Cover of Queer Obscenity by Javier Fernández-Galeano
Queer Obscenity
Erotic Archives in Dictatorial Spain
Javier Fernández-Galeano


July 2024
282 pages.
from $28.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503638754
Paperback ISBN: 9781503639508
Ebook ISBN: 9781503639515

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Under Spain's twentieth-century dictators, state agents not only censored, eradicated, and attempted to prevent the circulation of obscenity, but also contradictorily engaged in curation and even restoration initiatives that have bequeathed us an extensive queer pornographic archive. Javier Fernández-Galeano takes us inside the archive to demonstrate how the incongruities of the Primo de Rivera (1923–1930) and Franco (1939–1975) regimes were manifested in the regulation of erotic material cultures. The dictators' authorities destroyed "straight" pornographies while often curating and preserving "queer" erotica. While reproductions of the masterpieces of Tintoretto, Michelangelo and Botticelli were incinerated to avoid their "deviant" effects, judicial authorities could repeatedly attend the screening of an amateur film showing a gay threesome without acknowledging the irony: their concern was not that obscene material was consumed, but rather by whom.

Focusing on amateur pornographers and their confiscated and censored erotica, this book adds a rich complexity to both the history and theory of pornography, demonstrating that surveillance depends entirely on documenting intimacy and preserving transgression. This book sheds new light on the production, consumption, and circulation of pornography and erotica in Spain over the course of the twentieth century, drawing connections between intimate queer desires, preservation, and erasure.

About the author

Javier Fernández-Galeano is Ramón y Cajal Fellow at the University of Valencia.

"Convincingly demonstrating the importance of Spain's case study to the history of obscenity and pornography in the Western world, Javier Fernández-Galeano delivers a theoretically sophisticated, deeply researched, interdisciplinary study. This game-changing work is mandatory reading for all historians and literary and cultural scholars of non-normative sexualities."

—Gema Pérez Sánchez, University of Miami

"Extraordinarily documented and wonderfully written, Queer Obscenity brings to light the archives resulting from the judicial persecution of queer pornography. This is undoubtedly a work destined to become a classic in the historiography of sexualities."

—Francisco Vázquez-García, University of Cadiz (Spain)