This Ghostly Poetry: History and Memory of Exiled Spanish Republican Poets

May 12, 2020

The Spanish Civil War was idealized as a poet’s war. The thousands of poems written about the conflict are memorable evidence of poetry’s high cultural and political value in those historical conditions. After Franco’s victory and the repression that followed, numerous Republican exiles relied on the symbolic agency of poetry to uphold a sense of national identity.

Exilic poems are often read as claim-making narratives that fit national literary history. This Ghostly Poetry critiques this conventional understanding of literary history by arguing that exilic poems invite readers to seek continuity with a traumatic past just as they prevent their narrative articulation. The book uses the figure of the ghost to address temporal challenges to historical continuity brought about by memory, tracing the discordant, disruptive ways in which memory is interwoven with history in poems written in exile. Taking a novel approach to cultural memory, This Ghostly Poetry engages with literature, history, and politics while exploring issues of voice, time, representation, and disciplinarity.

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