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Print Culture and Collective Identity in the Rio de la Plata, 1780-1910
Starting in the late nineteenth century, the region of South America known as the Río de la Plata (containing modern-day Uruguay and Argentina) boasted the highest literacy rates in Latin America. In Everyday Reading, William Acree explores the history, events, and culture that gave rise to the region’s remarkable progress. With a specific focus on its print culture, in the form of newspapers, political advertisements and documents, schoolbooks, and even stamps and currency, Acree creates a portrait of a literary culture that permeated every aspect of life. Everyday Reading argues that the introduction of the printing press into the Río de la Plata in the 1780s hastened the collapse of Spanish imperial control and played a major role in the transition to independence some thirty years later. After independence, print culture nurtured a new identity and helped sustain the region through the tumult of civil war in the mid-1800s. Acree concludes by examining the role of reading in formal education, which had grown exponentially by the early twentieth century as schoolchildren were taught to fulfill traditional roles in society. Ultimately, Everyday Reading humanizes literary culture, demonstrating its unrecognized and unexpected influence in everyday lives.
Maurophilia and the Construction of Early Modern Spain
In the Western imagination, Spain often evokes the colorful culture of al-Andalus, the Iberian region once ruled by Muslims. Tourist brochures inviting visitors to sunny and romantic Andalusia, home of the ingenious gardens and intricate arabesques of Granada's Alhambra Palace, are not the first texts to trade on Spain's relationship to its Moorish past. Despite the fall of Granada to the Catholic Monarchs in 1492 and the subsequent repression of Islam in Spain, Moorish civilization continued to influence both the reality and the perception of the Christian nation that emerged in place of al-Andalus.
In Exotic Nation, Barbara Fuchs explores the paradoxes in the cultural construction of Spain in relation to its Moorish heritage through an analysis of Spanish literature, costume, language, architecture, and chivalric practices. Between 1492 and the expulsion of the Moriscos (Muslims forcibly converted to Christianity) in 1609, Spain attempted to come to terms with its own Moorishness by simultaneously repressing Muslim subjects and appropriating their rich cultural heritage. Fuchs examines the explicit romanticization of the Moors in Spanish literature—often referred to as "literary maurophilia"—and the complex, often silent presence of Moorish forms in Spanish material culture. The extensive hybridization of Iberian culture suggests that the sympathetic depiction of Moors in the literature of the period does not trade in exoticism but instead reminded Spaniards of the place of Moors and their descendants within Spain. Meanwhile, observers from outside Spain recognized its cultural debt to al-Andalus, often deliberately casting Spain as the exotic racial other of Europe.
Fascism in Spain, 1923–1977, by celebrated historian Stanley G. Payne, is the most comprehensive history of Spanish fascism to appear in any language. This authoritative study offers treatment of all the major doctrines, personalities, and defining features of the Spanish fascist movement, from its beginnings until the death of General Francisco Franco in 1977.
Payne describes and analyzes the development of the Falangist party both prior to and during the Spanish Civil War, presenting a detailed analysis of its transformation into the state party of the Franco regime—Falange Española Tradicionalista—as well as its ultimate conversion into the pseudofascist Movimiento Nacional. Payne devotes particular attention to the crucial years 1939–1942, when the Falangists endeavored to expand their influence and convert the Franco regime into a fully Fascist system. Fascism in Spain helps us to understand the personality of Franco, the way in which he handled conflict within the regime, and the reasons for the long survival of his rule. Payne concludes with the first full inquiry into the process of “defascistization,” which began with the fall of Mussolini in 1943 and extended through the Franco regime’s later efforts to transform the party into a more viable political entity.
Public Market Halls, Social Networks, and Consumer Culture
The food markets of Barcelona host thousands of customers daily, from tourists eager to sample fresh fruits and grilled seafood to neighborhood cooks in search of high-quality ingredients. While other countries experienced major shifts away from the public-market model in the twentieth century, Barcelona’s food markets remained fundamental to the city’s identity, economy, and culture. Montserrat Miller’s Feeding Barcelona, 1714–1975 examines the causes behind the extraordinary vibrancy and tenacity of the Barcelonan market system.
