The Civil War in the Spanish Novel: Female Perspectives, P Zatlin

Tags: women writers, integration propaganda, the Civil War, dominant ideology, Twayne World Authors Series, Spain, women novelists, La trampa, Quiroga, La careta, secondary, Malcolm Alan, Catherine G. �War, Arden Press, La guerra, Modern Language Association Convention, El impacto de la guerra, Argos Vergara, Twayne Publishers, New York, Johns Hopkins University Press, Contemporary Literature, A. P. Literature, The Spanish Civil War, La guerra civil, Concha Espina, Indiana University Press, Margaret E. W. Dolores Medio, Corrales Egea, Ohio State University, la novela, la democracia, Spanish novel, Republican perspective, Franco Spain, Carolyn Galerstein, Queen Isabel, Matute, Luis Garc� Berlanga, State University, Civil War fiction, Malcolm Alan Cornpitello, young women, women writer, Even Matute, Spanish women writers, integration, Marina Mayoral, Carmen G�ez Ojea, political figures, Montserrat Roig, Concha Castroviejo, young women writers, Letras Femeninas
Content: THE CIVIL WAR IN THE SPANISH NOVEL: FEMALE PERSPECTIVES PHYLLIS ZATLIN Rutgers, The State University More than fifty years after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, that violent period of national strife remains alive in Spanish literature and culture. film director Luis Garcнa Berlanga, who dealt with the subject in his 1985 rnovie La vaquilla, asserts that «the Spanish Civil War was the last great literary, romantic war in the world...a great source of novels, books, paintings, and films and... an inexhaustible mine of which only the surface has been touched» (qtd. in Besas 227). In tum, the literature of the Civil War has given rise to rnany critica} studies, although Malcolm Alan Cornpitello, in his 1979 review essay, found the criticisrn to be «still in its infancy» (135) and Janet Pйrez, in her 1986 overview of critical response to Spanish women writers and the war, affirmed that the situation described by Compitello had not changed much in the intervening years (1986: 4). While Compitello's concem is that most studies are «classificatory rather than analytical» (133), Pйrez, introducing a special issue of Letras Femeninas on the subject, specifically cites the relative lack of research on how the Civil War is treated by women writers. There is no doubt that the theme of the Civil War runs loud and clear in the contemporary Spanish narrative. As Cornpitello notes, the transition to democracy gave rise to a new wave of such literary treatments (117). Marysй Bertrand de Muсoz' recent bibliographic study identifies dozens of novels that appeared since Franco's death -23-
ESPAСA CONTEMPORБNEA in 1975. The reasons for the continuing interest go well beyond the romantic and literary. J\hroughout the long Franco era, the social and political confьcts that exploded during the war remained always on the surface, and the war could not be forgotten. Moreover, although censorship eased gradualllly during the four decades of the Franco regime, real freedom of expression carne into being only after the dictator's death. That freedom brought with it the new wave of Civil War fiction, theater, and .film. Given the pervasive nature of the Civil War theme, it is not surprising that it occurs in the works of writers, both male and female, of three generations: those who were already established in their careers before the war began, those of the «mid-century generation» who experienced the war as children or young adults, and those born after the war 1· T1he first group, which at least initially tended to present the war from partisan perspectives, further subdivides into the Republicans who wrote their accounts from exile and those on the Nationalist side who remained in Spain. The war for both those who were themselves participants and for those who saw it through their own eyes as children was not recreated history but rather creative memory (Ponce de Leуn). Over time the attitude toward the war evolved, even among writers of the first generation. Gradually the militants were replaced by the interpreters, a transition that took place more rapidly from the geographical distance of exile (Sobejano 54). By the end of the 1960s, the distance in time was sufficient so that even in Spain novelists set aside a unilateral view of the conflict and proceeded to demystify the war (Corrales Egea 158). While overviews of Civil War literature, such as those cited above, do not exclude all women novelists, they do emphasize works by men and generalize without reference to possible gender differences. Antedating, as they do, key critica} works on the function of propaganda in literature (Szanto, Foulkes), these overviews 1 Sobejano correctly divides the first group into two generations: older writers who were observers and younger ones who were actual partid· pants (54}. Because the number of established women writers is so small, I have merged them into one «generation». To the «mid-century generation», usually defined as those born in the 1920s, I have added slightly older women who began publishing only after the war. My thнrd generation, those bom after the war who began publishing after Franco's death, does not appear in overview studies that antedate the current wave of fiction. -24 -
