Narrating the Past

Fiction and Historiography in Postwar Spain

Narrating the Past

Book Pages: 200 Illustrations: Published: May 1995

History > European History, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism, Literary Theory

The relationship between fiction and historiography in Francoist Spain (1939–1975) is a contentious one. The intricacies of this relationship, in which fiction works to subvert the regime’s authority to write the past, are the focus of David K. Herzberger’s book.
The narrative and rhetorical strategies of historical discourse figure in both the fiction and historiography of postwar Spain. Herzberger analyzes these strategies, identifying the structures and vocabularies they use to frame the past and endow it with particular meanings. He shows how Francoist historians sought to affirm the historical necessity of Franco by linking the regime to a heroic and Christian past, while several types of postwar fiction—such as social realism, the novel of memory, and postmodern novels—created a voice of opposition to this practice. Focusing on the concept of writing history that these opposing strategies convey, Herzberger discloses the layering of truth and meaning that lies at the heart of postwar Spanish narrative from the early 1940s to the fall of Franco. His study clearly reveals how the novel in postwar Spain became a crucial form of dissent from the past as it was conceived and used by the State.
Making a decisive intervention in the debate about the ways in which narration determines both the meaning and truth of history and fiction, Narrating the Past will be of special interest to students and scholars of the politics, history, and literature of twentieth-century Spain.


“Herzberger has worked a profound transformation in the nature of discussion of post-Civil War fiction. . . .” — James Mandrell, College Literature

"Herzberger offers us a view of Spanish postwar fiction that is insightful and original. His thesis is convincingly argued and documented, and important to our understanding not only of the fiction, but of Spain in general during this period. This study very definitely will have an impact on critical thinking about this period of Spanish fiction." — Robert C. Spires, University of Kansas

"This book offers a new perspective on the relationship between official Francoist historiographical ideology and the production of fiction in postwar Spain." — Janet Perez, Texas Tech University


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Price: $24.95

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