Tuesday, November 18, 2008

3 more down, many more to go

After an insanely large amount of time actually reading today - I started around 9:30 this morning and am only now done - I finished three books today:

Gabriel Jackson, The Spanish Republic and the Civil War, 1931-1939
* Yet another in a long list of older treatments of the war, Jackson argues that the Republic should have been able to solve most of their problems (except agrarian reform) democratically until 1934. Like Malefakis, Brenan, and a few others, he argues that land reform was probably the biggest problem the Republic faced. According to Jackson, the Republic failed because the civil servants weren't loyal to the Republic, but were to the King; political discipline was hard to come by; the people had not been schooled in the democratic process thanks to a long history of anti-democratic practices; the anarchist uprisings were threatening the stability of the Republic; and the army still saw itself as the protector of the people.

Carmen Martin Gaite, Usos amorosos de la postguerra espanola
*Ugh. This was supposed to be the "easy read" that would be "fun." Ha. I'm not sure if it's a matter of colloquialisms and/or dialect, but I cannot understand this woman's writings. It took me over 6 hours, and I'm going to check tomorrow or Thursday with the English-language translation to see if I've gotten anything right - but I think her basic discussion is about the ways by which the Francoist redefinition of male/female relationships not only repressed sexuality, but demanded a culture of ignorance about the opposite sex. Through a redefinition of femininity (exemplified by Pilar Primo de Rivera and the Seccion Femenina), gender segregation in schools, a cultural taboo against both overt sexuality and singlehood, young men and women often only began to learn about each other during the engagement period. If she said anything more, I was too frustrated to catch it...

Sandie Holguin, Creating Spaniards: Culture and National Identity in Republican Spain
* One of the best books on the Republic in a long time, Holguin talks about how the Republican-Socialist coalition, anarchists, and (at times) the conservatives (eventually the Nationalist leaders under Franco) tried to create a unified populace via cultural programs - theater, literacy campaigns, film, and literature. Even during the war, groups with competing hegemonic projects sent travelling culture troops to educate, entertain, and try to unify. They were all trying to "invent traditions," but the Republic was unable to prevail, partly due to time, partly due to their own internal debates over how exactly to proceed.

Me terribly sleepy now. I've read 20 books, most of them for my major field, in 11 days. *curls up in ball on couch and sleeps for a week*

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