Ramon Sender Barayon (rabar) Thu 1 Apr 04 17:46
Hallo, Gerry, I'm grateful for your input and positive feedback! Regarding you two items above, I'm not familiar with the book you mention -- did you read it in Spanish or English? As for "Belle Epoque," the film came out in 1996 way after my research and writing of ADIZ. But speaking of movies, we did see a screening of "The King and the Queen," a film adaption of a novel of my father's set in the first year or so of the Civil War. It was the first time I had seen the military uniforms of that era in color since I was 1-1/2 years old, and it made quite an impression! On another topic, I asked Paul Preston, one of the best-known historians of the Spanish Civil War with various titles in print ("Doves of War. Four Women of Spain," "Comrades! Portraits from the Spanish Civil War." "The Politics of Revenge: Fascism and the Military in 20th Century Spain," "Franco: A Biography") about Peter's question above regarding how the Socialist win will impact the Recovery of Republican Memory movemnt. He replied (and I quote with his kind permission): "The short answer is that perhaps there will be more official financial support for the very expensive excavations. The long answer is that perhapsnothing will change because the left is very careful about raking over the ashes of the civil war." Another historian, Helen Graham ( "The Spanish Republic at War 1936-1939" and " Socialism and War : The Spanish Socialist Party in Power and Crisis, 1936-1939) also replied as follows: "As regards the PSOE electoral victory as it might affect the work of the ARMH (REcovery of Republican Memory). Well, I would imagine it can only help - whether any public funding is forthcoming or not. But the generally more relaxed, open and tolerant political climate and culture has got to be to the good in this respect as in others (while the PP was always unhappy about the fosas [opening of mass graves] campaigns because they challenged the legitimacy of Francoism - and the PP, though constitutional conservatives (in spite of their recent appalling behaviour), have always acted as if they understand the post-transition liberal democratic order in Spain to be an `inheritor' state from Francoism rather than a break with it. "All that said - I guess we will have to see exactly what happens re the ARMH - because the PSOE too (which was more or less a party reinvented across the transition period) also has an element in its political culture that makes it uneasy with some aspects of `Republican memory'. I think because it is seen as resuscitating the ghost of a non-consensual era of politics/political culture."
My Pseud was sent to India (gerry) Thu 1 Apr 04 19:00
> I'm not familiar with the book you mention -- did you read > it in Spanish or English? I read it in English. It was a Barron's Educational Series publication translated into English by Harriet De Onís. I read it as part of a class I took in Hispanic Literature at USC in the late '70s. It wasn't exactly *about* the 19th century civil war, but that was the backdrop for the story.
My Pseud was sent to India (gerry) Thu 1 Apr 04 19:06
I meant also to say that the book was made into a film of the same title, starring Dolores Del Río, about 1950.
Ramon Sender Barayon (rabar) Thu 1 Apr 04 19:22
Now you've stirred my interest in 'Doña Perfecta,' book and film! As for "The King and the Queen," (El Rey and La Reina), I can't find a listing of it on Google. I think it was made for Spanish television, which may make it more difficult to run down. Another film made from what may ultimately be considered the most memorable of my father's book, "Requiem for a Spanish Peasant" (Requiem por un Campesino Español), was also a TV film that I have yet to see. Antonio Banderas' first starring role. It's the closest my father ever came to dealing, in an occulted manner, with my mother Amparo's story. http://www.banderas-mall.com/theatre/links/camp.html
Peter Meuleners (pjm) Fri 2 Apr 04 08:46
Welcome (gerry). Thank you passing along that information Ramon. Ramon, in your research there were family members and others who wanted to talk and those who did not want to talk. There were different versions of the same events from a number of sources. Can you talk about the process you went through to develop a cohesive idea of what you now perceive to be the truth about the time surrounding Amparo's death?
Uncle Jax (jax) Fri 2 Apr 04 08:51
And on the literary aspect of things, was your rendering of your odyssey influenced at all by Wilder's _The Bridge at San Luis Rey_?
