Spanish literature in the long twentieth century, 1898-2007

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Periods of flourishing and repression of lesbian and gay literature in Spain during the long twentieth century are intimately tied to the country’s significant political upheavals and the parallel ebbs and flows between open public discussion and severe censorship of all expressions of sexual desire, but particularly of same-sex sexual practices. In just one century, Spain’s political structure moved from the "non-competitive oligarchical monarchy" (Álvarez Junco 71) of King Alfonso XIII of Bourbon (1886-1931) - which included a brief, failed experiment with the "soft" dictatorship of General Miguel Primo de Rivera (1923-30) - to a democratically elected republic (1931-36), through a brutal civil war (1936-39) that led to Francisco Franco’s forty-year right-wing dictatorship (1939-75). After much compromise from all political sides, the 1978 democratic constitution paved the way toward an initially fragile yet finally stable parliamentary monarchy (1978-). However, it did not remove the criminalization of homosexuals from the feared 1970 Ley de Peligrosidad y Rehabilitación Social (Law of Social Dangerousness and Rehabilitation) until 1978 nor the penalties for "public scandal" until 1989, well into the early democracy. Spain’s gay and lesbian political journey from timid expression to repression to full legal recognition culminated in 2005, when the country became one of the first nations in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Further LGBTQ legal rights were achieved in 2007 when Law 3/2007 allowed transgender citizens to change their gender assignation in the national registry without needing to undergo sex-reassignment surgery and when Law 52/2007 - Law by which the Rights of Those Who Suffered Persecution or Violence during the Civil War and the Dictatorship Are Recognized and Expanded (better known as "Law of Historical Memory") - granted elderly homosexuals who had been imprisoned under the Law of Social Dangerousness and Rehabilitation compensation for their suffering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of Gay and Lesbian Literature
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9781139547376, 9781107035218
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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