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RÉQUIEM POR UN CAMPESINO ESPAÑOL, de Ramón J. Sender

Réquiem por un campesino español es una de las obras cumbre sobre la guerra civil española. En ella se recoge un dramático episodio ocurrido en un pueblecito aragonés. El protagonista, Mosén Millán, se dispone a ofrecer una misa por el alma de un joven, Paco el del Molino, a quien había querido como a un hijo. Mientras aguarda a los asistentes, el cura recuerda el día en que lo bautizó, cuando hizo la primera comunión, cuando se prometió con la que sería su mujer…y reconstruye los hechos: el fracaso de su mediación, con la que creyó poder salvarlo, pero que no sirvió sino para entregarlo a sus ejecutores.
La estructura lineal de la novela se ve enriquecida por tres líneas narrativas: la propia vida del héroe de la novela, los momentos de espera en los cuales los que llegan se empecinan en pagar la ceremonia y las coplas que canta el monaguillo y que muestran, mediante el saber popular, la tragedia del chico del pueblo.
El relato es de una sencillez estremecedora y sobrecoge por su realismo, por la eficacia de sus símbolos y por el profundo conocimiento de los mecanismos de la conciencia, que se nos presenta a través de la evocación del sacerdote. De esta forma, el autor nos demuestra que la sencillez es la mejor arma para contar lo más complejo de los comportamientos humanos.
En definitiva, una tragedia clásica con un mensaje infinito y universal y una joya de la literatura española que se os quedará grabada en la memoria para siempre.
Ramón J. Sender es uno de los más importantes narradores en lengua castellana. En 1935 le fue otorgado el Premio Nacional de Literatura por Mr. Witt en el Cantón. Al finalizar la guerra civil española se exilió y desde 1948 residió en Estados Unidos, donde ejerció como profesor de literatura en diversas universidades. Entre sus obras hay que mencionar especialmente a la divertida novela La tesis de Nancy y la trilogía Crónica del alba, que cuenta con una magnífica versión cinematográfica. Por último, me gustaría añadir que el protagonista de la película española ganadora de un Oscar Volver a empezar (de J. Luis Garci) está inspirado en la figura de este autor.

The pioneer of Spanish feminism: Concepción Arenal

The pioneer of Spanish feminism: Concepción Arenal

By Isidoro Laso

It’s well known that Spanish people often forget their most relevant figures in favour of foreign ones. As we have written in the previous entry, Mary Wollstonecraft stands out for being a deep thinker about feministic ideas. But we have an activist we can’t ever forget: Concepción Arenal. This is the first woman we can say that worked (in a modern feminism context) to get better social conditions for women and writes a lot about this important matter (and not only for women, also for poor and imprisoned people and children).

ºArenal was born in Ferrol, Galicia, in 1820 and died in 1893. She was one of the first women who was able to attend A University in Spain. Her father stood out for his opposition to the regime of Ferdinand VII, probably the worst king that Spain has ever had.

When she started attending University she was forced to wear masculine attire. She married and had three children. In 1859 she founded a feminist group called Conference of Saint Vincent of Paul, whose mission was to help poor people. In 1861 the Academy of Moral Sciences and Politics awarded her a prize for one of her works, titled Beneficence, philanthropy and Charity. It was the first time the Academy gave a prize for a woman. Some of her works are devoted to this matter, as Letters to delinquents (1865) or Convicts, the people and the executioner (1867). She always manifested against the death penalty.

She was named Inspector of Women’s Correctional Houses in 1871. Her achievements were outstanding in a largely traditional Spain, focusing always on those marginalised in society.

Her feminism and philanthropic activity can be considered grounded in really Spanish roots, due to the fact that she was always inspired by catholic principles of charity. In spite of these inspirations she was always considered as an heterodox by traditionalist catholic people.

Her works has made her as the founder of the feminism movement in Spain, aside her intense commitment activity in improving the bad conditions of women and helpless people in general. These are some examples: The Woman of the Future, The Education of Women, The current State of Women in Spain, The work of Women, The Women of the House and Domestic Service.

Spanish suffragism: Clara Campoamor

Spanish suffragism: Clara Campoamor.

By Isidoro Laso

Born in Madrid in 1888, this outstanding woman posses the honor to have been the key in order to get the women vote right in the II Republic.

Her value is even higher if we take into that she had a story full of overcoming many obstacles and played a crucial role in drafting of the Spanish Constitution of 1931.

