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The long goodbye of Marca España: affect, politics and modernity in Marta Sanz’s crime novels

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Halfway between a paean to Spain’s accelerated modernization and prosperity and an overcompensating denial of its economic implosion in 2008, Marca España is the state-sponsored initiative to promote a positive image of Spain as an international brand. Marta Sanz’s noir writing locates the instances of the violence that lay the foundation for that triumphant representation. Her work is both a tribute to Raymond Chandler’s noir model and its dismantling within a peripheral modernity. This essay asks whether the deployment of noir tropes allows for the critical examination of social attitudes toward the socially vulnerable, or if, on the contrary, it betrays a desire to belong to an imaginary global middle class. Where natural and man-made spaces, both traditional and modern, bear the inscription of a nondemocratic global market, how does crime fiction hierarchize, negotiate and/or articulate affect, economy and politics? I claim that within the conventions of noir, Sanz speaks to the economic nonviolent crime upon which Marca España is founded.
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Keywords: Crime fiction; Marca España; Marta Sanz; affect theory; cruel optimism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Hispanic Studies, UC Riverside, Riverside, CA, USA

Publication date: April 2, 2020

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