THE CIVIL WAR IN THE SPANISH NOVEL: FEMALE PERSPECTIVES neither note nor explain the fact that women writers moved more quickly than writers in general from agitation and integration propaganda to a dialectical propaganda that, by making visible or defamiliarizing the dominant ideology, efectively demystified the war. Sobejano correctly affirms that geographical distance facilitated a transition in attitude for writers in exile. A similar distancing effect asserted itself with dissident writers within Spain, that is those who experienced inner exHe: «the isolation endured by distinct groups vis-a-vis each other with respect to an entire culture» (Illie 47). Illie also literary world. Because of this sociological circumstance, the partisan view of the war with its concomitant exhaltation of heroism -that is to say, the stage of agitation propaganda with its clear message that those on the «right» side had to defeat those on the «wrong» side- is predominantly a male phenomenon. There are, however, notable exceptions. Doubtless the most eloquent woman writer on the Republican side -and perhaps the most eloquent orator of either sex on either side- was not a novelist but a political leader in the Spanish Communist Party. Dolores Ibarruri, la Pasionaria (b. 1895), exhorted the people to take up arms against the Fascists: «It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees! No pasarбn! (qtd. in Giffin 209). It was a message internalized by novelist Teresa Pamies (b. 1919) in her youthful ardor: «Las muchachas catalanas preferirбn morir como Lina Odena que entregarse al fascismo» (qtd. in Moller Soller 37). On the other side, Concha Espina (1869-1955), Spain's best known woman novelist in the pre-war period, allied herself with traditional Spanish values and took an overtly pro-Falangist stance. Her novel Retaguardia 1937, written while under house arrest behind the lines, and the -25-
ESPAСA CONTEMPORБNE,\ short stories of Luna roja, 1938, are characterized by «her categorical identification of the left with evil and the right with good» (Bretz 110). She portrays Franco's forces as being heroic and the Communists as being depraved. Although, unlike Ibarruri, Espina was at a safe distance from the fighting, she is one of the few Spanish authors to write of the war while it was in progress. Moller Soller observes that there were no novelists among the milicianas and hance no female narrative voice to give direct witness to front line battle (43). Agitation propaganda, with its dualistic division into right and wrong, good and bad, is, of course, perceived for what it is only if one disagrees and therefore considers it falsehood. When the message strikes a responsive chord, then it is seen as truth (Szanto ~5). As Foulkes notes, «the recognition of propaganda can be seen as a function of the ideological distance which separates the observer from the act of communication observed» (6). When a war is in progress, it is understandable that agitation propaganda will prevail on both sides. In the postwar period, overt agitation propaganda gradually yields to covert integration propaganda, which is intended to maintain the status quo. Among the Republican writers who went into exile, there were only two major women novelists: Rosa Chacel (b. 1898) and Merce Rodoreda (1909-1983). The first cluster of women writers to THE CIVIL WAR IN THE SPANISH !'sOVEL: FEMALE PERSPECTlVES Spanish novel may be primary or only secondary, serving «como fondo, como reminiscencia, como motivo» (53). In the case of the women novelists, the presence is always secondary. As Carolyn Galerstein observes with respect to selected novels of Espina, Ma· tute, Medio, Concha Castroviejo (b. 1915), and Marнa Teresa Leуn (b. 1904), «the mifьary and political results of wartime incidents are overshadowed by the influence these events have on the characters' personal lives» (18). The women write not of the political figures, the battles, and the dates that constitute «history», but rather of the common people and daily Iives that form what Unamuno called «intrahistory». For example, Rodoreda focuses in La Pla9a del Diamant, 1962, on the hunger and despair of a young working-class wife with small children. When her husband comes home to Barcelona on leave from the front, he speaks not of heroic action but of the boredom of the trenches. The news