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Book Sections Year : 2022

Traces in the Archive of a Great Oblivion: Ibero-American Representations of the ‘Spanish’ Flu

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Abstract

This chapter examines ‘the great oblivion’ of the ‘Spanish’ Flu pandemic through an inspection of a variety of Ibero-American literary and visual representations. The study diachronically conceptualises different semiotic phenomena from the last hundred years that are apparent in what could be considered an Ibero-American ‘archive’—understood as a conceptual cultural reservoir—of the 1918–19 pandemic. Given the elusive nature of the non-canonic literary and visual artefacts, which appear as ‘vestiges’ or ‘cinders’ of forgotten cultural histories, the study focuses on the construction of the memory of the ‘Spanish’ Flu pandemic as an alternation of remembrance and oblivion, and it traces cultural ‘lethomechanisms’ responsible for transmitting memory through manifestations of forgetfulness. A typology of the phenomena is offered through consideration of examples of denial, rejection and silencing of the event, including cultural expressions of ‘pre-forgetting’, collateral representation and textual resignification. These modes of representation have produced an inverted memorable imprint that projects a particular epistemology of the epidemic experience. The chapter concludes that, given the absence of intertextual relations between the different cultural sources, it is not possible to identify a canonical Ibero-American tradition of representations of the ‘Spanish’ Flu pandemic.
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halshs-03519871 , version 1 (10-01-2022)

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  • HAL Id : halshs-03519871 , version 1

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Cynthia Gabbay. Traces in the Archive of a Great Oblivion: Ibero-American Representations of the ‘Spanish’ Flu. Guy Beiner. Re-Awakenings: The Forgotten and Unforgotten Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919, Oxford University Press, chapter 18, 314-332, 2022, 9780192843739. ⟨halshs-03519871⟩

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