Spanish Laughter: Humor and Its Sense in Modern Spain 9781800735002

Presenting a cultural and interdisciplinary study of humor in Spain from the eighteenth century to the present day, this

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Spanish Laughter: Humor and Its Sense in Modern Spain

Table of contents :
Chapter 1 When Spaniards Defied Gravity Humour, Seriousness and Identity in Eighteenth-Century Spain
Chapter 2 Disciplinary Humour in the Public Sphere The Rhetoric of Gender Satire in José Clavijo y Fajardo’s El pensador
Chapter 3 La vieja y la niña Women’s Humour in the Comedies of María Rosa Gálvez
Chapter 4 When Women Are on Top Humour, Politics and Pornography in Goya’s Swings
Chapter 5 The Terrible and the Ridiculous in Goya’s Los Caprichos
Chapter 6 Satire and Humour in Anti-Liberal Public Opinion in Cadiz during the Cortes (1811–13)
Chapter 7 Humour, Gender and Nationalism Female Quixotism and Heroine-ism in Early Nineteenth-Century Spain and Mexico
Chapter 8 Humour in the Political Analysis of Absolutism in Mariano José de Larra’s Articles (1828–33)
Chapter 9 ‘Long Live the Joke’ Political Satire and Humour through the Valencian Newspaper El Mole (1837)
Chapter 10 Monochatus Non Est Pietas Anticlerical Humour and Political Violence (c. 1750–1840)
Chapter 11 Laughter, Gender and the Politics of Celebrity in Fin-de-Siècle Spain
Chapter 12 El Gran Bvfón Illustrated Magazines, Humourism and Caricature in Spain at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century
Chapter 13 Artistic Parody, Political Criticism and Spanish Humour (c. 1900)
Chapter 14 The ‘Moor’, the ‘Russian’ and Other Invaders Some Notes on Humour and National Otherness in the Spanish Civil War (1936–39)
Chapter 15 Smiling for the Homeland Humour and Gender Representations in Radio Programmes during the First Franco Regime (1939–59)
Chapter 16 The Developmentalist Cinema of the Sixties and Seventies Archetypes of Gender and Social Change in the Paleto and Destape Phenomena
Chapter 17 Sex, Truths and Viral Tapes The Transformation of Spanish Female Humour in the Digital Age

Citation preview


Studies in Latin American and Spanish History Series Editors: Scott Eastman, Creighton University, USA Vicente Sanz Rozalén, Universitat Jaume I, Spain Editorial Board: Carlos Illades, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico Mercedes Yusta, Université Paris 8, France Xosé Manoel Núñez-Seixas, Ludwig-­Maximilians München Universität, Germany Gabe Paquette, Johns Hopkins University, USA Karen Racine, University of Guelph, Canada David Sartorius, University of Maryland, USA Claudia Guarisco, FRAMESPA, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France Natalia Sobrevilla Perea, University of Kent, United Kingdom This series bridges the divide between studies of Latin America and peninsular Spain by employing transnational and comparative approaches that shed light on the complex societies, cultures and economies of the modern age. Focusing on the cross-­pollination that was the legacy of colonialism on both sides of the Atlantic, these monographs and collections explore a variety of issues such as race, class, gender and politics in the Spanish-­speaking world. Recent volumes: Volume 9 Spanish Laughter: Humour and Its Sense in Modern Spain Edited by Antonio Calvo Maturana Volume 8 Continental Transfers: Cultural and Political Exchange among Spain, Italy and Argentina, 1914–1945 Edited by Maximiliano Fuentes Codera and Patrizia Dogliani Volume 7 Rethinking Atlantic Empire: Christopher Schmidt-Nowara’s Histories of Nineteenth-Century Spain and the Antilles Edited by Scott Eastman and Stephen Jacobson

Volume 6 Teaching Modernization: Spanish and Latin American Educational Reform in the Cold War Edited by Óscar J. Martín García and Lorenzo Delgado Gómez-­Escalonilla Volume 5 The Configuration of the Spanish Public Sphere: From the Enlightenment to the Indignados Edited by David Jiménez Torres and Leticia Villamediana González Volume 4 The Brazilian Truth Commission: Local, National and Global Perspectives Edited by Nina Schneider

For a full volume listing, please see the series page on our website:

Spanish Laughter Humour and Its Sense in Modern Spain

Edited by

Antonio Calvo Maturana

berghahn NEW YORK • OXFORD

First published in 2022 by Berghahn Books © 2022 Antonio Calvo Maturana All rights reserved. Except for the quotation of short passages for the purposes of criticism and review, no part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without written permission of the publisher. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Calvo Maturana, Antonio Juan, editor. Title: Spanish laughter : humour and its sense in modern Spain / edited by Antonio Calvo Maturana. Description: New York : Berghahn Books, 2022. | Series: Studies in Latin   American and Spanish history ; volume 9 | Includes bibliographical   references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2022004649 (print) | LCCN 2022004650 (ebook) | ISBN   9781800734999 (hardback) | ISBN 9781800735002 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Spanish wit and humor--History and criticism. | LCGFT:  Essays. Classification: LCC PQ6152 .S63 2022 (print) | LCC PQ6152 (ebook) | DDC  867.009--dc23/eng/20220413 LC record available at LC ebook record available at British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN 978-­1-80073-­499-­9 hardback ISBN 978-­1-80073-­500-­2 ebook


¡ List of Illustrationsvii Introduction1 Antonio Calvo Maturana Chapter 1  When Spaniards Defied Gravity: Humour, Seriousness and Identity in Eighteenth-Century Spain Antonio Calvo Maturana Chapter 2  Disciplinary Humour in the Public Sphere: The Rhetoric of Gender Satire in José Clavijo y Fajardo’s El pensador Sally-Ann Kitts



Chapter 3  La vieja y la niña: Women’s Humour in the Comedies of María Rosa Gálvez Elizabeth Franklin Lewis


Chapter 4  When Women Are on Top: Humour, Politics and Pornography in Goya’s Swings Javier Moscoso


Chapter 5  The Terrible and the Ridiculous in Goya’s Los Caprichos Manuel Á. Junco


Chapter 6  Satire and Humour in Anti-Liberal Public Opinion in Cadiz during the Cortes (1811–13) 111 Gonzalo Butrón Prida Chapter 7  Humour, Gender and Nationalism: Female Quixotism and Heroine-ism in Early Nineteenth-Century Spain and Mexico Catherine M. Jaffe Chapter 8  Humour in the Political Analysis of Absolutism in Mariano José de Larra’s Articles (1828–33) José María Ferri Coll




Alejandro Llinares Planells

Chapter 9  ‘Long Live the Joke’: Political Satire and Humour through the Valencian Newspaper El Mole (1837) Alejandro Llinares Planells


Chapter 10  Monochatus Non Est Pietas: Anticlerical Humour and Political Violence (c. 1750–1840) Gregorio Alonso


Chapter 11  Laughter, Gender and the Politics of Celebrity in Fin-de-Siècle Spain Isabel Burdiel


Chapter 12  El Gran Bvfón: Illustrated Magazines, Humourism and Caricature in Spain at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century227 Miguel Ángel Gamonal Torres Chapter 13  Artistic Parody, Political Criticism and Spanish Humour (c. 1900) Carlos Reyero Chapter 14  The ‘Moor’, the ‘Russian’ and Other Invaders: Some Notes on Humour and National Otherness in the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) Xosé M. Núñez Seixas Chapter 15  Smiling for the Homeland: Humour and Gender Representations in Radio Programmes during the First Franco Regime (1939–59) Sergio Blanco Fajardo Chapter 16  The Developmentalist Cinema of the Sixties and Seventies: Archetypes of Gender and Social Change in the Paleto and Destape Phenomena María Dolores Ramos Chapter 17  Sex, Truths and Viral Tapes: The Transformation of Spanish Female Humour in the Digital Age Natalia Meléndez Malavé






