The essay and the novel before the civil war

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Within the narrative of postwar generations are six narratives, three arising in the Franco-three who did so after 1975.

First, the baby boom generation, which in the 1940s, in a few tough years, assumes the starting role after the civil war, the first attempts at renewal from realism characterized by the tone and existentialist worldview.

Second, the mid-century generation, the children of the civil war in the 1950s, from a realistic perspective and attitude objectivist social and attests to the contemporary reality, or from the memories of war, either from the observation of the Spanish collective life.

Thirdly, the generation of the 60, who stars in the decade-called renewal narrative, structural and experimentalist, based on the use of novelistic techniques varied.

Fourth, the generation of 75, whose members were born after the civil war, began to publish around that date and respond to experimentation with a strong narrative standards, most fabulous attitudes, a variety of trends and recovery more traditional techniques.

Fifth, the generation of the 80, which on the one hand continues the lines initiated by the previous generation and the other, recovering from the recent past trends and the social novel or the experimentalist.

Sixth, the Generation of 90, the youngest of which, in the midst of the commercial pressures of the market, are ascribed to the trends of their predecessors.

Apart from the six generations, we must take account of the novelists of exile, returning to Spain, still continue to write and publish at the end of the century.


Among the novelists who leave Spain and split into exile following the Republican defeat in the Civil War, are divided into three age groups: the first includes novelists born before 1900, the second and those born in the twentieth century have published work before going into exile, the third, which began publishing after 1939. It should be noted, moreover, that the works-including those of the exiles who are alive at present, are restricted generally to personal or historical review of thecivil war.

Among the novelists of the first group includes Benjamin Jarne, Eduardo Zamascois, Manuel D. Benavides and Arturo Barea (killed them all before 1975).

In the second group, very few people alive beyond the time of Franco. Max Aub, to quote the author's most emblematic, died in 1972 after an important work behind him, especially the six great novels of the cycle, "Campos."

The prolific and uneven Ramon J. Sender has a long production, which consists of relevant titles, social and symbolic (Mr. Witt in the canton (35), Requiem for a Spanish Peasant (53) or nine novels chronic cycle of dawn along with other works too commercial As Nancy's thesis (62) or the survivor (78).

Rosa Chacel is perhaps the only exception among the novelists of exile that does not focus its work in the civil war, with titles like Memories intellectual character of Leticia Valle (46), or evocative novels of childhood and adolescence, and vital learning as District of wonder (76) and NA (84).

The narrative work of Francisco Ayala may be terminated before 1975. Avant-garde in his early works, comes after the critical realism, social and even in his most famous works of dog deaths (58) and the bottom of the glass (62).

The novelists of the third group, many of them now dead, almost exclusively address the issue of civil war. These include Manuel Andújar, a work in which makes a historical overview of the Spanish reality of the twentieth century, such as the splendid trilogy Vespers, and others like Paulino Masip, José Ramón Arana and Second Serrano Poncela.


After the war, the novel met a few years of disorientation. He reached first on race issues, seen through the values of the victors, as Retaguardia (37) CONH Espina, Madrid cutting Cheka (38) Agustin de Foxa; o faithful Infantry (43) Rafael García Serrano. Novels are hard to overcome attack or inflamed Catholic and nationalist exaltation.

But they will get to know other writers who see the war and its aftermath dramatically, and enter the bottom of the desolate Spanish society. The postwar generation, composed of novelists born before 1920, living the war in his youth, even participating in it, "began publishing in the 1940s heavily influenced by recent memories, but his attitude has not exactly distinguished for their solidarity generational or ideological, but a wandering independence.

His narrative is part of the existential realism, which merely expresses the character's consciousness or individual vicissitudes in conflict with fate or with everyday circumstances, from his unique point of view, the main character often tell their ups and downs firsthand.His work is the first attempt of renovation of the triumphalistic kind of novel which was encouraged from the scheme, introducing a really dark and gray tones in the characters, uprooted, marginal, disoriented and distressed, barely supporting his restless inner world and their lack of hope.

Its themes could be reduced to two: the uncertainty of human destiny and the absence or difficulty in personal communication. His characters, grouped into the category of violent, that of the oppressed, or of the undecided, are presented in situations of high tension and extreme limit: in a vacuum, in guilt, suffering and fighting, or the imminence of death.

As for the techniques, the most characteristic is: individual characters and negative, reduction of space and time, prevalence of use first person autobiographical monologue.

Several high-profile representatives of the postwar generation, Camilo José Cela, Miguel Delibes, the torrent Gonzalo Ballester and Carmen Laforet.

