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El reto ético del exilio: La autoescritura del éxodo republicano español

Alejandra Barriales-Bouche, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Emmanuel Levinas claimed that the subject is not a self-positing entity. This dissertation shows that the relational dimension of the subject is reflected in the literature of exile by analyzing the works of three authors who were forced to flee Spain after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939): Luis Cernuda, Pedro Garfias and Federica Montseny. Without dismissing the historical, political and aesthetical dimensions of exile literature, this study proposes to focus on its ethical dimension, which makes writing in exile primordially a responsible act. Self-writing in exile is constituted by the urge to establish a dialogue with unreachable addressees, be them the future generations, the citizens of the new countries or even the victims of the war. Affected by the loss of an immediate addressee, the poems of Luis Cernuda in exile are informed by an urgent sense of responsibility towards the future generations of Spaniards. Aware of the irreducible distance to his addressees, Cernuda offers his works as an acknowledgment of their difference, rather than as an attempt to reduce it. Likewise, having the victims of the Spanish Civil War as its ultimate addressees, the poetry of Pedro Garfias reflects his search for a more profound and rich encounter with the Other. In works like Primavera en Eaton Hastings the poetry questions the limit of the poetic task itself. The comparative analysis of the personal narratives of Federica Montseny provides a rich opportunity to explore the peculiarities of the voice in exile. The study of the sources that Montseny uses to write Mis primeros cuarenta años (1987) reveals that the ethical dimension of the autobiographical voice is far more intense in exile than in post-exile.

Subject Area

Romance literature|Biographies

Recommended Citation

Barriales-Bouche, Alejandra, "El reto ético del exilio: La autoescritura del éxodo republicano español" (2003). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3110466.