Conclusions356 Antonio Calvo Maturana Index369


¡ Figure 2.1  Word clouds with adjectives concerning men and women in Clavijo y Fajardo’s El pensador.52 Figure 4.1  Francisco de Goya, Columpio de brujas, preparatory drawing, 1797. Madrid, Museo del Prado. 79 Figure 4.2  Francisco de Goya, El columpio, 1779. Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado. 81 Figure 4.3  [Thomas Rowlandson], A Naked Woman on a Swing, Watched by Male Musicians. Coloured print by a follower of Thomas Rowlandson. Wellcome Library. 83 Figure 4.4  Francisco de Goya, Disparates, I Disparate femenino, 1815–19. Madrid, Museo del Prado. 88 Figure 5.1  Francisco de Goya, Caricatura alegre and Capricho 13, Están calientes. Calcografía Nacional. 95 Figure 5.2  Francisco de Goya, Lo terrible (The Terrible). Aquellos polvos (Those Specks of Dust), No hubo remedio (There Was No Cure), El amor y la muerte (Love and Death) and Porque fue sensible (Because She Was Sensitive). Calcografía Nacional. 97 Figure 5.3  Francisco de Goya, Lo ridículo (The Ridiculous). Mocking graphic metaphors. Calcografía Nacional. 99 Figure 5.4  Francisco de Goya, The Dream. Universal Language or Dream 1, a drawing that would later become the famous Capricho 43, The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters. Below, the three prints that make up the final sequence (78, 79 and 80) of the Caprichos. Calcografía Nacional.103 Figure 6.1  Napoleón trabajando para la regeneración de España (c. 1810). Biblioteca digital, Memoria de Madrid. 121 Figure 6.2  La ventaja que ha sacado Napoleón de España (c. 1808–14). Biblioteca Nacional de España. 121 Figure 11.1  Caricature of Emilia Pardo Bazán, Museo del Pueblo de Asturias, Gijón. 211



Figure 11.2  Luis Bagaria, Emilia Pardo Bazán (caricature), c. 1915. Biblioteca Nacional. 212 Figure 11.3  La Avispa, 273, 20 November 1889. Cover. 213 Figure 12.1  José Moya del Pino, ‘España famosa. Don Ramón María’, EGB, 12 January 1913. 231 Figure 12.2  Wilhelm Gulvall, ‘Los clásicos prestigios. Fernando Díaz de Mendoza, cómico y prócer’, EGB, 28 December 1912. 233 Figure 12.3  Ricardo Marín, ‘El Gran Bvfón. Semanario Humorístico Ilustrado’, EGB, 28 December 1912. 238 Figure 12.4  Ricardo Marín, ‘A pleno sol’, EGB, 12 April 1913. 241 Figure 12.5  ‘Tito’, ‘Fauna Nacional. El perdonavidas’, EGB, 8 March 1913. 243 Figure 12.6  José Moya del Pino, ‘Las fiestas de Sevilla’, EGB, 19 April 1913. 245 Figure 12.7  Alfonso R. Castelao, ‘Reflexión’, EGB, 19 April 1913.247 Figure 13.1  ‘The Latest Velasquith’, Punch, 1914. 254 Figure 13.2  Parody of Velázquez’s La Fragua de Vulcano (Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan), El Buñuelo, 1880. 258 Figure 13.3  ‘Daoiz y Velarde’, Don Quijote, 1895. 260 Figure 13.4  Parody of Martínez del Rincón’s La peña de los enamorados, El Motín, 1888. 261 Figure 13.5  Parody of Velázquez’s La rendición de Breda, El Buñuelo, 6 May 1880. BNE. Hemeroteca Municipal de Madrid. 263 Figure 14.1  Oliver, España será la Santa Elena del Fascio (Spain Will Be the Saint Helena of Fascism), Madrid: Junta Delegada de Defensa de Madrid, 1937. 281 Figure 14.2  Goñi, ‘Vamos a españolizar Cataluña’ (Let’s Make Catalonia Spanish!), L’Esquella de la Torratxa, 5 March 1937. 283 Figure 14.3  Margallo, Alistaos milicias catalanas de Madrid para defender la civilización contra el fascismo (1936). 284 Figure 14.4  Los nacionales (The Nationals), Madrid: Ministerio de Propaganda, 1938. 286 Figure 16.1  La ciudad no es para mí (City Life Is Not for Me), dir. Pedro Lazaga (1966). Movie poster. 323 Figure 16.2  Chica para todo (A Girl for Everything), dir. Mariano Ozores (1963). Movie poster. 327 Figure 16.3  No desearás al vecino del Quinto (Thou Shalt Not Want the Fifth Floor Neighbour), dir. Ramón Fernández (1970). Movie poster. 330

Introduction Antonio Calvo Maturana

¡ On 31 October 2018, the comedian Dani Mateo scandalized Spanish public opinion by blowing his nose on the country’s flag during a sketch on the television programme El Intermedio. As Mateo immediately explained on social media, the intention of the gesture had been to reduce the tension created by the Catalan conflict1 and to demonstrate that ‘when spirits are very heated, flags become more important than people, and that is dangerous’ (Tweet on November 2018). In other words, he had tried, through humour, to convey a very serious message: flags are just pieces of cloth that do not merit the smothering atmosphere of tension into which nationalisms have plunged Spain in recent years. In the days that followed, Mateo was subjected to public outcry in the form of calls for boycotts, cancellations of his performances and publicity engagements, attacks on social networks (including a critical tweet from the Civil Guard itself)2 and in the media, and even threats against him and those close to him. Consequently, on the following episode of El Intermedio (5  November 2018), the host, El Gran Wyoming, had no choice but to devote his opening words to the subject. After remarking that there was no ‘political intention’ or ‘editorial position’ behind the sketch, the motivation for which was ‘simply humour’, he continued with an even more interesting reflection: ‘If the joke didn’t work, if instead of provoking laughter it has generated social tension, it is evident that it is a failed gag’, for which Wyoming asked for ‘sincere forgiveness from all of those who might have been offended’. It is befitting to ask, incidentally, if there is a humour so neutral that it is ‘simply humour’ and if, in fact, a joke that is not funny but is affecting can be considered to have ‘failed’. The problems would not end there for Mateo, who was charged with publicly committing offences against the symbols of Spain and a hate crime, and was called to testify before the investigative court Number 47 of Madrid, evoking outrage in those who, like the politician Íñigo Errejón, were of the view that ‘The insult to Spain is that we are the EU country with the most working poor. We may not like the joke, but this


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drift of turning humour and art into crime is very dangerous and a step backwards to the Middle Ages’ (El País, 23 November 2018). Errejón was tackling the famous debate about the limits of humour that has been conducted throughout Europe in recent years, especially since the terrible attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo on 7 January 2015. In Spain, this controversy has proven to be particularly intense in the wake of recent charges and even lawsuits against comedians, artists and tweeters who have dared to joke about sensitive topics. In 2007, issue 1573 of the satirical magazine El Jueves was legally seized because of a cover that was considered offensive to the Crown; in 2012, the singer-­songwriter Javier Krahe was tried (and ultimately acquitted) for ‘offending the feelings of the members of a religious community’ for a 1977 video in which he taught viewers how to cook a Christ (El País, 28 May 2012); in 2017, the Audiencia Nacional (Spanish National Court) sentenced Twitter user Cassandra Vera to one year in prison on charges of humiliating victims of terrorism in a series of jokes about Luis Carrero Blanco, the Francoist minister murdered by the terrorist group ETA in 1973, although she was ultimately acquitted by the Tribunal Supremo (Spanish Supreme Court) (El País, 2 March 2018); also in 2017, both the aforementioned Dani Mateo and El Gran Wyoming had to testify after having been reported for a joke about the Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen), the famous Francoist memorial where the dictator was buried. These and other instances of humour being presented as alleged hate crimes or offences against groups have been generating a public debate about whether a joke or a prank (however offensive or unfortunate it may be) can be legally penalized or whether they are a part of freedom of expression, which is assumed to be one of the foundations of democracy. Achieving a balance between this right to freedom of expression and the one we all have to honour continues to be one of the challenges facing our society today. There can be little doubt that humour is a very serious subject, with profound cultural and political implications, but it continues, as it has throughout its history, to occupy an undefined place between the real and the fictitious, the serious and the banal, the public and the private, the formal and the informal. If it had not been necessary to summarize it, Dani Mateo’s sketch could have been the subject of an entire chapter. Humour has many aspects and in cases such as that of the sketch, one could examine topics as varied as the Catalan conflict and the resulting rise in nationalism, the quality of Spanish freedom of speech, the crisis of the legitimacy of the



