Blurred Boundaries: Iberian Representations of the Spanish Civil War

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Spanish and Portuguese

First Advisor

Valis, Noël


In my dissertation, “Blurred Boundaries: Iberian Representations of the Spanish Civil War,” I reconceptualize the Spanish Civil War, which has been understood to have national and international significance, as an Iberian conflict of multicultural importance. To understand the war as Iberian, I work with 20th-century narrative and film from the Basque Country, Catalonia, Galicia, and Portugal that portray the time before, during, and/or after Spain’s war. With “blurred boundaries,” I refer to how I remap the ways in which the war has traditionally been viewed. In doing so, I bring the question of region to the forefront of my analysis, privileging literary portrayals from traditionally peripheral areas. I focus on the affective experience of the war, examining the tensions that characters experience at both a personal and a larger, societal level, as they negotiate their regional and national identities. Another component of “blurred boundaries” is political ambivalence. While the war had a winning and a losing side, the political demarcations are not so clear cut in the texts I study. The strict divide between opposing, binary ideologies blurs, given that characters do not always adhere to or even explicitly identify with a particular ideology. I argue that, through the political ambiguities present in these texts, the writers complicate the conflict, demonstrating how both sides lost the war and how that loss resonated at personal, regional, and national levels.

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