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David T. Gies

David T. Gies is Commonwealth Professor of Spanish and former chairman of the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese at the University of Virginia. Professor Gies holds a BA from Penn State University and an MA and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh. He has authored more than eighty articles and one hundred book reviews, and has lectured at universities in the U.S., Canada, England, Italy, Germany, France, Argentina, and Spain.


Book Review

February 16, 2006

  Teacher Man, by Frank McCourt. Scribner, November 2005. $26 Ah, the mystery of teaching. Or, rather, the mystery of why any college graduate would want to join this underpaid, overworked, and under appreciated profession in today’s United Stat [...]

The King of All Spaniards

Winter 2005 | Criticism

At 1:15 a.m. on the morning of February 24, 1981, King Juan Carlos de Borbón y Borbón saved Spain. In an act of surprising courage and unexpected conviction, the king, dressed in full military regalia, addressed the nation concerning the recent attempted coup d'état staged by a mustached buffoon named Antonio Tejero. Tejero, accompanied by a group of disgruntled (and heavily armed) Civil Guard troops, had stormed the Cortes on February 23rd—the act has become so infamous that Spaniards simply refer to it as "23-F"—and demanded a return to the military-run, reactionary policies of the recent past. The Parliament was in full session, and around the benches sat the entire leadership of Spain's political parties, elected officials with constituencies of their own, and noted politicians whose names resonated through decades of resistance to Francisco Franco's dictatorship (for example, Dolores Ibarruri, the firebrand Communist known as "La Pasionaria," was an elected official). Tejero's henchmen, with loaded guns, brought the government to a standstill. Spain listened in horror (radio broadcasts recorded the whole sordid affair), and feared the worst: a return to the repressive past. It was expected by many that Juan Carlos—educated in Franco's Spain, untrained in statesmanship, known dismissively as "Juan Carlos the Brief" by opponents in the days following Franco's death in 1975, and titular head of the armed forces—would side with the insurgents. They were wrong. 

Spain Today: Is the Party Over?

Spain's experiment with post-Franco socialism is now part of time past, or at least it is on temporary hold. The elections of March 3, 1996, issued in a new period of conservative government, and while participation in the elections was high, enth [...]

Spain 1992: Notes From A Survivor

During the 1960's, when Spain slowly entered the world's consciousness as a very cheap place to travel, with its glorious beaches, good food, quaint customs, and slightly perplexed attitude toward foreigners, visitors found a country that was in s [...]

Seeing is Believing

The Golden Age of Painting in Spain. By Jonathan Brown. Yale. $65.00. In 16th- and 17th-century Spain, some people knew a good bargain when they saw it, particularly in art. As painters struggled to convince patrons that their skills were "art" [...]

Juan Goytisolo, Prodigal Son

Forbidden Territory: The Memoirs of Juan Goytisolo, 1931—1956. Translated by Peter Bush. North Point Press. $18.95. Since Rousseau (or at least since Lillian Hellman) we have known that "autobiography" is the art of lying gracefully, an act of [...]

Velazquez, Or Social Climbing As Art

Velázquez: Painter and Courtier. By Jonathan Brown. Yale. $45.00. The Spanish genius for producing painters of astonishing originality is admirable. Any listing of the greatest world painters invariably includes the names of Velázquez, El Gre [...]

Goya, Light and Dark

Goya: Truth and Fantasy. The Small Paintings. By Juliet Wilson-Bareau and Manuela B. Mena Marques. Yale. $55.00. Two recent—and startling—discoveries have given the art world the rare opportunity to reassess the work of one of its greatest paint [...]