La Novela Ideal and La Novela Libre
Reader Report, text by Andrew H. Lee (2001)
The IISH's holdings of the two fiction series (La Novela Ideal and La Novela Libre) published by La Revista Blanca are extensive. Of the 591 titles I have identified in the series La Novela Ideal, the IISH has 569 of these, only lacking 22 titles. (Interestingly, a large portion - fifteen - of the missing titles are in sequence, from number 454 through number 468.) Of the second series, I have identified 55 issues (but only 50 titles) and the IISH lacks six. This series does have at least one number doubled as there are two "40"'s in the series. The vast majority have their covers with interesting art, including some by the important artist Shum. Other, longer works of fiction by Federico Urales and Federica Montseny are also in the holdings of the IISH, though not in all the editions.
Material on the "sexpol" of Spain in the twenties and thirties is also abundant, though somewhat harder to get at. An invaluable resource for learning of titles and authors are the advertisements on the publications themselves, which one can then search in the catalogue. Some of the (Spanish) authors in this area are Hildegart Rodríguez, Dr. Gregorio Marañon, Margarita Nelken, and Dr. Feliz Martí Ibañez. Curiously, the IISH has no works by the Republican feminist Clara Campoamor. Important journals are Iniciales (Barcelona), Generación Consciente (initially Alcoy) and Estudios (both Valencia) and the Institute has substantive - though not complete - holdings of these. The ability to search by publisher in the catalogue is an exceptionally useful tool, as almost all of these publications also acted as publishing houses. Of course, there was an active exchange of materials between activists across national borders but it is interesting that there are no works by Edward Carpenter nor by Havelock Ellis in Spanish in the IISH collections, but I am not sure if this is due to a gap in the collection or to their not being published in Spain. As I am just embarking on this project I cannot fully comment on the holdings in comparison to other institutions but the collections here appear to be strong on this topic, if not complete.