In this essay I consider how the representation of trash can function as counter discourse in two seemingly ideologically opposed works: the play El cubo de la basura (1951) by politically dissident Alfonso Sastre and the novel Mi vida en la basura (1955) by pro-facist writer Ángeles Villarta. Linking the concept of abject proposed by Julia Kristeva and Marion Young with Henry Lefebvre’s space theory, I examine how these works draw an urban geography of abjection that subverts Francisco Franco’s fascist discourse in postwar Spain. My analysis about what constitutes “trash” also reveals inherent difficulties in classifying these texts’ ideology as categorically conservative or progressive. As I argue, these texts can both destabilize and reinforce the dominant discourse depending on the analytical perspective of the reader.

Mar Soría