The most biting Ayala against Franco and nationalism | Culture
The intellectual journey of Francisco Ayala, who lived 103 years of a wit awake until shortly before his death, hardly left unexploded stops. His letters give an account of that analytical voracity. In addition to criticizing nationalism, it leaves a disdain for the general atmosphere in Spain. "I have found things different from what I thought, and certainly not better than the image that I painted of them", ahead of Gullón. "To summarize my impression in one word: depressing." To that crude opinion they happen it immediately, because in the writer they do not lack, the humor and the sarcasm: "As far as the perspectives ... we do not speak. The Republic of the Congo offers a model of what Franco is preparing for the very remote day when God wants to remember him. "
"And as for the prospects ... let's not talk. The Republic of the Congo offers a model of what Franco is preparing for the very remote day when God wants to remember him "(1960)
Many more letters sent by Ayala are preserved than those he received; It was his habit not to keep them. Appear as recipients Dámaso Alonso, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Pedro Salinas or the Argentine Eduardo Mallea, but, beyond the big names, the set of missives, which adds to the previous 600 already digitized, stands out because it is clear that the writer took very seriously to write them. "I gave them as much importance as other supports," emphasizes his widow, the emeritus professor of literature at the City University of New York. Carolyn Richmond "He was always very aware that a written letter could be read in the future, that it was not just a personal letter, but that the story was going to happen."
Criticism of Franco and the opposition
In his diatribes against the regime warns Ayala, yes, timid advances in liberties in the aftermath of the Franco regime. Occurs in 1967, when he revisits Spain and shares again with Gullón his impressions: "Freedom of expression works (conditioned freedom, of course) to an appreciable extent, but lower than what would have been expected." At the moment despair, because he sees no solid front to the dictatorship articulated: "The only real opposition seems to be that of the priests." On the other hand, it turns out that, with the new possibilities of expression, the monarchical group of which he is a spokesman Abc has started to act very energetically [...] reactionary opposition, to the right of the regime as it is today [...] cavemen who can no longer look to Rome since the Pope [Pablo VI] they have been made crypto-communist. "
The hopeless tone of some letters contrasts with his prediction of a democratic future that the author had picked up in his book Spain, to date, of 1965, which could not be sold in the country until after Franco died: "My friends [...] they reacted against the book in the sense of accusing me that I was too optimistic because I saw a path towards an opening of democratic character and at that time many [de ellos] they thought it was an excessive optimism ", assured, as early as 1976.
It does not exempt from responsibility those who, he points out, would have to raise a democratic outcome -and understand yourself republican- to the dictatorship arising from the Civil War: "The absurdity of the case is that our liberal friends, anti-Franco, ex-republicans and even ex-exiles [sic] they are playing the game to that group [de monárquicos] in the vain hope that the monarchy will take the cat to the water, the very deluded. They think that the implantation of this regime is ineluctable (and it will be, if alternatives are not created, when God calls the Caudillo to his bosom), [...] what happens is that people have completely de-trained, and live within the approaches offered by the regime, without the least initiative of their own ".
That self-satisfied Spain of Franco is also reflected in the health of the literature of the time. The ausculta and the diagnosis without embozo Ayala: "I observe the inability in which they are [escritores españoles] to reflect everything that has no immediate relationship with our peninsula villager. "
If he ever had it, Ayala, a polymathic intellectual, has shaken the hair of the pasture well during his years in Berlin, in Prague, in Buenos Aires, in New York. Also in Puerto Rico, one of his destinies in exile ("Dear Damaso: Since the world is small today, I am writing you now from Puerto Rico", he affirms when he takes up contact with the writer from Madrid). There he revolts against the villainism of an island that is torn between independence and integration in the United States. "The adoption of the nationalist attitude in a community as small as this one has to lead immediately to the grotesque", he says in 1955 to the governor of the island, Luis Muñoz Marín. The writer denies the patriotic exaltation that the university lives and what he calls his "ideological arsenal": "Characterizing it is easy: it is about the commonplaces of nationalism, so groped and worn everywhere, overvaluing everything that is better or worse, be a product of the earth, intransigent idealization of the past, of the typical, xenophobia, etc., etc. "
"Our liberal friends, anti-Francoists, ex-republicans and even ex-exiles [...] think that the implementation of this regime [la monarquía] It is ineluctable. [...] People have completely de-trained, and live within the approaches offered by the regime, without the least initiative of their own "(1967)
From Puerto Rico he complains about some patriotic soflamas that he also accused in Spain. "Perhaps I am exaggerating in this, but I confess that national pride seems to me one of the most detestable passions, and in my native country we had to suffer so much that many people nauseated us until we heard the name of the Catholic Monarchs."
There are many letters left to spread
Among those that are now added to the digital correspondence is the oldest preserved: in 1924, an Ayala of only 18 years shows his admiration for the theatrical author and zarzuelas Guillermo Fernández-Shaw. In addition to the candor of a young man who aspires to publish someday (and it was precisely Fernández-Shaw who helped him a year later in his first novel, Tragicomedy of a man without spirit), The letter is peculiar because it is one of the few written in his own handwriting, instead of the usual typewriter.
The work of compiling the scattered correspondence has been supervised by the director of the Francisco Ayala Foundation, Manuel Gómez Ros, who states that the almost one thousand digitized letters constitute only a minimum part of the huge production; its precise volume, nobody knows. "Surely the preserved is not even a tenth of the total," he calculates.
So far, the foundation has only published the correspondences that begin before the death of Franco, but already has others that, says Gómez Ros, will be disseminated later. However, among them there will be none of the most personal letters that Ayala sent to his relatives, as his wife Carolyn, who wants to preserve a desire of the writer. Of him and his epistolary zeal he remembers two maxims: "Correspondence is a literary genre, and he also always said that the true reality is literature".
An acid humor and castizo
The historian of literature and professor emeritus of the University of Zaragoza José-Carlos Mainer he sees in the correspondence an extension of the essayist Ayala: "He is a great writer of letters, short and direct because almost always he is inspired by a remark, an opinion or a reply, rather than sentimental confidence. , deep down, he liked it so much, and his sense of humor was sometimes something authentic, sometimes more vitriolic, which was also his in his newspaper essays or in his humorous stories ".