Monday, June 20, 2016

War, dictatorship and how women writers in Spain are re-telling history

Victoria University of Wellington’s first professor of Spanish says literature plays an important part in helping new generations come to terms with the past.

Victoria Professor Sarah Leggott’s research examines how contemporary women writers
in Spain are using literature to acknowledge long-silenced stories of the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s and the Franco dictatorship, and to contribute to social and political debate
on the matter.

Professor Leggott will discuss this research in her inaugural lecture Ghosts of the Past in recent Spanish fiction on Tuesday 28 June.

“The Spanish Civil War was a brutal conflict that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, followed by a repressive dictatorship that lasted for over three decades. The stories and memories of that time have only recently been fully recognised in democratic Spain. Now the contemporary generations who have inherited the traumatic memories of these events from their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents have started to talk about it.

“My lecture will focus on recent novels by Spanish women writers that represent women’s experiences during the years of the Spanish Civil War and Franco dictatorship.”

Professor Leggott’s lecture will illustrate the importance of coming to terms with a
difficult past, something relevant not only in the Spanish context but more broadly.

“There are some lessons to be learnt from these writers and how they are dealing with the ghosts of the past, with the legacy of not dealing with traumatic events. At some point
these things resurface, and now, two generations on, Spanish writers are sharing their perspective on the war and dictatorship—the trauma, the realities of repression, and the daily struggle for survival of the civilian population.”

Professor Leggott has studied Spanish culture and literature since she first learnt the language during a year spent in Mexico in the late 1980s. She has a Master of Arts and
a PhD in Spanish.

Traditionally, inaugural lectures were the first lecture given by a newly appointed or promoted professor. Today they are more commonly used as a way for new professors
to give an insight into their specialist areas of study.

What: Ghosts of the Past in recent Spanish fiction
When: 6pm, Tuesday 28 June
Where: Lecture Theatre KK LT 301, New Kirk Building, Kelburn Parade, Kelburn Campus, Victoria University of Wellington

RSVP: Email with ‘Leggott’ in the subject line, or phone 04-463 6700 before Friday 24 June. RSVP as spaces are limited.



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