The Spanish Civil War in Literature

By Janet Pérez; Wendell Aycock | Go to book overview

Behind the Lines: The Spanish Civil
War and Women Writers

Janet Pérez

Women writers in Spain today vary greatly in age, background, and even language, since women are writing in Catalan, Gallego, and Basque, as well as Castilian and a variety of regional dialects. Some six or seven generations or distinct chronological groups of living writers make up the current literary panorama in Spain, and in most of these groupings are women who have written on the Civil War. Among the oldest are the last survivors of the “Generation of 1927,” athe generation of Lorca, Salinas, Alberti, Guillen, and many others who died in the conflict or suffered exile. Surviving women writers from this group include María Teresa Leon, wife of Alberti, and long-time exile Rosa Chacel. The great Catalan novelist Mercé Rodoreda, recently deceased, who also belonged to this generation, wrote both novels and short fiction dealing with war, the refugee experience, and exile.

The so-called “Generation of 1936” acomprises writers who had barely begun to publish when the war erupted. Theirs is largely a generation of exiles, external and internal, including such well-known women as academician Carmen Conde, poet Concha Zardoya, and philosopher María Zambrano. Following in order of descending age come members of the first postwar generation, most of whom experienced the conflict as university students or teenagers. Among the women writers in this age group is the Catalan novelist and essayist, Teresa Pàmies, one of a scant handful of women who portray frontline or combat scenes. Pàmies draws upon her experience as a militant revolutionary activist, and also finds inspiration in some thirty years of refugee and exile experience. Other women writers of approximately the same age are Carmen Kurtz, María Aurèlia Capmany (who writes in Catalan), Susana March, Mercedes Salisachs, Mercedes Ballesteros, Mercedes Formica, and Elena Soriano, to mention only

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