The Age of Disenchantments: The Epic Story of Spain's Most Notorious Literary Family and the Long Shadow of the Spanish Civil War

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A gripping narrative history of Spain’s most brilliant and troubled literary family—a tale about the making of art, myth, and legacy—set against the upheaval of the Spanish Civil War and beyond

In this absorbing and atmospheric historical narrative, journalist Aaron Shulman takes us deeply into the circumstances surrounding the Spanish Civil War through the lives, loves, and poetry of the Paneros, Spain’s most compelling and eccentric family, whose lives intersected memorably with many of the most storied figures in the art, literature, and politics of the time—from Neruda to Salvador Dalí, from Ava Gardner to Pablo Picasso to Roberto Bolaño.

Weaving memoir with cultural history and biography, and brought together with vivid storytelling and striking images, The Age of Disenchantments sheds new light on the romance and intellectual ferment of the era while revealing the profound and enduring devastation of the war, the Franco dictatorship, and the country’s transition to democracy.

A searing tale of love and hatred, art and ambition, and freedom and oppression, The Age of Disenchantments is a chronicle of a family who modeled their lives (and deaths) on the works of art that most inspired and obsessed them and who, in turn, profoundly affected the culture and society around them.

 

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About the author

Aaron Shulman is a journalist whose work has appeared in publications including The Believer, The American Scholar, The New Republic, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. A collaborative writer and editorial coach, he works with visionary scientists and thinkers to bring their research to a wide readership. Shulman first lived in Spain while studying abroad and moved back in 2010 after falling in love with a Spanish woman. There, he published pieces about Spanish culture, social movements, and the economic crisis. In 2012, he watched “El Desencanto,” the 1976 documentary about the Panero family, and from that night onward became hopelessly obsessed. He now lives in Santa Barbara, California.

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Additional Information

Publisher
HarperCollins
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Published on
Mar 5, 2019
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Pages
496
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ISBN
9780062484215
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Literary Figures
History / Europe / Spain & Portugal
Literary Criticism / European / Spanish & Portuguese
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Content protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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At the time of its occurrence, the Spanish Civil War epitomized for the Western world the confrontation of democracy, fascism, and communism. An entire generation of Englishmen and Americans felt a deeper emotional involvement in that war than in any other world event of their lifetimes, including the Second World War. On the Continent, its "lessons," as interpreted by participants of many nationalities, have played an important role in the politics of both Western Europe and the People's Democracies. Everywhere in the Western world, readers of history have noted parallels between the Spanish Republic of 1931 and the revolutionary governments which existed in France and Central Europe during the year 1848. The Austrian revolt of October 1934, reminded participants and observers alike of the Paris Commune of 1871, and even the most politically unsophisticated observers could see in the Spain of 1936 all the ideological and class conflicts which had characterized revolutionary France of 1789 and revolutionary Russia of 1917.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the worthwhile books on the Spanish Civil War have almost all emphasized its international ramifications and have discussed its political crises entirely in the vocabulary of the French and Russian revolutions. Relatively few of the foreign participants realized that the Civil War had arisen out of specifically Spanish circumstances. Few of them knew the history of the Second Spanish Republic, which for five years prior to the war had been grappling with the problems of what we now call an "underdeveloped nation."

In Spanish Republic and the Civil War, Gabriel Jackson expounds the history of the Second Republic and the Civil War primarily as seen from within Spain.

The history of exile literature is as old as the history of writing itself. Despite this vast and varied literary tradition, criticism of exile writing has tended to analyze these works according to a binary logic, where exile either produces creative freedom or it traps the writer in restrictive nostalgia. The Dialectics of Exile: Nation, Time, Language and Space in Hispanic Literatures offers a theory of exile writing that accounts for the persistence of these dual impulses and for the ways that they often co-exist within the same literary works.

Focusing on writers working in the latter part of the twentieth century who were exiled during a historical moment of increasing globalization, transnational economics, and the theoretical shifts of postmodernism, Sophia A. McClennen proposes that exile literature is best understood as a series of dialectic tensions about cultural identity. Through comparative analysis of Juan Goytisolo (Spain), Ariel Dorfman (Chile) and Cristina Peri Rossi (Uruguay), this book explores how these writers represent exile identity. Each chapter addresses dilemmas central to debates over cultural identity such as nationalism versus globalization, time as historical or cyclical, language as representationally accurate or disconnected from reality, and social space as utopic or dystopic. McClennen demonstrates how the complex writing of these three authors functions as an alternative discourse of cultural identity that not only challenges official versions imposed by authoritarian regimes, but also tests the limits of much cultural criticism.
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