Isolation, Loss of Innocence, Gender, and Trauma in Ana María Matute’s Primera memoria and Juan Goytisolo’s Señas de identidad
World Languages and Literatures
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Novelists Juan Goytisolo (Barcelona, 1931) and Ana María Matute (Barcelona, 1926) represent some of the best writers that emerged in 20th century post-civil war Spain as part of the literary group known as the “generation of the 50s.” The writers, who came of age during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), evoke similar themes in their works: isolation, loss of innocence, gender identity issues and political trauma. By focusing on the these themes, I will demonstrate the wide-reaching effects of the Spanish Civil War on the writer’s masterpieces: two semi-autobiographical novels. Matute’s Primera memoria (1959) chronicles the adolescence of a young girl and her cousin during the Spanish Civil War. Goytisolo’s Señas de identidad (1966) tells the tale of a young male protagonist who leaves Spain to be exiled in France and Morocco. I will demonstrate that Matute and Goytisolo used their novels to protest the fascist regime of General Francisco Franco and gave a voice to a generation of Spaniards traumatized by the violence of the war.