of his death in battle or of the execution of his friend is merely part of a total picture, barely distracting the woman from her daily struggle for survival. Even Matute's more extended treatment of the Civil War must also be considered secondary and cannot be compared with the efforts of certain male authors who attempted to give a sweeping, historical account of the war per se. In a post-revolutionary period, the dominant ideology imposes censorhip and creates «exemplary myths» (Foulkes 13) as part of the effort to resist opposition or change. In the case of Franco Spain, integration propaganda had a double impact on women. While everyone was to believe that the Nationalist heroes had saved the country from Communism and atheism, women were also to believe that they had been saved from the perils of emancipation. The Republican government had, indeed, promoted women's rights. The victorious Falangists, through their Secciуn Femenina, established a mandatory social service for Young Women to train them to be good wives and mothers. The supportive national myth far this enterprise was that of Queen Isabel, who was promoted as the role model of an ideal mother. To what extent this form of integration propaganda alienated young women intellectuals is revealed in El cuarto de atrбs, 1978, Martнn Gaite's multifaceted metanovel that includes both her quasi-autobiographical memoirs and her sociological analysis of growing up female in the Civil War-postwar period. - 27 -
ESPAСA CONTEMPORБNEA That Rodoreda was able to demystify the Civil War from the distance of geographical exile is understandable. That young women writers within Spain were able to do so as early as the 1950s may initially be more surprising but is also understandable. Toril Moi, basing herself on the theories of Julia Kristeva, states: «Only a concept of ideology as a contradictory construct, marked by gaps, slides and inconsistencies, would enable feminism to explain how even the severest ideological pressures will generate their own la· cuna» (26). The «contradictory, fragmentary nature of patriarchal ideology» (Moi 64) is readily visible in the Falangist idealization of Queen Isabel as ideal mother, for the integration myth had to obscure the historical role of Isabel as political and military leader, as well as the part she prayed in the betrayal and subsequent fiftyyear imprisonment of her daughter Juana, la Loca. Unamuno preferred intrahistoria to historia because he felt that Spain's essence lay in the people and their enduring traditions rather than in the surface level of dates of battles and names of those who had achieved their moment of power. The emphasis feminist writing has placed on intrahistory seves a more subversive function. History, like patriotism, is equated with patriarchal ideology; it is integration propaganda, not truth. Those who are mar· ginal to the dominant ideology therefore seek to deconstruct Historia (official history) in order to discover their own historia (story). The two younger generations of women writers seldom reflect either the partisan stance of the exhaltation of heroism expressed by Ibarruri of Espina. They are much more in tune with the contemporaneous view of Virginia Woolf in her Three Guineas, 1938, who «elaborated a highly original theory of the relations between sexism and fascism» and attempted «to link feminism to pacifism» (Moi 6). To varying degrees, the younger Spanish authors assume a pacifist attitude, showing a senseless war in which there were no winners, only victims on both sides. This assessment of Matute's work might be equally applied to the group as a whole: «The military conflict is relegated to a plane of importance secondary to the war's effects upon individuals, what war means, the pain, hurt, and absurdity» (Pйrez 1971: 124). The women writer's anti· militarism culminates in a position that, in equating patriotism with patriarchy, stands diametrically opposed to the oratory of la Pasionaria. The mother of the title character in Otras mujeres - 28-
THE CIVIL WAR IN THE SPANISH NOVEL: FHiALE PERSPECTIVES y Fabia, 1982, by Carmen Gуmez Ojea (b. 1945) recalls for her daughter her own experiences as a volunteer during the war: Pero yo odiaba el hospital y me producнan asco las heridas y no podнa sentir piedad por aquellos soldados, que se habнan marchado al frente cantando, a hacer su papel de machos. La guerra es algo masculino, cien por cien masculino, y me decнa que las mujeres que no eran estъpidas o que no estaban intoxicadas por la palabrerнa de los hombres debнan odiarla igual que yo. Y me sentнa conmovida hasta las entraсas por aquellas madres enlutadas que perdнan a sus hijos y aquellas viudas, algunas casi unas niсas, que ya no volverнan a reнr gozosamente, porque era demasiado horrible lo que habнan sufrido (84-85). The focus in the women's novels is on the women and children left behind, on the bombing raids that killed innocent citizen, on the absence created by the meaningless death of young men seduced -of forced- into going off to war. In American literature, it was World War I that led writers to equate patriachy with fathers' sacrificing their sons (A. G. Jones 136). In Spain the theme appears later. For example, it refers to the Civil War in the novels of Carlos Rojas (b. 1928), where Goya's painting of Saturno devouring his children becomes a leitmotiv, or to voluntary Spanish participation on the Gennan side in World War II in «Los primos» in Siete miradas en un mismo paisaje, 1981, by Esther Tusquets (b. 1936). Among the more recent generation of women writers, those who established their reputations in democratic Spain, Gуmez Ojea, Marina Mayoral (b. 1942), and Montserrat Roig (b. 1946) have continued to introduce the war as a secondary presence. Roig, a journalist whose publications include a booklength documentary on Catalans in Nazi concentration camps, deals with the Civil War extensively in her trilogy, written in Catalan: Ramona, adeu, 1972; El temps de les cireres, 1977; and L'hora violeta, 1980. The younger writers, unlike the mid-century generation, never place an entire novel against the backdrop of the war. More typically their narratorprotagonist, in the context of a search for matrilineal roots within various generations of a family, explore the war from the perspective of their mothers' generation as only one among severa! foci of their novels. Significantly, however, the attitude expressed about -29-
ESPAСA CONTEMPOR,\NEA the Civil War is invariably at odds with Franco-era integration propaganda. Fabia's mother, in the passage cited above, repects both male and female sex-role stereotypes: the heroism of the soldiers and the nurturing role of the women behind the lines. When the younger writers create occasional female characters who leamed to be fighter pilots -Georgina behind the Nationalist lines in Mayoral's La ъnica libertad, 1982, or Kati behind the Republнcan lines in Roig's L'hora violeta, 1980- this desire of women to take part in the military action likewise contradicts that dominant ideology. According to Francoist propaganda, the Civil War was to be viewed as a noble crusade in which brave Nationalist soldiers defended Spain and her cherished traditional values from the attack of Soviet Communists. It is characteristic, however, both of novels written in exile and of novels written by the mid-century generation, to see the war as fratricide. Arturo Barea (b. 1897), from his vantage point in exile, called it «una guera de dos Caнnes» (qtd. in Sobejano 63). Writers of the mid-century generation frequently used the symbolism of Caнn and Abel. Betrayal becomes the rite of passage for male and female protagonists alike. Matute's first novel was titled Los Abel, 1948. Juan Gaytisolo (b. 1931) in his Duelo en el Paraiso, 1955, carried the motif to the extreme in depicting refugee children who kill a hoy named Abel because they have intemalized and misunderstood the adult messages of hate. According to Galerstein, «hermanos contra hermanos» is an almost obsessive thought in Medio's Diario de una maestra, 1961 (17). The lasting horror of war for those behind the lines -including children- is a repeated motif in the literary treatment of the Civil War from the female perspective. Matute makes the point clearly in her Los hijos muertos: «A civil war is a war that nobody wins, but the special losers are the children, as is shown through the recollections of Miguel, too young to participate other than as a spectator of the terror» (Pйrez 1971: 127). In that same novel, as Eunice D. Myers observes, the innocent :victims also include the unbom (90). But in the chaos and violence of war, the role of children is not limited to that of victim. While Goytisolo's Duelo en el Paraнso ends with Abel's murder and the defeat of the Republicans, women novelists have explored in depth the lingering aftermath of guilt. Medio indeed considered using the title «Todos somos culpables de algo» for her Diario de una maestra (Galerstein 16). The theme of guilt - 30-
