Advertisement

Disrupted Genealogies and Generational Conflicts: Postmemorial Family Narratives

  • Alison Ribeiro de Menezes

Abstract

A considerable number of the works on war and dictatorship memory that have appeared in Spain since the turn of the millennium involve family narratives and a focus on the intimate domain of the home. A common characteristic of many these is a focus on generational perspectives, silences or ruptures in family heritage, and the desire to repair those genealogies. These are issues that have been theorized by Marianne Hirsch under the notion of postmemory. As a theory of intergenerational transfer, postmemory derives from a particular theory of photography, that of Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida. From this, Hirsch takes two elements: the notion of the punctum, and the idea that the photograph works not through the discourse of artistic representation, but indexically as an emanation of the referent, or as its ghostly revenant. If the punctum “disturbs the flat immobile surface of the image, embedding it in an affective relationship of viewing and thus in a narrative,” it also “interrupts this contextual and therefore narrative reading of the photograph that Barthes calls the studium.” Hence, in the dialogue between the visual and the textual that characterizes Barthes’s discussion of his mother’s photograph in Camera Lucida, “text and image, intricately entangled in a narrative web, work in collaboration to tell a complicated story of loss and longing.”1

Keywords

Camera Lucida Intergenerational Transfer Memory Icon Family Dysfunctionality Generational Conflict 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 5.
    Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Hill and Wang, 1981 ), 74.Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    She borrows the term from W. J. T. Mitchell, Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994 ), 83.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Margaret Olin, “Touching Photographs: Roland Barthes’s ‘Mistaken’ Identification,” Representations 80, no. 1 (2002): 99–118. (here 115). Olin calls into question the very existence of the “Winter Garden” photograph of Barthes’s mother upon which Camera Lucida relies, and argues that, rather than a theoretical text, it may be more convincingly interpreted as the staging of a performance between a narrator called “Barthes” and his mother in a winter garden.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 9.
    Marianne Hirsch, “Projected Memory: Holocaust Photographs in Personal and Public Fantasy,” in Acts of Memory: Cultural Recall in the Present, ed. Mieke Bal, Jonathan Crewe, and Leo Spitzer ( Hanover: University Press of New England, 1999 ), 3–23. (here 9).Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Anne Fuchs, Phantoms of War in Contemporary German Narrative, Films and Discourse ( Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008 ), 47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 11.
    Helen Graham, “The Memory of Murder: Mass Killing, Incarceration and the Making of Francoism,” in Guerra y memoria en la España contemporánea/War and Memory in Contemporary Spain, ed. Alison Ribeiro de Menezes, Roberta Ann Quance, and Anne L. Walsh ( Madrid: Verbum, 2009 ), 29–49.Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    There is considerable bibliography in this area. For representative discussions of social policy, see Mary Nash, “Pronatalismo y maternidad en la España franquista,” in Maternidad y políticas de género: La mujer en los estados de bienestar europeos, 1880–1950, ed. Gisela Bock and Pat Thane ( Madrid: Cátedra, 1996 );Google Scholar
  8. Carme Molinero, “Mujer, represión y antifranquismo,” Historia del presente 4 (2004): 9–12.Google Scholar
  9. For a ground-breaking study of women’s role models in literature, see Nino Kebadze, Romance and Exemplarity in Post-war Spanish Women’s Narratives ( Woodbridge: Tamesis, 2009 ).Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    The inclusion of children illegally removed from their parents by the Regime in Judge Baltasar Garzón’s case against those guilty of crimes under the dictatorship has kept the issue to the forefront of public debate. Seeángela Cenarro, Losniños del Auxilio Social ( Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 2009 ), 18.Google Scholar
  11. 19.
    Montse Armengou Martfn, “Investigative Journalism as a Tool for Recovering Historical Memory,” in Unearthing Franco’s Legacy, ed. Carlos Jerez-Ferrán and Samuel Amago ( Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010 ), 156–67. (here 159).Google Scholar
  12. 20.
    Ernst van Alphen, “Symptoms of Discursivity: Experience, Memory, and Trauma,” in Acts of Memory, ed. Mieke Bal, Jonathan Crewe, and Leo Spitzer ( Hanover: University Press of New England, 1999 ), 23–38. The role of testimony in Spain’s memory debates is studied by Jo Labanyi in “Historias de vf ctimas: la memoria histórica y el testimonio en la España contemporánea,” Revista Iberoamericana 24 (2006): 87–98.Google Scholar
  13. 21.
    Richard Kearney, On Stories ( London: Routledge, 2002 ), 3.Google Scholar
  14. 23.
