Journal of Romance Studies

Memory, power and place: where is Guernica?

Journal of Romance Studies (2009), 9, (2), 47–64.

Abstract

This article engages with the problematic of what constitutes cultural memory and the action of such memory as it is embedded in and dispersed through aesthetic cultural productions. Picasso’s iconic work Guernica is the case study for this investigation, not least because of its fame, which might lead to the mistaken view that we can know the painting. The article employs terminologies from philosophical discourse, the field of memory studies and the notion of haunting in order to unravel certain fixed preconceptions about such an iconic work and create the possibility of a way of regarding memory as the surplus of an event. This surplus is essentially regarded not as negative reification but instead as something that contains and opens up positive potentialities for the pursuit of justice.

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Benjamin, Walter (1999) Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt, trans. Harry Zorn (London: Pimlico). Illuminations Google Scholar

Blomkvist, Leif Dag, Zerka Moreno and Thomas Rutzel (2000) Psychodrama: Surplus Reality and the Art of Healing (London and Philadelphia: Routledge). Psychodrama: Surplus Reality and the Art of Healing Google Scholar

Caputo, John D. (1997) The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida: Religion Without Religion (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press). The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida: Religion Without Religion Google Scholar

Chiari, Joseph (1970) The Aesthetics of Modernism (London: Fusion). The Aesthetics of Modernism Google Scholar

Chipp, Herschel B. (1989) Picasso’s Guernica: History, Transformations, Meanings (London: Thames and Hudson). Picasso’s Guernica: History, Transformations, Meanings Google Scholar

Clark, Hiro (ed.) (1993) Picasso in His Words (London: Pavilion). Picasso in His Words Google Scholar

Connerton, Paul (1989) How Societies Remember (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). How Societies Remember Google Scholar

Derrida, Jacques (1994) Specters of Marx (London and New York: Routledge). Specters of Marx Google Scholar

Dowd, Maureen (2003) ‘Powell without Picasso’, New York Times (5 February), http://www.nytimes.com [accessed 24 May 2005]. Google Scholar

Dorfman, Ariel (2003) ‘Pablo Picasso’s words to Colin Powell from the other side of the grave’ (16 March), http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/10784 [accessed 27 May 2009]. Google Scholar

Fisch, Eberhard (1988) [1983] Guernica by Picasso (London and Toronto: Associated University Presses). Guernica by Picasso Google Scholar

Foster, Hal (2004) Prosthetic Gods (Cambridge MA and London: MIT Press). Prosthetic Gods Google Scholar

Gebauer, Gunter and Christoph Wulf (1996) [1992] Mimesis: Culture. Art. Society (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press). Mimesis: Culture. Art. Society Google Scholar

Gordon, Avery F. (1997) Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination Google Scholar

Greenberg, Clement (1961) Art and Culture: Critical Essays (Boston: Beacon). Art and Culture: Critical Essays Google Scholar

Hemmingway, Ernest (1932) Death in the Afternoon (New York: Scribner). Death in the Afternoon Google Scholar

Hughes, Robert (1991) The Shock of the New: Art and the Century of Change (London: Thames and Hudson). The Shock of the New: Art and the Century of Change Google Scholar

Huyssen, Andreas (1995) Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia (New York and London: Routledge). Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia Google Scholar

Lebowitz, Michael A. (2003) Beyond Capital: Marx’s Political Economy of the Working Class (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan). Beyond Capital: Marx’s Political Economy of the Working Class Google Scholar

Lee, Laurie (1971) As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (Harmondsworth: Penguin). As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning Google Scholar

Marx, Karl (1954) A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production (London: Lawrence and Wishart). A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production Google Scholar

McLellan, David (1977) Karl Marx: Selected Writings (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Karl Marx: Selected Writings Google Scholar

Melling, Phil (1997) ‘War and memory in the new world order’, in War and Memory in the Twentieth Century, ed. Martin Evans and Ken Lunn (Oxford and New York: Berg), 255–67. War and memory in the new world order War and Memory in the Twentieth Century 255 67 Google Scholar

Mendelson, Jordana (2005) Documenting Spain (Philadelphia: Penn State University Press). Documenting Spain Google Scholar

O’Brian, John (1993) Clement Greenberg: The Collected Essays and Criticism. Vol. 4: Modernism With a Vengeance 1957-1969 (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press). Clement Greenberg: The Collected Essays and Criticism. Vol. 4: Modernism With a Vengeance 1957-1969 Google Scholar

Orwell, George (1984) ‘Looking back on the Spanish war’, in The Penguin Essays of George Orwell (Harmondsworth: Penguin), 222–39. Looking back on the Spanish war The Penguin Essays of George Orwell 222 39 Google Scholar

Preston, Paul (1996) A Concise History of the Spanish Civil War (London: Fontana). A Concise History of the Spanish Civil War Google Scholar

Rankin, Nicholas (2003) Telegram from Guernica (London: Faber and Faber). Telegram from Guernica Google Scholar

Smith, Gar, ‘Shock and awe: Guernica revisited’ (27 January), http://www.alternet.org/story/15027 [accessed 24 May 2005]. Google Scholar

Southworth, Herbert (1977) Guernica! Guernica! A Study of Journalism, Diplomacy, Propaganda and History (Berkeley: University of California Press). Guernica! Guernica! A Study of Journalism, Diplomacy, Propaganda and History Google Scholar

Struik, Dirk J. (ed.) (1971) Birth Of The Communist Manifesto (Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels) (New York: International). Birth Of The Communist Manifesto Google Scholar

Torgovnik, Marianna (1990) Gone Primitive (Savage Intellects, Modern Lives) (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press). Gone Primitive (Savage Intellects, Modern Lives) Google Scholar

Van Hensbergen, Gijs (2004) Guernica: The Biography of a Twentieth-Century Icon (London: Bloomsbury). Guernica: The Biography of a Twentieth-Century Icon Google Scholar

Wolfe, Michael (2003) ‘The Guernica tapestry at the United Nations’ (5 February), http://www.zaytuna.org.seasons/seasons/Guernica%20Tapestry.pdf [accessed 24 May 2009]. Google Scholar

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Cousen, Benjamin Hannavy