The Representation of Women in Ten French Novels on the Spanish Civil War (1936-39): A Critical Approach

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Scholars have remarked that World War I offered women possibilities that were not available to them prior to the war. One could ask if this is also true about the Spanish Civil War. While Spanish literature provided intricate, vibrant portraits of women and gender relations, the texts Bralove discusses maintained traditional, home-bound, nurturing, supportive, and non-combative roles for women whose lives centered on domesticity and/or men.

The use of force against undefended civilian targets during the Spanish Civil War, to an extent not previously seen in modern Western Europe, created a fundamental change in the landscape of war. One famous reaction to this was Picasso’s well known painting Guernica, which was created in part to build support for the Republican cause. The painting depicts a bombing in a marketplace, and it implies that there are no borders between home and battle fronts.

In discussing the gender ‘road not taken’ there are discussions of biographical elements, personal, political, and intellectual, that underlie the connections between writers and their works. This might shed light on how authors treated gender, and most significantly what they did not say in their novels with this respect.


“Both ingenius and original…the author’s brilliant and sensitive analysis makes this book an outstanding contribution to the history of women in the Spanish Civil War.”

-Prof. Jeanine Parisier Plottel,
City University of New York

“This study is a significant contribution to understand how Spanish women were portrayed in French literature during the Spanish Civil War, and opens the door to new research on the way French authors view Spanish society and its history.”

-Professor Rafael Corbalán,
Borough of Manhattan Community College

“A well-researched case for an area that until now has received little, if any critical focus.”

-Professor Ligia Rodriguez,
Farmingdale State College

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