CAMILO JOSÉ CELA: with The Family of Pascual Duarte, Cela opened within the existential realism, a stream called "alarmism", which consist of a selection of hard and sordid aspects of life. The actor, sentenced to death for murder, tells his life harshly violent repented and accepted her resignation to execution. After these early existentialists and after testimonial realistic stage of the hive, (51) continues Mazurka for two dead (83) or Christ versus Arizona (88) with the kind of discursive novel feature of the avant-garde experimentalist of the '60s and '70s , who had practiced in San Camilo, 1936 (69) and Tenebrae 5 (73).

Miguel Delibes: The Evolution of Delibes is consistent. Existentialist first in the 40s in the shade of the cypress is long (48), social in the 50s with The Road (50), Red Time (59) or rats (62), and innovative in 60s with Five hours with Mario (66), closes the parenthesis of his shy contributions in experimental Parable of the wreck (69) with the return, after the transition, their issues and always realistic style that has characterized the best of his work, with excellent novels such as The Holy Innocents (81) or 377A, wood hero (87).

Gonzalo Torrente Ballester: presents a trajectory similar to that of Delibes to 1975, the existentialism and realism of his early days (The joys and shadows, Off-side) give way to the stage of structural renewal close to the experimentalism of the saga / drain JB (72). With the transition, the novel de Torrente is more inclined to imaginative play and humor, especially when it enters the territory of the historical novel culturalist and parodic treatment (The Island of Hyacinths Cut (80) Chronicle King stunned (89)) or the novel of manners with Ansúrez Pepe (94).

Carmen Laforet: Although his later works have not achieved the success with his first novel, this Nada (54) Nadal won the first call and was truly amazed. It is considered, along with The Family of Pascual Duarte, the initiators of realism existential 40s. Laforet us in it - without the least exaggerated, "a girl who had gone to study in Barcelona, where he lives with relatives in a sordid meanness of hysteria, failed dreams, of emptiness. This book collects relentlessly stifling everyday life afterwar naked style, strong character, and a desperately sad tone.

Other novelists who belong to the generation of the 40, and Ignacio Agustí and Juan Antonio de Zunzunegui propose in their works of traditional realism, others as Elena Quiroga Castillo Puche raise or conflict (uncertainty, urgency decided conflict between ideal and behavior, shock of consciousness, tears close) or give expression to the inertia of everyday life and the gap between aspiration and reality that has resulted in failure, as Luis Romero and Dolores Medio. Outside of Spain, Ramon J. Sender, Max Aub and Francisco Ayala also seek lost people because of the war, and we are in a dire situation of uncertainty, loneliness, madness and isolation.


Generation is usually identified with the group half-century novelists in the 1950s starring the second renewal of the postwar narrative through objectivist realism and the "social novel." Its representatives, the majority born between 1925 and 1935 and called "war children" reveal more supportive of each other and to the problem of his people than his predecessors, and base their writing on childhood memories and, above all in the creation of contemporary environments credible, located in the world of work, both urban and rural, to testify to the problems of society.

Characterizes the social realist novelists concern closer to the truth to reflect as closely as possible. They are committed to the task of the Spanish reality show openly so that readers become aware of it. The driven by a desire for social transformation.

Novel is considered a precursor of the social power to the hive (1951) Cela, novel collective character, with its pitiless vision of Madrid at the time, and added, also as initiators, Delibes two novels, The Road (1950) My adored son and Sissi (1953), the first reflects the atmosphere of a Castilian village as a token gesture, but without explicit criticism, the second, open criticism, to a bourgeois family.

The fullness of the stage from 1954 to 1962. In 54 are released five novels that reflect the consolidation of the trend: The light and the blood of Ignacio Aldecoa, Los bravos Santos Jesus Fernandez, The God trapeze Jorge Ferrer-Vidal, from John Games Goytisolo and Little Theatre of Ana Maria Matute. 62 The date refers to the appearance of Tiempo de silencio by Luis Martin Santos, closing the cycle of social novel and opened the way to the experimental novel of the next decade.

Within the social novel is customary to distinguish two major trends: objectivism, which some prefer to call neo-realism and critical realism.

a) Objectivism merely offer the simple testimony of the facts without value judgments, but although the social criticism does not arise directly, is often implied.

  1. In critical realism, the novelist takes the side of a committed literature to stir the conscience and denounce the inequalities and social injustices. His interest focuses on the most punished: workers, peasants, miners, suburbanites or criticize the bourgeoisie, showing its amorality and immobility.

From the technical point of view, yet located in the Spanish realist tradition and collecting aspects of the previous generation, the half-century novelists are influenced by contemporary techniques of Italian neorealist cinema, the behaviorism of the American novel and to a lesser extent , the "nouveau roman" French.

