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The Mythopoeia of Dolores Ibárruri, Pasionaria

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the way in which different representations of the Communist leader converge in Western literature to preserve neither the biography of the woman Dolores Ibárruri Gómez nor her place in history, but rather to promulgate the image of Pasionaria as a mythical figure, defined within a classical context as well as the modern paradigm theorized by the French semiotician Roland Barthes. The opposing versions of the Pasionaria myth that have evolved illustrate Communist ideals as aspiration (leftist versions) or calamity (patriarchal and anti-leftist accounts) support Barthes's analysis. Undeniable, however, is the key role of both intellectual and popular cultural activity in establishing the mythical aura that surrounds the persona of Pasionaria, and which over the course of the years has not only come to overshadow the historical identity of Dolores Ibárruri, the woman, but more significantly those political tenets to which she dedicated her life's work.

Keywords: Communist leader; Dolores Ibárruri Gómez; Pasionaria; Roland Barthes



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