Fascism, Torture, and Affect in Postwar Spain: Memoria Histórica Narratives and Audience Empathy

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The Palgrave handbook of affect studies and textual criticism



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Book Chapter

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Criticism, Textual Affect (Psychology) in literature Emotions -- Social aspects Language and emotions


This chapter notes that, unlike the rest of Europe, where fascism was defeated after World War II, Spain had to endure a long and repressive dictatorship (1939–1975). One consequence is that a memoria histórica movement seeks to gain acknowledgment of Franco’s crimes and offer compensation to the families of his victims, but these efforts face the continuing obstruction by Franco’s sympathizers. Nonetheless, narratives of memoria histórica have emerged in novels, plays, films, and soap operas, but also through administrative and popular media discourses in legal and human rights settings. Exploring the 2002 memoria histórica novel La voz dormida[The Sleeping Voice] by Dulce Chacón and its 2011 film adaptation by Benito Zambrano, this chapter analyzes the interplay between empathy and social awareness in the context of the current movement to recover historical memory in Spain. In particular, the essay focuses on the strategies that Chacón and Zambrano employ to engage audiences empathically in hopes of prompting them to acknowledge and reflect on what may be called the Spanish historical memory problem .


Copyright (2017) Palgrave Macmillan

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