Jim Klopfenstein (klopfens) Fri 2 Apr 04 09:00
I just read A Death in Zamora--my local university library had a copy--and found it riveting. I'm glad you're making the effort to keep it in print. While I certainly find the behavior of all of the people who contributed to your mother's death reprehensible, I have to wonder how crucial any one individual's (and particularly Sevilla's) actions were to what took place. Given your mother's history, the activities and prominence of her family (both husband and brothers), and the brutality of the authorities in Zamora, it seems that her (and your) fate was sealed once she made the decision to go there. She would have been much better off had she been somewhere where she could have remained anonymous. It's easy to find fault with your father's behavior at just about every point in the story. He made so many decisions that look really terrible in hindsight, but that weren't too unnatural considering the information he had at the time. I assume that he didn't want you to learn the truth in part because he realized the mistakes he had made.
Ramon Sender Barayon (rabar) Fri 2 Apr 04 18:38
Oops - Peter, I missed until just now your interesting and penetrating (response #30) re: different stories people told of the same events and how we - I - sorted them out. I say 'we' because during that first summer in Spain my amazing wife Judith and I were celebrating our honeymoon -- perhaps I should say 'two summers,' because we returned the following year on a NEA grant. Judith not only accompanied me but also acted as translator and often a 'bridge' to women who would say things to her that they would not say to me. I could not have gotten 60 or so hours of recorded interviews without her. By the second summer I could understand almost all the conversatiion, but I still spoke "like a Martian," as I told people (as if it wan't obvious!), feeling like I had landed in some sort of distant dreamworld. But to answer your question as to what version of the story was finally selected, I think we weighed the seeming sincerity of the person and their sources. But in the final process, I think both our intuitions played a large role. As I may have mentioned earlier, I wrote a version of the story before even going back to Spain, and certain key elements proved to be true. Two main ones: I wrote about my being taken to the country by an old relative when my mother was imprisoned. That turned out to be true. Secondly, I imagined a train being bombed while we were traveling, and this was confirmed by subsequent conversations with Señora Rivera and her two daughters, who had been with us. Inasmuch as I was only 21 montha old, it seems that one's imaginings often evoke forgotten memories.
Ramon Sender Barayon (rabar) Fri 2 Apr 04 18:43
Hi, Jim, and thanks for participating! I think my father suffered a lot of guilt over the death of Amparo. He had, after all, told her to "go home if things get bad. Nothing ever happens in Zamora."
Ramon Sender Barayon (rabar) Fri 2 Apr 04 21:43
Some of you might be interested in historian Helen Graham's lecture in March, 2003, to the veterans of the International Brigades in London. I'll give you a pointer to the edited version that run in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade's June 2003 'Volunteer,' and then a teaser: Download the issue as a .pdf file at: http://www.alba-valb.org/albavol.htm and turn to page 9 or else just read it online at: http://www.raysender/aarticle.html A brief quote: "In the title of this memoir, "A Death in Zamora," one death stands for the many. For the tens of thousands of people killed in the Francoist repression had one thing overwhelmingly in common with each other: they had benefited in some way from the redistribution of power under the Republic. (Local studies of the repression demonstrate quite clearly that those targeted the length and breadth of rebel Spain were precisely those constituencies on whom the Republic's reforming legislation had conferred social and political rights for the first time in their lives.) Conversely, the many who supported Spain's military rebels (whether we take this 'many' as individuals or as entire social constituencies) had in common a fear of where change was leading -- whether their fears were of material or psychological loss (wealth, professional status, established social and political hierarchies, religious or sexual (i.e gendered) certainties) or a mixture of these things."
