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Galicia, A Sentimental Nation

Gender, Culture and Politics

Galicia, a culturally distinct region in northwest Spain, has often been portrayed as a sentimental nation, a misty land of poets and legends. Here Helena Miguélez-Carballeira argues that this trope is a feminizing, colonial stereotype that has plagued Galician cultural history since the late nineteenth century. Miguélez-Carballeira combs the classic texts of Galician literary history to show how this trope has helped sustain the unequal power relation between Galicia and the Spanish state and how, as a consequence, questions of masculinity, morality, and respectability have played an essential role in Galicia’s national construction. By examining how national discourses in Galicia have been affected by questions of gender and sexuality, Miguélez-Carballeira seeks to construct a new paradigm from which to study Galician cultural history and production.

320 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Iberian and Latin American Studies

History: European History

Literature and Literary Criticism: Romance Languages

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Galicia, a Sentimental Nation places Galician literary culture for the first time at the heart of critical debate about the enduring reverberations of colonial structures and repertoires. Miguélez-Carballeira does not just tell us but shows us in stark and persuasive details that the relationship between Galicia and Spain since the nineteenth century cannot be understood without sustained feminist and postcolonial critique. A tour de force.”

Kirsty Hooper, University of Warwick

Table of Contents

Series editors’ foreword


Notes to the reader

Introduction: When did we become sentimental? Colonial stereotype, national discourse and gender in Galicia and Spain

1 Shaping Galician femininity: method, metaphor and myth in Augusto González Besada’s cultural writing

2 Purifying the national model: questions of morality and sentimentality in Eugenio Carré Aldao’s writing

3 Competing manhoods: political nationalism versus sentimental regionalism in Antonio Couceiro Freijomil

4 Sexing the national father: between promiscuity and decorum in Ricardo Carvalho Calero

5 Breaking out of the normal: from “piñeirisimo” to normalization in contemporary Galician culture

Afterword: The man who married Galicia: towards a postcolonial critique of Galician sentimentality



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