Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation





First Advisor

Francisco J. Sánchez


Drawing on the testimonial character of the memory of Spanish exile of 1939, this project contributes to the study of cultural memory, in dialogue with other scholars who examine memory in contemporary works. It focuses on the intersection of exile and memory, and demonstrates that cultural memory means a connection between collective and individual memories. The three primary works examined in this project are conceived before, during and after each author’s exile respectively, thus, they together give a comprehensive view of the massive exile of 1939: Ramón J. Sender’s El lugar de un hombre (1939), Eulalio Ferrer Rodríguez’s Entre alambradas: diario de los campos de concentración (1939) and Fernando Solano Palacio’s Entre dos fascismos: memoria de un voluntario en las brigadas internacionales (1940). This combination is ideal for reflecting on what Maurice Halbwachs terms “collective memory.” Reading the three exilic writings from a cultural perspective, my study proposes to approach the theme of memory through three dimensions: time, space and language. This approach takes Andreas Huyssen, David Harvey and Elizabeth Jelin as theoretical references, and argues that those dimensions of memory are manifested in Sender’s exilic memory as a prediction, Ferrer’s celebrative memory, and Solano’s emotional memory. With this argument, the project appreciates the cultural legacy left by the exiled (silenced) intellectuals, and recognizes the interdisciplinary value of literary narration. In addition, this project offers a better understanding of the contemporary construction of democracy in Spain as the exilic memory illustrates vividly the relationship between memory and other pertinent concepts such as amnesia, which I would discuss via two types of it— censorship and consumerism. The exilic narration, on one hand, offers a space for questioning the historical truth that was officially manipulated, as it is well depicted in Sender’s novel; on the other, with the testimonial character, it goes beyond the revelation of truth for evoking political affect related to the past, as Solano’s text represents. It is in this sense that the exilic writings serve as places (spaces) for the re-reading (transmission) of the memory. And based on the emotional connection, the articulation of the exilic memory in Spain responds to the transnational reflection on the memory.


© 2017, Jinmei Chen