The absence of tragedy in Ifigenia (1950) by Gonzalo Torrente Ballester
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Shaughnessy, Lorna. (2021). The absence of tragedy in Ifigenia (1950) by Gonzalo Torrente Ballester. Bulletin Of Hispanic Studies, 98(2), 123-141. doi:10.3828/bhs.2021.8
Gonzalo Torrente Ballester s novella, Ifigenia (1950) has been read consistently as a critique of the consolidating Francoist state of the 1940s and an early example of his demythologising technique. This article seeks to open discussion on aspects of the text that have not attracted critical attention to date. It traces the unacknowledged legacies of Euripides Iphigenia in Aulis in the text, most visible in both authors emphasis on the capacity of language for deceit. Drawing on Hannah Arendt s The Origins of Totalitarianism, it argues that Torrente s Ifigenia should be read, not only in the context of post-Civil War Spain, but in the wider socio-political context of post Second World War Europe. It argues that the consistent suppression of emotion produces an absence of tragedy in Torrente s re-telling of the myth, and outlines how this relates to the post-war contexts of Spain and Europe.