We are pleased to present today the fourth issue of 452°F Journal of Literary Theory and Comparative Literature, and it is with double joy that we do. On the one hand, we are fully satisfied with the completion of the issue and the addition of new voices to the project, within the Editorial and the Advisory boards, as well as in the illustration, translation, proofreading and layout teams. On the other hand, because this issue is in many ways the confirmation and consolidation of the project we started more than two years ago, as shown by the inclusion of the Journal in numerous scientific databases such as DOAJ, CSIC, LATINDEX, CCUC, RACO and ISOC.


This new issue is composed of eight articles; five correspond to the monographic section and three to the miscellaneous one. Our call for papers had the aim of exploring the cultural production regarding memory and its relation to the construction of individual and collective identities. On the one hand, while we recognised the importance of incorporating new historiographical discourses to the elaboration of a polyphonic statement, the current political realities drew our attention to the need of keeping a critical perspective that would allow us to fight against the abuses of memory and to identify the active political value of each specific discourse, despite their transnational nature. Therefore, this issue is committed to the creation of a space from which we can, on the one side, analyze the different strategies of discourse elaboration through narration and, on the other side, elaborate a critical reading of the so-called “memory industry”. We are particularly interested on the link between these products and their socio-historical context.

We are especially glad to have the collaboration of two experts in the subject, such as Jaume Peris and José Colmeiro, both of them members of the Advisory board, and we thank their priceless contribution. Peris’ article is a brilliant and comprehensive analysis of the last decade of Spanish cultural production regarding the Civil War. He analyzes the creation of a narrative construction of the emotive through an abusive use of testimony and a homogeneous aesthetics that favoured what Peris and Eugenia Monroy have defined as the memory effect. “Hubo un tiempo no tan lejano... Relatos y estéticas de la memoria e ideología de la reconciliación en España” discusses the consequences that this production, immersed in the market system, had in the construction and elaboration of a depoliticized discourse, that lost its meaning and historic-political claims. José Colmeiro’s article, “Nation of Ghosts”, also analyzes the discourses regarding the memory of the Spanish Civil War and its transformation in relation to the changes on the political and market system in the different socio-political periods of Spanish contemporary history. At the same time, it involves a critical vision of these same historical moments and of oblivion policies that were usually in conflict with the personal and collective need of telling and remembering.

This strain between memory and oblivion is the core subject of Jorge Fernández Castro’s article. There, he explores the relation between the official memory policies during Franco’s era, which created a mythological history of the Civil War and the dictatorship, and the use of oblivion as a way of resistance in Antonio Gamoneda’s work.

In the article “'I shall Intervene, With Nomad Memory and Intermittent Voice’: Resurrecting Collective Memory in Assia Djebar’s Fantasia, An Algerian Cavalcade”, Lobna Ben Salem focuses on gender to analyze the memory of Assia Djebar, who claims for female voices, breaking the monotonous historiography of the War of Independence in Argel and favouring the construction of a collective identity.

In “The Space of Remembering: Collective Memory and the Reconfiguration of Contested Space in Argentina’s ESMA”, Emily Parsons explores the physical and symbolic transformation of an urban space. The project of turning the Argentinean detention centre ESMA into a museum resulted in a crossroads where different political views on the Argentinean dictatorship are confronted. At the same time, it allows the author to analyze museumification as a general dynamics present in memory-building processes that, sometimes, shows the aim of turning into history a conflict that is still present, as reflected by Mercedes Moroño’s testimony, recovered by Parsons: «We don’t want a museum because we haven’t buried our children. Until they tell us where they are, as far as we’re concerned, our children are still alive» {International Justice Tribune, 2008: 2}.

The miscellaneous section is composed of three articles. In the first of them, Adriana Bocchino suggests the hypothesis of the existence of a homeland built through the writings of internal and external exiles, namely women, focusing on the analysis of Tununa Mercado and María Negroni’s work to support this idea. In the second one, Mary Ryan studies Mary Keyes’ work and the representation of women in Ireland, establishing a connection between the construction of traditional women models in traditional Catholic Ireland and the current problems of women in contemporary Ireland. Finally, Santiago Venturini explores the possibilities provided by the link between comparative literature and translation through the comparative reading of two Argentinean translations of Les fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire.

We would like to conclude by thanking the collaboration of all authors, as well as the effort and commitment of all those who work for all the issues of 452ºF, from the members of the Advisory board, the members of the Editorial board and of the different teams that articulate the journal, whose priceless work has made this fourth issue possible.

We hope to have contributed to the creation of a critical space from which to claim for comparative literature as a tool for analysis and resistance, able to regain the discourses of memory from the consciousness of their political power, without getting caught up in ideological emptiness. If looking back to the past helps to understand the present, our aim was to stimulate a reflection on those gazes back.
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