This article looks at La sombra del viento as a highly self-conscious gothic text in light of the recent critical debate about the novel's contribution to the growing tradition of the 'memory text'. Although these two modes may seem to have little in common, there is one important
point at which they converge: their concern with the historical past. While sharing this concern, however, the gothic and the memory text approach that past in quite distinct ways. If the memory text focuses upon the need to recover a forgotten or silenced past, the gothic text rather focuses
on the continuing presence of that past, on its continuing power and threat. The task in the gothic text is to attempt to exorcise the past which is omnipresent, rather than to reclaim a buried past through the recuperative gestures of memory. If La sombra del viento is both memory
text and gothic text, then there would seem to be an irresolvable tension at the heart of its representations of, and attitudes to, the historical past.
Journal of Romance Studies promotes innovative critical work in the areas of linguistics, literature, performing and visual arts, media, material culture, intellectual and cultural history, critical and cultural theory, psychoanalysis, gender studies, social sciences, and anthropology. The primary focus is on those parts of the world that speak, or have spoken, French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese, but work on other cultures may be included. Issues cross national and disciplinary boundaries in order to stimulate new ways of thinking about cultural history and practice.