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Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Modern Literatures of Spain

 I've been reading a book of this title that just came out, written by Jo Labanyi, Elena Delgado, with some contributions by three experts on Basque, Catalan, and Galician topics. It is focused on 19th and 20th centuries, going back to the 18th for some background as well. It is a cultural history, but culture mostly means political / sociological ideas, not, for example, visual and performing arts, film, comics. Major figures in poetry do not appear in the index (Valente, Rodríguez). A poet will often only appear if linked to some "cultural" issue. It is difficult to critique a book by "index surfing," seeing what is there or not, how many times something is mentioned. This is a 300 page book (approximately so; I am reading it on Kindle). So even major figures will get a superficial treatment. 

I think it is a commendable book: the coverage of four literatures rather than one is revolutionary, and Labanyi and Delgado are deservedly influential scholars. (Elena is a friend; Jo I know a bit but we are merely acquaintances).  

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