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Literature as a Response to Cultural and Political Repression in Franco's Catalonia

Literature as a Response to Cultural and Political Repression in Franco's Catalonia

Series: Monografías A
Volume: 295
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Literature as a Response to Cultural and Political Repression in Franco's Catalonia
    Book Description:

    During the 1950s and 1960s, several key Catalan authors set about rewriting some of their narrative work despite the obstacles to publication in Catalan under the Franco regime. This study describes the social, political and cultural conditions that impelled Salvador Espriu, Xavier Benguerel, Sebastià Juan Arbó and Joan Sales to revise 'Laia', 'El testament', 'Tino Costa' and 'Incerta glòria', concentrating particularly on the linguistic debates and literary trends from the 1950s to the early 1970s. Drawing on a wide range of theoretical perspectives, this book examines the reasons for the rewriting, including censorship and self-censorship, generational and ideological changes within the Catalan literary field, controversies over linguistic purism, the appearance of new literary trends and gender and political issues. It focuses on the (re)construction of a distinctive national identity and the impact of repression, memory, exile and silence on the representation of the war and the post-war periods. This study explores not only how writers or society at large were affected by the dictatorship, but how the armed conflict left its mark on the writing process itself. Jordi Cornellà-Detrell is a Lecturer in Spanish in the School of Modern Languages at Bangor University.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-980-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. 1 Introduction: The Rewriting of Laia, El testament, Tino Costa and Incerta glòria
    (pp. 1-22)

    During the 1950s and 1960s four key Catalan authors, namely Salvador Espriu (1913–1985), Xavier Benguerel (1905–1990), Sebastià Juan Arbó (1902–1984) and Joan Sales (1912–1983), set about rewriting some of their narrative work, a paradoxical task in view of the obstacles to publication in Catalan during the Franco regime. These writers decided to revise their literary production in a context where it might have seemed more urgent and necessary to offer new works to the public because, as Fuster pointed out, ‘Les “reedicions” no podien ser un remei, sinó més aviat el contrari, perquè en repetir obres...

  5. 2 Language, Literature and the Writer in Franco’s Catalonia
    (pp. 23-61)

    This chapter aims to describe from a critical perspective the social, political and cultural conditions that prompted Sales, Benguerel, Arbó and Espriu to revise their work, and concentrates in particular on the literary and linguistic controversies of the early 1950s and the 1960s. This will allow us to identify the conditions, the participants, the structures and the patterns of these debates in order to shed light upon ideological struggles that converged on language and literature.

    In the aftermath of the war, Catalan writers were isolated and scarcely tolerated and could not have any significant impact on contemporary society. As Triadú...

  6. 3. Disembodying the Nation: The Rewriting of Laia by Salvador Espriu
    (pp. 62-87)

    Laia, with its four different edited versions (1932, 1934, 1952, 1968), is the text on which Espriu expended the most effort to improve his style, and this is why it can be considered the fundamental work of his career. He himself pointed out that ‘Laia es propiamente el inicio, la manera narrativa perdurable, el primer punto de la elipse.’¹ This short novel occupies a central space in the author’s literary output, which is characterised by its organic nature: the whole body of his work can be read as a continuum interwoven with recurring themes, myths and spaces.² If Espriu considers...

  7. 4 Reading Between the Lines: Silences and Double Language in Xavier Benguerel’s El testament
    (pp. 88-112)

    Xavier Benguerel was one of the most widely read authors of the 1960s and 1970s but, in spite of this, the critical reception of his work has been superficial and subject to misinterpretation. There are several reasons for reassessing El testament: firstly, it was a great success at a very difficult period, to the point that it was translated into Spanish and Polish and in 1960 adapted for the stage by the writer himself;¹ secondly, it has been considered a turning point in Benguerel’s oeuvre, since supposedly this was his first novel·la catòlica; and, thirdly, it was the first novel...

  8. 5 Chronotope and Language Change in Arbó’s Tino Costa
    (pp. 113-129)

    Tino Costa appeared in 1947, at a time when Franco’s regime was determined to eradicate Catalan culture by making it extremely difficult to publish translations or works by contemporary authors.¹ In the years prior to the war, characterised by the unbridled optimism generated by the Republic and the new Generalitat, Arbó had published several novels and plays to critical acclaim.² When he resumed his career in the 1940s, the radically different conditions of the new situation forced him to make a difficult choice: to either go underground or change his expressive medium. With respect to Tino Costa, he reached a...

  9. 6 The Undercurrents of History: Memory, Language and Fiction in Joan Sales’s Incerta glòria
    (pp. 130-192)

    Joan Sales’s Incerta glòria (1956, 1969, 1971) is considered by a growing number of critics to be the best and most complex novel about the Spanish Civil War. The three versions of the text,¹ each edition of which grew in length and ambition, significantly diverge from one another, and this poses intriguing questions for the reader.² Sales’s rewriting obsession is a telling confirmation of Blanchot’s idea that writing always conveys the possibility of an outstanding work but also that, as the author experienced during his painstaking revisions, perfection can never be achieved, since to write ‘is to make oneself the...

  10. 7 Conclusion
    (pp. 193-198)

    I wrote in the introductory chapter that, when analysing post-war Catalan fiction, and more specifically the works of Espriu, Benguerel, Sales and Arbó, in general critics have failed to realise that the consequences of the armed conflict affected not only the material conditions under which writers worked, but also the structure, content and style of their novels. This explains why the type of analysis carried out in this book significantly diverges from the way post-war Catalan literature has been studied so far. Instead of exploring the work of an individual author or how the conflict and its consequences were represented...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 199-216)
  12. Index
    (pp. 217-225)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 226-226)