Memorial and biographical history of Spain: El jinete polaco by Antonio Muñoz Molina
Keywords:Spanish contemporary novel, memorial and biographical discourse, history and literature
The novel El jinete polaco by Antonio Muñoz Molina is a highly complex work in which the narrator mixes multiple plotlines in an effort to recreate or remember part of his family past. In the process, the collective memory of the town and people of Mágina (an allegoric space that represents the peasant life of the olive growers of southern Spain) appears as a rich and contradictory montage of dreams and failures. And in a third level of discourse, the recent past of Spain also emerges through the main historic al events: the civil war, the protracted military government, and the economic development and current consolidation of democracy. In order to achieve this complex and ambitious narrative project, in El jinete polaco time is not represented as uninterrupted historical timeline but as the rich mixture of the simultaneous experiences of different life courses in terms of both values and cultural patterns in order to understand how the rapid social change affects relations between the various age groups. In other words, time is constructed as a synthesis of the biographical dimension within collective memory and major historical events. This paper seeks to point out the similarities and differences between biographical discourse, collective memory and history.
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