Book reviews, Listings, Multiculture

‘The Spanish exiles in Great Britain’

Being presented is an opportunity to see an example of the XX Century Spanish tragedy, from the Civil War (1936-39) to the beginning of the Franco dictatorship. Writer Arturo Barea (1897-1957) was author of ‘The rebel’s forge’, a trilogy that deals with Spain from the start of the XX Century up to the beginning of the conflict in a tone of literary genre that deals with local customs.

The Spanish writer Arturo Barea
The Spanish writer Arturo Barea

The life of the Spanish writer will be the central theme of a conference that will be held in the Cervantes Institute in London next 19th of January. The conference will be the first of a series called “The Spanish exiles in Great Britain”, a number of presentations that look back over the footsteps of Spanish and Latin American culture in the United Kingdom. It will be chaired by Paul Preston, professor of Spanish Contemporary History, and writer and journalist William Chislett as well as translator and writer Michael Eaude will both be participating in the first of the conferences.

Arturo Barea, born in Extremadura, worked as a radio presenter in Spain during the Civil War and died in England after living for 18 years in exile from 1939 onwards. He also worked as a presenter for the Latin American Service for the BBC under the pseudonym “Juan de Castilla”, from where he carried out over 800 shows.

As a writer he left a legacy of articles and stories, though his most famous work is that which he wrote between 1940 and 1945 during his stay in London, the autobiographical trilogy entitled ‘The rebel’s forge’. The first book of the trilogy, The Track, recounts his infancy and adolescence in Madrid as the son of a washerwoman and his attempt at supporting himself as an unpaid trainee in a bank.

The second book, The Track, relates his military experience in Morocco, during the war against the Rif independence supporters, in which Francisco Franco participated, and from which he experienced some of the anecdotes expressed in this volume. Lastly, The Clash relates his experiences during the Civil War.

Furthermore, since last 7th of January, the Cervantes Institute in London has been broadcasting the television series produced by Spanish Television Radio in 1990 based on the autobiographical trilogy of Arturo Barea. Last 7th of January the first episode was broadcast and on the 14th, 21st and 24th the next five will be as well to complete the series. It is broadcast in Spanish with subtitles in English.

Information: 19th of January. 18.30 p.m. Instituto Cervantes en Londres. 102 Eaton Square. SW1W 9AN.

(Translated by Piers Jarvis –

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