The Ghost in the Constitution

Historical Memory and Denial in Spanish Society

Joan Ramon Resina

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ISBN: 9781786940223

Publication: June 30, 2017

Series: Contemporary Hispanic and Lusophone Cultures 15

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The Ghost in the Constitution offers a reflection on the political use of the concept of historical memory foregrounding the case of Spain. The book analyses the philosophical implications of the transference of the notion of memory from the individual consciousness to the collective subject and considers the conflation of epistemology with ethics. A subtheme is the origins and transmission of political violence, and its endurance in the form of symbolic violence and “negationism” in the post-Franco era. Some chapters treat of specific “traumatic” phenomena such as the bombing of Guernica and the Holocaust.

Joan Ramon Resina is Professor of Iberian and Latin American Cultures at Stanford University. His previous books include Barcelona’s Vocation of Modernity: Rise and Decline of an Urban Image. Stanford University Press, 2008.

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1 Historical Memory and the Limits of Retrospection 9

2 Why Memory? Reflections on a Politics of Mourning 22

3 Memory and Imputation 39

4 Denial and the Ethics of Memory 58

5 Warming Up for the War: The Cultural Transmission of Violence in Spain since the Early Twentieth Century 72

6 Guernica as a Sign of History 103

7 Delenda est Catalonia: The Unwelcome Memory 114

8 Allez, Allez! The 1939 Exodus from Catalonia and Internment in French Concentration Camps 135

9 The Corpse in One’s Bed: Mercè Rodoreda and the Concentrationary Universe 147

10 Transatlantic Reversals: Exile and Anti-History 155

11 The Weight of Memory and the Lightness of Oblivion: The Dead of the Spanish Civil War 168

12 Between Testimony and Fiction: Jorge Semprún’s Autobiographical Memory 184

13 It Wasn’t This: Latency and Epiphenomenon of the Transition 224

14 Window of Opportunity: The Television Documentary as After-Image of the War 243

15 Anachronism and Latency in Spanish Democracy 260

16 Negationism and Freedom of Speech 276

17 Exhaustion of the Transition Pact: Revisionism and Symbolic Violence 292

Bibliography 307

Index 323

'Intellectually engaging, thoughtful, coherent, and logically developed. Resina writes with an elegance of style uncommon among scholars ...the most apt synthesis and expansion of ideas on memory and latency that I have read in recent years.'
University of California Distinguished Professor of Hispanic Studies David Herzberger Riverside  

Format: Hardback

Size: 239 × 163 mm

344 Pages

ISBN: 9781786940223

Publication: June 30, 2017

Series: Contemporary Hispanic and Lusophone Cultures 15

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