The cremation of the remains of Michel Ralle, a professor at the University of Paris-IV, took place in the early afternoon of December 31. The event invites us to address a broader evocation, that of the circle of prominent Hispanists of his generation who made major contributions to the political and cultural history of Spain. Preceded by a series of great masters, such as Pierre Vilar, Fernand Braudel or Marcel Bataillon, with bridge figures such as Noël Salomon and advanced of exceptional quality that will achieve longevity, cases of Joseph Pérez and the recently deceased Bartolomé Bennassar, are researchers born around to 1940 and whose training in Hispanic studies was consolidated in the sixties. This temporal ascription marks its ideological and cultural coordinates. They are usually men of the left, with a nucleus around French communism that will be diluted, and a methodology strongly inspired by their predecessors, which implies an in-depth revision of historical materialism.
This means that both in their working hypotheses and in the development of them, the old maxim that "the social being determines the conscience" is taken into account, but in the sense of framing it and giving meaning to the link with some expressions in the world of ideas and representations that require an explanation of their own.
One might speak of a generational constellation, with prominent stars that mark their own trajectories (Bernard Vincent) or derive towards the periphery (Jean-François Botrel, and a hard core with Carlos Serrano, Serge Saläun, Jacques Maurice, older, and the own Michel Ralle The studies in language and history of Spain, the passage as researchers by the House of Velázquez in Madrid, and a parallel academic career, lead them to coincide in multiple meetings at conferences on the history of Spain since the seventies, among them the one organized in Pau by Tuñón de Lara.
This convergence is reflected in the co-participation in collective works, sometimes the result of the aforementioned congresses, and also in collaborative texts. So Jacques Maurice and Carlos Serrano write a book about the populist response of Joaquín Costa to the Restoration, and another full of optimism about Spain in 2000. Serrano and Salaün face sadr landscapes: the Spain of 1900 and the 1920s, "the crazy years "(here translated as" the happy 20 ").
The common feature of the investigations, from the thematic diversity, was always the meeting of the rigor in the documentation with interpretations that break the established visions, from the analysis of the discourse, be it political or literary. Cases of Serrano's monographs about 98, Maurice's regional studies on anarchism or the dissection carried out by Salaün between the cultured and popular components in the poetry of the civil war. Within the framework of a very broad bibliography.
Michel Ralle is in that line to address the link between the anarchist flash of the First International in Spain, defining moment, and the formation of the PSOE. The simple recovery of the socialist chronicle was already essential, given that the mere fact of writing about Pablo Iglesias took you to the Court of Public Order, and such was the merit of Luis Gómez Llorente. Ralle's initiative, based on a thorough discourse analysis, allowed us to go further, explaining how the ideological limits of our "internationals", anchored in a Proudhonist republican mentality, gravitated on the genesis of the PSOE, against the backdrop of backwardness in an agrarian and industrialized country.