traumatic memory from one generation to another in search of an interlocutor that would validate the character's memories of her past. These post-memories now embedded in her daughter serve as a link between present and past and therefore, between the two generations as well. Chapter 3 explores Luis Goytisolo's tetralogy Antagonía, a novel that introduces a theory of the creative process which proposes the reader as coproducer of the artistic creation. I argue here that it is the importance placed on the reader that opens a re-interpretation of the past though the memory of others. With Javier María's trilogy Tu rostro mañana I further elaborate in Chapter 4 on this idea, by emphasizing the juxtaposition established between the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Hence, it makes visible the intrinsic un-representability of trauma in the present through the connection to an other, in another place and in another time. Throughout this work, I maintain that it is through their narrative and aesthetic construction that the re-emergence of traumatic phenomena becomes visible in this novels, and allow for a re-interpretation of the Spanish past through the site of trauma.

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