Postwar Spanish Fiction and the Pursuit of Spanish Reality

Authored by: David K. Herzberger

The Routledge Companion to Iberian Studies

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415722834
eBook ISBN: 9781315709895
Adobe ISBN:


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During the first two decades following the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), and well into the 1960s, most Spanish novelists stood primarily as literary and political outliers. This is so for a number of reasons. Above all, nearly all of the writers whose work garnered critical recognition in Spain during this period sharply opposed the very existence of the Franco regime: a dictatorship that had used raw military might to defeat the opposition during the War set out over the next two decades to consolidate its power and sustain its authority over government institutions, all forms of media and communication, and the diverse strains of cultural production. To a large extent during these years, Spain stood isolated from European and other Western democracies. This led in many ways to prolonged economic scarcity and rampant poverty in large segments of the Spanish population, yet it also coincided with an on-going celebration by the Nationalist (Francoist) victors of what they viewed as a return to the values and ideals of the authentic Spain. The trauma caused by the Civil War itself remained broadly suppressed for several decades, but in fact it was hidden in plain sight. The Regime sought to create (without consent of the people) laws and normative values for Spain whose purpose was to forge a mythic and unified national identity summarized in the lapidary assertion of “one language, once race, one religion.”

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