My Pseud was sent to India (gerry) Fri 2 Apr 04 22:21
(Ramon slipped in while I was typing this) Ramon, speaking of your wife Judith's role as translator, I've been wanting to comment on the nature of the translated text. When I was reading the portions that were translated, I was felt that I was able to imagine how the original Spanish was written or uttered, and I perceived that Judith did a marvelous job of preserving a certain "Spanishness" (for want of a better word) in the text. I've noticed numerous instances of that. One that comes to mind off-hand at the moment was the use of the word "denounce," on page 235 in a quote of Palmira regarding Viloria: "But he was not the one to denounce her. He shot her, but the person responsible for her death was he who denounced her. If there had not been denouncers, there there would not have been assassins." In contemporary English the word seems more often used in the context of public criticism or condemnation. In Spanish, its usage is much more closely related to betrayal, to fingering someone, ratting someone out, etc., or: "Acusar ante la autoridad... Indicar, revelar..." (Pequeño Larousse) I might be guilty of fixating too much on the subtleties of words, but that's how my mind works. I'll be back later with more examples of little things that I noticed. Meanwhile, I was wondering, how has your book been received in academia? I would imagine it would be of a great academic value in a variety of subjects. Is it part of any curricula that you're aware of? Also, it seems to me that your book could serve as a foundation for a good film. Are there any screenplays in the works?
My Pseud was sent to India (gerry) Fri 2 Apr 04 22:26
(Ramon, the second URL in <35> doesn't seem to work.)
Peter Meuleners (pjm) Fri 2 Apr 04 22:54
<scribbled by pjm Fri 2 Apr 04 22:54>
Peter Meuleners (pjm) Fri 2 Apr 04 22:57
My Pseud was sent to India (gerry) Sat 3 Apr 04 08:10
That one works - Thanks, Peter. And that's a good article. It also suggests that the answer to my question about academia.
Ramon Sender Barayon (rabar) Sat 3 Apr 04 09:06
As I mentioned, we returned from Spain with about 60 hours of recorded interviews. I spent the next winter, Spanish dictionary in my lap, listening to the interviews and color-coding topics to the footage indicator on the cassette player. I then could go down the index and pull out all the 'oranges' as they occurred in various conversations, etc. By the end of that winter, my ability to translate Spanish had improved considerably. The hardest translations were those from my father's 'The Five Books of Ariadne.' I'm told his style is complex even for native-speakers. Judith continued to help me over the 'hard spots' on the tapes and with phone conversations. Regarding screenplays, there was an attempt at one in Spain, which came to naught. Others have expressed interest, and there's a writer in Brooklyn working on one at the moment. Many have mentioned its potential as a film. Thanks for your comments.
My Pseud was sent to India (gerry) Sat 3 Apr 04 09:20
Al contrario, thank you, Ramon. I'm sorry I hadn't noticed earlier that the book was first published in 1989. Was the first publication successful? Did it receive adequate exposure?
Ramon Sender Barayon (rabar) Sat 3 Apr 04 10:25
The first edition went out of print after two years, despite long reviews in the Times and other dailies. Distribution could've been better, in my opinion (but that's the perennial author's complaint). Exposure I thought was 'adequate.' I'm very happy that this edition is not in the hands of a commercial publisher, but in a Print On Demand format, which I personally believe is the future of publishing. It's an 'end run' around the crazy marketing hype of the old- time houses whose thinking tends to go, 'Hm, well, let's print 300,000, splatter the author's photo all over the subways, shoehorn them onto the celebrity talk shows and see what happens.' Madhatter puffery, in my opinion...
Peter Meuleners (pjm) Sat 3 Apr 04 18:16
Ramon, one of the advantages of the new edition is that you had the ability to place photos on pages adjoining their proper context. For me this brought a valuable visual life to the story. Please talk a little about the photo placement and also about the history of some of the photos, particularly the one of your mother and father on the street.