THE CIVIL WAR IN THE SPANISH NOVEL: FEMALE PERSPECTIVES becomes particularly powerlul when innocent children become not only the witnesses to but also the perpetrators of atrocities. Such is the case in Quiroga's La careta, 1955, and Matute's La trampa. Utilizing stream of consciousness and existential time, Quiroga only gradually reveals in La careta the cause of the protagonist's alienation and degeneracy. Even the intervening twenty years have not removed Moisйs from the terrible period at the outbreak of the Civil War when his father, a Nationalist soldier, was forced into hiding in Republican Madrid. When enemy soldiers burst into the apartment of Moisйs' family, the frightened boy runs and hides. His fathed is killed outright, and his mother is left bleeding to death. She tries to call for help -pounding on the floor for the neighbors. The hoy, terrified that the soldiers will return and kill him too, covers his mother's mouth and effectively suffocates her. With the help of a neighbor, the boy physically escapes to the safety of the Nationalist zone, but he is never able to escape from himself. The war, seen from this perspective, is far removed from any semblance of heroism. In Matute's La trampa, there occurs a very similar war episode. The novel, Faulknerian in technique like La careta, is composed of four narrative strands, each representing a different character. One of these, Mario, has spent his life plotting revenge against the man who led Mario's father away to his death. Again the childhood experience is only revealed near the end of the novel. Mario was a lнttle boy at the time his father went into hiding. He was tricked into revealing his father's hiding place, and is marked ever after by the look of horror on his father's face when he opens the concealed door for the man who claims to be his father's friend but is, in fact, his executioner. The father of Quiroga's protagonist was killed by the Republicans while Matute's character fell victim to the Nationalists. But their common point, consistent with the antimilitarism that marks the women's novels, is, not only that there were no winners in the war, but also that the war's negative effects continue for generations. Indeed, in Matute's novel even after Mario finally realizes the futility of the revenge he has been planning for years, his young disciple Bear, fully aware that he will be caught and punished, proceeds to kill Mario's nernesis on his own. The cycle of senseless violence continues. -31 -
ESPAСA CONTEMPORБNEA By the late 1960s, when Matute published La trampa, censorship in Spain had eased and it was no longer necessary to present a partisan, Francoist view of the war. Women novelists, however, including Matute herself, had already dared to present a balanced view or even the Republican perspective, a full decade before the demystification period identified by Corrales Ejea. Quiroga believes that her La careta was the first book published in Spain to suggest that atrocities were committed by both sides in the war. Doubtless her daring statement -however minor a part it may be in the context of the whole novel- only passed the censor because of the difficulties presented by her use of stream of consciousness. A number of critics either misinterpreted of found it dangerous to write about the content of this and other novels by women that reflected negatively on the war or the immediate postwar period. Matute has affirmed that it was her intent in the 1950s to demystiify the Civil War (Pйrez 1971: 127). Women writers in Spain, approaching war from an antimilitarist stance and veiling their criticism under a stream-of-consciousness style, were clearly in the vanguard of the more general novelistic current. Sorne Anglo-American critics, like Ellen Moers, have suggested that women's writing represents an undercurrent outside the male tradition (Moi 53). As Moi explains in detail, French feminist theory, in the varying approaches of Hйlene Cixous, Luce Irigaray, and Kristeva, affirms that the unitarian point of view, one that <THE CIVIL WAR IN THE SPANISH NOVEL: FE\1ALE PERSPECTIVES the dominant male novelistic current, even of those writers who clearly opposed the Franco regime, remained within the authoritarian mode of social realism. Because the women writers of the mid-century generation concentrate on intrahistory, they tend to show war destroys the family, both through separation and death and through the destruction of social structures and values. As Sara Schyfter has noted, the frag· mented family is characteristic of the novels written by the women of the mid-century generation. The female protagonist in their works typically is motherless, alienated, and eager to break away from whatever family ties may remain. It is this latter aspect that comes initially as a surprise. Paradoxically, even while Spanish women authors reject nationalism and militarism, their characters often find liberation in the war and its aftermath. Thus these works simultaneously lament the senseless loss of lives and applaud women's new freedom. Laforet's orphaned protagonist in Nada, 1945, is eager to pursue her education and her own life, freed from family restraints. The related protagonist of the same author's La isla y los demonios takes advantage of the chaos at the end of the war to flee to the Penнnsula in search of her own identity. Medio's Lena, protagonist of Nosotros, los Rivera, 