political system derived from the Transition and the judicialization of its defence, the rise of conservativism in the country in recent years, and even the controversial effects (satire or trivialization?) that the use of a humorous tone can have on a current programme like El Intermedio. Because humour is context, a joke makes complete sense when we understand the cultural framework in which it is made, but it also helps us to understand that framework better. Text and context interact, making humour a key tool for the cultural historian. Responding to this reality, this volume is a cultural and interdisciplinary study of humour in Spain from the eighteenth century to the present day. Its authors, who come from the fields of history, art history, philology and communication studies, are members of the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’ (Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today).3 This team starts from certain fundamental premises. First, we understand ‘humour’ to mean the capacity of the human being to perceive or posit a message as comical (or laughable). We consider it to be a social act (typically involving an emitter and an interlocutor), but also a cultural one, for it is associated with a shared frame of reference. Second, we assume, as anthropological, psychological, neurological and historical studies affirm, that it is a universal phenomenon (Sirauna 2015; Weems 2014). Innumerable societies and historical cultures have left evidence of humour in the form of images, texts and traditions. Humour is, consequently, closely associated with humanity. As it is linked to reason, the human being has always employed it and, above all, shared it, since it is an eminently social element. Rationality and sociability are two of the elements that best distinguish us as a species (despite biological studies that are beginning to question homo ridens and to affirm that other species laugh as well). Third, while humour is a constant, its form and background are variable. It is a kind of code, as complex as the human being. Therefore, it is not transcultural or ahistorical (Bremmer and Roodenburg 1997: 3); in other words, ‘it is an anthropological constant and is historically relative’ (Berger 1998: 11). Although there have been certain connections and common themes (death, sex, the scatological or physical humour),4 each culture and society throughout history has had its own types of humour, which makes many of the jokes or pranks that have come to us from Ancient Rome, for example, seem more strange and distant than funny (Beard 2014).


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Even among contemporary but almost entirely unrelated civilizations, such as those of the Europeans and Japanese during the time of Christian evangelism in East Asia (in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), one of the markers of alterity was laughter caused by the strange customs of the other, a consequence of the juxtaposition of different cultural frameworks. In the Treatise on the Contradictions and Differences in Customs between Europeans and Japanese, written in 1555 by the Portuguese Jesuit Luis Frois with the aim of helping the Ignatian evangelizers to adapt themselves as quickly as possible to the practices and customs of Japan, several passages highlight this, for example, in point 30 of the fourteenth chapter: ‘Amongst ourselves we use the embrace to take our leave or to greet someone who comes from elsewhere; the Japanese do not use it at all, and they laugh when they see it done.’ This difference in customs also effected the very act of laughing in that eternal battle between laughter and courtesy: ‘Amongst us the feigned laugh is taken as fickleness; in Japan, for elegance and class’ (Frois 2003: 125). Humour is so rich and varied that, in a group of three friends, two can share a private joke. Even on an individual level, each person is a dispatcher of different types of humour, since we modify our jokes (and our seriousness) depending on our interlocutor (a friend, an acquaintance, an associate, a child, a boss, an enemy, a woman, a man, etc.) or the situation in which we might find ourselves (a party, at work, a funeral, etc.). Fourth, humour is rarely an end in itself; rather, apart from being a tool to fashion ourselves as more charismatic and clever, it tends to be a vehicle for the expression of emotions, and also of ideas of any kind (both socially inclusive or exclusive; both ethical and despicable). When exercised by those in power, humour can serve to maintain the status quo (through tradition or the criticism of divergent elements), but it can also be used to reform the practices and customs of a people through their associated intellectuals (pedagogical humour); however, practised by the political opposition or by a marginalized or emergent social group, it can, thanks to its capacity for subverting reality, be eminently critical, if not revolutionary, and jeopardize the prevailing order through its useful ambiguity (‘don’t be upset, it’s just a joke’) and its capacity for role reversal; at other times, it is a comfort, a self-­ referential discourse that helps people to withstand life’s harshness, as in the case of the humour that arose in the carnival culture of the Old Regime (Bakhtin 1984) or the black, stoic humour developed by Jews in the concentration camps of the Third Reich (Herzog 2011); and, of course, there is a popular,5 conservative humour (in the form, for



example, of sexist, xenophobic or homophobic jokes) that reaffirms the prejudices of traditional societies or taps into the taboos of the most progressive ones. Thus, humour is a discursive form and, as such, has a text, a subtext and a context that allow for historical analysis. Laughter and smiles, communicative and even performative gestures (which are not only the result of humour but are capable of generating it as well), are an almost inseparable part the humorous message. Let us not forget that the interpretation of such expressions are also variable. And not only in regions distant from the Western world; we need only recall, for example, Luther’s nervous laughter before Carlos V at Worms in 1521. In short, a society’s humour is a window into its customs, references, desires and concerns, an instrument with which to recognize differentiating factors on small and large scales (‘my sense of humour’; ‘English humour’), as well as inherited and shared characteristics. Humour has always been there, but its forms have varied according to its context. It is difficult, therefore, to find a b ­ etter – a ­ nd less e­ xamined – t­ ool for the analysis of both long- and short-­term historical time. The greatest proof that humour has earned a place in the public sphere is that it can now be found in areas that previously seemed too serious to accept it. Today, teachers and politicians feel almost compelled to practise it so as not to appear boring. If we focus on politics, the custom in the United States of having the president deliver a monologue at the annual foreign correspondents’ dinner is well known. Obama carried out this tradition in 2016, closing with a famous ‘mic drop’ (a gesture repeated by the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and Prince Harry of England). This tradition, incidentally, has been discontinued by the current president. Trump does not have a good relationship with satire, which is perhaps his main stumbling block. Recent reflections by Sophia McClennen (2017) suggest that satirical television programmes (including SNL, on which he is caricatured by Alec Baldwin) have become a much more efficient means of opposing the president than the press, which has no choice but to treat his unorthodox actions seriously and, thus, to give them a certain air of normality. Along these lines, Julie Webber has just published a volume about political humour in neoliberal times (Webber 2019). Spanish Laughter situates the starting point of this new paradigm (the admittance of humour into the public sphere and its legitimate use to communicate ‘serious’ ideas) in the Enlightenment. We do not want to fall into restrictive interpretations by limiting the public


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sphere to the contemporary world or by pretending that the Middle Ages or the baroque period were devoid of laughter. In all historical periods, there has been humour and people who shared and enjoyed it. Heraclitus (‘the weeping philosopher’) and Democritus (‘the laughing philosopher’) have always coexisted in a more or less balanced way. The Smiling Angel (L’Ange au Sourire) of Reims Cathedral or the humour of the Archpriest of Hita challenged the seriousness of the medieval Church. Centuries later, amidst the rigour of the baroque and its exaltation of tears (Tausiet and Amelang 2009), the poet Francisco Quevedo would write his satirical verses; despite being a complete stoic, he was one of the greatest humourists in the history of the country (and what about Cervantes and his Quijote?). Yet, we insist, the eighteenth century entails an evident change in the humorous paradigm, as it does in sociability generally. On the one hand, meetings are expanded in the form of salons and gatherings where the starched forms of the court relax. It is what Benedetta Craveri called la civiltà della conversazione (the age of conversation), which began in the eighteenth century and spread throughout Europe (including Spain) during the Age of Enlightenment. In these new settings, relationships of trust, such as courtship and friendship, are fostered, with gravity and artificiality being frowned upon (Bolufer 2019). Coarse humour and unrestrained laughter continue to be negatively regarded,6 but wit is valued positively in society. There is an intelligent laughter, dissociated from the Hobbesian theory of degradation and the vulgarity of the lower classes. It is also the enlightened century, that of the exaltation of the senses, the sentimental novel and the comédie larmoyante (tearful comedy). The baroque struggle between body and soul gives way to a civility that, instead of creating an artificial second nature, offers the best version of human nature. Voltaire speaks of the ‘smile of the soul’ of the honnête homme (Jones 2017: 62). Perhaps the century’s most fascinating theorist of humour, the 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury, asserted in his Sensus Communis, an Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour (1709) that humour was a fundamental resource for returning to a natural and harmonious world since it allowed all the contradictions that come between human beings and a tolerant and free world to be challenged. The Enlightenment recovers the values of classical satire. Laughter acquires great pedagogical value because it identifies the inconsistencies of inherited tradition, the meaninglessness of prejudice, and it ridicules them and renders it laughable. The following passage of the Cartas Marruecas (Moroccan Letters) by the enlightened Spanish writer



