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La recuperación de la identidad en la novela Sefarad de Antonio Muñoz Molina
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies.
2008 (Spanish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of the present study is to examine the signification of identitary discourses in the novel Sefarad: Una novela de novelas by Antonio Muñoz Molina and determine to what extent these discourses represent and respond to identitary discourses in contemporary Spanish society. The analysis focuses on three principal questions: how is the narrative constructed, what is conveyed as a result, and what is the aim of the narrative.

Identity is understood as a social construction, an individual and continuous process of assuming, defining, negotiating and maintaining cultural identities, elements of the surrounding world that provide the individual with a sense of meaning (Fromm 1956; Castiñeira 2005; Marsella 2008).

The novel consists of different stories that manifest the social impact of the totalitarian regimes in Europe during the twentieth century, told by a diversity of voices. First, the analysis deals with the structure of the text, examined through the model of mise en abyme (Dällenbach 1989). Secondly, the significations of transition, transgression (Lotman 1978) and, analogically, stigmatization are deduced (Goffman 1972), processes that are related to the effects of the frontier as a metaphor (Pratt Ewing 1998) and to limit situations (Jaspers 1974). Thirdly, the study stresses the representation of the past, in which trauma, melancholy and mourning are significant (Benjamin 1992; Freud 1986).

The conclusions confirm the claim that the novel corresponds to humanity’s treasure of suffering (Leidschatz), a cultural possession that thematizes the processes of memory and oblivion (Assmann 1999), represented through stories told by the victims of intolerance at different levels. The text is accordingly conceived as a mirror through which the narrator constructs his identity as a writer and transmits meaning to the reader by providing the opportunity to reflect upon identity issues today.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för spanska, portugisiska och latinamerikastudier , 2008. , 209 p.
Keyword [en]
identity, humanity’s treasure of suffering, mise en abyme, frontier as a metaphor, limit situation, melancholy, mourning, trauma
Keyword [de]
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8307ISBN: 978-91-7155-764-3OAI: diva2:200046
Public defence
2008-12-12, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 14:00
Available from: 2008-11-20 Created: 2008-11-20 Last updated: 2010-10-21Bibliographically approved

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