In this way, compared to the traditional narrative in which events are ordered closed temporarily to an end, there is the open frame work, the anti-novel, the hero figure of the individual is diluted in a collective role, is objectivist realism and that lean hidden by the narrator does not intervene in the internal world of the characters, let these be formed and are characterized by dialogue, almost documentary presents the events as a film camera and structure the story by not chapters, narrative sequences but similar to that used in the movies.

This objectivism is seen in Los bravos (54) of Jesus Fernandez Santos and reaches its climax in El Jarama (56) Ferlosio Rafael Sanchez, a masterpiece in which dialogue replaces intrigue. Through the dialogue of the characters reflected the emptiness of a society that gets bored, he is only seeking ways to kill time. To these may be added Aldecoa Ignacio works, with the east wind (56), Ana Maria Matute, Party North West (53), dead sons (58), Carmen Martin Gaite, Entre curtains (58).

Moreover, growers of critical realism intensified concerns that cropped up in the novels and objectivist. Relegated to the background formal aspects, and their willingness to approach the people leads them to simplify the style and narrative technique, avoiding all artifice. Some examples of this trend include Jesus Lopez Pacheco, Central Electric (58), Antonio Ferres, Piquette (59), Juan García Hortelano, New friendships (59), Armando López Salinas, mine (60), José Manuel Caballero Bonald , Two days in September (61) and Alfonso Grosso, the trench (61). Miguel Delibes, belonging to the baby boomers, will tend more and more critical approaches. So after having criticized the behavior of bourgeois circles in red Time (59), passes to the horrifying picture of misery in rats (62).


In 1960 begin to show signs of weariness of realism prevailing in the Spanish novel and a need for formal innovation and more sophisticated approaches.

Commonly understood as formal renewal in contemporary Spanish novel narrative transformation that took place between 1961, when it was published Tiempo de silencio by Luis Martin Santos, and 1975, when it was published the truth about the case Savolta Eduardo Mendoza. This generation is influenced by the great European novelists such as Proust, Kafka, Joyce, of the growers of the "nouveau roman" French, American writers such as Faulkner, John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and, above all, the Latin American literature who knows his rise or boom in the '60s, with writers such as Vargas Llosa, Garcia Marquez and Cortazar.

Renewal was intense and was characterized by strong formal and technical changes which were added to the initiated by the social realism of the previous decade, and often reacted against their budgets objectivist.

Thus, against the objectivist view of half a century passed to the subjective omniscience of the narrator and the alternation of multiple points of view (Perspective); against the concealment of the narrator, the novelist incorporated a dialectical and critical attitude to the environment and fictional reality, against the previous narrative history and had strengthened the argument, it became a language of discourse, poetical, which reaches nearly to eliminate them or put them in a secondary, almost transparent against the linearity of the plot only challenged by the fragmentation of narrative sequences, we attempted to structural complexity, the heterogeneity of the sequences, the chronological disorder and anecdotal counterpoint; front of clarity in the organization of the content above were inserted all sorts of alternate discursive forms such as dialogues, interior monologues, asides from the narrator, and so on.; contrast to the exclusivity of traditional narratives people, were mixed in the same novel, according to the points of view, three people, including second.

The formal renewal by 1967 resulted in the so-called experimental period, which led to its ultimate targeted renewal budgets and led to all the reader's participation in recreating the sense of the novels, characterized by an opaque and complex writing, and and containing polyvalent and ambiguous.

However, despite the unquestionable quality of a few works such as novels of Juan Benet and Juan Goytisolo, the Parable of the castaway Delibes, San Camilo, 1936 Cela, La saga / drain JB de Torrente, Alfonso Florido May Grosso, If you say that I fell in Juan Marse or mandarins School of Miguel Espinosa, the narrative seemed to shut himself in an apparent dead end: no longer tried to explain reality and social changes, or to witness the problems of human beings and the community, or offer their dialectical struggle with the environment, as proposed earlier realism, the only important thing, in most cases, was the vanguard linguistic experimentation in the forms and structures, and conversion of language in an autonomous world, an end, not a means of communication.

These excesses led experimentalists to a gradual loss of readers, then recovered during the Transition, who left because of the difficulties posed by the reading comprehension of these works.


