J. Goytisolo's Vindication of Muslim Spain: Count Julian's Revenge

Dr. Marina Martín
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Frequently regarded as L’Enfant terrible of contemporary Spanish literature, Juan Goytisolo moves to France during Franco's dictatorship and starts a deconstructive, yet profound reading of his country’s cultural heritage. Guided by a growing interest in the Islamic culture, he travels periodically to Morocco, and selects Tangier as his permanent residence. Today, he is undoubtedly one of Spain’s leading intellectuals.

This paper focuses on Goytisolo’s reevaluation of the so-called Iberian Peninsula. The publication in 1970 of Vindication of Count Julian presents a revolutionary image of Spain's historical heritage. Inspired by Américo Castro's views, and the heated controversy raised by this historiographer's works, Goytisolo challenges the conventional account of the Peninsula’s history. Through the eyes of this novel's character - an exiled Spaniard living in Tangier - Goytisolo conveys a positive reading of Count Julian, and consequently of the Arab invasion of the Peninsula. The novel's hero intends to demolish the biased, yet official interpretation of Spain’s history and culture-i.e., the myths created by the Christian kingdoms that were later perpetuated by the political power of the Church. Goytisolo vindicates the presence of the Arab culture in the Spanish culture. His is a devastating, angry, and demystified view of Spain, yet highly illuminating.

Keywords: Deconstructing History through Fiction
Stream: History, Historiography
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Marina Martín

Professor, Dept. of Modern & CLassical Languages, St. John's Univeristy

She teaches at the College of St. Benedict & St. John's University. She worked for the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientícas (C.S.I.C.)in Madrid and completed her Ph.D studies at the University of Virginia. She is currently working on a book on J. L. Borges & D. Hume. Her interests in the Humanities cover philosophy, history, comparative literature, art and film.

Ref: H06P0141