Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Spanish & Portuguese

First Advisor

Nina Molinaro

Second Advisor

John D. Slater

Third Advisor

Juan Herrero-Senés

Fourth Advisor

Leila Gómez

Fifth Advisor

Robert Buffington


In my dissertation I examine transcription as a rhetorical figure in six contemporary Peninsular novels: La voz dormida (Dulce Chacón, 2002), Los girasoles ciegos (Alberto Méndez, 2004), Soldados de Salamina (Javier Cercas, 2001), La mitad del alma (Carme Riera, 2004), Llámame Brooklyn (Eduardo Lago, 2006), and Bilbao-New York-Bilbao (Kirmen Uribe, 2008). My analysis is built around one central question: what does transcription add to a work of literature? Literary transcription appears to be a simple means of copying actual and notional source texts and testimony within a work of fiction. But it is a complex, meaningful process. Transcription co-opts and interrogates the conventions of historiography and thus critiques the notion of recovering both history and memory. To demonstrate this, I consider the following: how transcription violates the ethics of politically motivated historical fiction, how transcription signals the lucrative possibilities of representing historical ruin, and how transcription enables characters to simulate a response to absent people and traditions.