José Cadalso, in which the Morrocan Gazel asks the Spaniard Nuño about nobility, is a good example of this: Urging my Christian friend to explain to me what hereditary nobility is, after telling me a thousand things I did not understand, showing me pictures that seemed magical to me, and figures that I took for the whim of some demented painter, and after laughing with me about many things that he said were very respectable in the world, he concluded with these words, interrupted by many outbursts of laughter: ‘Hereditary nobility is the vanity that I base on the fact that, eight hundred years before my birth, one died who was named as I am named, and was a man of substance, even if I am completely useless.’ (Translated from Cadalso 1793, letter XIII)7

But the liberal bourgeois culture did not inherit these precepts unconditionally. Antoine de Baecque (2000) has studied how revolutionaries, once in power, adopted a serious attitude, while conservatives would embrace the subversive and delegitimizing power of the humorous. In the two successive centuries, during which the media was fundamental in shaping public opinion, humour played an important role. In the nineteenth century, the press laws of liberalism (especially the dogmatic ones) faced a veritable explosion of graphic humour; one of its first masters was the Englishman James Gillray. In Louis Philippe’s France (1830–48), the famous four-­part caricature of the evolution of the king’s face into a pear, published by the satirical newspaper La Caricature, contributed to ridiculing the king and tested the July Monarchy, which prosecuted the publication and its editor, Charles Philipon (Kerr 2000). Satire would continue to be a fundamental weapon used both to erode and support the totalitarianisms of the twentieth century. The jokes that coursed through the Germany of the Third Reich (Herzog 2011) and the Soviet Union (Draitser 1978; Kolasky 1985) have been collected and/or studied. Tyranny has never resided comfortably with satire, as shown by the case of a German artillery factory employee accused of publicly promoting defeatism and sentenced to death in 1944 for telling a joke about Hitler (Herzog 2014: 157–59). In the democratic public sphere, clandestine humour has less of a place since it is assumed that humour is part of freedom of speech in a world where we are all invited, if not compelled, to have a sense of humour. Everyone? Or only half of us? Are women welcome in the realm of humour? Even at the present time, surveys (Weems 2015: 206–7) reveal a distinctive gender element whereby men expect their ideal woman to


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appreciate their humour, while women look for someone who makes them laugh, in what seems like an obvious consequence of the roles (passive and active) that patriarchal society has bestowed upon each sex. Humour is communication and initiative, and humorous discourse is based on conventions and contradictions, all elements traditionally monopolized by the male gender. Indeed, ‘in the past, women were often the objects, but only rarely the subjects of jokes, especially not in public’ (Kotthoff 2006: 5). To pull a prank or make a joke requires an audience that wants to listen to you or a conversation in which one feels confident enough to take part; it is also necessary to feel comfortable and legitimized in that space. A real empowerment of women in the public sphere has been necessary for there to be female voices in the world of comedy (Greenbaum 1997), cause and consequence of their greater comfort with humour. It is important to look for women in recent centuries who were able to use humour outside of private settings, laughing and making others laugh, because even in 1787, a self-­portrait of Élisabeth-­Louise Vigée Le Brun exhibited at the Louvre that showed a slight smile (agreeable, not humorous) that allowed her teeth to be seen caused a scandal (Jones 2017: 1–2). On a passive level, in relation to humour about women (typically practised by men), we cannot forget its role in affirming or criticizing stereotypes and feminine archetypes from every age. Spanish Laughter will address both aspects of feminine humour. This book makes historiographic and methodological contributions to the panorama of studies about humour. The first of these has to do with cultural studies in general, since we present the reader with an interdisciplinary work that includes historical, artistic and philological approaches and that undertakes the study of the growing relationship between humour and the public sphere in the last two centuries. Although humour has concerned intellectuals since the Greco-­ Roman period, its study remains rare in the humanities. If, in other fields, such as psychology or neurology (Weems 2015), it has been the subject of a great deal of work, history, philology and art history, on the contrary, still do not have the influence they deserve in humour studies. Even the social sciences, such as anthropology and sociology, seem to be more open to this subject.8 There are even fewer studies focused on historical periods prior to the twentieth century. It seems that what interests us is, for example,



what our ancestors ate but not what they laughed at or why, as if humour were not a part of their mentality and idiosyncrasies, as if we denied distant societies, prior to the consolidation of public opinion and the media, the capacity for a complex sense of humour, meaningful and worthy of study, or, perhaps, as if we denied the possibility of knowing it with our tools of analysis. It is true, on the other hand, that studying humour is no longer a rarity or a one-­off event, as it was when Mikhail Bakhtin defended his thesis on the carnivalesque or when Franz Rosenthal (1956) set out to study humour in early Islam. Beyond specific initiatives like these and works on political satire9 or exceptional artists and writers (such as François Rabelais, Francisco de Quevedo or James Gillray), it was necessary to wait until the nineties to find, in Europe and the United States, historical and artistic-­literary studies on humour with an interdisciplinary inclination that would begin to cure historians of their complex about studying something prejudicially considered as frivolous. We must give due credit to the pioneering studies of the medievalist Jacques Le Goff (1992 and 1997), which focused attention on the rejection of laughter by religious orders and on the debate about whether Jesus Christ had ever laughed. Le Goff himself, along with other authors of the stature of Peter Burke, contributed to the reference work A Cultural History of Humour,10 edited by Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg and published in 1997, an interdisciplinary miscellany that has inspired subsequent works (Classen 2010; Korte and Lechner 2013; Cheauré and Nehejl 2014), including the present volume. This sociocultural reading was defended by Le Goff in his aforementioned chapter in A Cultural History of Humour: l­aughter . . . ­can be studied h ­ istorically . . . i­t is a cultural phenomenon. In accordance with the society or period, attitudes toward it, the ways in which it is practised, its objectives and its forms are not constant but changeable. Laughter is also a social phenomenon. It requires at least two or three people, real or imaginary: one who causes the laughter, the other who laughs, and another about whom they are ­laughing . . . ­It is a social practice with its own codes, rituals, actors and settings. (Le Goff 1997: 40)

Cultural studies of humour allow us, in the words of Robert Darnton, to ‘capture otherness’. From this point of view, we should not look for continuity, humour with which we connect and which is familiar to us, but rather rupture, those jokes and apparently comical situations that


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we do not understand at first, that require a profound analysis of their context (Burke 1997: 61). For instance, Darnton tells us, it is essential to understand eighteenth-­century French society to comprehend the famous great slaughter of cats, festive and humorous for the cat-­killers but macabre and inhumane to us: When you realize that you are not getting s­omething – a ­ joke, a proverb, a ­ceremony – t­ hat is particularly meaningful to the natives, you can see where to grasp a foreign system of meaning in order to unravel it. By getting the joke of the great cat massacre, it may be possible to ‘get’ a basic ingredient of artisanal culture under the Old Regime. (Darnton 2009: 78)

