Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures



Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 247 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Ilka Kressner

Committee Members

Luis Cuesta, María Alejandra Aguilar


Memory, Peruvian Literature, Quinqui, Sendero Luminoso, Spanish Literature, Violence, Spanish literature, Peruvian literature, Violence in literature, Memory in literature, Other (Philosophy) in literature

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Comparative Literature | Latin American Literature


This dissertation constitutes an examination and approximation of neglected violent pasts through an analysis of a selection of contemporary Spanish and Peruvian novels. The Spanish novels in question are as follows: Las leyes de la frontera (2012) written by Javier Cercas; Talco y bronce (2017) authored by Montero Glez; Yonqui (2014) and Cuando gritan los muertos (2018) written by Paco Gómez Escribano; and lastly Lumpen (2015) co-authored by Gómez Escribano and Luis Gutiérrez Maluenda. Additionally, the Peruvian novels which play a fundamental role in the present study are: Lituma en los Andes by Mario Vargas Llosa (1993); El cazador ausente (2000) and El rincón de los muertos (2014) both authored by Alfredo Pita; La hora azul by Alonso Cueto (2005); and lastly Abril rojo by Santiago Roncagliolo (2006). The Spanish novels revisit the Spanish Transition and the rise in juvenile delinquency and police brutality, that predominantly occurred during the mid-seventies to the late eighties. Those adolescents, deemed as quinquis (juvenile delinquents) or yonquis (junkies) by society, did not form part of Spain’s idealistic image that was in construction during the transition to democracy. Los quinquis, aside from the inadequate portrayal by the media and cinema, were exposed to horrible living conditions, hunger, poverty and death. This new wave of literature, literatura quinqui, reconstructs their image, culture and spirit from a contemporary perspective. In the Andean region of Peru, predominantly Ayacucho, the Maoist terrorist organization Sendero Luminoso and the State got involved in a civil war from 1980-2000, where many innocent indigenous people were caught between the crossfire. During this two-decade period of mass violence the State made it permissible to kill the “other”, the indigenous, because their belief systems were deemed “antiquated” and did not coincide with the country’s vision of progress. Los quinquis and the indigenous communities were eradicated by the hegemonic discourses of their nations due to their alterity. Furthermore, the biopolitics behind the violence in both situations refer to precarious lives and systemic decisions by the State that defines some lives to be worth less than others.