The lit city: València in the texts of Max Aub


  • Jesús Perís Universitat de València

Paraules clau:

exile, memory, city, Spanish Civil War, Spanish Second Republic, 20th Century, València, Max Aub.


The city of València often appears in the works of Max Aub. Sometimes in descriptions of the author’s childhood between 1905–1910, and others—most of the time—during the years of the Spanish Civil War in the El laberinto mágico novels, especially in Campo abierto and Campo de los almendros. In this article I analyse the texture of these representations, what the València he describes is like, which of its features he emphasises, the neighbourhoods his characters inhabit and live, etc. In other words, how Max Aub—from exile—builds a new map of the city, remembering it with surprising precision and linking it to smells, sounds, feelings, and particular people and places. I also observe the contrasts between this city and the real València that he visited in 1969 and which he describes in his ‘Spanish diary’, La gallina ciega. His writing about the impact of this shock gives us insight into the meaning that his imagined city had on his work. València, the illuminated city, traversed by the smell of magnolias and orange blossom, and where the author studied at secondary school, is the scene of the lost paradise of childhood, and also one of a collective project. The map of the lost city is where the Second Spanish Republic became reality, where an imagined community linked to sentimental and family memories, became real. It was there that this collective project came to life and got its emotions, and this is how it appears in his fiction written from exile.


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Biografia de l'autor/a

Jesús Perís, Universitat de València

Jesús Peris Llorca has a doctorate in Hispanic Philology from the Universitat de València and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Spanish Philology at the same university. His main lines of research are literature and national identity, literature and social imaginaries, and figurations of authors in mass literature, in reference both to Latin America and Spain. He is president of l’Associació d’Estudis Fallers [the Association of Fallas Studies].




Com citar

Perís, J. (2019) “The lit city: València in the texts of Max Aub”, Debats. Revista de cultura, poder i societat, 3. Available at: (Accessed: 11 December 2023).