Since the 1990s, cultural studies about humour in the Western world, although they have lost some of their initial momentum, have given rise to a catalogue of works that examine it from different and valuable perspectives, such as cruel laughter (Dickie 2011), the strengthening of the smile thanks to improvements in the care and preservation of teeth (Jones 2014) or a return to Western roots through the study of humour and laughter in Ancient Rome (Beard 2014). In our case, as has already been stated, we aim to emphasize the humorous in the public sphere and to review more than two centuries, which will allow us to better understand how and why humour has come to have such specific significance in our contemporary society, an approach we consider both fundamental and novel. Despite the aforementioned review of the humorous in cultural studies, it seems to us that Spanish historiography (and this is our second contribution) has not been particularly interested in listening to our ancestors’ laughter. It is true that through the Information Sciences (Bordería 2015; Meléndez Malavé 2005, 2006, 2008) and linguistics (as evidenced by the publications of the research team led by Leonor Ruiz Gurillo, who employs the tools of the field to explore texts and contexts), advances have been made on the subject, but cultural studies continue to be scarce in spite of the fact (as we will soon see) that the possible topics are innumerable.11 Finally, we believe that the third major contribution of our work relates to its recognition of the prominence of women, which is contrasted by the scarce attention paid, both within and outside Spain, to this fundamental area, that of gender, within humour studies. This introduction has already mentioned the importance of humour in women’s history12 and even in its presence now in the public sphere. There are, however, few works devoted to this topic within the humanities. Nevertheless, there are some (Kotthoff 2006), particularly



in the form of collections, such as two works about humour in the work of women writers in the United States (Hanrahan 2011) and Latin America (Niebylski 2004). In Spain, Género y humor en discursos de mujeres y hombres (Gender and Humour in Female and Male Discourses), from the magazine Feminismo/s, edited by Ángela Mura and Leonor Ruiz Gurillo in 2014, was a pioneering work. It focused on the fields of education, the media, social networks and conversations on the street. The times are long gone, we read in their introductory discussion of the question, when researchers believed, as they did back in the seventies, that ‘women were not capable of using humour or of interpreting it’ (Mura and Ruiz Gurillo 2004: 10); there are already many authors who ‘show that both genders use humour, although it is true that they use it for different purposes and that the effects and discursive strategies pursued by diverse identities do not coincide’ (ibid. 11). The trajectory of studies about humour and gender decades and centuries ago is more limited, one of the most honourable exceptions being Laughter, Humor and the (Un)making of Gender: Historical and Cultural Perspectives (Foka and Liliequist 2015), which presents a series of studies situated in different historical periods (excluding the contemporary period), with a noteworthy global focus (England, Sweden, Iceland, Greece or the Ottoman and Chinese empires). The perceptive hypothesis of the work is that ‘humour and laughter not only are fundamental to the construction and reproduction of gender norms and identities, but also provide powerful rhetorical tools for subversion and change’ (Foka and Liliequist 2015: 1). We can also point to the interesting work of Nancy Walker (1988), A Very Serious Thing: Women’s Humor and American Culture. In our case, we are pleased to integrate studies about gender in a volume that addresses this as well as many other aspects of humour. Of course, the monographs dedicated to gender have been (and will continue to be) fundamental, since the path to women’s visibility is still long, but we also believe that it is important that women also appear in studies not specifically focused on them, just as men and women have lived together (or at least coexisted) throughout history. There remains much to do in the field of humour studies. In this volume’s conclusion, we will explore the progress we have made. In closing this introduction, we cannot help but wonder what the Spanish case can contribute to studies about humour and, in turn, what humour can tell us about the history of Spain (again, humour is both an object and a tool of study).


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But why Spain? We do not aspire to fly the flag of ‘Spain is different’ (that famous tourist slogan from the 1960s) and pretend that everything that has happened in the country is unique. In fact, despite the myth of isolationism, Spain has participated in the political and cultural processes of European modernity. But each country has experienced these shared processes under its own particular circumstances and we believe that examination of the circumstances in Spain can make important contributions to a better understanding of the configuration, at the least, of the Western public sphere. At present, and partly because of the scant internationalization of Spanish historiography, there are few areas (with the exception of the early Habsburg Empire and the Civil War) in which the Spanish case is central or at least important in comparative and collected studies at the continental level. We must abandon once and for all the model of canonical examples of Enlightenment, Liberalism, Romanticism, Republicanism or access to democracy (generally taken up by France, England and Germany) and understand that their variants are neither minor nor dispensable. Furthermore, a kind of historiographic colonialism is sadly common, taking the form of works written in English about Spanish themes in which the author does not cite a single work in Spanish and ends up reinventing the wheel when he or she does not repeat long-­outdated clichés. With Spanish Laughter, we intend to combat both problems, decentralizing the history of humour. Let us consider the case of the eighteenth century. The Spanish Enlightenment is certainly not the French or the British Enlightenment in terms of the names associated with it, which does not mean that (despite international criticism, voiced by Montesquieu among many others, of its inquisitorial obscurantism) it was alien to Les Lumières. These were ‘luces’ of a Catholic bent, strongly controlled by a paternalistic and censorious monarchy, but focused on applied sciences, the education of the subject and external forms akin to foreign practices and customs, with ample space for the forms of sociability that triumphed in France and England. In that Hispanic monarchy at the end of the eighteenth century, so concerned with fitting in with enlightened Europe and shedding obscurantist clichés, the seriousness of the Castilian gentleman became a model with which the old school’s contemporaries continued to identify, but which for others began to feel uncomfortable (Sánchez Blanco 1991). In the middle of the century, the first great Spanish enlightened man would demystify this dignity of the serious man. Father Feijoo questioned the baroque discrepancy between humour and rigour, vindicating the former as an ‘essential part of humane treatment’



(Urzainqui 2002: 487). This change in the perception of humour and laughter in eighteenth-­century Spain is dealt with in Antonio Calvo’s chapter, which focuses on the intellectuals’ struggle against the image of the ridiculously serious people of the Peninsula disseminated by Montesquieu in his Persian Letters. Decades later, as renowned a figure as Francisco de Goya would use ‘lo terrible and lo burlesco’ (the terrible and the mocking) to make his engravings a true reformist lesson, as the work of Manuel Á. Junco explores. This brilliant painter is likewise addressed in the chapter by Javier Moscoso, who studies Goya’s representations of the universal theme of the swing, in which women play a leading role. Nor was the Hispanic world unaware of another European development, the querelle des femmes. Sally-­Ann Kitts’s chapter brings us closer to the Spanish illustrated press, specifically the newspaper El pensador, which, through the use of satire, reflected the latent tensions in this new illustrated sociability based on the coexistence of men and women, the so-­called mixité (Bolufer 2019). For her part, Catherine M. Jaffe studies female quixotes, characters whose reading (in a sort of bovarism avant la lettre) made them lose their minds, in what is nonetheless a patriarchal response to women’s access to reading and writing. Finally, Elizabeth Franklin Lewis studies the comic voice of the playwright María Rosa Gálvez, the neoclassical author who addressed the great issues of the comedies of the time (such as education and marriage) from a female perspective and in works starring women. In 1808, the Napoleonic invasion of Spain puts an end to the chimera of enlightened absolutism. In Cadiz, the only city not taken by the French, the first Spanish liberal constitution is designed and proclaimed in 1812. Political opinions can be expressed freely for the first time in the country and the supporters of absolutism (the so-­called ‘serviles’) do not have the Inquisition to defend them from liberal satire. Then a remarkable incident occurs that is the subject of Gonzalo Butrón Prida’s chapter: the reactionaries counterattack the liberals using the same weapon, satire, as happened in revolutionary France two decades before. With Napoleon’s defeat, Fernando VII was restored to the throne and ruled absolutely (1814–20 and 1823–33) without resorting to the mixed model of the Carta Otorgada (Constitutional Letter) and maintaining an inquisitorial spirit that resulted in the 1826 execution of schoolteacher Cayetano Ripoll for heresy, giving rise to international scandal.13 It was in that antediluvian atmosphere, in which it seemed that Spain was living with its back to Europe, that Mariano José de Larra (author of articles such as ‘Vuelva Usted mañana . . .’, which are