1953, discovers in the total disintegration of her family the possibility for going to Madrid and studying at the university. Sandra Gilbert has pointed out precisely this positive effect of the Great War on British women. As a result, men writing of the World Conflict tended to see themselves as victims while women emphasized their new found freedom. In a similar vein, Anne Goodwyn Jones points out that «war has meant a chance for women to act with unwonted independence and authority and thus to reshape traditional womanhood» although «traditional roles and structures are resilient, and egalitarian reform is fragile» (135). In the case of Spain, which did not participate in World War I, it was the social upheaval caused by the Civil War that allowed women to free themselves from family control and strike out on their own. The experience of the teenage Teresa Pamies is itself «el tнpico ejemplo de la aportaciуn de la guerra a la liberaciуn de la Mujer» (Moller Soller 38). While adolescent heroines responded with a quest for adventure or education, the impact, as reflected in the novel, extends to older women as well. Medio makes the point clearly - 33 - 3
ESPAСA CONTEMPOR;\KEA in her Diario de una maestra that precipitates social evolution when she describes «the avalanche of women who set out to conquer the jobs abandoned by men going to the front» (M. E. K. Jones 99). Men writers were not unaware of the social upheaval and its impact on the traditional role of women in society, but their attitude toward the liberating change tends to be negative. Even liberal thinkers of the mid-century generation, who progressively criticized the repressive Franco regime, frequently include the disintegration of the family with its concomitant undermining of traditional moral values as one more sign of general decay. Doris Lessing, in her Briefing for a Descent into Hell, 1971, gives another dimension to war's liberating impact on women: «It is only in love and in war that we escape from the sleep of necessity, the cage of ordinary life, to a state where every day is high adventure, every moment falls sharp and clear» (qtd. in Pratt 84). As severa! critics have already observed, this liberation theme, too, appears in Spanish literature. Leуn in her memoirs recalls an «exhilarating sense of comradeship» (qtd. Bellver 71). As a result of the war, Medio's female hero in Diario de una maestra is forced to act independently (Ordусez 54). The protagonist of Martнn Gaite's El cuarto de atrбs experiences a moment of self-reliance and joyous rebellion during a wartime trip to Burgos (Bellver 74). The theme finds its most radical development in Roig's Ramona, adeu. No doubt because of her strong identification with the Catalan struggle for autonomy, a movement that formed part of the Republican cause in the 1930s, Roig is the woman writer in the postWar generation who has dealt most extensively with the war. Her view of the conflict is not monolithic and involves a number of different characters whose own perspectives vary considerably. The one that concerns us here, however, is that of a very traditional, unassertive woman. Ramona, adeu juxtaposes the lives of three generations of Ramonas, a name, along with its nickname Mundeta, that is repeatedly identified as an old-fashioned one that makes people laugh. The title of the novel thus implies the rejection of the image created by the name and of old-fashioned notions of women's role in society. The desire for self-liberation is explicit for the grandmother, whose diary covers the period 1894-1919, and for the youngest Mundeta, whose experiences over a several-day period in the late 1960s are -34-
THE CIVIL WAR ь! THE SPA"!ISH NOVEL: FEMALE PERSPECTIVES narrated in third person. In contrast to these two women and her own non-conformist friend Kati is the middle Ramona, who admits to being weak and not very intelligent. In the central portions of the text, in which a third person narration focuses on her life from 1931-38, she is portrayed as insignificant, and her daughter describes her as self-effacing and timid, totally submissive to her husband's authority. Nevertheless, it is the middle Ramona's first person account of an episode from the Civil War that serves as prologue and epilogue to the novel. This key episode takes place in Barcelona on a particular ESPAСA CONTE~tPOR~NEA her realize that «las mujeres sirven para algo y que no sуlo han de servir de adorno» (12). But, as Annis Pratt has pointed out, the female hero is se::.dom able to maintain the pattern of the male quest. After her period of metamorphosis, almots invariably she is forcibly reintegrated into patriarchal society. It is because Ramona's old life takes hold-again -her husband and mother return- that her shining momento of wartime liberation fills her with