- Hombres en movimiento: masculinidades españolas en los exilios y migraciones, 1939–1999 by Iker González-Allende
Spain, Literature, Masculinity, Exile, Migration, Iker Allende-González, Joseba Gabilondo
Iker González-Allende’s monograph on the representation of masculinity in the literature of exiled and migrant Spanish writers represents a much-needed contribution to an issue—masculinity—which is still regrettably very recent in Peninsular studies. The author is also a contributor to the other edited series which has consolidated Spanish masculinity studies: Lorraine Ryan and Ana Corbalán’s The Dynamics of Masculinity in Contemporary Spanish Culture (2017). Only earlier works on Almodóvar and film, especially by Paul Julian Smith, are a precedent for the much-needed study of masculinity and Spain.
González-Allende’s new book builds on his previous work on the Spanish Civil War and exile: the monograph Líneas de fuego: género y nación en la narrativa española durante la Guerra Civil (1936–1939) (2011), the edited volume El exilio vasco: estudios en homenaje al profesor José Ángel Ascunce Arrieta (2016), and the two edited volumes of exilic writer Pilar de Zubiaurre’s writings.
The field of exilic literature continues to be marginal and is still disregarded within the historical and canonical study of Spanish literature. Yet the steady production of innovative and challenging work on exilic literature, from Vicente Llorens’s early studies to the more recent monographs by Michael Ugarte and Sebastiaan Faber, have already established a solid corpus of academic work, to which González-Allende contributes decisively with his study on exilic (and migrant) masculinities.
The field of Peninsular studies is moving in several new directions in the new millennium, due to what could be considered “the exhaustion of the successful paradigm of cultural studies,” and therefore, a monograph dedicated strictly to the study of literature (in its connection with masculinity, exile, and migration) would at first appear to be a step back. Yet González-Allende’s study of ten literary authors in seven chapters represents an innovative and unprecedented cognitive mapping of Spanish masculinity, so that the focus on literature serves, rather, to explore a long historical period (1939–1999), a wide array of territories (Belgium, Mexico, Argentina, France, England, Germany, and the United States), as well as very different conditions of displacement (from political exile to economic and [End Page 102] sexual migration). He also explores different literary genres, from the novel to poetry and theater, so that a quite varied and rich cultural landscape emerges in his book. In this respect, González-Allende is as ambitious as he is successful in its wide exploration. Finally, the bibliographical apparatus deployed throughout the text shows the author’s wide knowledge of masculinity studies not only in the Anglo-American scholarly tradition, but also in that of Spanish, Latin American, and East Asian studies. This theoretical knowledge and its systematic application to the analysis of the literary texts of ten Spanish authors yields a very complex, sophisticated, and insightful cognitive mapping of Spanish masculinity and its exilic as well as migrational displacements.
González-Allende clusters the first four chapters under the category of exile, and the last three under that of migration, in what becomes a long and detailed historical account that reflects the different displacements that Spanish history has inflicted in literature. Chapter one studies the displacement of Basque children during the Spanish Civil War by focusing on Luis de Castresana’s El otro árbol de Guernica (1967) and his childhood exile in Belgium. The chapter studies the way this early exile structures a form of masculinity that the author equates with Fran-coism’s ideology of el hombre nuevo, or the new man. Chapter two centers on Juan José Domenchina’s poetry, written during his exile in Mexico during the 1940s and 1950s, in order to isolate the figure of masculinity that González-Allende calls el ex-hombre, or the ex-man, and to explore the ways in which traditional Spanish masculinity unsuccessfully...