The editors of the Texas Quarterly have devoted No. 1 of Vol. IV (1961) to a collection of writings illustrating Spanish culture in this century, and they have reissued it as the present volume. To call the result Image of Spain is to succumb to current Madison Avenue jargon. No single image is presented here, only materials which the reader who has not yet formed his own vision of Spain can use to create one.
The first half consists of essays especially written for this volume by men whose names are well known to Hispanophiles. Américo Castro summarizes his now classic interpretation of the “inner disposition” of the Spanish people and its origin in the interaction of Christian, Jew, and Moor. The recent rector of the University of Madrid, Pedro Laín Entralgo, finds that the major problem facing his country today is to create a civic morality. Juan Marichal writes of the meditations of emigrated Spaniards on their native land. José L. Luis Aranguiren and José Ferrater Mora, both known for their concern with Spanish philosophy, deal with Unamuno and Ortega. And twelve others from inside and outside Spain write on the contemporary Spanish novel, poetry, theater, cinema, and plastic arts. The papers are uneven in quality, but on the whole their approach is frank and sympathetic.
The rest of the volume is devoted to examples of Spanish prose and poetry today (the latter in both Spanish original and English translation) : pieces by Cela, Guillén, Alberti, Dámaso Alonso, and Ramón Sender among others. (How tender and tragic Spanish writing can be!) There are also black and white illustrations of expressionist architecture (Gaudí and Torroja), abstract painting (Miró, Mignoni, Tapies, Viola, Canogar, et al.), sculpture (Ferrant), and ceramics (Artigas, Miró, Picasso, and others). Unfortunately modern painting does not come through in black and white. Fewer illustrations in color, like those in the January, 1961, Atlantic, would have been more successful.
All in all, the selection of contributions is imaginative and the translations excellent. Ramón Martinez-López has done a fine job in obtaining the collaboration of so many good people. I expect to use the book for my course in modern Spanish history and recommend it to others concerned with revealing contemporary Spain to readers of English.