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SPAIN: Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera and writers

We have discussed at some length the role of literary writers in politics, and in Spain the peculiar friendship of leftist García Lorca with José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the leader of the Spanish fascist movement, who was later shot by the Republicans. John Heelan says: "El País (6/28/03) carried review of two new books on the literary scene surrounding José Antonio, La Corte Literaria de José Antonio by Mónica and Pablo Carbajosa (Crítica; Barcelona, 2003) and Vanguardistas de Camisa Azul by Mechtild Albert tr. by Cristina Diez Pampliego and Juan Ramón García Ober (Madrid: Visor Libros, 2003). Apparently José Antonio's "literary Court" lasted a couple of years and consisted of right-wing writers such as Pedro Mourlane Michelena, Rafael Sánchez Mazas, Ernesto Giménez Caballero, Eugenio Montes, José María Alfaro, Agustín de Foxa, Luys Santa Marina, Samuel Ros, Jacinto Miquelarena, Dionision Ridruejo. They apparently held their tertulias at La Ballena Alegre and attended "Charlemagne Dinners". There are known strong Lorca links with Giménez Caballero, as the latter was the editor of La Gaceta Literaria which published interviews and articles on García Lorca".

RH: Camisa Azul, blue shirt, like the black, brown and greenshirts of other fascist movements. It is now impossible to deny the involvement of writers in Spanish politics, both on the left and the right. There is a special Spanish factor. In Spain the chattering classes were literally that. They met in cafès like La Ballena Alegre (the Happy Whale) and talked for hours. These tertulias probably had more influence than serious newspapers like El Sol. The talk was mostly gossip.

Ronald Hilton - 7/8/03