Reconquering “Sepharad”: Hispanism and Proto-Fascism in Giménez Caballero's Sephardist Crusade

Friedman, Michal

this article examines Ernesto Giménez Caballero’s interest in the Sephardim through a close study of the Gaceta Literaria, government reports documenting his voyages to the Sephardic world, and documentary film. Until recently, Giménez Caballero’s importance in Spanish intellectual history has been trivialized by his caricaturization as a sensationalist ideologue. As Enrique Selva has recently argued, perhaps more than any other Spanish intellectual of his time, Giménez Caballero fully immersed himself in the divergent intellectual tides of the interwar period, by placing himself ‘‘en el centro del huracán’’ [in the eye of the hurricane]. Moreover, it was precisely this posturing*which some scholars have dismissed as extravagant and histrionic* that allowed Giménez Caballero to play a seminal role in articulating and assimilating Fascist doctrine in the Spanish context, even to the point of becoming, in Selva’s words, ‘‘la mayor incarnación de la vía a través de la cual se formula la ideología fascista y se comienza a difundir en nuestro país’’ [the greatest incarnation of the particular path through which Fascist ideology was formulated and began to be disseminated in Spain]. As Douglas Foard argues, Giménez Caballero’s trajectory was not anomalous or eccentric, but rather representative of the volatile political and intellectual climate throughout Western Europe in the interwar period.

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Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies

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March 12, 2013