But she had to start working at age 13, as a seamstress, so she wasn’t able to study then. The reason was due to her father’s death. Despite this circumstance, she tried to keep studying and, when she was 32, she started High School studies. She worked as French translator, as a typist for the government and other jobs related to Public Service until 1924. This year she got her degree in Law in the University of Madrid, at 36 years old, and she began working as advocate in the court. She immediately showed great performance in her job, proving a huge talent and intelligence.

She got improvements to the child labour laws in 1927. In 1931 she stood for a seat in the Constituent Assembly that would write a new Constitution for the new republic. Besides this, she became a co-founder of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, founded in 1928 in Paris.

She followed a guideline in their argumentation facing the opposition of many of her male parliamentarians colleges refusing women the right of voting: “Exclusion of women from voting is a violation of natural law”, she said, in the sense that it was not possible to justify that only men could pass laws without women while women had to accept passively the consequences of this “masculine shape” laws in their lives. Clara Campoamor was convinced that only the women vote would be able to give an effective empowering to women, finishing with paternalism or merely the negligence of men.
In the end, Spanish women could firs vote in 1933. In 1934 She was appointed Director of Public Welfare.

But she had to flee the country and settled in Laussane due to the Civil War in 1936. He wasn’t able to return to Spain after the war and died in 1972 in exile. Her ashes were repatriated and now are buried in San Sebastián.

TITEUF

Ce sont des bandes dessinées créées par le dessinateur suisse Philippe Chappuis plus connu comme Zep.

Elles racontent l’histoire d’un jeune garçon nommé Titeuf et de la vision qu’il a des attitudes et institutions des adultes. Un peu de critique sous les yeux d’un enfant presque adolescent.

Plus tard, la série est adaptée en série d’animation d’un total de 250 épisodes, puis en film intitulé Titeuf, le film le 6 avril 2011.

En Espagne vous la trouverez sur Boing.

Je vous conseille vivement sa lecture, elle rappelle parfois aux histories de Mafalda de Quino.
* Curiosité:

Est-ce que vous savez quelle est l’origine du nom du protagoniste?
Cela fait réference à sa tête et sa touffe blonde ( cheveux ) : petit oeuf ( huevo pequeño )

 

LE PETIT NICOLAS

Le Petit Nicolas est une œuvre de littérature pour la jeunesse écrite de 1955 à 1965 par René Goscinny. On peut trouver de courts récits dans lesquels se mêlent l’humour et la tendresse de l’enfance.
Les aventures du Petit Nicolas mettent en scène un petit garçon dans un environnement urbain pendant les années 1960. Le personnage y livre ses pensées intimes grâce à un langage enfantin créé par Goscinny et les thèmes sont, avant tout, ceux de l’enfance (la camaraderie, les disputes, les rapports avec la maîtresse d’école, les premières amourettes,…) mais l’auteur parle également du monde complexe des adultes : l’éducation, les disputes familiales, les rapports entre voisins, la rélation du père avec son patron, etc.
Ces récits entrecoupés d’illustrations ne comptent que quelques pages et sont généralement indépendants les uns des autres, bien que parfois Nicolas cite une anecdote d’une histoire précédente. L’ensemble de l’œuvre peut être lue sans ordre particulier.
Le style enfantin de la narration fait curieuse et passionante sa lecture.

En 2009 est sorti Le petit Nicolas, un film de Laurent Tirard qui rassemble plusieurs éléments de différentes histoires. Un deuxième film, Les Vacances du petit Nicolas, est sorti en juillet 2014.
Une série télévisée d’animation, Le Petit Nicolas, est diffusée à partir de septembre 2009 sur M6.

LOS ESCARABAJOS VUELAN AL ATARDECER, de María Gripe

 

Los jóvenes Annika, David y Jonás aceptan el encargo de cuidar, durante el verano, las flores de una casa deshabitada, la Quinta Selanderschen. Pronto descubren que allí ocurre algo extraño. Empiezan a investigar sobre aquella casa y se dan cuenta de la existencia de una planta especial, la Selandria egypcia, cuyas hojas se orientan hacia las escaleras de la casa en lugar de hacia la luz, por lo que deciden subir al desván. Allí encuentran un paquete de cartas escritas por Andreas y su hermana Magdalena en el siglo XVIII, e iban dirigidas a Emilie. Hablan de las ideas de Andreas, de sus relaciones amorosas con Emilie y del trágico fin de los dos, debido al maleficio de una estatua funeraria que Andreas había traído de Egipto y sobre la que pesaba una maldición. Los jóvenes inician juntos una búsqueda en la que recibirán pistas de origen misterioso, se verán envueltos en aventuras insólitas y harán descubrimientos desconcertantes.

