There are books that mark a before and after in our lives as readers. It is no exaggeration to say that Réquiem por un campesino español, by Ramón J. Sender, is one of them. 🤔
Novels, short stories, plays, poetry… everything that is made from language serves to reinforce and accompany your learning of Spanish. 😄
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Have you read Réquiem por un campesino español and have you ever heard of Ramón J. Sender? 📖
Today we will talk about this awesome novel.
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Réquiem por un campesino español
Framed in the genre of the short novel, Réquiem por un campesino español was first published in Mexico, in 1953, under the title Mosén Millán.
Two stories interweave and interweave in a fast-reading tale in which the seeds of the Civil War are immediately apparent.
Mosén Millán, the parish priest of a small town in Aragón, expects people to attend the requiem mass for a peasant named Paco, who has been killed during the war.
On the other hand, Millán evokes the memory of Paco and the different stages of his life, as he himself was the one who baptised him in his childhood.
The narration suggests that Paco was a young man with a generous heart and noble intentions. He always helped Millán in church and was happy to be of service to others.
As time passed, however, Paco’s personality and interests underwent great changes. Politics and the establishment of social justice became his main priorities.
Other characters, such as Paco’s father, the altar boy, and some of the assistants, reveal the feeling of guilt that overwhelms them, as they are in some way indirectly responsible for the young man’s capture and murder.
Réquiem de un campesino español can be read as an allegory of a divided Spain, full of contradictions and injustices, and also as a strong criticism of power, capitalism and the Catholic Church. Undoubtedly, a book that will not leave you indifferent.
Ramón J. Sender
Ramón J. Sender was born in Chalamera, a municipality in the autonomous community of Aragón, in 1901.
His mother was a teacher and his father worked at the local town hall. His father’s strong personality and authoritarian character meant that Sender never had a good relationship with him.
At the age of 17 he travelled to Madrid in rather precarious conditions. In fact, he had to sleep on a bench in El Retiro Park for three months.
Very soon he began to write and publish his first stories and articles in various newspapers, such as La Tribuna, El País and España Nueva. For financial reasons he also began to work as a grocer in an apothecary’s shop.
However, his father forced him to return to the family home in Huesca. There he excelled in the management of a small newspaper called La tierra.
At the age of 21, he enlisted to fight in the Moroccan War, reaching the rank of second lieutenant. After his return to Spain, he joined the editorial staff of the newspaper El Sol, while he was a militant anarchist.
In 1927, his political activities led him to the Model Prison in Madrid. He published his first novel, Imán, in 1930.
In 1935 he won the National Literature Prize for Mister Witt en el cantón, which marked his consecration as a writer.
During the Civil War, his wife and brother were shot by the rebel side. Sender, for his part, fought for the Republican side. He then went to Barcelona, but due to the takeover of the city by the dictator Francisco Franco, he decided to go into exile. He lived in Mexico and the United States, and taught literature at several universities, notably the University of Southern California in San Diego.
His literary production is prolific and varied, as he dabbled in various literary genres. His works include El lugar de un hombre, La aventura equinoccial de Lope de Aguirre, La tesis de Nancy and Réquiem por un campesino español.
He died on 16 January 1982, in San Diego, USA, a few weeks short of his 81st birthday.
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Alejandro Coita Sánchez
Spanish Express Blogger