Type of Document Dissertation Author Williams, Laura Linford URN etd-04082005-174013 Title Malvinas Myths, Falklands Fictions: Cultural Responses to War from Both Sides of the Atlantic Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Humanities Program Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Jean Graham-Jones Committee Chair Dale Olsen Committee Member Juan C. Galeano Committee Member William Cloonan Committee Member Keywords
- Modern Literature
Date of Defense 2005-03-25 Availability unrestricted Abstract
The Falklands/Malvinas War of 1982 brought two previously friendly nations into armed conflict – not only over the possession of a few small islands, but also over moral principles and national honor. Both Argentina and the United Kingdom had attached symbolic and mythic significations to the islands and to the struggle for their possession. These myths, closely tied to issues of national identity and pride, influenced national leaders and ordinary citizens alike to advocate what was seen on both sides as a just and necessary war for sovereignty and national dignity.
This dissertation uses Roland Barthes’s definition of myth as a constructed and superimposed signification, as well as Hayden White’s theory that history and literature share similar plot structures, to examine how Britain’s and Argentina’s nationalist myths were developed and applied to the Falklands/Malvinas dispute. While governmental speeches, media reports, and polemic essays play a supportive role, my analysis centers on Falklands/Malvinas myths as they appear in artistic texts, including poetry, novels, short stories, theater, film, music, and visual arts.
I compare many British and Argentinean texts that reiterate, endorse, question, or undermine nationalist myths in various ways, focusing the most detailed attention on ten central texts. Argentinean poetry from the anthology Nuestros poetas y las Malvinas (1983) and television playwright Ian Curteis’s The Falklands Play (1987) are examined as “myth-perpetuators” that endorse or reiterate nationalist myths. Griselda Gambaro’s Del sol naciente (1984) and Steven Berkoff’s Sink the Belgrano! (1986) are discussed as “demythologizing” theater works that question and undermine official myths. The satirical novels Las Islas (1998), by Carlos Gamerro, and Swansong (1986), by Richard Francis, function as “countermythologizers,” or texts that deploy their own myths to subvert and replace official myths. Finally both book and film versions of Los chicos de la guerra (1982, 1983) and Tumbledown (1988) are presented as ambiguous works that have escaped categorization and been assigned multiple interpretations. Although the official Falklands/Malvinas myths continue to endure, they have faced stronger questioning and opposition from competing viewpoints and myths in post-war years.
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