In September 2011, José Tomás appeared before a packed audience for the final fight in Barcelona’s iconic bullring. After Tomás was carried off on the shoulders of the crowd, spectators surged into the arena to gather sand from the ground which had, moments before, been paced by bull and bullfighter in their deadly dance. The New York Times described these fistfuls of dust as “souvenirs,” but, as Patrick Query’s study of ritual, modernism, and the idea of Europe wishes to remind us, we might also understand them as relics, a piece of sacred ground once touched by the blood of a sacrificial victim. And, as Query’s book convincingly demonstrates, the play of local and European identity at work in contemporary debates about the role of the bullfight—its use as badge or bludgeon in discussions of Catalan, Spanish, and European identity, let alone concerns about...

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