Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Mercedes Tasende, Ph.D.
Pablo Pastrana Pérez, Ph.D.
Mariola Pérez de la Cruz, Ph.D.
Ignacio Fernández de Mata, Ph.D.
Feminism, Francoist dictatorship, memory, narrative, Spanish Civil War, women
General Francisco Franco’s brutal dictatorship (1939-1975) was one of the darkest periods in Spain’s recent history. During this dictatorial regime, political detractors were mercilessly persecuted, tortured and massacred. In 1975, Franco died leaving the legacy of nearly four decades of repression and over 150,000 victims on his back. Spain then cautiously headed into a process of democratization, with fear and horror still etched on the country’s memory. While politicians promised a smooth transition to democracy, their insistence to look ahead meant Spaniards were asked to neglect the country’s painful past. No legal action was taken against those responsible for mass suffering. No crime against humanity was judged.
Nearly forty-five years after Franco’s death, the national trauma still remains unresolved. The Spanish government has failed to properly acknowledge victims, whose families are, still today, in need of closure. It has also failed to educate its current citizens about this period in the history of the country, given that the official version of history has been incomplete and biased. As a consequence, modern Spain is suffering from historical amnesia, which results in an uninformed society, incapable of a critical and rigorous reading of its past. This study analyzes Almudena Grandes’ (1960-2021) Episodios de una guerra interminable, a series of novels set on the Spanish Civil War aftermath. In these novels, Grandes accurately portrays the plight of Spaniards under Franco dictatorship. By incorporating the voice of the vanquished in her work, she advocates the recovery of memory of the Franco regime, and contributes enormously to the field of History.
This work focuses particularly on the representations of women under the Francoist dictatorship. Chapter one approaches the theoretical framework of the dissertation, essential to understand Grandes’ literary production. Chapter two analyzes Ines y la alegría (2010). This novel acknowledges the role of women in anti-fascist warfare, shortly after Franco came into power. Chapter three explores Las tres bodas de Manolita (2014), which focuses on the struggle of women surviving in the misery of the dictatorship. Finally, chapter four examines La madre de Frankenstein (2020), in which Grandes provides an outstanding representation of the asphyxiating morality that Spanish women had to endure in the 1950’s.
All these novels disclose historical events unknown by a vast majority of the Spanish society, either because politicians have endeavored to hide them, or because of the historical forgetfulness the country has experienced even during its democratic time. Thus, Grandes’ work becomes an effective source of historical documentation, but also an instrument to spark social awareness and political activism in 21st century Spain.
Fernández-Fernández, Alba, "Historical Memory And Feminist Consciousness In Almudena Grandes’ Episodios De Una Guerra Interminable" (2022). Dissertations. 3863.