This generation is made up of authors born, without exception, between 1935 and 1940. However, its importance and prestige are overshadowed by the enormous credit of the earlier novelists in those years very significant titles published in the new trend. These include, in San Camilo Cela, 1936, Delibes to five hours with Mario and Parable of the wreck, and Torrente Ballester with La saga / drain JB

Authors who clearly stand out among those who rebelled in the 60s are: Luis Martín Santos Quiet time, considered the inaugural work of the new trends, Juan Marse with last evenings with Teresa, John Benet with'll return to Region and A Meditation; Juan Goytisolo with identity. Other examples include authors such as Miguel Espinosa, Javier Tomeo, Francisco Umbral and José M ª Vaz de Soto.

LUIS MARTÍN SANTOS: His work Quiet time (61) closes the period of social novel and begins the narrative and intellectual renewal of the '60s. Stresses in an individual player, but so confused and helpless that their fate will require a general tour of the company that ends in the most irritating failure. In this work the author carries out its technical innovations: sequences (not chapters), grouped in several episodes, a tendency to temporary concentration, dialogues very new, systematic use of interior monologue, digressions and reflections of the author himself to the narrative , baroque language.

Juan Marse: Begins his career with novels of social realism and critical, but in 1966 published late evenings with Teresa, received with amazement by critics. Although its content remains a work of social criticism (account of the adventures of a young "chorizo" Barcelona who is pretending to underground political activist to try to seduce a student who plays middle-class family to be "liberal") approach is complex and its technical developments are obvious: improvement of objectivism and return to the omniscient narrator, extensive use of interior monologue, incorporating original features parodies, etc. In the same vein placement of the dark history of the prima Montse (70) and If they say I fell (73) means the full maturity of Mars in the management of new narrative forms.

JUAN BENET: Although, by age, belongs to the generation of the half-century (50s) for their aesthetic orientations is ascribed to the experimental novel, with'll return to Region (67), experimental novel told in fragments, with jumps temporary long monologues of different voices that are not easily identified, endless phrases or musical monotony of existence, and with a meditation (70), experimental novel even more audacious than the last.

Juan Goytisolo: The Signs of identity (66) brings together almost all the resources that characterize the experimental novel: point of view changes, temporary breaks, different people use narratives, interior monologues, asides, newspaper articles, police reports and interspersed tourist brochures, whole pages with no punctuation marks, or italics, etc., all subordinate to his quest for personal identity shattered and a review of the national past. The path taken with this work continues Claiming Count Julian (70) and Juan sin tierra (75), which multiplies the formal renewal.


Generation 75 is composed of those novelists who, without exception, born between 1939 and 1949, living his childhood in postwar begin publishing in the 1970s, most after Franco's death, lead the change of narrative Transition and reach maturity in the 1980s. They are writers who are educated, therefore, social realism, and above all, the renovation of the 60 narratives, a trend that will surely seduce at first. However, little lasting their membership of the experiment, and soon to react against it in an attempt to moderate their excesses and clarify their narrative structures.

Its renewal is based primarily on the defense of the narrative, after writing discourse of experimentalism in the recovery of traditional techniques, mixed with the previous renovating still are useful, and the elimination of formal and ideological taboos, which allows them to expand horizons in the genres (thriller, detective, adventure, novel, story, etc..) and narrative trends, driven by the Transitional bear fruit in the next two decades.

By phasing out the textual complexity, discontinuous rhythm patterns, temporary breakdowns and multiple points of view, and proposing a strong return to the argument and the creation of characters, the storytelling closed and continuous the use of those traditional narratives and the presence of the dialogues, the immediate consequence is that since 1975, the novel enjoyed a period of increasing satisfaction, as is also increasing the number of readers.

Novelists are put first and foremost goal is to "tell" a story, with a specifically literary purpose, either by updating the realism, renovated with the introduction of dream elements, subjective, imaginative or fantastic they are also part of reality, well through fantasy and imagination, and even the humor.

The novel that marked the beginning of the change narrative of these years was the truth about the case Savolta, Eduardo Mendoza, also symbolic because it was published in 1975, he disappeared from the dictatorship regime.

The two sides in which the novel structure show strong contrasts. Thus the first part could still be considered experimental: counterpoint storylines, different points of view and articulated sequences in dialogues, monologues and varied texts such as letters, police records or newspaper articles. In the second part, however, recovered the traditional art of telling the story, develop the plot and to clarify the plot, by the constant presence of the dialogues. This return to the storytelling takes place within a context of historical novel and realistic writing does not rule out the tale of intrigue, adventure and action. For all these ingredients, the book received a very favorable.


75 The main authors ascribed to the realism, though with different aspects: psychological novel, a novel expressionist and fantastic mythical novel and novel of gender within the latter charge a remarkable boom in the Transition historical novel and detective story.

