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SPAIN: Lorca's assassination



I am, as frequently happens, bewildered. John Heelan reported a conversation in which José Antonio Primo de Rivera, suggested uniting with Lorca. Puzzled by that remark, I asked what Lorca replied. Both John and Rosa de Pena replied "nothing" (sounded odd to me), but Rosa added " It went with the pattern of one-sided relationships that Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera had. As Conor Cruise O'Brien said of Sean McBride, his life seemed a collection of unrequited loves." Odder and odder. Is Rosa saying that the hero-martyr of the Falange was a homo?

John denies the reports that Lorca was killed in a homosexual brawl: "Most of them are repeating, without further evidence, Jean-Louis Schonberg's thesis, published in Federico García Lorca. L'homme -l'oeuvre (Paris:Plon, 1956) where, after denying that the death had a political motive he states, " Reste alors la vengeance; la vengeance de l'amour obscur" (p.106).

Embarrassed politically by Lorca's assassination, the Franco government propagandists seized Schonberg's view with gratitude and promulgated it far and wide. However that view has been soundly rejected by later biographers with access to information that was not available to Schonberg during the Franco regime. Lorca's major biographer (Gibson) devotes Appendix C of his book The Assassination of Federico García Lorca (London:Penguin, 1987) to examining and rejecting Schonberg's theory.

Undoubtedly Lorca's overt homosexuality in the repressed Spain of the 1930's gave an additional frisson to those who killed him. One of the killers, Trecastro, boasted "We have just killed Federico García Lorca. We left him in a ditch, and I fired two bullets into his arse for being a queer" (Gibson 1987, p.179). However it is far more likely that Gibson's conclusion is correct, that Lorca fell victim to the hatred of the Catholic Church and the people of Granada "whom he had recently termed 'the worst bourgeoisie in Spain'.

My comment: Being a bourgeois myself, I prefer the Granada bourgeois to Lorca. I can't understand why women fell for him. Some years ago, I went on a tour of the upper levels of Notre Dame in Paris. There is one scary moment when to cross the transept one has to walk along a narrow passageway with no railing on the side looking down into the transept. Why the French did not put a railing there I cannot understand, especially in view of the story is that a woman, rejected by Lorca, threw herself off that passageway. John, is that story true?

John adds a footnote on my account of Osborne House in the Isle of Wight, where Queen Victoria showed her interest in India, of which she was Empress. John says: "Osborne House must be the only royal residence in the UK to boast a pool for bathing elephants (nowadays it is a "hazard" on the golf course in Osborne's grounds.) :-)" Well, that shows kindness to animals. I wonder what Queen Victoria would have thought of Lorca?

Ronald Hilton - 12/22/01


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