the nostalgia that is so inexplicable to the youngest Mundeta. Roig's women characters who were initially more independent than the middle Ramona, do not recover from the war. As Kati tells Judit in La hora violenta: «Verбs, en una guerra todo el mundo pierde algo» (148). Kati herself loses the man she laves -an lrishman who carne to fight on the Republican side in the international brigades- but, perhaps more importantly, in the Francoist triumph she knows that ali freedom will be abolished. When Judit rejects the idea of fleeing with her to France, Kati commits suicide. Judit retreats to a passive existence, first dedicating her life to the care of a mongoloid child and then becoming totally immobile in a paralysis that may be as much psychosomatic as physiological. The reaction of Kati and Judit to the fall of the Spanish Republic is not unlike that of Manuel and Marta in Matute's Los soldados lloran de noche. The young man and woman in effect commit suicide by trying to hold off the arriving Nationalist troops by themselves. More openly political in their viewpoints than other women writers of the two younger generations, Matute and Roig join in condemning war as senseless but show that far the idealists, life after the defeat of their cause would be meaningless. Although women writers of the mid-century and post Franco generation do not take firm partisan positions on the war per se, as Espina and Ibarruri did, in general they lean to the Republican cause. Certainly there are no Franco apologists among them; they do not join the dominant ideology in applauding the victory of the Nationalist «crusade» and proclaiming the <(years of peace» brought by the Franco regime. Martнn Gaite in the quasi autobiographical segments of her El cuarto de atrбs makes clear that her own family was on the Republican side even though they lived in a Nationalist zone. Matute, in Los soldados lloran de noche, and Salisachs, in herUna mujer llega al pueblo, 1957, go so far as to give sympathetic - 36 -
THE CIVIL WAR IN THE SPANISH NOVEL: FEMALE PERSPECTIVES portrayals to Communists in Republican-held Catalonia and to identify the triumphant Francoists with hypocrisy and materialism. The pervasive element in works by the two younger generations of women writers, however, is not identification with ideology but rather a demystification of the war. As early as the late 1940s and certainly by the 1950s, the women authors showed a country divided between losers and losers. In the absurdity of a civil war, there are no winners. Eschewing a dichotomy between good and evil, as defined by political allegiances, they showed that atrocities were committted on both sides and also that on both sides there were people -usually women- capable of helping others even in the midst of war. For example, the neighbor woman who helps little Moisйs escape from the Republican zone in Quiroga's La careta is herself a Republican; her concern is for the child, not for the fact that his father was a Nationalist soldier. In developing their antimilitarist stance, the women writers focus on the negative impact of war on daily existence during the years of battle and on into the postwar period. In the mid·century generation, there is a repeated theme of women's emancipation as the one positive side effect of the war. Although other writers do not express this theme as openly as Medio, none of them suggests that the dock should be turned back after the war's end. Indeed, they generally portray the women defenders of «old Spain» in a negative light. In Quiroga's Tristura, 1960, and Escribo tu nombre, 1965, the traditional aunt, with her rigid ideas of morality and sex· roles, encamates the Francoist mentality that led to the dewunfall of the Second Republic and the repression of the postwar. In the mid·century generation, Matute ESPAСA CONTEMPORБNEA have been more influenced by contemporary feminist ideology and therefore feel more compelled to create women characters who can emulate the stirring example of Ibarruri. Typically the narratorprotagonist of the younger writers' works seems to be interviewing members of her mother's generation to find out what they political parties and really want war, while women can only wait, Judit responds that sorne menare pacifist and sorne wornen go into battle (147). In the rnid-century generation, wornen authors intentionally debunked the fixed images of Nationalists and Republicans. In the post Franco generation, Gуmez Ojea's character rnay identify the war with the male-dorninated patriarchy, but Roig at least is attempting to destroy stereotypical irnages of both sexes. In the prologue to Roig's Ramona, adeu, the elderly anarquist prophetically says that the Spanish Civil War will not soon be forgotten: «la guerra, cuyo recuerdo nos va a durar toda la vida, toda la