4/2/08

TEMPLE OF PEACE, CONFERENCE ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR.

Todo dispuesto, el próximo viernes 8 de febrero viajo a Cardiff (Gáles) para participar en un congreso internacional sobre La Guerra Civil Española.

La charla está casi terminada, los nervios afloran, pero difundir la figura de Gerald Brenan es una tarea que me complace sobremanera.

Este es un fragmento de lo que voy a decir. Tengo la sensación de voy a ser polémico, sin quererlo, eso si.

I’ve had the feeling for some time now that, in general, recent Spanish historians do not acknowledge one of the most seminal books on the Spanish Civil War, Gerald Brenan’s ‘The Spanish Labyrinth’.

Spanish historians make few references to it, in some ways they write as though it did not exist and this has set me wondering. Why is it being neglected?

The Spanish Labyrinth has been very important for other writers on the Spanish Civil War. Gabriel Jackson always recommended it to his students for being a meticulous, well-written and firmly argued book. Raymond Carr became interested in Spain after reading it and was inspired to write ‘Spain 1808–1939’ and something similar happened with Hugh Thomas’ monumental ‘The Spanish Civil War’. It stimulated Eric Hobsbawm to write part of his ‘Primitive Rebels.’ The Labyrinth’s chapter on Anarchism inspired Hans Magnus Enzensberger to write his book on Durruti ‘The Short Summer of Anarchy,’ Noam Chomsky cites Brenan in his essay ‘Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship’. On another level, C.J Sansom used Brenan’s book to write the best-seller ‘winter in Madrid’.

As Raymond Carr said in a letter to Brenan:

“The point about the Spanish Labyrinth was that it made me see what a fascinating topic the history of Spain could be. I would really say that you inspired my book and set me on a course which has now lasted the best part of thirty years.”

Why, generally speaking, do Spanish historians neglect it?






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