Title: Conference by Camilo José Cela in the Circle Cervantes of Nice, II
Duration: 33 min., 32 seg.
Sound collection: Radio Paris. Ramírez/del Campo
Summaries: Conferencia de Camilo José Cela sobre los escritores de la "generación del 98"
The recording is a lecture by Camilo José Cela Trulock, during a tribute devoted to him in the Círculo Cervantes of Nice in 1962. The conference dealt with the main trends and major authors of the Spanish "Generation of the 98" (see the other part of the recording). In fact, it was a summary of his book 'Cuatro figuras del 98: Unamuno, Valle Inclán, Baroja, Azorín y otros retratos y ensayos españoles' -composed by a small number of articles and essays-, that had been published a few months earlier by the Barcelona publishing company Aedos. A work that reflects with no doubt a general trend among most of the Spanish intellectuals since the late fifties (and that would strenghthen in the sixties), to recover the history and memory of the Spanish nineteenth century, claiming as well the legacy of the great nineteenth-century intellectual and political figures in every sense, against the obscurity, manipulation and appropriation of them that the dictatorship had made.
As a writer, he had a tremendous value and was hugely prolific (either as a novelist, journalist, essayist, literary magazine editor, lecturer, etc.). He was Academician of the Royal Spanish Academy and awarded, among others, the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1989 (according to the Swedish Academy itself, "(...) the richness and intensity of his prose, that with restrained compassion embodies a provocative vision of the distress of every human being "), the Cervantes Prize in 1995 and the Prince of Asturias Prize of Literature in 1987. For his literary merits, in 1996 he was awarded the Marquis of Iria Flavia.
However, at the political level, the figure of Camilo José Cela has been -and indeed still is- very contentious and controversial, especially regarding his activities during the dictatorship. On one hand he had evident clashes of ideas with the censorship (the best known were because of his works 'La familia de Pascual Duarte' and 'La Colmena'), but on the other hand he acted as a censor himself during the years of most fascism of the regime.
He was in charge of significant editorial projects such as the literary journal 'Papeles de Son Armadans' and the editorial 'Alfaguara' (cultural platforms very open-minded and close to the dissidence), but he also was as a confidant of the Ministry of Information and Tourism, at least during the sixties, as demonstrated by the discovery (among other things) of the famous report "Data about the writers' meeting at Hotel Sweden, October 1963", where Cela offered the names of the dissident intellectuals who took part in the "Letter of the 102", a manifesto for the rights of the miners in Asturias afther the events occurred in the spring of 1962. Cela did not only report various political affiliations, he also suggested possible strategies to politically neutralize them and make them collaborate with the dictatorship (Pere Ysas, 'Disidencia y subversión', pp 50-53).
University of Alicante. University Library. Fonoteca