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Dr. Marina Llorente Gave The Frank P. Piskor Faculty Lectureship

St. Lawrence University Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures Marina Llorente gave the Frank P. Piskor Faculty Lectureship “Unfinished Transition: Poetics of Social Engagement in Contemporary Spain” on Tuesday, April 16 at 7:00 pm in Herring Cole. The Piskor Faculty Lectureship was established in 1979 to encourage original and continued research among St. Lawrence faculty members, to recognize and honor distinguished scholarship and to afford the opportunity for faculty to share their learning with the academic community.

Unfinished Transition: Poetics of Social Engagement in Contemporary Spain

In the last decade of the 20th century, a new generation of socially engaged Spanish poets began to use art as a form of resistance in an increasingly dehumanized and forgetful world.  This intersection of ethics and aesthetics led them to articulate a critique of Spain’s political transition from dictatorship to democracy, a sharp questioning of the Spanish left’s shift to the social-democratic ideology that was in vogue during the 1980s, as well as a warning about the dangers of social and class struggle amnesia. When General Francisco Franco died in 1975, Spanish society embarked on a process of modernization but also embraced a “pact of silence” that made it impossible to confront its violent past, including both the Spanish Civil War and the forty years of dictatorship that followed. An examination of poems by Jorge Riechmann, Isabel Pérez Montalbán, David González and others reveals that poets were ahead of their time in recognizing how profoundly unfinished Spain’s transition actually was and remains today.  Demonstrating the operation of a strong critical conscience, these poetic works help us see that Spain’s current socioeconomic crisis has deeper roots in the social injustices of the immediate post-Franco years and in the country’s failure to promote national reconciliation through the recovery of historical memory. 

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