Journal of Romance Studies

‘What is that to me?’

Jorge de Sena’s Sinais de fogo, poetry, and testimony during the Spanish civil war

Journal of Romance Studies (2020), 20, (1), 51–74.

Abstract

The Spanish civil war is featured in the works of Jorge de Sena as a moment which created a new level of political awareness and militancy. Sena’s incomplete, posthumously published novel Sinais de fogo (1979) [Signs of Fire (1999)], which draws from Sena’s biographical experiences as a young student in 1936 Lisbon and Figueira da Foz, attempts a fictional inscription, for future remembrance, of the conflict’s impact on António de Oliveira Salazar’s Estado Novo regime, which supported the alzamiento and Franco, and on the living conditions and political positioning of the generations which endured it. To this end, Sena’s considerations on poetry and testimony will assist in shedding light on the novel’s questioning of the roles and functions of (and relations between) art, politics, history, and individual memory. Ultimately, the novel will resist heterotopian escapes and prompt a reflection on the meaning(s) and purpose(s) of communitas.

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Miranda, Rui