Between the reality of its image and the reality of facts.
José Varela analyzes the image of Spain abroad throughout history, and explains how its “black legend” was formed with premeditation, while also highlighting a period when this country was admired—one Spain tends to forget.
It’s true that Spain’s image has been distorted by stereotypes and the gaze of the other, but the Spanish themselves are also responsible.
And yet, the history of Spain is far richer and far more respected than most of Spanish people realize, and this is the subject Varela dedicates much of his text to, though he doest not sidestep such controversial matters as the conquest of America, the polemical writings of Bartolomé de las Casas, the relationship between piracy and Spanish imperialism, and the myths surrounding the Army of Flanders and the Inquisition.
The painstaking work of twenty years that shows the admiration once felt for Spain and, at the same time, the hatred and envy that it inspired the world over.