The tourist gaze in the Spanish Civil War: Agnes Hodgson between surgery and spectacle

Jane Hanley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


International volunteers in the Spanish Civil War negotiated fraught aspects of modernity, including links between technology and violence, the ethics of transnational engagement, and the interconnection between national identity and changing roles for women. To understand their experiences they drew on existing knowledge of Spain and a range of interpretive frameworks available to understand their life in war. Agnes Hodgson was an Australian nurse who volunteered for the Republicans. Her experiences, recorded in her diary, reflect neither the politically committed volunteer's disillusionment nor the romance of war as confirmation of masculinity present in other narratives. Hodgson uses a tourist gaze to frame parts of her journey, a strategy also employed by Australians in earlier conflicts. Tourism in war reveals aspects of wartime leisure while providing an alternative model for reconciling traumatic experiences. The fusion of the genre of war testimony, which fundamentally relates change, with the genre of travel narrative, which traditionally projects stasis, disrupts the prevailing tropes of both genres.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-219
Number of pages24
JournalCollege Literature
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


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