‘The Violence of History: Rosa Chacel’s Memorias de Leticia Valle’

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    Leticia Valle, the eleven-year-old narrator and protagonist of Rosa Chacel’s 1945 novel Memorias de Leticia Valle seduces and destroys her history teacher, Daniel. Here, I argue that Daniel represents traditionalist, right-wing interpretations of Spanish history while also recalling the importance of the colonial wars in Morocco in the build up to the Civil War, and the Nationalists’ use of Moroccan conscripts and recruits within the peninsula. Written at a time when history was being used to justify an armed rebellion, a civil war, and the imposition of a brutal dictatorship, Chacel’s novel depends on ellipses and absence to question historiographical principles. Furthermore, it combines continued reference to Spanish history with the use of violent and militant language. The most devastating conflict of all is between Leticia and Daniel: she silences and dehumanizes him, though she is not able to fully explain what happened. Writing from Switzerland, Chacel’s narrator takes possession of Spanish history at a time when dissent within Spain was being silenced by the Francoist regime.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)511-529
    Number of pages19
    JournalBulletin of Hispanic Studies
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - May 2016

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