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THE INFLUENCE OF THE INVISIBLE: THE AGENCY OF MYTH AND ABSENCE IN FRANCO’S SPAIN AND FRANCOIST HISTORICAL FICTION

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Date Issued:
2023
Abstract/Description:
Both research and lived experience indicate that intangible things such as myths and absences may acquire agency, becoming Latourian actants and causing changes in people’s thoughts, beliefs, and actions. This dissertation focuses on myths and absences located in Spain’s 20th century—specifically Francoist-generated political myths, the absences of those disappeared by the Franco regime, and the literary myths created by authors of historical fiction set during the Spanish Civil War, the resulting dictatorship, and the Transition to Democracy. The argument is made that these three actants— political myth, absence, and literary myth—have acted and interacted in the following sequence: the political myths put forth by the Francoists and presented as facts led to the complicity of many of the Spanish people in the extermination of those considered dangerous or undesirable to the regime; once released into the popular imagination, the political myths gained agency, spurring the bigoted beliefs and persecutory actions that led to the absences of the maligned people. The presence of these tragic absences in the lives of their surviving loved ones then gained agency, indelibly marking the survivors and causing grief, anger, and bewilderment as well as fear, humiliation, silence, and transgenerational trauma. The absences also caused the desire among contemporary writers of historical fiction, some of them descendants of the disappeared who grew up under the cloud of fear and silence perpetuated by those disappearances, to write alternate histories pointing out the absurdities and atrocities connected to the earlier political myths and the resulting absences of undesirables. These literary myths thus acquired their own agency, changing the thoughts, beliefs, and actions of readers who were able to finally see through the truths and tragedies that lay hidden for so long behind the hostile myths. In these chapters, eight historical fictions—five novels, two plays, one film—and one non-fiction account, described by its author as “a novel without fiction”—are analyzed for evidence of the presence and the agency of political myth, absence, and literary myth.
Title: THE INFLUENCE OF THE INVISIBLE: THE AGENCY OF MYTH AND ABSENCE IN FRANCO’S SPAIN AND FRANCOIST HISTORICAL FICTION.
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Name(s): Bresciano, Cora , author
Hagood, Taylor , Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Department of English
Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2023
Date Issued: 2023
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 239 p.
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Both research and lived experience indicate that intangible things such as myths and absences may acquire agency, becoming Latourian actants and causing changes in people’s thoughts, beliefs, and actions. This dissertation focuses on myths and absences located in Spain’s 20th century—specifically Francoist-generated political myths, the absences of those disappeared by the Franco regime, and the literary myths created by authors of historical fiction set during the Spanish Civil War, the resulting dictatorship, and the Transition to Democracy. The argument is made that these three actants— political myth, absence, and literary myth—have acted and interacted in the following sequence: the political myths put forth by the Francoists and presented as facts led to the complicity of many of the Spanish people in the extermination of those considered dangerous or undesirable to the regime; once released into the popular imagination, the political myths gained agency, spurring the bigoted beliefs and persecutory actions that led to the absences of the maligned people. The presence of these tragic absences in the lives of their surviving loved ones then gained agency, indelibly marking the survivors and causing grief, anger, and bewilderment as well as fear, humiliation, silence, and transgenerational trauma. The absences also caused the desire among contemporary writers of historical fiction, some of them descendants of the disappeared who grew up under the cloud of fear and silence perpetuated by those disappearances, to write alternate histories pointing out the absurdities and atrocities connected to the earlier political myths and the resulting absences of undesirables. These literary myths thus acquired their own agency, changing the thoughts, beliefs, and actions of readers who were able to finally see through the truths and tragedies that lay hidden for so long behind the hostile myths. In these chapters, eight historical fictions—five novels, two plays, one film—and one non-fiction account, described by its author as “a novel without fiction”—are analyzed for evidence of the presence and the agency of political myth, absence, and literary myth.
Identifier: FA00014318 (IID)
Degree granted: Dissertation (PhD)--Florida Atlantic University, 2023.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
Subject(s): Francoism
Literature
Myths
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00014318
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Host Institution: FAU