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Updated Up To 18/01/2017
Volume 16, issue 2; includes forum "Modernity and Mobility: Victorian Women Traveling" (January 2018) :
The Jewish Petenera
Profile of a Spanish Myth
Einat Davidi
Rubric A: Episodes in the History of Ideas
Rubric B: Folklore

Abstract

The paper deals with the nature of the genre of Flamenco known as Petenera, which in the past was erroneously attributed a Jewish origin. The comparative analysis of multiple variations of texts produced for this genre suggests that it subsumes within it the memory of a historical trauma related to the vanishing and absence of Jews since the end of the 15th century and that this memory is expressed both in performative aspects of the genre and in folkloric perceptions of it. The image of the Jew is present in collective consciousness and manifests itself as part of the system of textual conventions of an art form that has a folkloric component and folkloric origin. Within the conventions of this genre, expressions of the attitude toward the Jewish “ghost” are welded to a gendered layer — the bearer of this image is a woman, and the analysis shows that the texts embody different variations of the same recurring themes and features: eros, sin, guilt, remorse, and a touch of morbidity. The argument here is that palo (Spanish for “a genre of Flamenco”) contains a literary-textual component, an element of content, and not just musical components. These folkloric texts should be given a closer reading; the analysis perfomed in this paper is one way of doing so.              


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