The essay examines a series of male-authored North American romance novels set in the midst of the Spanish Civil war, to argue that their common plots of cross-cultural love—between North American gentile soldiers and European women—represent a Popular Front political allegory. Furthermore, Canadian Jewish novelists adapted this internationalist romance trope, bringing together the global comradeship rhetoric of the Popular Front, the gendered nationalism of unification novels, and the problematic absorption of ethnic markers in Canadian civilizing plots and Jewish assimilation narratives alike. In particular, I look at two Canadian Jewish writers, Ted Allan and Charles Yale Harrison, to argue that their novels reveal the masculinist whitewashing tendencies of patriotic romance fiction. By subverting heteronormative Euro-American depictions of international love as inevitably disastrous, authors like Allan and Harrison imagine a broader definition of citizenship, one that accounts for religious and ethnic diversity as well as for class-based identification. My essay elucidates how Canadian writings about Spain are situated at the intersection of decolonizing identity and cosmopolitan leftism—a narrative that complicates our understanding of the leftist internationalist literature the Spanish conflict inspired. In their response to a very particular moment—of Canadian, North American, and Spanish social flux; and of Jewish migration and mainstreaming—Canadian Jewish novelists display an early attempt to articulate a national identity at once patriotic and cosmopolitan.

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