Modern Languages and Literatures, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association 41.1 (2008): 131-133.


There is no doubt that the publication of Teaching Representations of the Spanish Civil War is clearly justified by the increasing number of university courses--both in English and in Spanish-dedicated to the study of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). As the editor, Noël Valis, points out, the intention of the book is to guide instructors in the diverse ways in which the wide variety of materials pertaining to the Spanish Civil War may be presented in the classroom. Nevertheless, the volume also raises interesting questions for researchers who work on this topic, such as the importance that race played during the war, the many cultural artifacts that both sides used as propaganda, the international participation and response, the treatment of the war during Francoism, Republicans' experience of exile, and especially the way that this conflict is portrayed in--or ignored by--contemporary Spanish society. The book deploys an interdisciplinary approach to analyze different fields: history, rhetoric, ideology, iconography, arts, literature, and memory. Many well-known scholars of twentieth-century Spanish cultures collaborate in the thirty-six essays of the volume, including highly regarded Spanish Civil War specialists such as Cary Nelson, Jordana Mendelson, George Esenwein, and Gina Herrnann. ... The collection contains a wide enough array of essays to prove that the Spanish Civil War still plays an important role in contemporary Spanish society. Furthermore, the volume demonstrates that instructors can use the Spanish Civil War as a course topic and an organizational theme from which students can comprehend the connections among rhetoric, ideology, memory, literature, and the arts.