Journalistic affect in the Spanish historical novel, 2000-2004




Cousins, William Christian

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This dissertation adds to the discussion of historical memory in Spain regarding the Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship by examining three texts published between 2000 and 2004: Las esquinas del aire: En busca de Ana María Martínez Sagi (2000) by Juan Manuel de Prada; Soldados de Salamina (2001) by Javier Cercas; and El vano ayer (2004) by Isaac Rosa. I argue that these texts exemplify a unique tendency in the literature of historical memory that articulates the act of remembering through new narrative and ethical postures born of what I term journalistic affect. This dissertation identifies the tendency beginning in the early 2000s for fiction to articulate the act of remembering through the compilation and examination of truth objects. Not only do the truth objects shape the narrative of these novels, endowing the act of remembering with real-world consequences, but also the truths are embodied in objects thereby locating them outside the framework of contestable speech acts. Moreover, the search for and collection of these objects operate within a journalistic epistemological framework in that the authors or protagonists use the truth(s) embodied in one object to locate another, resulting in the act of assembling a constellation of embodied truths and the shaping of a more holistic understanding of the individual that is the aim of the search. The protagonists in these novels have to search for the modernizing discourses that never took root in a Francoist Spain that never entirely faded away, never had an overt counter-revolution, and never proved itself completely criminal on the public stage the way other nationalist dictatorships in Europe and Latin America had. They show us a Spain that has to catch up with discourses about ethnicity, gender (homosexuality), rural/urban spaces in modernization, and an historical iconography for nationhood that had not essentially been renovated since the mid 1960s. As such, the individuals in these works see an inherent lack in the Europeanized Spain that has been culturally colonized by the continent, a situation that engenders a need to reevaluate a national subject position largely frozen since 1939.



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