Spain’s Simulated Foreigners
At the beginning of my year in Madrid, I have been interested in how certain presumptions and stereotypes about Spain look to a foreigner from within. (This interest was further fueled by reading Ben Lerner’s wonderful novel about an American poet’s year-long stay in Madrid Leaving the Atocha Station)
A related phenomenon is how such presumptions and stereotypes are simulated within the country, and how the projection of a foreigner’s perspective can offer a means for self-critique of the country. Two books I found in Bilbao looked at this phenomenon from very different angles.
The first, Javier Cejas’ Spain for the Foreigners is a hilarious self-critical send-up of the inside view on Spain, but written in purposefully bad English (with a cleaned-up, Spanish translation at the back) amid a series of roughly drawn cartoons, like this one about the Guardia Civil:
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