Humanizing Childhood in Early Twentieth-Century Spain

Anna Kathryn Kendrick

Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Cultures 30


7 January 2020  •  322pp

ISBN: 978-1-781885-41-3 (hardback)  •  RRP £80, $110, €95

ISBN: 978-1-781885-42-0 (paperback, 31 March 2022)  •  RRP £13.49, $17.99, €16.49

ISBN: 978-1-781885-43-7 (JSTOR ebook)

Access online: Books@JSTOR


In addition to its original library hardback edition, this title is now on sale in the new student-priced Legenda paperback range.

During the early twentieth century, neo-humanist reforms transformed the landscape of Spanish education. Building upon the new science of child study, known as paidology, teachers joined pedagogues around the world in reading works by Maria Montessori, Jean Piaget, John Dewey, and others. Celebrating open-air schools, sensorial education and active methods of learning, intellectuals including Miguel de Unamuno, José Ortega y Gasset, and Carmen Conde sought to contrast a positivist pedagogy with a phenomenological approach to childhood. Education, they claimed, must adapt to the child’s developing body and mind.

Bringing together avant-garde art, poetry, teachers’ manuals, intelligence tests, and children’s creative production, Anna Kathryn Kendrick traces how reformers drew upon inter­national models to advance ‘catholic’ notions of holism and universality. This award-winning study demonstrates that the fight for an education in mind, body, and spirit had not only intellectual but also practical consequences which were to shape an entire generation before the Spanish Civil War.

Anna Kathryn Kendrick is Clinical Assistant Professor of Literature and Director of Global Awards at NYU Shanghai.

Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize of the Modern Language Association (MLA)

For the best book in the field of Latin American and Spanish literatures and cultures

First Book Award, International Standing Conference for the History of Education

For innovative and exemplary scholarship in the field of history of education


  • ‘So liegt ein reich recherchiertes Buch vor, das wie ein Feuerwerk der Informationen, Deutungen und auch Andeutungen erscheint... Die einzelnen Kapitel und Abschnitte zu Lerntheorien, Spielzeug, Theater, Kinderzeichnungen und Intelligenztests können als wichtige Beiträge zu neuen Entwicklungen einer vergleichenden und transnationalen Kindheitsgeschichte gelten und sind als solche zweifellos lesenswert.’ — Martina Winkler, H-Soz-Kult 11 January 2021
  • ‘Humanizing Childhood explores the debates and practices surrounding the emerging discipline of the study of childhood in early twentieth-century Spain. Linked to the transnational education reform movement in Europe and the United States, artists, poets, educators, and philosophers in Spain developed new frameworks to understand the “world of the child” in order to guide children to their full human potential... The book provides a welcome addition to the relatively undeveloped field of the Spanish history of childhood.’ — Pamela Beth Radcliff, Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 15.1, Winter 2021, 165-67 (full text online)
  • ‘A carefully documented celebration of early twentieth-century Spanish humanism and its positive impact on childhood representation and education. Spanish teachers, intellectuals, and artists pressed for a science of childhood which was constructed from advances in science, art, literature, and culture, centred on the dynamic and creative aspects of the holistic child in which mind, body, and spirit were viewed as one.’ — David Foshee, Modern Language Review 116.4, October 2021, 668-69 (full text online)
  • ‘Humanizing Childhood in Early Twentieth-Century Spain is an impressive achievement. It not only constitutes a major contribution to the field of child development and paedological teaching and learning (especially with respect to the New Education movement and its Spanish representatives), but it also opens a window to how the fundamental question of human nature was addressed and problematized throughout Spain during a period of unprecedented social change... An excellent book with broad appeal.’ — Nicolás Fernández-Medina, Bulletin of Spanish Studies 2021 (full text online)
  • ‘Definitivamente, el gran valor de este libro es el esfuerzo intelectual que hace la autora para identificar conexiones significativas dentro del amplio tema de la infancia entre la historia de la ciencia, la historia de la educación, la historia cultural, la historia literaria y la historia de arte, entre otros.’ — Gabriela Ossenbach, Boletín de Historia de la Educación 2021
  • ‘El libro brilla por su extensa curiosidad, las enormes y variadas inquietudes que demuestra y su forma de transformarlas en indicios para el análisis de un tema complejo y significativo ... Se trata, en definitiva, de un libro cuya mirada global a las inquietudes, debates y reflexiones sobre la infancia y la educación debería ser inspiradora dentro de las polémicas y experimentos educativos que dominan el presente. Un libro de primer orden, de arquitectura compleja y sugerente, que demuestra gran erudición y amplitud de miras, una singular capacidad de análisis y formulación de hipótesis, riqueza conceptual, y una densidad no exenta de agilidad narrativa y amenidad. Un libro de los que, lejos del frecuente sabor metálico de las publicaciones urgentes, deja el sabor de la tradición anglosajona de las obras bien reposadas.’ — Álvaro Ribagorda, Historia y Memoria de la Educación 16, 2022, 725-30 (full text online)


List of Illustrations
Anna Kathryn Kendrick
Note On Translation
Anna Kathryn Kendrick
Introduction: the Spanish Child As Human Enigma
Anna Kathryn Kendrick
Chapter 1 Imagining Infancy: Paidology and A Science of the Mind
Anna Kathryn Kendrick
Chapter 2 Pure Poetry: the Child and the Avant-Garde
Anna Kathryn Kendrick
Chapter 3 Child and World: Education and the New Biology
Anna Kathryn Kendrick
Chapter 4 Infans Ludens: Children at the Vanguard of Play
Anna Kathryn Kendrick
Chapter 5 Art and the Mind: Childhood and the New Ingenium
Anna Kathryn Kendrick
Chapter 6 Early Plenitude: A Phenomenology of the Child’s Spirit
Anna Kathryn Kendrick
Epilogue: Childhood and the Humanistic Promise of Holism
Anna Kathryn Kendrick
Anna Kathryn Kendrick
Anna Kathryn Kendrick

Bibliography entry:

Kendrick, Anna Kathryn, Humanizing Childhood in Early Twentieth-Century Spain, Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Cultures, 30 (Legenda, 2020)

First footnote reference: 35 Anna Kathryn Kendrick, Humanizing Childhood in Early Twentieth-Century Spain, Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Cultures, 30 (Legenda, 2020), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Kendrick, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Kendrick, Anna Kathryn. 2020. Humanizing Childhood in Early Twentieth-Century Spain, Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Cultures, 30 (Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Kendrick 2020: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Kendrick 2020: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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