From Mexico to Madrid: Thirdspace in Concha Méndez’s Poemas: Sombras y sueños

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter


Concha Méndez (1898–1986) was a leading figure of the vanguard art movement in Spain before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. With the onset of the civil war, many liberal artists fled the country seeking refuge from fascist retaliation. Méndez’s exile takes her to France, Cuba, and finally to Mexico where she will spend the rest of her life. Mendez’s poetic body of work functions as a literary map of her emotional and intellectual lived experience. Mexico is also a liminal space, a space in between reality and nostalgia that emerges in her poetry as she tries to reconcile two countries (Spain and Mexico) in a creative combination of the “real” and “imagined” world, or a “thirdspace” according to Edward Soja. Space and place in Mendéz’s poetry draw an ideological map of individual exile and artistic exploration that echoes a generational experience of displacement. Mexico is read not as a haven or destination but rather as a fluid state of being, always pointing back to a perceived idea of “home.” Drawing on the work of Bertrand Westphal and Soja, I analyze the multifocalization of Mexico to show how Méndez represents place in her poetry as polysensorial, shifting, and malleable. In this way, both individual and societal consequences of exile come into focus, revealing a creative response to trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeocriticism and Spatial Literary Studies
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NameGeocriticism and Spatial Literary Studies
VolumePart F641
ISSN (Print)2578-9694
ISSN (Electronic)2634-5188

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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