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Ghostly Embodiments: Enchanted and Disenchanted Childhoods

  • Alison Ribeiro de Menezes

Abstract

Modern Spanish culture has been described by Jo Labanyi as “one big ghost story,”1 and while this is an attractive notion, one must be careful, as we saw in chapter 3, not to aestheticize history or to imprison its agents and victims in the frame of a haunted and haunting narrative. Even so, as a lens through which to approach the long after-life of the Civil War and postwar eras, the ghost story—crucially, employed self-reflexively—has proved to be productive for a series of writers and film directors seeking to explore the return of the past “in spectral form.”2 Labanyi grounds her argument in Derrida’s historical-materialist reading of ghosts in Specters of Marx, although, as Colin Davis argues, Derrida’s work is not the origin of the notion of ghosts understood as traces of repressed and shameful secrets. Rather, Derrida’s specters gesture “towards a still unformulated future.”3 Indeed, for Sarah Wright, the logic of Derrida’s haunting suggests a defiance of such concepts as past and present, life and death, and so undermines traditional views of temporality.4 As we saw in the previous chapters, there are certainly silenced dimensions of Spanish history that have led writers to explore ways in which unmastered private, familial, and public pasts can be accessed culturally. However, the need to move on, and so to evade the stasis of traumatic repetitions, is important for any coming to terms with history’s specters.

