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Franco Dictatorship: Censorship Peculiarities

Writers and artists aspire to express themselves freely – with only the inner ethical boundaries of this expression. Censorship has always been considered as a primary obstacle for and burden on art. During the period of the Franco dictatorship, a Spanish writer had to bear this censorship burden and adapt his or her works to its fundamental requirements. Juan Goytisolo was among these writers and reflected on the severe conditions in which he had to create. This paper aims to investigate censorship peculiarities of the period and the contemporary ones, as well as to suggest how one could circumvent it.

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Most writers who did not support Franco’s policies and survived the Civil War emigrated from the country; many of them did not return. However, most of the works that were written after the fall of the republic were filled with tragedy. Since there were enormous censorship and rigor in choosing the subject of novels, many authors tried to discuss complex reality discreetly (Goitisolo 64). It should be mentioned that the works written in the genre of the novel came to the fore.

During Franco’s reign, Juan Goytisolo lived in exile in Mexico and France. He became the most famous writer of that generation for his contemporaries. In his works, he wrote thoroughly about the hopelessness that reigned in Spain during the time of Franco. In the country, until the death of Franco, all the publications of Goytisolo were strictly prohibited. Goitisolo claimed, “writing in Spain is practicing an art similar to that of the fight: the bull must be weathered within a fixed field, according to certain rules” (63). He also stated that while the censorship aimed to prevent realistic literature in Spain, it became the primary catalyst for this literature. Spanish writers were kind of provoked by such a policy, which contributed to their rebellious approaches in art.

It seems apparent that a writer in Spain – during the Franco dictatorship – was in the harsh situation regarding themes he or she could arise. However, it might be assumed that there were some options to avert this censorship. “Franco’s regime was more concerned with the repression of alternative cultures than with the promotion of a genuine and coherent culture of its own” (Pegenaute 86). It means that writers had to avoid any direct manifestations of these differences. For instance, they could apply a complex metaphorical depiction of reality. Then, there could be the option of exaggeration – if Franco’s policy was overpraised, it would be obvious that a writer taunts it for conscious readers.

Nowadays, the global community understands the importance of freedom of expression, and most civilized countries follow this essential principle; however, there is an apparent exception – Cuba. “The Cuban Constitution recognizes freedom of the press but expressly prohibits private ownership of the mass media” (Salomon). It means that the government has total control over the media channels. What is more, the authorities tend to censor the Internet (Erlich). In the contemporary conditions of every opinion, such a policy seems to be inappropriate and irrelevant.

To conclude, it was found that during the Franco dictatorship, Spanish writers were substantially subjected to censorship. Then, it was suggested that these writers could circumvent it by applying metaphorical narration and exaggeration. The above investigation also shows that the issue of censorship still exists in today’s world. The Cuban government tends to use this inappropriate practice to support its power. This approach should not be tolerated according to the modern principles of democracy and freedom of expression.

Works Cited

Erlich, Reese. “Foreign Correspondent: Does Cuba Censor the Internet? Think Again.” The Progressive, 2019, Web.

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Goytisolo, Juan. El Furgón de Cola (Primera Edición). Ruedo Ibérico, 1967.

Pegenaute, Luis. “Censoring Translation and Translation as Censorship: Spain under Franco.”, 1995, Web.

Salomon, Josefina. “Six Facts About Censorship in Cuba.” Amnesty International, 2016, Web.

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