Penn State

Matthew Marr - associate professor of Spanish, Penn State University Park

Book Title: Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Passt

Author: Giles Tremlett

Book Description:

Although its treatment of Spain’s contemporary reckoning with the silenced history of its Civil War and Francoism most immediately summons the “ghosts” of the title, this 2006 book — traversing an unexpected array of present-day political, social, and economic issues — arguably exorcises a ghost or two of its own vis-à-vis a longstanding tradition of Anglophone cultural commentary on Spain. The lasting power of the imaginary forged by Hispanophile writers like Washington Irving, Ernest Hemingway, or James Michener on certain impressions of Spain in circulation within the English-speaking world is remarkable — though slightly vexing for those who have taken up contemporary Spanish culture as a scholarly pursuit. Refreshingly, Tremlett’s book resists any inclinations toward a mythologized, antiquated vision of Spanish reality, revealing at all turns a sensitive understanding of Spain’s idiosyncratic evolution (and complex dialogue with its own turbulent past) over the past quarter century. I am often asked by English-speaking friends, family, students, and traveling companions to suggest a smart, highly readable book sharply attuned to the story of Spain since and even beyond its post-Franco transition to democracy. I would like to take this occasion to recommend this particular title for that purpose.


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