Los escarabajos vuelan al atardecer  es una novela que atrapa al lector desde el primer momento. Sin duda, vale la pena lanzarse a leer este libro que gusta de principio a fin. Más de cuarenta ediciones en lengua castellana son la prueba de que una buena novela juvenil no pasa de moda.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Today, let me introduce you to one of the greatest American authors ever: Mark Twain. Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name  Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist.

He wrote some famous novels such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, and the novel I have chosen for you in this entry: “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”which is considered ” The Great American Novel”.

One of its main features is that was  written in vernacular English and its pages are full of local words and expressions. It is told in first person by the main character, “Huck” Finn,  a brave and poor boy who lost his mother and is brought up by his drunk and violent father.

The novel is popular for its descriptions of people and places along the Mississippi River as well as for being a satire of several attitudes, particularly racism.

At the beginning of the story, Huck explains how he is placed under the guardianship of the Widow Douglas, who is attempting to “sivilize” him and teach him religion.  Huck finds civilized life confining and everything changes when he meets the runaway slave called Jim.

The rest of the novel is a succession of unforgettable adventures that you should read if you want to spend a good time. I am sure you will become a great admirer of Huckleberry Finn´s wisdom and bravery.

adventure

 

American Gods

I know many of you like reading fantasy novels, so I would like to recommend you a novel titled “American Gods” written in 2001 by Neil Gaiman. Perhaps you have ever heard about this author because he has written other popular works such as “Stardust” and “The Sandman”.

“American Gods” won some prestigious fantasy  novel awards like Hugo and Nebula. The novel is a blend of fantasy and ancient and modern mythology. Apart from the main character, the mysterious and taciturn Shadow, there are other characters who personify ancient Gods such as Odin or Horus as well as “modern” Gods like TV, Internet, etc.

The central premise of the novel is that Gods and mythological creatures exist because people believe in them. The immigrants who arrived to the United States brought with them those spirits and Gods. However, the power of these divine beings has diminished as people’s beliefs are vanishing. New Gods have arisen, reflecting America’s obsessions with media, celebrity, technology, and drugs, among others. A war between both sides, Ancient and New Gods, is about to begin. Who will win and prevail?

At the beginning of every chapter, the author includes some short stories, independent from the main plot, about different topics:  the first Viking explorers to come to America, slaves from Africa who populate the Caribbean Islands and America with their tribal gods and so forth.

Don´t you think it sounds interesting? Read it and tell me your opinion! The Gods will reward you for sure!

American-Gods

WORLD BOOK DAY

World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book) is a yearly event on 23 April, organised by the UNESCO, to promote reading, publishing and copyright, In the United Kingdom, the day is recognised on the first Thrusday of March. World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on 23 April 1995.

The connection between 23 April and books was first made in 1923 by booksellers in Catalonia as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes, who dided on this date. In 1995 UNESCO decided that the  World Book and Copywright Day would be celebrated on 23 April, as the date is also the anniversary of the death of William Shakesperar and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega as well as that of the birth or death of several other prominent authores.

Source: Wikipedia

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UN HOMME IDÉAL

Ce thriller de Yann Gozlan vient de sortir en France le 18 mars. Film très réussi tant pour son thème que le rôle de Pierre Niney, son acteur principal: Il est le plus jeune comédien français ( 26 ans ) à avoir reçu le César du meilleur acteur 2014 pour le film Yves Saint-Laurent

Mathieu est un jeune écrivain de vingt-cinq ans qui aspire depuis toujours à devenir un auteur reconnu. Un rêve qui lui semble inaccessible car malgré tous ses efforts, il n’a jamais réussi à être édité. En attendant, il gagne sa vie en travaillant chez son oncle qui dirige une société de déménagement… Son destin bascule le jour où il tombe par hasard sur le manuscrit d’un vieil homme solitaire qui vient de décéder. Mathieu hésite avant finalement de s’en emparer, et de signer le texte de son nom… Devenu le nouvel espoir le plus en vue de la littérature française, et alors que l’attente autour de son second roman devient chaque jour plus pressante, Mathieu va plonger dans une spirale mensongère et criminelle pour préserver à tout prix son secret…

Cette histoire est une reprise du film américain de 2012 “The Words”, un Bradley Cooper à la française, et il rend hommage aux films du maïtre du suspense Alfred Hitchcock.
Je vous recommends vivement de plonger dans cette histoire inquiètante et y réfléchir.