Keywords

Comic Strip Body Politic Black Humor Religious Rhetoric Franco Regime 
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.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See Jo Labanyi, “Introduction: Engaging with Ghosts, or Theorizing Culture in Modern Spain,” in Constructing Identity in Contemporary Spain: Theoretical Debates and Cultural Practice ( Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002 ), 1–14. (here 1).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jo Labanyi, “History and Hauntology; or, What Does One Do With the Ghosts of the Past? Reflections on Spanish Film and Fiction of the Post-Franco Period,” in Disremembering the Dictatorship: The Politics of Memory in the Spanish Transition to Democracy, ed. Joan Ramon Resina (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2000 ), 65–82. (here 68).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Colin Davis, Haunted Subjects: Deconstruction, Psychoanalysis and the Return of the Dead ( Houndmills: Basingstoke, 2007 ), 14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sarah Wright, “Zombie-Nation: Haunting, ‘Doubling’, and the ‘Unmaking’ of Francoist Aesthetics in Albert Boadella’s ¡Buen viaje, Excelencia!,” Contemporary Theatre Review 17, no. 3 (2007): 311–22. (here 314).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Nicholas Royle, The Uncanny ( Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003 ), 277.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Paul Ricoeur, History, Memory, Forgetting, trans. Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004 ), 54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 8.
    Joan Kirby, “‘Remembrance of the Future’: Derrida on Mourning,” Social Semiotics 16, no. 3 (2006): 461–72. (here 467–68).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 10.
    This has been discussed from the perspective of cultural memory in Lorraine Ryan, “The Development of Child Subjectivity in La lengua de las mariposas,” Hispania 95, no. 3 (2012): 448–60.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    I allude again to Rothberg’s influential study, Multidirectional Memory. For del Toro’s comments on the Mexican Revolution, see Kimberly Chus, “What Is a Ghost? An Interview with Guillermo del Toro,” Cineaste Spring 2002, 28–31. ntonio Lázaro-Reboll notes of Espinazo in particular, “the Mexican origins of the project [were] recontextualized from the Mexican revolution to the Spanish Civil War”; see “The Transnational Reception of El espinazo del diablo (Guillermo del Toro, 2001),” Hispanic Research Journal 8, no. 1 (2007): 39–51 (here 42). Jane Hanly claims that the director’s exile from Mexico is a result of his father’s kidnapping; see “The Walls Fall Down: Fantasy and Power in El laberinto del fauno,” Studies in Hispanic Cinemas 4, no. 1 (2007): 35–45. It is tempting to regard Mexican history as a personal ghost of del Toro’s, but space precludes a discussion of this here.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    Paul Julian Smith, “Ghost of the Civil Dead,” Sight and Sound 12 (2001): 38–39.Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    See Michael Atkinson, “Moral Horrors in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth—The Supernatural Realm Mirrors Man’s Inhumanity to Man,” Film Comment January–February 2007, 50–53;Google Scholar
  12. Mariana Chávez, “Guillermo del Toro y sus creaciones monstruosas,” Señoras y Señores October 2008, 64–69;Google Scholar
  13. Roger Clark and Keith McDonald, “‘A Constant Transit of Finding’: Fantasy as Realization in Pan’s Labyrinth,” Children’s Literature in Education 41, no. 1 (2010): 52–63;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ann Davies, “The Beautiful and the Monstrous Masculine: The Male Body and Horror in El espinazo del diablo (Guillermo del Toro, 2001),” Studies in Hispanic Cinemas 3, no. 3 (2006): 135–47; Hanly, “The Walls Fall Down.”CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Dominick LaCapra, Representing the Holocaust: History, Theory, Trauma ( London: Cornell University Press, 1994 ), 34.Google Scholar
  16. 22.
    See also Gabrielle Carty, “A Cinematic Hybrid: El laberinto del fauno and Film Representations of the Spanish Civil War,” in Legacies of War and Dictatorship in Contemporary Portugal and Spain, ed. Alison Ribeiro de Menezes and Catherine O’Leary (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2011 ), 229–40.Google Scholar
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    The shoes recall installations at various Holocaust memorials, including Auschwitz, the Yad Vashem museum, and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum; see Alison Landsberg, Prosthetic Memory: The Transformation of American Remembrance in the Age of Mass Culture ( New York: Columbia University Press, 2004 ), 118; also Mazower, Dark Continent. Mazower’s application to Europe of the term, “dark continent,” generally applied to Africa, parallels Rothberg’s examination of the intersections between Holocaust remembrance and decolonization.Google Scholar
  18. 26.
    Alberto Méndez, Los girasoles ciegos, 17th ed. ( Barcelona: Anagrama, 2007 ), 116. Whether the book constitutes a collection of four stories, or a narrative quadtych, is moot; the four pieces fit closely together and were clearly conceived as a whole, while retaining individual elements and a certain narrative autonomy.Google Scholar
  19. 28.
    Anne Fuchs, Phantoms of War in Contemporary German Narrative, Films and Discourse ( Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008 ), 48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 31.
    Juan Goytisolo, Libertad, libertad, libertad ( Barcelona: Anagrama, 1978 ), 11–19;Google Scholar
  21. Carmen Martín Gaite, El cuarto de atrás ( Barcelona: Destino, 1978 ).Google Scholar
  22. 32.
    Cited in Raquel Garzón, “Alberto Méndez recupera la posguerra en Los girasoles ciegos,” El País February 20, 2004.Google Scholar
  23. 35.
    Carlos Giménez calls Francoist ideology “el monstruo lógico que engendraba una sociedad monstruosa” in his introduction to Todo Paracuellos, prologue by Juan Marsé (Barcelona: Random House/ Mondadori, 2007), 22. On Paracuellos and its place within Spanish graphic narrative, see Ana Merino and Brittany Tullis, “The Sequential Art of Memory: The Testimonial Struggle of Comics in Spain,” Hispanic Issues Online 11 (2012): 211–25. http://hispanicissues.umn.edu/assets/doc/11_MERINOTULLIS.pdf.Google Scholar
  24. 36.
    Cenarro, Los niños del Auxilio Social ( Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 2009 ), 17, 33. Auxilio Social, originally modeled on Hitler’s Winter-Hilfe, was founded by Mercedes Sanz Bachiller, widow of the Falangist Onésimo Redondo.Google Scholar
  25. 53.
    Michael Richards, A Time of Silence ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998 ), 4.Google Scholar
  26. 54.
    Juan Marsé, Rabos de lagartija, 4th ed. ( Barcelona: Lumen, 2001 ), 57–60.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Alison Ribeiro de Menezes 2014

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  • Alison Ribeiro de Menezes

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