Welsh Academic Uncovers Spanish Censorship Scandal; BOOKS BEING PUBLISHED WITH FRANCO ERA CUTS

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), September 3, 2012 | Go to article overview

Welsh Academic Uncovers Spanish Censorship Scandal; BOOKS BEING PUBLISHED WITH FRANCO ERA CUTS


Byline: GRAHAM HENRY

HIS regime was known as one of the most brutal and repressive in history.

But it seems that even 37 years after General Franco's death and the end of his ferocious grip on power in Spain his influence lives on.

Evidence uncovered by an academic in Wales has revealed that scores of popular novels censored during the dictator's reign are still being published - in their Franco-era form.

The study by Bangor University's Dr Jordi Cornell-Detrell found that among the books still bearing cuts imposed by censors under Franco's dictatorship were James Bond novels, Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and JM Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice.

It comes ahead of the release of the 23rd Bond film, Skyfall, on October 26 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the release of the first film Dr No, which features the iconic scene of Ursula Andress emerging from the water and is one of the novels studied by Dr Cornell-Detrell as still being published in the censored version in Spain.

"I began my study, comparing the censor's changes to the original version of various novels including Dr No, when I realised that the modern reprint I was reading as the contemporary version was in fact the censored version, and I came to realise that the same was true of many other novels," Dr Cornell-Detrell said.

"During Franco's regime, foreign ideas were perceived as a potential threat to the moral and social fabric of the country.

"The regime promoted the very Catholic nature of Spain and censored literature that was at odds with this or with the political stance of the regime.

"Ian Fleming's novels were fairly sexually explicit and salacious for that era, and this did not agree with the morals of a Catholic country."

Attempts to publish Dr No, he said, were met with "fierce opposition" by Spanish censors, who said that it subverted the moral values of the country, with a translation presented in 1960 rejected outright and substantial cuts imposed on a version five years later.

"The last two pages of the novel, for instance, were deemed to be pornographic and were completely excised," Dr Cornell-Detrell said.

"And as a consequence the ending feels rushed and makes little sense. The effects of censorship on this text, however, did not end with the regime's collapse, since expurgated versions of Dr No were reprinted in 1996, 2001 and 2011. …

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