Mediatizing a Past of Conflict

The Spanish Civil War through TV Documentaries in the Twenty-first century 1

Authored by: Enric Castelló

The Routledge Companion to Iberian Studies

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415722834
eBook ISBN: 9781315709895
Adobe ISBN:


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During his time as a war correspondent in Spain, Ernest Hemingway (2007 [1938]) wrote a story, as short as it was devastating, entitled “Old Man at the Bridge.” With a dialogue and two descriptive brushstrokes, he masterfully captures the desolation of an inhabitant of Sant Carles de la Ràpita before the advance of the Nationalist troops to the Ebro. From the bridge, Hemingway uneasily surveys the African-like landscape of the delta, and wonders how long it will take the enemy to arrive. When he asks the old man which side he is on, the reply is neither, that he is seventy-six years old, has walked twelve miles, and can go no further. This character is now anchored to the bridge, despondent, and worried about the cat, four pairs of pigeons, and two goats left behind in his yard. The old man can be read as a metaphor for memory: he is too exhausted to continue, too terrified to turn back, teetering between the two banks of the present, which is advancing as relentlessly as the river.

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