vida nos roerб por dentro, a nosotros y a nuestros hijos, y quiйn sabe si a nuestros nietos» (30). More than a half century after the outbreak of the war, it is still gnawing, causing at least three generations of writers to return again and again to those three years of violent conflict. In so doing, they have shifted from the overt binary oppositions of agitation propaganda to the covert reinforcernent of the status quo found in integration propaganda to the dernystification of the war linked with the more complex, openended dialectical propaganda. Daubtless because of their alienation from the dominant Francoist ideology with its insistence upan a return to traditional sex-roles, women writing within Spain, like their counterparts in exile, were at the forefront of that shifting perspective. The novels and critica! studies reviewed here suggest that there is indeed a gender-based difference in the view of the Civil War. That difference reveals itself in two aspects: the speed with which women writers subverted the division into right and wrong, good and bad, of the dominant ideology and the deterrnination to look beyond patriarchal History to uncover the intrahistory of what the war really meant in the lives of the people. - 38-
WORKS CITED Bellver, Catherine G. «War as Rite of Passage in El cuarto de atrбs», Letras Femeninas, 12 (1986): 691-77. Bertrand de Muсoz, Marysй. «La guerra civil en la novela en los aсos de la democracia». international symposium on «Literature, the Arts and Democracy: Spain in the Eighties». Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 5 October 1985. Besas, Peter. Behind the Spanish Lens. Spanish Cinema Under Fascism and Democracy. Denver, Colorado: Arden Press, 1985. Bretz, Mary Lee. Concha Espina. Twayne World Authors Series 559. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1980. Compitello, Malcolm Alan. «The Novel, the Critics, and the Civil War: A Bibliographic Essay». Anales de la Narrativa Espaсola Contemporбnea, 4 (1979): 117-138. Corrales Egea, Josй. La novela espaсola actual. Madrid: Cuadernos para el Diбlogo, 1971. Foulkes, A. P. Literature and Propaganda. London and New York: Methuen, 1983. Galerstein, Carolyn. «The Spanish Civil War: The View of Women Novelists». Letras Femeninas, 10.2 (1984): 12-19. Giffin, Frederick C., ed. Woman as Revolutionary. New York and Scarborough, Ontario: New American Library, 1973. Gilbert, Sandra. «Soldier's Heart: Literary Men, Literary Women, and the Great War». Modern Language Association Convention. Houston, 28 December 1980. Gуmez Ojea, Carmen. Otras mujeres y FabiA. Barcelona: Argos Vergara, 1982. Ilie, Paul. Literature and Inner Exile: Authoritarian Spain 1939-1975. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980. Jones, Anne Goodwyn. «Gender and the Great War: The Case of Faulkner and Porten,. Women's Studies, 13.1,2 (1986): 135-148. Jones, Margaret E. W. Dolores Medio. Twayne World Authors Series 281. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1974. Moi, Toril. Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory. London and New York: Methuen, 1985. Moller Soller, Maria-Lourdes. «El impacto de la guerra civil en la vida y obra de tres novelistas catalanas: Aurora Bertrana, Teresa Pamies y Mere.e Rodoreda». Letras Femeninas, 12 (1986): 34-44. Myers, Eunice D. «Los niсos muertos: The Spanish Civil War as a Perpetuator of Death». Letras Femeninas 12 (1986): 95-93. -39-
THE CIVIL WAR IN THE SPANISH NOVEL: FEMALE PERSPECTIVES Ordусez, Elizabeth. Diario de una maestra: Female Heroism and the Context of War». Letras Femeninas, 12 (1986): 52-59. Pйrez (Dнaz), Janet. Ana Marнa Matute. Twayne World Authors Series 152. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1971. Pйrez, Janet. «A manera de introducciуn: La guerra, la literatura, la mujer y la crнtica». Letras Femeninas, 12 (1986): 3-11. Ponce de Leуn, Josй Luis S. La novela espaсola de la Guerra Civil (1936-1939). Madrid: 1nsula, 1971. Pratt, Annis. Archetypal Patterns in Women's Fictton. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1981. Roig, Montserrat. Ramona, adiуs. Trans. Joaquim Sempere. Barcelona: Argos Vergara, 1980. Schyfter, Sara E. «The Fragmented Family in the Novels of Contemporary Spanish Women». Perspectves on Contemporary Literature, 3.1 (1977): 23-29. Sobejano, Gonzalo. Novela espaсola de nuestro tiempo (en busca del pueblo perdido). 2nd. ed. Madrid: Editorial Prensa Espaсola, 1975. Szanto, George. Theater and Propaganda. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1978. -40-

P Zatlin

File: the-civil-war-in-the-spanish-novel-female-perspectives.pdf
Author: P Zatlin
Published: Mon Feb 29 16:10:18 2016
Pages: 18
File size: 1.11 Mb

Midnight Clear, 13 pages, 0.45 Mb

, pages, 0 Mb

The Ancient Jewish Wedding, 22 pages, 0.41 Mb

, pages, 0 Mb
Copyright © 2018