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Periods of flourishing and repression of lesbian and gay literature in Spain during the long twentieth century are intimately tied to the country's significant political upheavals and severe censorship of all expressions of sexual desire, but particularly of same-sex sexual practices. Important characteristic of Spanish culture to keep in mind is the profound impact that the nation's primary identity as a Catholic country had on it until the early years of the democracy. The period before the Civil War was marked by a flourishing literary culture so remarkable that critics call it La Edad de Plata, echoing the famed early modern literary apogee of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, La Edad de Oro of Cervantes's El Quijote. During the Civil War, on the Republican side, women acquired many rights and engaged in endeavors previously considered masculine, while men fought at the front. Franco's long dictatorship repressed nonnormative sexualities and halted all gender experimentation.