The Parables and Parabolas of the Spanish Civil War Exiles in Mexico
Forehand, Melanie Jeanne
The Parables and Parabolas of Spanish Civil War Exiles in Mexico examines representations of the Spanish Civil War exiles living in Mexico from 1937 to the 1950s and engages theories of the spatial politics of affect, national identity, and cultural studies. This study takes as its point of departure the underlying paradox of how they advocated for and maintained a specific set of political and cultural aims for a nation in which they no longer lived. In investigating an ideological expression that I characterize as parabolic, this project highlights how exiles combined the spatial, the narrative, and the aesthetic to provide the guiding imagery that oriented bodies toward their transatlantic, hispanismo perspective. By viewing cultural production through a parabolic lens, my research expands on exile studies from scholars such as Claudio Guillén, Michael Seidel, and Sophia McClennen to demonstrate how concepts of home and host, past and present, and inner and outer exile took shape for this exiled community. Chapter two draws from affect theory and material culture to elucidate how Félix Candela’s buildings are an expression of an ideology based in transcendence. Chapter three details how the exile magazine España Peregrina transmuted the ancestral Spanish periodical form to create a transatlantic public sphere, or more appropriately, a public parabola in Mexico. In chapter four, I study Josep Renau’s mural España hacia América as an example of both acted and visual parables in order to explore how the production and spatial arrangement of public art invite the viewer to turn a critical eye toward the Franco regime’s use of Spanish historical figures and to embrace a relationship based in transculturality and universality. In my final chapter, I read Emeterio Payá Valera’s memoir Los niños de Morelia: El exilio infantil en México alongside digital humanist Matthew Jockers’ study of plot shapes and sentiment to identify the parabolic shape contained deep in the author’s narrative structure. By applying a parabola-based framework, my study offers new insights into how these examples of autobiography, architecture, magazines, and artwork manifest the exiles’ nostalgic and critical reflections on their homeland and their utopic world view known as hispanismo.