El Blocao, one of the most distinguished examples of avant-garde, anti-colonialist prose produced in Spain, is a collection of seven short stories parodying the highly popular serial fiction on the country's colonial wars in Morocco. Diaz-Fernandez appropriates the populist discourse articulated in the Moroccan War pulp fiction, subverting it in order to denounce the political and economic interests that inform the colonial enterprise, while effectively adopting the rhetorical innovations introduced by the European avant-garde during the 1920s. The advent of the Spanish Civil War and the premature death of its author put an end to what promised to be a brilliant literary and political career. After decades of historical amnesia on the part of Spanish academics and the Spanish public at large, the renewed interest in Spain's Protectorate of Morocco (1912-1956), brought about by the massive waves of Maghrebian immigration to Spain since the 1990s, has informed the recent fascination of scholars and the general public alike for Spain's last colonial enterprise. Spain's highly idiosyncratic colonization of the Maghreb (Morocco and Western Sahara) played a crucial role in the history of the country during the first half of the twentieth century. After the loss of its Latin American colonies in 1898, the Protectorate of Morocco became a poor substitute for the lost empire. Spain, no longer a European superpower, tried to reconcile the rebuilding of its own socio-economic infrastructures with its civilizing mission overseas. As one could expect, the resulting colonial discourse was ripe with contradictions that often betrayed Spain's long struggle.
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