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true classics of Spanish journalism) wrote. José María Ferri’s contribution to this volume analyses Larra’s humorous resources to better understand the stance of a progressive premise ‘a la europea’, but adapted to a censorship regime. The Spanish Old Regime would finally fall in 1834, although decades of civil war between liberals and absolutists in the so-­called Carlist Wars still lay ahead. New (albeit limited) printing laws allowed publications of varied political tendencies to flourish, using humour to assert themselves in the battle for public opinion. One such publication was the liberal Valencian magazine El Mole, studied in this volume by Alejandro Llinares. Those same printing laws would leave the door open to an anticlericalism that had antecedents in previous centuries but that reached its peak in the period between the establishment of the liberal regime (with the famous massacre of the friars in 1834) and the fall of the Second Republic in 1939. This pronounced anticlerical spirit in a country with such a significant Catholic tradition is widely reflected in the Spanish humour of that century, as the chapter by Gregorio Alonso shows. Founded at the end of the nineteenth century (in 1884), the magazine La Traca stood out for its militant anticlericalism.14 This was a period at the turn of the century when graphic humour was experiencing a major boom in Spain and the surrounding countries. Carlos Reyero analyses Spanish caricature around 1900 through compositions inspired by the parody of artworks that were well known to the public and that give rise to a rich play of meanings and signifiers, the context of which is fundamental for reinterpreting the altered iconography of the original work. Likewise, in the field of art history, Miguel Ángel Gamonal Torres’s chapter explores El Gran Bvfón, an exquisite magazine containing echoes of Spanish culture during one of its most brilliant periods, the so-­called ‘Generation of 98’,15 but which was perhaps unable to connect with a public base (that bourgeoisie that demanded leisure) to make the publication profitable. In the field of literature, one of the great female voices of the Spanish nineteenth century was Emilia Pardo Bazán (1851–1912), an outstanding essayist and novelist, as well as a great defender of women (Burdiel 2019). Her works demonstrate a remarkable sense of humour, which Isabel Burdiel explores in her chapter, analysing the role that the comical side of Pardo Bazán and the pranks targeting her played in the construction of her celebrity and the public impact of her feminism. In the twentieth century, even in the black-­and-­white era of the dictatorship, we can find humour as well. During the Civil War, as the chapter by Xosé M. Núñez Seixas shows us, the coup-­plotting side and



the Republican side used caricature to represent all the stereotypes associated with the ‘other’, both fascist and communist. The Francoist dictatorship coincided, in its early years, with the prominence of the ‘other generation of 27’16 (so named by the essayist Pedro Laín Entralgo), notable members of which included Miguel Mihura, Enrique Jardiel Poncela and Ramón Gómez de la Serna (Ríos Carratalá 2013). This was a generation that was not very rebellious, though not well-­off, but that laid the foundations of contemporary Spanish humour through the theatre, the press and graphic humour of the absurd. Much less avant-­ garde and openly conservative is that humour aimed at reinforcing the social principles of the regime. Sergio Blanco Fajardo’s chapter examines the roles of men and women in radio during the first two decades of the Francoism. What happens when a fascist dictatorship loses its two main allies (Germany and Italy) after the Second World War? It has no choice (and this is a new distinguishing factor) but to initiate a certain openness towards the winning side. Miguel Mihura was the first director (1942–44) of the legendary graphic humour magazine La Codorniz (1941–78), which covered almost the entire Francoist dictatorship. Self-­styled as ‘The the most daring magazine for the most intelligent reader’, it dared to print on its cover (in December 1965, nº1255) a caricature of Manuel Fraga, the regime’s Minister of Information and Tourism, explicitly holding his new press law (1966), which signified a certain openness (the previous censorship was over) with regard to the restrictive and interventionist law of 1938. In October 1968, the cover of issue number 1406 bore a caricature of the entire council of ministers, albeit without Francisco Franco (Prieto and Moreiro 1998: 31). Small audacities cannot hide the existence of the aforementioned conservative humour, even when it is camouflaged by a certain progressive varnish that interacts with the public’s expectations. Dolores Ramos’s chapter investigates these contradictions in the cinema of Francoist developmentalism. Upon Franco’s death, the democratization of the country began, giving rise to a humour with fewer strings attached (to the point that, in conjunction with the recent digital revolution, it seems not to have any limits). Returning to what was stated at the beginning of this introduction, humour is a subject of debate in Spain, which is no stranger to controversies regarding its limits. Public opinion is divided on the legitimacy or otherwise of the persecution of satirical humour while those behind it defend themselves in the press and in texts such


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as Dario Adanti’s sharp-­witted graphic essay Shoot the Humourist. These reflections tackle subjects of real importance, such as freedom of expression and the democratic standards of the country. Humour has been poking its finger into the wound of the latent contradictions between the inviolability of the Crown and the equality of all Spaniards, as well as the difficult reconciliation with a judicially amnestied Francoist past. In the case of the Crown, it was not until the end of the 1990s that a comedian, Manel Fuentes, dared to imitate King Juan Carlos on a prime-­time television programme, Crónicas Marcianas. However, the protective veil over the institution (a symbol of the political model of the Transition) remains close-­woven. The seizure of an issue of El Jueves magazine in 2007 has already been mentioned, but there are even more striking cases. On 31  October 2018, the Twitter channel ‘Playz’, belonging to the public television channel and aimed at a young audience, posted a nine-­second video of Princess Leonor at her first public reading. In the clip, the princess stated that ‘The political form of the Spanish State is the Parliamentary Monarchy’;17 this was followed by Obama doing his ‘mic drop’. Despite the obvious positive intent of the tweet, which made the young woman a defender of the system at a moment of crisis and reinforced this with a joke that was perfectly comprehensible to its intended young audience, part of the public did not seem to have understood the code. The main opposition party called for the resignation of the director of ‘Playz’. The director of Radio Televisión Española, Rosa María Mateo, had to apologize, deeming the video ‘unacceptable’ (El País, 2 November 2018). Considerable progress has been made in introducing women into the world of Spanish humour, reflecting the influence of the third and fourth waves of feminism, which have reframed women’s relationship with leisure culture and encouraged people to raise their voices so women can move from being comical objects to being subjects. The debate has been covered by the media18 and women have taken a step forward in television and social networks, without having to fear a wide range of issues, as examined in the chapter by Natalia Meléndez Malavé, with which this book closes. Can we speak, then, about ‘Spanish humour’? The answer, with qualifiers, is ‘sí’, although never as something homogeneous as it is influenced by differences of class, gender, political cultures, etc. If Max Weber and Barbara Rosenweim spoke about emotional communities, we too can discuss ‘comunidades humorísticas’ (humorous communities) with a shared emotional and cultural/referential context, which is worthy of study. That is not to say that we are presenting an isolated



case here. On the contrary. At all times, the authors of Spanish Laughter have sought, from this very introduction, to give humour that important context that every joke requires in order to be understood. We have tried to frame the humorous at a national and international level, to situate the incidents in their political framework and to explain who it is that sends and receives the humour. We have tried, in sum, to get everyone (authors, readers and ancestors) to laugh together. Antonio Calvo Maturana is Associate Professor of History at the University of Malaga and principal investigator of the international research team ‘Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today’. His area of expertise is European cultural history during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly in Spain. He is the author of four books: Impostores: sombras en la España de las luces (Cátedra, 2015); ‘Cuando manden los que obedecen’: la clase política e intelectual de la España preliberal, 1780–1808 (Marcial Pons historia, 2013); ‘Aquel que manda las conciencias’: Iglesia y adoctrinamiento político en la Monarquía Hispánica preconstitucional, 1780–1808 (Ayuntamiento de Cádiz, 2012) and María Luisa de Parma: reina de España, esclava del mito (Universidad de Granada, 2007, 2nd edn 2020).

Notes Antonio Calvo Maturana is the main researcher for the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’ (Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today; HAR2017-­84635-­P), financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.  1. This is the famous ‘procés catalán’ (Catalan process), a sovereigntist movement launched by the autonomous government of this community in 2012 that is still active today, almost monopolizing the country’s political debate.   2. ‘The #Bandera symbolises the union of a people. #Respect it. Not to do so is not humour, it is a gratuitous offence to those who are proud of it and those who have given their lives and effort in pursuit of the values of peace and liberty that it represents. #MiraQueEsBonita’ (tweet from the @guardiacivil, 1 November 2018).  3. R+D Project HAR2017-­ 84635-­ P, Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. Its members are Gregorio Alonso, Manuel Á. Junco, Sergio Blanco, Gonzalo Butrón, Antonio Calvo, Alba de la Cruz, María del Mar Felices, José María Ferri, Miguel Ángel Gamonal, Catherine M. Jaffe, Sally-­Ann Kitts, Elizabeth Franklin Lewis, Alejandro Llinares


