Memory, War, and Dictatorship in Recent Spanish Fiction by Women

By (author) Sarah Leggott

Publication date:

10 June 2015

Length of book:

168 pages


Bucknell University Press

ISBN-13: 9781611486667

Memory, War, and Dictatorship in Recent Spanish Fiction by Women analyzes five novels by women writers that present women’s experiences during and after the Spanish Civil War and Franco dictatorship, highlighting the struggles of female protagonists of different ages to confront an unresolved individual and collective past. It discusses the different narrative models and strategies used in these works and the ways in which they engage with their political and historical context, particularly in the light of campaigns for the so-called recovery of historical memory in Spain (the “memory boom”) and in the broader context of memory and trauma studies. The novels that are examined in this book are Dulce Chacón’s La voz dormida (2002), Rosa Regàs’s Luna lunera (1999), Josefina Aldecoa’s La fuerza del destino (1997), Carme Riera’s La mitad del alma (2005), and Almudena Grandes’s El corazón helado (2007). These works all highlight the multiple nature of memories and histories and demonstrate the complex ways in which the past impacts on the present. This book also considers the extent to which the memories represented in these five novels are inflected by gender and informed by the gender politics of twentieth-century and contemporary Spain.
Leggott opens with a chapter titled 'Narrating the Legacy of War and Dictatorship in Contemporary Spain,' and goes on to examine five novels (in five chapters), each by a Spanish woman writer, each published between between 1999 and 2007, each reflecting a recent wave of interest on the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath. She finds a clear causative relationship with recent political trends in Spanish society, although the novels do not fall into a type of 'social realism' per se but answer to a deeply felt need to explore the past and reevaluate received sociopolitical interpretations. Leggott focuses on how narratives reveal the impact of the war and its aftermath on women and families, and on the main action developed by characters who try to remember and understand their present traumas. The characters' perspective remains that of the losers, who were either born in exile or learned to live under an oppressive situation. The concern shown with the mother's role adds interest to these works. One of Leggott's aims is to demonstrate how fiction can illuminate the consequences of a past that still is not well understood. Extensive information on the authors is provided, as is plenty of detail on plot and historical context. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.