Subversion of traditional Francoist historiography in the fiction of Gonzalo Torrente Ballester

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2011-12
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Abstract

Gonzalo Torrente Ballester (1910-1999) dedicated much of his 60-year publishing career to commenting on the tremendous impact the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the post-War era had on all facets of Spanish life. During the almost four decades of the Franco dictatorship, Torrente was unable to make any criticism openly. Instead, he would create fictitious or mythical worlds set in other countries and/or other time periods, thus enabling him to criticize the harsh conditions found in post-War Spain without alerting the Francoist censors. Torrente was remiss to follow the literary trends of the day, preferring rather to experiment with styles long forgotten or those with which Spaniards were unfamiliar. For this and the above reasons, Torrente remained in relative obscurity for the first decades of his publishing career. After 30 years, Torrente published something which gained the attention of critics and public alike. With La saga/ fuga de J.B. (1972) Torrente finally garnered the praise the Galician had deserved all along. Torrente’s final novels have not received much critical attention, partly due to their relative newness, and partly because critics have deemed these novels to be a sign that Torrente’s skills as a novelist were waning. This dissertation seeks to analyze these final novels, shedding light on their significance within Torrente’s vast oeuvre as well as their importance to literature published in Spain during the end of the Twentieth Century.

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Spanish literature, Spanish Civil War, New historicism, New historical novel
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