Literary censorship in Franco's Spain

Literary censorship in Franco's Spain
Censorship was an essential practice during the Franco era in Spain. Different cultural expressions were censored under Franco’s dictatorship which has been a part of Spain’s collective memory ever since. Your favourite movies, books, songs and even newspapers might not have been the same if you were living in Spain during this era.
Video Duration: 
Asmae Maataoui
Monday, June 3, 2024

Nowadays, Spanish tv-shows, movies and books are known worldwide. Has anyone heard of “la casa de papel”? Would this tv-show be the same if every offensive topic would be censored? Not even a little.  

Hi! I’m Asmae and I wrote my master’s thesis on literary censorship during the  Franco era in Spain. 

Imagine living in Spain in 1939. The Spanish civil war has just ended and left the country in pieces. General Francisco Franco takes control and leads the Franco regime for 36 years. His dictatorship was marked by nationalism, authoritarianism, and repression. Political freedom and civil rights were severely restricted, and censorship was a key tool to maintain control.  

Censorship was applied to different cultural expressions. So, your favourite movies, books, and even newspapers might not have been the same if you were living in Spain during this era. Topics such as politics, critique against the Church and more were often seen as problematic and forbidden. Above all, the Spanish culture was the only correct one. Any foreignness, like foreign languages, was a big issue. 

Everything had to pass through the regime's strict censors. Let’s say that a movie discussed one of the problematic topics. Then, it was altered before it was accepted or even entirely banned. Even music wasn’t safe. Folk songs that celebrated regional identities such as Basque or Catalan tunes were banned as well.  

It was only after Franco's death and the transition to democracy that Spain began to recover from this cultural damage. However, the memory of censorship during the Franco era remains a significant part of Spain's collective memory. It will always be a reminder of the repression. 



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