Burying the Hatchet: New Narrative Modes in Contemporary Basque Fiction

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0002-8249-9073
Posey, Alison, Spanish - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Posey, Alison, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, University of Virginia

This dissertation examines contemporary Basque narratives from 1990 until present in order to contend that the Spanish nation is fundamentally a diverse collection of culturally distinct, but equally significant, parts making up a greater heterogenous and democratic whole. The fictional production of Basque authors and filmmakers Bernardo Atxaga, Fernando Aramburu, and Borja Cobeaga evade polarization in order to emphasize the human fallibility and moral ambiguity of the Basque conflict (1968-2011). Their narratives mediate the violent struggle of the ethnonationalist organization ETA—which sought independence from Spain through armed conflict—from a place of objectivity, rather than political partiality, defying the group’s strident calls for separatism by maintaining the Basque minority community as inextricably linked to the greater Spanish nation-state. Framing my analysis of these narratives through the works of Foucault, Gatti, and Zulaika, among others, I argue for the recognition and contextualization of competing political, cultural, and ethnic ideologies interwoven throughout contemporary Basque creative production without their replication, in order to prevent the persistence of hegemonic, post-ETA binaries that only serve to isolate and divide Basque and Spanish communities. In this way, I demonstrate how contemporary Basque narratives synthesize the national and the regional in the Basque Country, locating the minority community upon a shifting continuum of global and local identities. Contemporary Basque narrative provides us with a model of literature and film as a discursive tool for reconciliation between nationalism, terrorism, and democracy that mediates essential differences in cultures and communities across the world.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Basque nationalism, contemporary Peninsular novel, Spain, terrorism, contemporary Peninsular film, ETA
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