    I have highlighted the limitations of La voz dormida as a narrative of cultural memory in “Remembering the Spanish Civil War: Cinematic Motifs and the Narrative Recuperation of the Past in Dulce Chacón’s La voz dormida, Javier Cercas’s Soldados de Salamina, and Manuel Rivas’s O lapis do carpinteiro,” NUI Maynooth Papers in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, no. 13 (Maynooth, Co. Kildare: Department of Spanish, 2005). For analyses of the novel, see Jose F. Colmeiro, “Re-collecting Women’s Voices from Prison: The Hybridization of Memories in Dulce Chacón’s La voz dormida,” Foro Hispánico 31 (2008): 191–209;Google Scholar
  15. Ana Corbalán Vélez, “Homenaje a la mujer republicana: reescritura de la guerra civil en Lavoz dormida, de Dulce Chacón, y Libertarias, de Vicente Aranda,” Crítica Hispánica 32, no. 1 (2010): 41–64;Google Scholar
  16. Kathryn Everly, “Women, War and Words in La voz dormida by Dulce Chacón,” in Women in the Spanish Novel Today: Essays on the Reflection of Self in the Works of Three Generations, ed. Kyra Kietrys and Montserrat Linares (Jefferson, MC: McFarland, 2009 ), 77–91;Google Scholar
  17. Mazal Oaknin, “La reinscripció n del rol de la mujer en la Guerra Civil española: La voz dormida,” Espéculo: Revista de Estudios Literarios 43 (2009–2010). http://www.ucm.es/info/especulo/numero43/vozdorm.html.Google Scholar
  18. 24.
    It might even be called a “dysfunctional” detective novel. For an analysis of Chacón’s experimentation with the genre, see Shelley Godsland, “History and Memory, Detection and Nostalgia: Dulce Chacón’s Cielos de barro,” Hispanic Research Journal 6, no. 3 (2005): 253–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 26.
    Dulce Chacón, Cielos de barro ( Barcelona: Planeta, 2004 ), 13.Google Scholar
  20. For a discussion on this, see Catherine O’Leary and Alison Ribeiro de Menezes, A Companion to Carmen Martín Gaite ( Woodbridge: Tamesis, 2008 ), 118–22, 188–90. Chacón explicitly creates a female literary genealogy with these intertextual allusions.Google Scholar
  21. 28.
    For an analysis of the novel’s depiction of the “cortijo” landing-ownership structures in Extremadura, see Juana Gamero de Coca, Nación y género en la invención de Extremadura: Soñando fronteras de cielo y barro ( Vilagarcíde Arousa, Pontevedra: Mirabel Editorial, 2005 ), 115–27.Google Scholar
  22. On the foreclosure of historical agency by latifundista socioeconomic structures, see Lorraine Ryan, “Terms of Empowerment: Setting, Spatiality, and Agency in Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s La sombra del viento and Dulce Chacón’s Cielos de barro,” CLUES: A Journal of Detection 27 (2009): 95–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 29.
    Susana Narotsky and Gavin Smith, Immediate Struggles: People, Power and Place in Rural Spain ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006 ), 60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 30.
    This is the underlying argument of Narotsky and Smith, Immediate Struggles, and Michael Richards, A Time of Silence: Civil War and the Culture of Repression in Franco’s Spain ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998 ).Google Scholar
  25. 31.
    On the novel’s structure, see Carmen de Urioste, “Memoria de la Guerra Civil y modernidad: el caso de El corazón helado de Almudena Grandes,” Revista Hispánica Moderna 63, no. 1 (2010): 69–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 32.
    Almudena Grandes, Elcorazón helado, 11th ed. ( Barcelona: Tusquets, 2008 ), 923.Google Scholar
  27. 33.
    Cited in Margot Molina, “Cuatro novelistas escriben sobre la Guerra Civil para romper el silencio,” El País March 30, 2007.Google Scholar
  28. 35.
    Grandes has defended the emotive nature of her text: “Reivindico absolutamente la emoción, que me parece el territorio de la literatura; no solo escribo para emocionar, sino que leo para e mocionarme, no para ser mas sabia.” Seeángel Vivas, “Almudena Grandes vuelve ‘galdosiana, y a mucha honra,’ en su nueva novela,” El mundo February 13, 2007.Google Scholar
  29. 40.
    Josefina R. Aldecoa, Historia de una maestra, 6th ed. ( Barcelona: Anagrama, 1999 ), 173.Google Scholar
  30. 42.
    See Raymond Carr and Juan Pablo Fusi, Spain: Dictatorship to Democracy, 2nd ed. ( London: Routledge, 1993 ).Google Scholar
  31. 43.
    For an analysis of this, see Janet Pérez, “Plant Imagery, Subversion and Feminine Dependency: Josefina Aldecoa, Carmen Marti n Gaite and Mari a Antónia Oliver,” in In the Feminine Mode: Essays on Hispanic Women Writers, ed. Noël Valis and Carol Maier (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1990 ), 78–100.Google Scholar
  32. 44.
    Manuel Rivas, Quéme queres, amor? ( Vigo: Editorial Galaxia, 1995 ).Google Scholar
  33. 46.
    Eduardo González Calleja, “The Symbolism of Violence During the Second Republic in Spain, 1931–1936,” in The Splintering of Spain: Cultural History and the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939, ed. Chris Ealham and Michael Richards ( New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005 ), 23–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 48.
    Josefina Aldecoa, Mujeres de negro, 7th ed. ( Barcelona: Anagrama, 2000 ), 35.Google Scholar
  35. 49.
    Josefina Aldecoa, La fuerza del destino, 2nd ed. ( Barcelona: Anagrama Compactos, 2002 ), 112.Google Scholar
  36. 50.
    See, for instance, Carmen Martín Gaite, Retahílas ( Barcelona: Destino, 1974 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Alison Ribeiro de Menezes 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison Ribeiro de Menezes

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations