This dissertation explores constructions of memory and testimony in the concentration-camp narrative of Spanish author Max Aub. One of the most forgotten chapters of all Spanish Civil War and exile history is that pertaining to the Spanish Republicans who were interned in French concentration camps after the end of the Civil War. The concentration camp occupies a central place of memory and becomes a recurrent symbol and leitmotif that reappears in various manifestations throughout much of Aub's narrative work. In this dissertation, I investigate the symbolic value of the concentration camp as a discursive vehicle, a lieux de mémoire, that allows Aub to reconstruct his traumatic memories of the camp and convert them into narrative memory through writing. I examine the fictionalization of testimony in various literary genres and media, and analyze the use of different narrative strategies of remembrance and memory work to convey the experience of internment. My analysis of the camps goes beyond the traditional psychoanalytical conception of trauma as an individual phenomenon by exploring the collective dimension of trauma and memory. Aub's recounting of his own personal experiences exceeds a mere autobiographical portrait as it speaks in a collective voice that seeks to share the suffering of fellow exiles and camp survivors in order to form a new collective or group consciousness. Writing about the camps represents Aub's way of bearing witness to his trauma at the same time as it is his way of fighting the silence that has surrounded this experience shared by so many fellow Republican exiles. Through his testimonial writing, in both its individual and collective dimensions, Aub succeeds in a long-cherished goal, that of reinserting the memory traces of the Civil War, exile, and the camps back into Spain's historical and literary discourse.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2009. Major: Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Linguistics. Advisor: Ofelia Ferrán. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 278 pages.
Los Campos de la Memoria: the concentration camp as a site of memory in the narrative of Max Aub..
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