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Reclining male sculptures: The mesoamerican Chacmool


 One of the most distinctive types of Mesoamerican sculptures is that called Chacmool, representing reclining human figures holding vessels on the stomach. Chacmools have been found in Central and West Mexico as well as in the Maya region. 

What was their function among the Toltecs, Maya and the Aztecs? Did they serve as platforms for human sacrifice or just to place offerings in the vessels? Why are they all male sculptures? These reclining sculptures became one of the most important sources of inspiration in the work of Henry Moore.

Elizabeth Baquedano has written several books and articles on the Aztecs, and curated an exhibition for Henry Moore’s Centenary at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. She is a lecturer at University College London, Institute of Archaeology and at the Institute for the Study of the Americas.

Young European Entrepreneur Programme

The Young European Entrepreneur Programme is a work experience programme for graduates that encourages professional mobility and assists with the learning of other languages as stated in the policies of the European Commission. The duration of the programme is six months.

The work experience is full time, in line with the companies’ own office hours. A variety of UK companies in different sectors take part every year including banks, publishers, consultancies, import/export, solicitors and real estate. These companies provide a job description in advance that is then referred to when allocating suitable candidates.

It is imperative that these descriptions give as much information as possible so that the participants can be prepared for the interviews during the first week of the programme and also so that they can be assigned to places where any existing skills will be relevant to their work.

Alongside the actual work experience the participants undertake 2-hour Business English classes held two evenings per week and ten 2-hour International Business Workshops held fortnightly in the afternoon. The language-based Business English classes have a total of 96 hours and are specially designed for this programme.

At the end of the course an exam is taken to achieve a University of Cambridge qualification (Cambridge Business English Certificate or BEC). The ten workshops cover a range of topics relating to the development of business in the UK.

Download the complete description and application forms here:

Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain http://www.spanishchamber.co.uk


The secret history of Costaguana

ICLL Podcast series: New Episode (in English)

Book launch

London 1903, and Colombian José Altamirano has just arrived from a place he wishes to forget, shouldering a past he regrets and more guilt than anyone can carry.

He could have stopped the cession of the Panama territory, but chose not to. He then realises that Joseph Conrad is beginning to publish Nostromo, recounting a story he once related to him, and that he is being marginalised and virtually erased from that history.

Juan Gabriel Vázquez was born in bogotá in 1973 and now lives in Barcelona. His essays, reviews and reportages have appeared in various magazines and literary supplements. He was recently nominated as one of the «Bogota 39», South America’s most promising writers of the new generation.


Marañón and Liberalism = Marañón y el liberalismo

ICLL Podcast series: New Episode (in English)

A member of the «1914 Generation» with Ortega y Gasset, and with his book Vieja y Nueva Política as his main intellectual symbol, Marañón reaches liberalism through family and friends.

It is a time of regeneration and Marañón, as a doctor and scientist, comes to public life as the President of the Ateneo de Madrid and co-founder, toghether with ortega and Pérez de Ayala, of the Association for the Service of the Republic. (In English)

Tom Burns Marañón was the Spanish correspondent for important foreign media. He is the author of a trilogy on oral history of the Transition (Conversaciones sobre el rey, Conversaciones sobre el socialismo, Conversaciones sobre la derecha, Barcelona 1995-1997)


The Life and poetry of Miguel Hernández = La vida y la obra de Miguel Hernández

ICLL Podcast series: New Episode (in Spanish)

Round Table discussion about the life and poetry of Miguel Hernández.

Participants: Rosa Navarrro, University of Barcelona & Alan Feinstein, writer & translator.
Miguel Hernández was born in Orihuela (Alicante) in 1910. His poetry is characterised by its strong lyricism, exemplified in both his first collection of poems, Perito en lunas (1933), and in his classical sonnets such as El rayo que no cesa.

His poems cover the themes of love, death, war and injustice, themes of which he had personal and intense experience. He fought with the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War.

In prison he wrote Cancionero y romancero de ausencias (published in 1958), poems dedicated to his wife who lived in miserable conditions. He died in prison at the age of 31. (In Spanish)


Gonzalo Torrente Ballester en su centenario

About two years ago we, at the Cervantes Institute Library, received an anonymous call offering a donation of books in Spanish.

The books, as we were able to deduce from the annotations found in some of the volumes, had belonged to Elena J. Coxeter.
Among them, there was a copy of Fragmentos de Apocalipsis by Gonzalo Torrente Ballester, with an affectionate dedication saying:

A mi querida amiga Elenita, a la que amo hace algún tiempo… Cuando nos conocimos a los 20 años. ¿Verdad?*

Gonzalo Torrente Ballester visited the Spanish Institute in London, at least twice, notably for events in May 1983 and March 1990. Elena Coxeter carefully kept the program for both these conferences inside a copy of his book.
This is our little homage to the two friends on the centenary of Gonzalo Torrente Ballester’s birth. 

*To my darling friend Elenita, whom I have loved for quite some time … ever since we met when we were 20, true?


The poetry of Jaime Siles from 1969-2009 = La poesía de Jaime Siles

ICLL Podcast series: New Episode (in Spanish) Jaime Siles talks about his development as a poet since 1969, discussing and reading the most representative poems of different periods of his evolution.

Jaime Siles habla sobre su evolución poética desde 1969 hasta hoy, ilustrándola con la lectura y comentario de los poemas de diferentes épocas que considera más representativos.

Jaime Siles is an award-winning poet and critic. He is Professor of Classic Philology and has taught in various European universities. Currently, he teaches Classic Philology at the University of Valencia and is the President of the Spanish Society of Classical Studies. He also writes essays and literary criticism. Since 2005 he has written for the daily newspaper ABC. he is also a permanent member of the Royal Academy of Culture of Valencia.