Ramon Sender Barayon (rabar) Sat 3 Apr 04 19:46
Yes, desktop publishing and laserprinters have improved our ability to match photos with text, thank goodness! The first edition merely bunched photos in groups, leaving the reader to sort things out by flipping pages back and forth. The photo you mention, which appears in the cover design as well as the frontispiece, was given to me by my Aunt Conchita in Madrid. Of course it is a gem, because it's the _only_ photo I have seen, or know of, of my father and mother together. It was taken by a sidewalk photographer in Madrid - a vocation that no longer exists but used to be quite popular. My father is wearing a full-length double-breasted black leather coat, matching gloves and a 'fedora' -- very much the successful young journalist. Amparo also is stylishly attired, with her hat set at a jaunty angle. She seems a little self-conscious, but pleased at being photographed. I think the photo caught them at a very happy time in their lives. I wonder if perhaps she's in an early trimester with my sister -- my aunt could not pin down the year for us -- but something about her outfit suggests she might be pregnant. Before we left for Spain I went to a hock shop and bought an Olympus OM-1, which I outfitted with close-up lenses, a tripod and one of those extension wires to click the shutter. With it I took many photos from family albums, as well as live shots in black and white. I'm not a 'pro' with a camera, but it served us well. Amparo's portrait on p. 271 was another precious gift, this time from Cousin Magdalena, Amparo's niece. It was creased from having been hidden in a drawer for some 48 years.
Peter Meuleners (pjm) Tue 6 Apr 04 09:48
Ramon, you have some strong spiritual beliefs. Are they in any way connected to the events of your childhood, specifically those surrounding your mother?
Tres de Café y Dos de Azúcar (gerry) Tue 6 Apr 04 19:21
What Peter asked. Ramon, I'm also wondering, given the time you spent talking with many different people in Spain, how do you perceive the political climate there now? Do people think of the strife between facists, republicans, and socialists as something long ago and far away? Or is the memory of it still fresh in Spain's collective memory? How likely or unlikely is it that a similar situation could resurface again in the future?
Ramon Sender Barayon (rabar) Thu 8 Apr 04 08:39
I'll take Gerry's question first, but I must disabuse anyone of the idea that I'm any sort of 'expert' on Spain's political climate today -- or anytime. However if you re-read my quotes from two experts in response #27, I think historian Paul Preston's comment is telling: "The left is very careful about raking over the ashes of the civil war." And there definitely are various groups uncomfortable with the current revival of "Republican Memory." Again from #27, Helen Graham: "because it [Republican Memory] is seen as resuscitating the ghost of a non-consensual era of politics/political culture." I think many of those who lived through the Civil War and ensuing Franco repression tend to be reluctant to get into issues that might reopen wounds. As Ms.Hardt pointed out in my quote in response #23, the younger generation tends to wonder why the 'amnesia'... If I may generalize, I think the generation 'gap' in Spain tends to be more intense than elsewhere in Europe. By the way, ever notice how little Spanish news makes it into the media here? Only since the Madrid bombings have we been reading dispatches from Spain.
from DAVE DIKE (tnf) Thu 8 Apr 04 08:46
Dave Dike writes: I may read "A Death in Zamora" at some point, but I have less than Christian views about Franco et al. My family was run out of San Sebastian for the sin of political incorrectness, although the goons did let some return to be buried in Madrid. I finally grasped Franco's monstrousness when I saw the cathedral that is his tomb. My father had told us that returning to Spain with Franco alive would mean certain death. Looking at the trees on the surrounding mountains, and having heard that each tree represented a prisoner who'd died in the excavation of Franco's mausoleum, I understood what he'd meant. By then, of course, Franco's ghost had pursued el Viejo to an early grave and it was too late to thank him for his insight. If I could piss on Franco's grave without getting shot, I would. -- embarcadero, el viejo
Uncle Jax (jax) Thu 8 Apr 04 08:54
This may be wandering a bit far afield from your book, Ramon, so feel free to shut down this line of speculation if it's not applicable ... It seems to me that Spain nearly ceased to progress sociopolitically from about the the time the Armada sank until Franco's death. It seems to have stalled some time in the 1500's due to success in brutal explotation of the New World. It appears to me historically that Spain's ability to fund the government with silver from Peru, etc., had the sort of time-warp affect on institutions that oil wealth has had on some middle eastern countries, keeping alive and stagnant social and political instutions long after they have outlived their usefulness. Perhaps this is a vast oversimplification.
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