- Entre alambradas y exilios: sangrías de las Españas y terapias de Vichy by José María Naharro-Calderón
Exile, Exile History, Spanish Civil War, Supramemoria, Inframemoria, Intramemoria, Memory, José María Naharro-Calderón, Francie Cate-Aries
During more than eighty years, the representation and memory within Spain of the Republican exile of 1939 has evolved from a postwar place of absolute oblivion in Spanish historiography to twenty-first century sites of cultural institutionalization and even mass market-driven commodification. Back in 1939, the falangista author José Esteban Vilaró’s Barcelona-published book, El ocaso de los dioses rojos: Barcelona, Perthus, Argelès, París, Méjico . . ., relegated the incipient period of post-civil war exile history to the shadows of a twilight zone that would forever consign its protagonists to an invisible no man’s land. The 1950 edition of the Espasa-Calpe dictionary published in Franco’s Spain failed to even include an entry for the word exilio. When the pioneering exile scholar José Luis Abellán published his 1967 Filosofía española en América (1936–1966) in Franco’s Madrid, he was not allowed to include the word exilio in the title. Ten years later in 1976, Abellán published the initial volumes of the very first full-scale history of the Republican exile of 1939, the six-volume collection of essays, El exilio español de 1939. On the 40th anniversary of the historic multiauthor study, in the introduction to Líneas de fuga: hacia otra historiografía cultural del exilio republicano español, a massive compendium (eight hundred-plus pages authored by more than forty contributors), Mari Paz Balibrea and Sebastiaan Faber recognized Abellán’s monumental [End Page 97] legacy as they explained the objectives of the new book: to reposition in the twenty-first century the significance of Spanish exile cultural production as an integral component of modern Spanish intellectual and political history.
During this same period of time—the decades between the appearance of Abellán’s collection and the 2017 landmark publication of Líneas de fuga—José María Naharro-Calderón established a reputation as a renowned specialist in the field of exile and memory studies, whose academic trajectory has marked commemorative milestones of the cultural history and memory of the exile of 1939. In 1989, he coordinated one of the first large-scale academic symposia on the subject and edited the subsequent published volume, El exilio de las Españas de 1939 en las Américas: “¿Adónde fue la canción?”; in 1998, he published the first two of many ground-breaking studies on cultural production related to the concentration camps in French territories for Republican exiles; on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of the civil war, he curated, with Beatriz García Paz, the Alcalá de Henares exhibition Hacia el exilio. In 2017, he published Entre alambradas y exilios: sangrías de las Españas y terapias de Vichy. This study, more than twenty-five years in the making, is an extraordinarily dense book and a challenging read, written with the impressive erudition and intellectual rigor of a well-seasoned scholar who has dedicated most of his long career to research focused on this topic.
The book proposes, in the first place, to offer wide-ranging analyses of a vast array of cultural media produced about the 1939 exile—memoirs, fiction, film, photography, poetry, graphic novels, museum exhibitions, commemorative ceremonies—with particular attention given to the literature and testimonies that grew out of the barbed-wire camps. In addition, one of the author’s primary objectives is to shed light on the various uses and abuses within contemporary memory practices regarding the role and meaning of los exilios that emerged from the Spanish Civil War; at least half of the book’s chapters primarily address this issue. Naharro is a fiercely critical commentator of various discursive manipulations of the history and ideas associated with the Republican exile of 1939...