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Planells, Natalia Meléndez Malavé, Xosé M. Núñez Seixas, Dolores Ramos and Carlos Reyero. In addition, Isabel Burdiel and Javier Moscoso were invited to contribute to the volume. I would like to thank Kathleen Fueger ([email protected]) for translating the chapters originally written in Spanish.   4. Christie Davies studied jokes and their targets, concluding that there have been certain constants in this genre throughout history, such as jokes about ethnic minorities, ‘intermediate regions’ (Belgium, Freiburg, Bosnia, etc.) and localities that typically bear the stigma of low intelligence. Davies was, however, sceptical about the political or social analysis of jokes and was of the view that they ‘are important, not because of their consequences, but rather as a phenomenon in their own right, as a favourite pastime for many people and a great source of amusement and creativity’ (Davies 1990: 9).   5. In its common and extended meaning. We must not fall into the outdated Bakhtinian dichotomy between humour of the people and that of the elite, since all of society laughs at and enjoys the less sophisticated forms of humour (‘popular’ does not mean ‘lower class’; Brewer 1997: 99).   6. In 1748, the famous Lord Chesterfield warned his son against laughter and boasted that no one had ever heard him laugh (Heltzel 1928: 74).   7. ‘Instando a mi amigo cristiano a que me explicase qué es nobleza hereditaria, después de decirme mil cosas que yo no entendí, mostrarme estampas que me parecieron de mágica, y figuras que tuve por capricho de algún pintor demente, y después de reírse conmigo de muchas cosas que decía ser muy respetables en el mundo, concluyó con estas voces, interrumpidas con otras tantas carcajadas de risa: “Nobleza hereditaria es la vanidad que yo fundo en que, ochocientos años antes de mi nacimiento, muriese uno que se llamó como yo me llamo, y fue hombre de provecho, aunque yo sea inútil para todo.”’   8. If we consider, for example, the articles of the international humour studies reference journal (Humour: International Journal of Humour Research, published since 1988 by the International Society for Humour Studies), the proportional scarcity of both historical articles and artistic and literary analyses is immediately apparent.   9. For a Spanish example, see Egido 1973. 10. Prior to this 1997 work, there was Humour and History, edited by Keith Cameron (1993). In the same period, works on the history of humour were published; for example, works on Christianity and laughter (Screech 1997), subversive humour (Sanders 1995), humour in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Halshall 2002; Verdon 2001), Renaissance laughter (Ménager 2001), the Enlightenment (Andries 2000; Baecque 2000; Richardot 2002), theories and perceptions of humour and laughter throughout history (Billig 2005) and the ambitious long-­term vision of Georges Minois (2001). In 1990, the journal Humoresques revue de recherche scientifique sur le comique, le rire et l’humour défend la liberté d’expression avec les armes de l’humour began to be published. This was followed by many others,



such as Humour: International Journal of Humour Research and Studies in American Humour. In Spain, the Quevedo Institute of Humour publishes Quevedos, which is devoted to the study of graphic humour. 11. We can, however, and without claiming to be exhaustive, mention works (mainly philological) about humour and laughter in the Golden Age (Arellano and Roncero 2006; Ferri Coll 2011), in the Enlightenment, especially through satire (Durán 2019; Kitts 2013; Urzainqui 1998, 2002, 2009; Uzcanga 2001, 2005), in the Cadiz Cortes (Calvo Maturana, 2021a), in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Orobon and Lafuente 2021), during Francoism (Ríos Carratalá 2008, 2013; Ferri Coll 2007) and, more broadly, throughout history (Mamolar Sánchez 2014; Perceval 2015). In the field of art history and fine arts, we must highlight works about graphic humour by several of this volume’s authors, such as works about the Spanish nineteenth century by Miguel Ángel Gamonal (1983, 2009) and Carlos Reyero (2011, 2015, 2017), works about the theory of graphic humour by Manuel Álvarez Junco (2009, 2016) and concerning this genre in the current Spanish press by Natalia Meléndez (2006, 2008), the last of which are from the field of Information Sciences. Other noteworthy studies of humour and image include those of Fernando Arcas Cubero (1990), Valeriano Bozal (1979) and Luis Conde (2006). 12. Other fields related to gender, such as masculinity studies or queer studies, should also be studied in relation to humour. 13. In 1814, Fernando VII had restored the Inquisition, which had been abolished by the Cortes of Cadiz in 1813. In 1820, the liberals suppressed it again during their three years in power with Fernando as the obligatory constitutional monarch. Restored again to absolutism with French support, the king did not dare to re-­establish the Inquisition, but he did allow diocesan boards of faith. It was the Junta of Valencia that executed Ripoll. 14. An anticlericalism that would end up costing the magazine’s director, Vicent Miquel Carceller, his life decades later under Franco’s repressive regime. 15. Names associated with this generation include Pío Baroja, Antonio Machado, Miguel de Unamuno and Ramón María del Valle Inclán, although the full list of excellent authors is much longer. 16. An allusion to the ‘Generation of 27’, of which Federico García Lorca, Miguel Hernández and Pedro Salinas, among many others, were part. This generation was interrupted by the Civil War (1936–39) and subjected to repression and exile. 17. ‘La forma política del Estado español es la monarquía parlamentaria.’ 18. ‘¿Por qué las mujeres no son graciosas?’ (Why Aren’t Women Funny?) (, 23 July 2015).


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References Adanti, Darío. 2017. Disparen al humorista. Un ensayo gráfico sobre los límites del humor. Bilbao: Astiberri. Álvarez Junco, Manuel. 2009. El diseño de lo incorrecto. La configuración del humor gráfico. Buenos Aires: La Crujía Ediciones. ——. 2016. El humor gráfico (y su mecanismo transgresor). Madrid: Editorial Antonio Machado. Andries, Lise (ed.). 2000. Le rire, dossier included in Dix-huitième Siècle 32. Arcas Cubero, Fernando. 1990. El país de la Olla. La imagen de España en la prensa satírica. Malaga: Arguval. Arellano, Ignacio, and Vicente Roncero (eds). 2006. Demócrito áureo: los códigos de la risa en el Siglo de Oro. Seville: Renacimiento. Baecque, Antoine de. 2000. Les Éclats du rire: La culture des reieurs au XVIIIe siècle. Paris: Calmann-­Lévy. Bakhtin, Mikhail. 1984. Rabelais and His World. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Beard, Mary. 2014. Laughter in Ancient Rome. On Joking, Tickling and Cracking Up. Berkeley: University of California Press. Berger, Peter. 1997. Redeeming Laughter: The Comic Dimension of Human Experience. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. Billig, Michael. 2005. Laughter and Ridicule: Towards a Social Critique of Humour. London: Sage. Bolufer, Mónica. 2019. Arte y artificio de la vida en común: Los modelos de comportamiento y sus tensiones en el Siglo de las Luces. Madrid: Cátedra. Bordería Ortiz, Enric (ed.). 2015. El humor frente al poder: Prensa humorística, cultura política y poderes fácticos en España (1927–1987). Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. Bozal, Valeriano. 1979. La ilustración gráfica del siglo XIX en España. Madrid: Alberto Corazón. Bremmer, Jan, and Herman Roodenburg (eds). 1997. A Cultural History of Humour. Cambridge: Polity Press. Brewer, Derek. 1997. ‘Prose Jest-­ Books in England’, in Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg (eds), A Cultural History of Humour. Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. 90–111. Burdiel, Isabel. 2019. Emilia Pardo Bazán. Barcelona: Taurus. Burke, Peter. 1997. ‘Frontiers of the Comic in Early Modern Italy, c.  1350– 1750’, in Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg (eds), A Cultural History of Humour. Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. 61–75. Cadalso, José. 1793. Cartas Marruecas. Madrid: Sancha. Calvo Maturana, Antonio. 2007. ‘“Napoladrón Malaparte”, “El Choricero” y la “Madre desnaturalizada”: los papeles antagonistas en el mensaje legitimador de “El Deseado”’, in Ocupació i Resistència a la Guerra del Francés, 1808–1814. Barcelona: Museo de Historia de Cataluña, pp. 180–202. ——. 2021a. ‘La (no tan) lejana risa de nuestros antepasados: en torno al humor como objeto de investigación histórica’, in Bravo Caro, Juan Jesús