Eurotoolbox launch


We have pleasure in inviting you to join us for the Exhibition Launch at the Music Library, Barbican Centre.
Wed. 23rd of June, 6:30 p.m.
DownloadDownload invitation

Eurotoolbox on the road:
a travelling exhibition of Children and Youth literature from Europe

  • Five specially chosen collections for children and youth literature from Europe on display
  • Panel talk with Axel Scheffler (illustrator, Germany), Paloma Bordons (writer and illustrator, Spain) and John Lake (librarian, Barbican Library)
  • Refreshments and snacks will be served

Wed. 23rd of June, 6:30 p.m. Music Library, Barbican Centre. Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS Barbican



Adquisition Tools

Selection Tools


Who’s it for?
Public librarians (incl. children’s librarians); school librarians; ‘special’ librarians; any librarian who wants to know more about meeting users’ needs for material in western European languages. The books could be displayed in staff areas or in public areas, as you wish.

What’s in it?
Five specially chosen collections of children’s and youth literature from Europe, in the original language (French, German, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish, between 12 and 15 books in each language). The authors and illustrators selected represent some of the very best in children’s book production in these languages.

How much does it cost?
The exhibition is free to borrow. You will need to organise transportation to the next borrower yourself. The exhibition is packed into 2 boxes, total weight about 30kg.

How can I borrow it?
You can borrow the exhibition for about 2 – 4 weeks at a time. To book a time slot, please contact David Carrión at the Instituto Cervantes from the 1st of June 2010.

For more details:


DownloadDownload the ppt presentation

Download full contents listing (PDF, 77 KB)

Download flyer (Doc, 32 KB)



Adquisition Tools

Selection Tools



The Story of a Modern Woman*

In 1946, a journalist asked Professor Antonio Pastor about his favourite books. The Professor, who had recently been named Director of the Spanish Institute, answered with a great sense of humour, “My father’s chequebook and my mother’s recipe book”.

 The (pre)history of our library could start like this: in 1946 Franco’s Government, still ignored by the other foreign powers, decided to set up the Spanish Institute to thwart the influence of the Spanish Institute in London, directed by Pablo de Azcárate. Until the end of the Civil War, Pablo de Azcárate held the position of Spanish Ambassador to the UK in London. Once victory had been recognised by the British Government, it would then go on to be held by the Duke of Alba. 

Despite this recognition, in mid-May 1946 the opening of the Institute was coldly received by the British press. Professor Antonio Pastor, who stressed the nature of the Institute was cultural and non political, declared in the News Chronicle: “… this Institute will have the best Spanish library outside of Spain, with more than 8,000 books”. However, five days later the Daily Worker published a devastating cartoon in which the cultural activity of the Institute and the tragic bombing of Guernica were connected. In the picture, several youngsters introduced coffins inside “Franco’s Cultural Centre”. The caption was: “They are just a few historical records of Guernica”.

Since then, 64 years have passed. Today the library houses more than 30,000 items which are constantly being updated and which at the same time pay homage to all those who passed through here, contributing to our history. For example, Leopoldo Panero, cousin of Pablo de Azcárate, whose books and memoir can be found in our catalogue, was here as an Assistant Director.  Pablo Luis Cernuda, a good friend of the above, has also spent time here as has Salvador Madariaga, who have both left behind them not only a deep mark on London, but also their great work, which is magnificently represented in our collection. Anonymous donors also helped shape an important collection of books by British travellers in Spain, from the XVIII Century to the beginning of the XX Century, and also the librarians who have worked here, who have meticulously put together an interesting collection of documents about the Civil War. These few lines are also a great tribute to all of them. 

It is not surprising, due to its history and collections, in which it is important to highlight those that involve the history between Spain and Great Britain, that many researchers outside of the UK have contacted us for particular items. The majority of our users, however, are students and teachers of Spanish looking for manuals, grammar books, good literature, music, and of course Spanish and Latin American films. 

That project, which started in 1946, became the library of the Instituto Cervantes in London in 1991. Today the library is completely integrated into the city thanks, fundamentally, to its collaboration with ACLAIIR (Advisory Council on Latin American and Iberian Information Resources), and also with EUROLIS (group of librarians and members of the cultural institutes of France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain, and members of CILIP in London) with which the Library of the Instituto Cervantes of London organises and takes part in seminars, exhibitions and working meetings.

So in conclusion, maybe our library is not yet “the best Spanish library abroad”, but we are working on it. Maybe what we need is a good chequebook, or maybe just some good recipe books.

Happy birthday, Mrs. Library!

Text in Spanish (.pdf)

*The Story of a Modern Woman is also a novel written by English author Ella Hepworth Dixon. The novel was first published in 1894. The novel is an example of the «New Woman» genre of late-Victorian England  (From Wikipedia)

We would like to thank the Associated Newspapers Limited for their kindly having allowed us to publish the article from the News Chronicle which we reproduce (in the image) above.

How the British media views Spain

ICLL Podcast series: New Episode (in English)

Is British media coverage of Spain still dominated
by the old stereotypes? Or do the newspapers, TV
and radio now reflect more accurately the reality
of Spain as a modern European nation?

With social and commercial links between our two countries
stronger and more important than ever, this debate
will examine how Spain is perceived by Britain´s
media, and ask how Spain might improve its image


Walter Oppenheimer
Jimmy Burns
Anna Bosch
Peter Preston
Jonathan Smith

Collaborating Organisation

El País (Madrid)

Embajada de España (Reino Unido)

Oficina de Información y Prensa (Londres)

Televisión Española (TVE)

TVE (Londres)


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