SPAIN IS ILL! SICK BODY AND POLITICAL DISCOURSE IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY SPAIN: SANTIAGO RAMON Y CAJAL, PIO BAROJA, GREGORIO MARANON, AND ANTONIO VALLEJO NAGERA
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Sosa-Velasco, Alfredo Jesus
In this dissertation, I study the metaphorical representations of disease by four Spanish physician writers from 1885 to 1960: Santiago Ramon y Cajal (1852-1934), Pio Baroja (1872-1956), Gregorio Maranon (1887-1960), and Antonio Vallejo Nagera (1889-1960). I analyze the role of physicians as writers and as intellectuals in Spanish peninsular literature, and I illustrate not only how they use science and medicine to define and critique nation, nationalism, culture, and politics in Spain, but also how politics can be read in these four physicians? literary production, by analyzing the metaphors of science, medicine, doctor, patient, sickness, and cure. Physician writers produce a space for social and political critique in which medical discourse becomes political discourse. Through the four chapters of my dissertation, I show that Spanish nationalism imposes a centralistic, homogeneous, and unified vision of Spain. This homogeneity leads to the construction of a Spanish nation in which the particularities of three historical nations (Catalonia, Galicia, and Basque Country) are ignored, and imposes Castilian culture in order to legitimize such a construction. Ramon y Cajal, Baroja, Maranon, and Vallejo Nagera construct a singular Spanish national culture by using the metaphor of the sick body as an opposition to the ideal healthy body, defining Spanish national culture in opposition to the other nations that constitute Spain. In order for these physicians to talk about the sick body, they refer to the Other: Americans, Catalans, Basques, intersexuals, homosexuals, Communists, and Marxists, among others. I also show that the fictionalization of the pathological body and the symbolic representation of sickness underscore these physician writers? political anxieties. Not only do these authors reproduce the ideology of the hegemonic group, but they also produce this ideology by building it from within the State, where medical discourse is institutionalized. They support an authoritarian, colonialist, imperialist, and totalitarian political regime, representing Castilian values. The literary production of these four physician writers requires a reconsideration of the cultural dynamics created by medical language, the human body, and political discourse.
Romance Studies; Spanish Peninsular Literature
dissertation or thesis