Miller argues that recurrent revolutionary uprisings in Barcelona, beginning in the mid-eighteenth century, forced ongoing collaboration between the public and private sectors to ensure adequate and effective food distribution. Municipal support permitted small-scale food sellers in Barcelona to survive in a period more commonly characterized by increasing capitalization in food retail, while the importance of food markets to Barcelona’s social networks enhanced vendors’ ability to recognize and adapt to changing customer demands. In addition, a high number of stalls owned by women contributed both to the financial well-being of vendor families and to the sociability patterns that placed neighborhood food markets at the center of daily life in the city. The shared commitment of vendors, shoppers, and government officials to a market model of food sales created the lasting and unique market system that persists in Barcelona to this day.
Drawing from extensive archival research and numerous interviews with individuals at all levels of the market system, Feeding Barcelona, 1714–1975 is the first detailed history of the historical and social influences that create urban food markets.
Between 1585 and 1631, the Spanish playwright Lope de Vega wrote more than forty-five plays dealing with the theme of conjugal honor. Drawing on recent feminist theories and touching on literary, social, and anthropological aspects, Professor Yarbro-Rejarano demonstrates that hierarchical relations of gender, race, and social status mutually inform one another as structuring principles of these plays. She takes into account plays that reveal their conventional, formulaic views of the Christian feminine ideal as well as those whose variety and flexibility present women subverting their expected roles. By identifying moments of resistance and subversion in the texts, the author argues against excessively monolithic interpretations of such discourses of containment.
Along with Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco, Fernando Arrabal is a major exponent of the Theater of the Absurd. In this study Arrabal's plays are seen as a contemporary expression of a festive form of theater that flourished during the Middle Ages and that had its roots in the drama of Aeschylus and Aristophanes.
With this view of Arrabal's work, Luis Arata explores the nature of play in art in the light of Jean Piaget's psychology. He thus offers a new way to approach festive and playful art.
The history of modern Spain is dominated by the figure of Francisco Franco, who presided over one of the longest authoritarian regimes of the twentieth century. Between 1936 and the end of the regime in 1975, Franco’s Spain passed through several distinct phases of political, institutional, and economic development, moving from the original semi-fascist regime of 1936–45 to become the Catholic corporatist “organic democracy” under the monarchy from 1945 to 1957. Distinguished historian Stanley G. Payne offers deep insight into the career of this complex and formidable figure and the enormous changes that shaped Spanish history during his regime.
Emilia Pardo Bazán en la literatura gallega y española
Emilia Pardo Bazán’s place in Spanish and Galician literatures has been hard won, and she has yet to receive the recognition she deserves. In Género, nación y literatura: Emilia Pardo Bazán en la literatura gallega y española, Carmen Pereira-Muro studies the work and persona of this fascinating author in the context of Spanish and Galician competing nationalisms. She rereads the literary histories and national canons of Spain and Galicia as patriarchal master narratives that struggle to assimilate or silence Pardo Bazán’s alternative national project. Pereira-Muro argues that Pardo Bazán posited the inclusion of women in the national culture as a key step in circumventing the representational logic behind Realism and Liberalism in the modern nation-state. By insisting that women should be equal partners, Pardo Bazán problematically adopted the patriarchal binarism that assigns women to Nature and men to Culture, but she also subverted it by denying its supplemental relationship. Her astute choice and manipulation of masculine cultural models (Realism, not Romanticism; prose, not poetry; Castilian language, not Galician) ultimately won her (despite fierce opposition) inclusion in the Spanish national canon. Furthermore, the study of her thorny relations with emerging Galician nationalism shows that her exclusion from “Galician literature” was due largely to her transgressive gender performance. Finally, Pereira-Muro contends that in the author’s last novel, Pardo Bazán experimented with creating a feminine writing and a feminine canon for Spain. Nevertheless, the prevailing gender politics ensured that only her realist (masculine) production made it into the Spanish canon, and not this last, modernist (feminine) writing. In conclusion, this book questions the naturalization of national canons by uncovering the gender politics behind what is cast as naturally determined by language and geography. Doing this also exposes the parallel gender strictures at work behind seemingly opposed central (Spanish) and peripheral (Galician) national projects.
The Mature Thought
The sheer volume of prolific Spanish novelist and playwright Benito Pérez Galdós's literary production has rendered overall assessment of his body of work all but impossible. The later volumes in his ambitious and popular Episodios nacionales series, in particular, have suffered from scholarly indifference.
In this acclaimed study, Brian J. Dendle closely considers the twenty-six novels in this series written between 1898 and 1912. These episodios, Dendle contests, are artistically superior to the earlier volumes and offer a unique opportunity to establish the ideological profile of the mature Galdós.