5 Pages

• Barry Jordan, Writing and Politics in Franco’s Spain (London and New York: Routledge, 1990), 213 pp., £30.00


In another text, also published in 1990: British Hispanism and the Challenge of Literary Theory,1 Jordan appears to be attempting within the British Spanish/Hispanic2 field of study the deconstructive blow dealt at the academic discipline of English by Peter Widdowson et al. in the 1980s.3 It is surprising, therefore, to find him adopting a conventional methodology in his analysis of the ‘novela social’, announced on the dustcover blurb of Writing and Politics in Franco’s Spain as ‘a major reassessment of an important literary movement’. Indeed, in spite of a sprinkling of Barthes, Said and Ingarden, essentially of little consequence within the whole, the reader is left with a sense of minor reshuffle, i.e. the reproduction of the critics’ views plus a contribution or so of Jordan’s own, the most memorable being the comments on women in Aldecoa’s El fulgor y la sangre (pp. 144-5) and Fernández Santos’s Los bravos (pp. 155-6), together with those on Lucio’s ‘urination’ in Sánchez Ferlosio’s El Jarama-but is almost a page (pp. 169-70) on pee warranted? Jordan himself goes on to label it a trivial event. I take the initial, laboured point concerning process as opposed to progress but overall one is largely left reflecting: ‘Plus ça change, plus ça c’est la même chose.’