Social Scientist. v 19, no. 223 (Dec 1991) p. 48.


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48 SOCIAL SCIENTIST

torious in the elections. However, the army sprang into action to undo the popular verdict which was stoutly resisted by the working masses and a civil war broke out. This soon took the form of a fierce class struggle between reactionary land-owners and revolutionary workers and peasants. Perhaps no-one remained neutral in the Spain of those days; many changed sides midway due to transformations in their perception and commitment. Naturally in such circumstances writers, painters, artists and filmmakers could not have remained silent spectators. As was expected they played an important role during and after the Civil War.

The present study of six Spanish novels of the post-war period should also be seen in this background. Jo Labanyi, while selecting the texts seems to have taken into account the diverse affinities of the novelists studied here even though in the introduction he has sought to justify the selection on the basis of the availability of English translations of the novels.

The author has devoted one chapter each to thefollowing novels:

Tiempo de Silencio (1961) by Luis Martin Santos, Volveras a Region (1967) by Juan Benet, Si te dicen (fue cai (1973) by Juan Marse. These chapters present a detailed analysis of the texts as also demonstrate the existence of fiction as mask, echos and corruption. The other three novels—San Camilo 1936 (1969) by C.J. Cela, Reinvindicacion Del Conde Don Julian (1970) by Juan Goytisolo and La Saga/Fuga de 7-B. (1972) by Torrente Ballester are clubbed together in the last chapter as the use of myth by these writers is different and the texts provide 'release from history1.

Labanyi initiates his discourse on myth in Spanish novels by providing, in Chapter I, a brief but comprehensive survey of the evolution of western theories on myth. He does not go into the question as to what myth signified in pre-lit^rate societies. This has naturally led to ignoring the fact that myths were born as narratives in early stages of history wherein fantastic images (myth) created in those times were attempts to capture and explain different phenomena of nature and society. Labanyi begins his discourse from the Renaissance which saw the revival of classical mythology: by alluding to myth contemporary writers got situated in the universal tradition, which in turn amounted to sanctioning the imposition of European culture the world over. It has been correctly argued in the study that the notion of the universality of myths combined with the time expansionism of the Renaissance was used to legitimise the theories of empire resulting in cultural imperialism.

In the romantic period, when myth was transformed into an appeal to the roots or return to the origin, it greatly hampered the process of crystallisation of future historical writings. The development of nineteenth-century historiography has been discussed here in the light of the debate around the difference between the historicist view that



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