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Iberian Adventures by Ian Gibson

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The book Iberian Adventures was published in English in May 2017.
If you love Spain and want to know more about this fascinating country I can recommend you to read this book, written by an Irishman who fell in love with Spain in the 50ties and has lived in Spain since 1978.

I specially enjoyed the chapters dedicated to the first english hispanists of Spain like Henry Swinburne, Richard Ford and Gerald Brenan and of course the American, Washington Irving.
And the ones which tell us more about the first inhabitants of the Iberian peninsula.
The book with this beautiful cover

Book Iberian Adventures by Ian Gibson

is full of anecdotes about the discoveries Gibson made in the museum of Archeology in Madrid and his visits to historic places all over the pensinsula.

Gibson likes etymology  of words and affirms that the word Hispania, the roman name for Spain, means Land of Rabbits, the name being given to Iberia by the people from Carthago (important city on the tunesian coast in times of the romans).

Also he is interested in the special devotion in the spanish culture of the Virgen Mary. He affirms that he thinks the reason of the importance of the Virgin is that religions before christianity had their own goddess of fertility being very important in iberian culture. Small sculptures of the Godess Astarté from fenician origin are to be seen as the ancestors of the virgen Mary.

Astarté, godess of fertility, accompanied by a goose and a duck

These and innumerable other details, also about the origins of El Quijote the world famous book of Cervantes can make you feel dazzled by the knowledge of Gibson.

Gibson also writes about Federico García Lorca,  Machado and about the lack of contact between Portugal and Spain. He dreams about a future of Spain and Portugal becoming a part of a Federal Iberian Republic.

About Catalunya he remarks the lack of willingness of Rajoy to discuss and listen to the Catalans and he writes about his own relation with the editorial Planeta.

In the last chapter called ‘Love Spain, sad Spain’ Gibson writes about the virtues and non virtues of Spain and the Spanish.
About the sun, many times implacable, the sociability of the people and the noise they produce, the look of the Spanish straightforward in the eyes ……

The book ends with reflections about the Law of Historic Memory which was approved during the government of President Zapatero and the way the judge Garzón was removed from his position and the fact that still many of the rests of the victims on republican side have not had a dignified burial.

Gibson also talks about the lack of sensitivity towards culture shown by the government, comparing how the 400 years of Shakespeare and Cervantes were celebrated in 2016. Gibson insists that schools should teach more arabic, latin and greek so that future generations are also able to understand their rich inheritance.  

Ian Gibson is also the author of: Winds of the south (Viento del Sur) and other books about Federico Garcia Lorca, Antonio Machado, Ruben Darío and Luis Buñuel.

Photo of the roman mosaic of Hyppolitus’ house in Alcalá de Henares
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