Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

By the end of 1981, first editions of Ramón José Sender’s books, exclusive of an anthology of selections from his works, numbered ninety-six. At the time of his death early in 1982, Destino, the Barcelona publishing house, had scheduled for publication two new novels by Sender; an additional manuscript of a novel, appropriately titled “Toque de Queda” (“Taps”), was found among his papers, ready for publication.

Depending on one’s criteria for the determination of literary genre (in Sender’s case, a task made all but impossible by the author’s disdain for such classifications and his deliberate attempts, at times, to blur traditional genre distinctions), Sender’s total production of ninety-nine books (including the three unpublished novels) could be described as including sixty-four novels or novellas, seven collections of short stories, five works of drama, two volumes of poetry, and twenty-one books of essays, personal narratives, and journalistic articles. Almost all of this last category consists of material published earlier in newspaper articles or in Sender’s literary column, “Los libros y los días” (books and days), which was syndicated in Spanish-language newspapers throughout Latin America from early in the 1950’s until the author’s death. More than eight hundred articles appeared in “Los libros y los días.”


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Ramón José Sender surely ranks as one of the greatest Spanish novelists of the twentieth century. Marcelino Peñuelas, the Spanish critic, places him “at the head of the Spanish novelists of our time” and adds, in case there is any doubt, that he means by this to exalt Sender above Pío Baroja, generally held to be the preeminent Spanish novelist of the twentieth century. Few, if any, Spanish writers of all history, except for Miguel de Cervantes and Benito Pérez Galdós, have had their novels so widely translated as has Sender.

Sender’s first novel, Pro Patria, was translated into ten major languages; by 1970, his novels had appeared in more than eighty foreign translations, according to Peñuelas. Thirteen of his novels have appeared in English, all in both British and American editions. In January, 1936, his first historical novel, Mr. Witt Among the Rebels, was awarded the National Prize for Literature, at that time regarded as Spain’s highest literary award. In 1966, the first three-volume edition of his monumental autobiographical novel, Crónica del alba (chronicle of dawn), received the City of Barcelona Prize. In 1969, Sender won the lucrative Planeta Prize from the Planeta publishing house for his rather mediocre novel En la vida de Ignacio Morel (in the life of Ignacio Morel).


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Devlin, John. Spanish Anticlericalism: A Study in Modern Alienation. New York: Las Americas, 1966. Sender is included in this study of anticlerical Spanish literature from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Includes a bibliography.

Eoff, Sherman Hinkle. “Ramón J. Sender: The Sphere (1949) and El lugar del hombre (1939).” In The Modern Spanish Novel: Comparative Essays Examining the Philosophical Impact of Science on Fiction. New York: New York University Press, 1961. An analysis of two of Sender’s novels, The Sphere and A Man’s Place, is included in this study of Spanish literature.

Hart, Stephen M. Sender:“Réquiem por un campesino español.” Reprint. 1990. London: Grant & Cutler, 1996. A brief guide to Requiem for a Spanish Peasant designed to introduce the novel to graduate and undergraduate students. Includes a revised bibliography.

King, Charles L. Ramón J. Sender. New York: Twayne, 1974. An introductory overview to Sender’s life, with analysis of his writings. One of the volumes in the Twayne World Authors series. Includes a bibliography.

Lough, Francis. Politics and Philosophy in the Early Novels of Ramón J. Sender, 1930-1936: The Impossible Revolution. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1996. An analysis of novels published in the early to mid-1930’s, in which Sender expressed his concern with the historical background of Spain’s social and political problems and with the morality of the anarchists, communists, and other revolutionaries.

Perriam, Chris, et al., eds. A New History of Spanish Writing, 1939 to the 1990’s. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. This history of almost sixty years of Spanish writing includes a chapter, “Representing Ordinary Histories: Ramón José Sender and Ignacio Aldecoa,” in which Sender’s work is discussed.

Trippett, Anthony M. Adjusting to Reality: Philosophical and Psychological Ideas in the Post-Civil War Novels of Ramon J. Sender. London: Tamesis Books, 1986. Trippett’s analysis of Sender’s work focuses on three novels: The Affable Hangman, Emen hetan, and Crónica del alba. Includes a bibliography.