For either those well-versed in the case of Catalonian independence or for the uninitiated, an estimable addition to an...

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What's up with Catalonia?


A substantial collection of scholarly articles exploring, and defending, the prospects for Catalonia’s independence from Spain.

Castro’s debut effort, as editor of an anthology of 35 articles both investigating and advocating for Catalonian independence, is politically timely. This last September 11, Catalonia’s National Day, a colossal gathering of 1.5 million protesters filled the streets of Barcelona demanding independence from Spain. That’s a historically impressive turnout but even more astounding when one considers that it’s one-fifth of Catalonia’s population. The essays are largely written by professional academics, though a few are written by European diplomats. Most are very brief, some only a few pages long, and none exceeds 10 pages. Thematically, this is a broad and diverse assemblage of treatments evaluating the possible economic, political, cultural and educational ramifications of Catalonia’s secession from Spain. Acknowledging that Catalan cultural identity is closely tied to its unique language, the book has five articles devoted to Catalonian linguistic heritage. A sense of cultural defense enlivens the collection, as Catalonian president Artur Mas avers in his introduction to the volume: “We find that we contribute a huge amount, too much even, and though we help as much as we can, we are neither understood nor respected for who we are.” Along these lines, many of the articles take up the cause of Catalonian sovereignty as a matter of national self-determination. Other contributors interpret independence as a political issue or as Josep M. Muñoz puts it, they are animated by “motives” that are “more democratic than nationalist.” The essays amassed are lively, lucid and provocatively puckish, as well as edifying. While some intellectual diversity is gained by including contributions from outside Catalonia (there are articles cataloging the view from Scotland, Brussels and the U.S.), the book would have benefited from at least one or two pieces making the case against independence. This omission makes the work as a whole more activist than strictly philosophical. Also, the rhetoric hurled against the purportedly despotic Spain sometimes verges on hyperventilated; Elisenda Paluzie accuses the nation of “domination” and “treachery.” Still, this collection is packed with a college course’s worth of interesting information.

For either those well-versed in the case of Catalonian independence or for the uninitiated, an estimable addition to an increasingly tempestuous debate. 

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-1611500325

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Catalonia Press

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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