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E. Volterra is a fictional witness, a foreign correspondent who lived in Spain until the early Eighties of the 20th century, writing sketches about the country based on his travels, readings and conversations. He guides us through the social and political history of the country, and the usual emperors, kings, generals and politicians appear in vivid description. He introduces us to the main cultural trends and authors of Spain: writers, painters, composers, saints and scientists. Volterra renders his observations in reverse; he starts with the beginning of the transition to democracy and works backwards searching for the roots of Spain ́s historical evolution. From the perspective of an outsider, he reminds us of the the different roles Spain has played in international relations throughout the centuries, starting with her present position as a mid­sized European country, leading to her absolute hegemony as a world power. The narrative is presented as light and concise “micro­essays,” short snapshots which, taken as a whole, give us a broad canvas of Spain like random daubs of paint in an Impressionist picture.

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