Iberianature Forum

Books, films and the arts => Non Fiction => Topic started by: John on February 15, 2014, 10:22 AM

Title: Spain by Jan Morris
Post by: John on February 15, 2014, 10:22 AM
Morris's slim travelogue was first published in 1964, before the boom in package holidays, easyJet flights and the slick rebranding of Spanish cities. There is no mention of the Guggenheim Bilbao or Ibiza rave culture: for this is the Spain of Gypsies, bullfights, orange groves and castanets. It is a place where young women look demure in frilly tops and men strut in bolero jackets, a place where the industrial revolution never happened, where Franco is still all-powerful. If its function as a frozen historical snapshot is one reason why Spain is interesting, another is its role as poetic historical guidebook. Condensing a remarkable range of history into its 155 pages, including descriptions of monarch Joan the Mad, Moorish occupations and giddy imperial ransacking, Spain is written in non-linear fashion, with every chapter starting from a different part of the country and exploring the genealogy of particular features (such as religion or water). Reprinted in 2007 with one or two additions and beautifully written
Title: Re: Spain by Jan Morris
Post by: Waste-Dweller on February 21, 2014, 19:33 PM
I first came to Spain in 1955 and it was like that. I was seven years old; we drovbe through the high Pyrenees and stayed in a Do-you-remeber-an-inn-Miranda, with huge, flea-ridden hounds, rushing torrents, troupes of men riding off on huntingh expeditions, sitting cross-legged or sideways on mules; the sound of tonkling cowbells as the herd passed through the village twice a day; then down to Sitges, Majorca and Ibiza, all blue and gold and glowing lemons in dark, glossy leaves,. Each finca had a big well, with a mule walking round to pump the water, everyone wore traditional dress, there were hardly any motori-cars or lorries, really hardly any. We went to a post of the Guardia, with big, bad-tempered mules with huge teeth and the men all asleep against the wall outside, with holes in their boots and their rifles across their knees. They'd obviously jojned in order to eat, but they were thin. We went to the flower festival in Sitges - they were bringing in cartloads of flowers for days and everyone sat outsoide preparing them and making the patterns; I can still remember the scents.. Then we spent a week in Barcelona.  It all seemed like heaven to me.
Five years earlier, on the other side of Spain, in caceres, eugene Smith made his famous series of photos.  http://www.magnumphotos.com/Catalogue/W-Eugene--Smith/1951/SPAIN-Village-of-Deleitosa-in-Western-Spain-1951-NN145579.html    http://life.time.com/history/life-behind-the-picture-w-eugene-smiths-guardia-civil-1950/
Title: Re: Spain by Jan Morris
Post by: John on March 06, 2014, 15:45 PM
Thank you for those links.