  • Psychological novel: its main representatives are Alvaro Pombo with The similarity (79), José M ª Guelbenzu with the look (87), Juan Jose Millas, Vision of the drowned (77)
  • Expressionist Novel: with Juan Pedro Aparicio, The Year of the French (86), Manuel de Lope, The Autumn of the century (81)
  • Mythical and fantastic novel: with Luis Mateo Diez, The Fountain of Age (86) and Jose Maria Merino, Andrés Novel Hut (76) and the dark side (85)
  • Historical novel: with Jesus Fernandez Santos, which has no name (77), Lourdes Ortiz, Magpie (82) and Eduardo Alonso, Flor de Jacaranda (91)
  • Detective story: Manuel Vázquez Montalbán and his series of detective novels featuring Pepe Carvalho.


In the 80s there is the entry of Spain into the European Union and with it the opportunity to consolidate its most notorious political modernization, economic and social: you reach for the "welfare society."

Democracy strengthens and normalizes and citizens find the prestige of the culture through the massive celebration organized by public institutions. In this context, the novel begins to flirt with the market, and at the end of the decade, some authors, including new ones that can live in the literature.

A new generation of novelists, the '80s, began to publish immersed in socio-political circumstances. Authors are almost entirely born between 1949 and 1960, not now aware of the immediate postwar period, but they live their childhood and adolescence during the previous attempt at economic modernization of Spain, ie during the first opening to the outside cultural and industrial development of Franco in the 60s, and early youth in the peak years of ideological commitment and labor and student mobilization against the dictatorship.

For that reason, the creative freedom towards more realistic, but also more fabulous, and to a wider range of romantic tendencies, launched by the well established generation of 75, is intensified by the new generation, so that they can of continuity in the narrative configuration, transparent discourse in the traditional structure, the linearity of arguments and plots, etc.

Consequently, the novelists of the 80 intensify the realistic trend in its various aspects:

  • Social novel: with Rafael Chirbes, Mimoum (88), Miguel Sánchez-Ostiz, Piranhas (92), Mercedes Soriano, no history (89)
  • Psychological novel: Javier García Sánchez, The Lady of the southerly wind (85), Francisco Solano, mineral Night (95), Javier Marías, All Souls (89); Soledad Puértolas, Bordeaux (86)
  • Expressionist Novel: Antonio Soler, Heroes of the border (95) Dancers dead (96)
  • Mythic fiction and fantasy: with Julio Llamazares, Wolf Moon (85) and Yellow Rain (88), Luis Landeros, games late age (89), Antonio Muñoz Molina, Beatus ille (86)

Other trends that become important are:

  • Experimental novel and discursive: Alejandro Gandara, Shadow of the keeper (90).
  • Metanovel: with Jose Maria Merino, The dark side (85), Juan Jose Millas, your name Disorder (88) and Javier García Sánchez, The Typist (89)
  • Historical novel: Paloma Díaz-Mas, The Dream of Venice (92) and the fertile land (99)
  • Novel action: with Jesus Ferrero, Belver Yin (81), Antonio Muñoz Molina, Winter in Lisbon (87) and Manuel Vazquez Montalban with his series starring Carvalho.


The novelists who are beginning to publish in the early age of 90 belong to the generation of Spanish, born after 1960. An important fact is that they are still children or adolescents when they die and only know the Franco dictatorship in its aftermath, so when you begin to write, and it shows in his novels, do not support the ideological pressures of previous generations and make a novel type of far more open to the fable, even when they evoke their own memory.

The 1990s in Spain is characterized by economic prosperity and welfare mirage, and that stability and prosperity is not outside the publishing world that, in addition, the novel becomes an object of consumption only willing to stay the case to be profitable. As a result, with the exceptions of rigor, a further consolidation of the novel standard, commercially and politically correct in its ideological and its structures.

His assessment, however, can be reckless, especially considering the short time perspective and contributing literary works, at once so new and so little settled

Still, you can venture the following names as notable representatives of the various trends:

  • Social novel: with Gopegui Bethlehem, The conquest of the air (98) and The Real Thing (2001); Luis Magrinyà, Two Louis (2000)
  • Psychological novel: Javier Marias, A Heart So White (92)
  • Expressionist Novel: Antonio Soler
  • Mythical and fantastic novel: in addition to José María Merino and Luis Mateo Diez, who continue to publish novels of this type include Andres Ibanez, world music (95) and Gustavo Martín Garzo, Marea occult (94)
  • Historical novel: include Juana Salabert, Varadero (96); Antonio eared, fabulous narratives for stories (96), Juan Manuel de Prada, The masks of the hero (96)
  • Novel Action: Manuel de Lope, Bella in the dark (97) and Gregorio Morales, the soothsayer Sin (92)

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