ABSTRACT

The discussion of the gap between word and referent, between authorial “I” and text, led us in the previous chapter to consider how the theoretical question of language and intention-indeed, how “theory” itself-continues to be haunted by the history that it claims to problematize. In this chapter, I will continue discussing the ways in which heterobiography can investigate this history of personal and collective su ering and destruction, and how it enables, as a form, the exploration of the simultaneous necessity and impossibility of reconciliation and dialogue after violence and oppression. Heterobiography seeks to negotiate the demands made on their subjects and their authors as individuals and as members of a larger collectivity. Anna Banti’s Artemisia, published in 1947, shortly after the end of the Second World War, and Manuel Vázquez Montalbán’s Autobiografía del general Franco, published in 1992, on the centenary of Franco’s birth and towards the end of Spain’s transition from Franquism to European democracy, will provide the two principal examples for this analysis. What responsibility and what ethical choices, under such conditions, does speaking as oneself and as another entail?1