inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #26 of 64: 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."
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #27 of 64: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #28 of 64: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #29 of 64: 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
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #30 of 64: 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? 
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #31 of 64: 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_?
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #32 of 64: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #33 of 64: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #34 of 64: 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."
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #35 of 64: 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."
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #36 of 64: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #37 of 64: My Pseud was sent to India (gerry) Fri 2 Apr 04 22:26
    
  (Ramon, the second URL in <35> doesn't seem to work.)
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #38 of 64: Peter Meuleners (pjm) Fri 2 Apr 04 22:54
    <scribbled by pjm Fri 2 Apr 04 22:54>
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #39 of 64: Peter Meuleners (pjm) Fri 2 Apr 04 22:57
    
http://www.raysender.com/aarticle.html
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #40 of 64: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #41 of 64: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #42 of 64: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #43 of 64: 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...
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #44 of 64: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #45 of 64: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #46 of 64: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #47 of 64: 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?  
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #48 of 64: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #49 of 64: 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
  
inkwell.vue.210 : Ramon Sender, "A Death in Zamora"
permalink #50 of 64: 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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