(ed.), Fuentes e historiografía para la investigación de la Edad Moderna y la Edad Contemporánea. Valencia: Tirant Lo Blanch, pp. 151–70. ——. 2021b. ‘La pluma del satírico, la espada del rebelde: respuestas serviles al humor en el marco de las Cortes de Cádiz’ , Pasado y memoria 23: 36–63. Cameron, Keith (ed.). 1993. Humour and History. Oxford: Intellect. Cheauré, Elisabeth, and Regine Nohejl (eds). 2014. Humour and Laughter in History: Transcultural Perspectives. Bielefeld: Transcript. Classen, Albrecht (ed.). 2010. Laughter in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times: Epistemology of a Fundamental Human Behavior, Its Meaning and Consequences. New York: Walter de Gruyter. Conde, Luis. 2006. El humor gráfico en España: La distorsión intencional. Madrid: Asociación de la Prensa de Madrid. Cooper, Anthony Ashley, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury. 1709. Sensus Communis: An Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humor. in a Letter to a Friend. London: 1709. Craveri, Benedetta. 2005. The Age of Conversation. New York: New York Review Books. Darnton, Robert. 2009. The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History. New York: Basic Books. Dickie, Simon. 2011. Cruelty & Laughter: Forgotten Comic Literature and the Unsentimental Eighteenth Century. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Draitser, Emil. 1978. Forbidden Laughter: Soviet Underground Jokes. [s.l.]: Almanac Press. Durán, Fernando (ed.). 2019. De la burla a la sátira: risa y crítica en las letras españolas del siglo XVIII, dossier included in Cuadernos de Ilustración y Romanticismo 25. Egido, Teófanes. 1973. Sátiras políticas de la Edad Moderna. Madrid: Alianza. Ferri Coll, José María. 2007. ‘La narrativa humorística de un novelista serio: Antonio Mingote’, Anales de literatura española 19: 39–58. ——. 2011. ‘The Humours of Don Quijote and Sancho’, in José Manuel González and Clive A. Bellis (eds), Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Rabelais: New Interpretations and Comparative Studies. Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, pp. 60–80. Foka, Anna, and Jonas Liliequist (eds). 2015. Laughter, Humor and the (Un) Making of Gender: Historical and Cultural Perspectives. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Frois, Luís. 2003. Tratado sobre las contradicciones y diferencias de costumbres entre los europeos y japoneses (1555), ed. De Ricardo de la Fuente Ballesteros, Salamanca, Universidad de Salamanca. Gamonal Torres, Miguel Ángel. 1983. La Ilustración Gráfica y la Caricatura en la prensa granadina del siglo XIX. Granada: Diputación Provincial. ——. 2009. ‘Jacinto Octavio Picón y los inicios de la Historia de la caricatura en España’, Cuadernos de Arte de la Universidad de Granada 40: 379–97.


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Greenbaum, Andrea. 1997. ‘Women’s Comic Voices: The Art and Craft of Female Humour’, American Studies 38(1): 117–38. Halshall, Guy (ed.). 2002. Humour, History and Politics in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hanrahan, Heidi M. (ed.). 2011. Funny Girls: Humor and American Women Writers, dossier included in Studies in American Humor 24. Heltzel, Virgil B. 1928. ‘Chesterfield and the Anti-­laughter Tradition’, Modern Philology 26(1): 73–90. Herzog, Rudolph. 2011. Dead Funny: Humor in Hitler’s Germany. New York: Melville House. Jones, Colin. 2014. The Smile Revolution in Eighteenth Century Paris. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kerr, David S. 2000. Caricature and French Political Culture, 1830–1848: Charles Philipon and the Illustrated Press. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Kitts, Sally-­ Ann. 2013. ‘Who Wore the Trousers in Eighteenth-­ Century Spain?: The Role, Function and Potential of Satire in José Clavijo y Fajardo’s Pamphlet El Tribunal de las Damas (1755)’, Dieciocho: Hispanic Enlightenment 36(2): 203–28. Kolasky, John. 1985. Laughter through Tears: Underground Wit, Humor and Satire in the Soviet Russian Empire. Bullsbrook, WA: Veritas. Kotthoff, Helga. 2006. ‘Gender and Humor: The State of the Art’, Journal of Pragmatics 38: 4–25. Korte, Barbara, and Doris Lechner (eds). 2013. History and Humour: British and American Perspectives. Bielefeld: Transcript. Le Goff, Jacques. 1992. ‘Jésus a-­t-il ri?’, L’histoire 158: 72–74. ——. 1997. ‘Laughter in the Middle Ages’, in Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg (eds), A Cultural History of Humour. Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. 40–53. Mamolar Sánchez, Idoia (ed.). 2014. Saber reírse: El humor desde la Antigüedad hasta nuestros días. Madrid: Liceus. McClennen, Sophia. 2017. ‘Hitting Trump Where It Hurts: The Satire Tropos Take up Comedy Arms against Donald Trump’, Retrieved 11 November 2017. Meléndez Malavé, Natalia. 2005. ‘El humor gráfico en el diario “El País” durante la transición política española (1976–1978)’, PhD dissertation. Universidad de Málaga. ——. 2006. ‘La libertad de expresión más allá de los límites de la viñeta’, in Ana Jorge Alonso, Rocío de la Maya Retamar and Alfonso Cortés González (eds), Las dimensiones social y política del cómic. Malaga: Diputación, pp. 71–87. ——. 2008. ‘El discurso específico del humor gráfico en prensa’, Quaderns de filología. Estudis de comunicació 3: 127–38. Ménager, Daniel. 1995. La Renaissance et le rire. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. Minois, Georges. 2001. Histoire du rire et de la dérision. Paris: Fayard.



Mura, Giovanna Angela, and Leonor Ruiz-­Gurillo (eds). 2014. Género y humor en discursos de hombres y mujeres, dossier included in Feminismo/s 24. Niebylski, Dianna C. 2004. Humoring Resistance: Laughter and the Excessive Body in Latin American Women’s Fiction. Albany: State University of New York Press. Orobon, Marie-­ Angèle, and Eva Lafuente (eds). 2021. Hablar a los ojos. Caricatura y vida política en España (1830–1918). Zaragoza: Prensas de la Universidad de Zaragoza. Perceval, José María. 2015. El humor y sus límites. ¿De qué se ha reído la Humanidad?. Madrid: Cátedra. Prieto Santiago, Melquíades, and Julián Moreiro. 1998. ‘Biografía de un pájaro revoltoso, 1941–1978’, in Melquíades Prieto Santiago and Julián Moreiro (eds), La Codorniz: Antología, 1941–1978. Madrid: EDAF, pp. 11–140. Reyero, Carlos. 2011. ‘Una señora de muy buen ver: La personificación de España como nación, 1812–1873’, in Facundo Tomás Ferré, Isabel Justo and Sofía Barrón (eds), Miradas sobre España. Rubí: Anthropos, pp. 331– 360. ——. 2015. ‘Propaganda, parodia, imagen de marca: La metamorfosis gráfica del monumento a Colón de Barcelona entre dos exposiciones, 1888–1929’, in José Antonio Hernández Latas (ed.), El arte público a través de su documentación gráfica y literaria. Homenaje a Manuel García Guatas. Zaragoza: Institución Fernando el Católico, pp. 35–53. ——. 2017. ‘Kiss my ass o el poderoso en ridículo: El ataque visual a los símbolos de poder durante el régimen de 1837 en España’, in Poder y contrapoder y sus representaciones. Cádiz: UCA, pp. 23–254. Richardot, Anne. 2002. Le rire des Lumières. Paris: Honoré Champion. Ríos Carratalá, Juan Antonio (ed.). 2007. Humor y humoristas en la España del Franquismo, dossier included in Anales de literatura española 19. ——. 2008. La sonrisa del inútil: Imágenes de un pasado cercano. Alicante: UA. ——. 2013. Usted puede ser feliz: La felicidad en la cultura del franquismo. Barcelona: Ariel. Rosenthal, Franz. 1956. Humor in Early Islam. Leiden: E.J. Brill. Sánchez Blanco, Francisco. 1991. ‘La risa y el movimiento ilustrado’, in Francisco Sánchez Blanco, Europa y el pensamiento español del siglo XVIII. Madrid: Alianza, pp. 173–98. Sanders, Barry. 1995. Sudden Glory: Laughter as Subversive History. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Screech, Michael A. 1997. Laughter at the Foot of the Cross. London: Allen Lane. Sirauna, Juan Carlos. 2015. Ética del humor: Fundamentos y aplicaciones de una nueva teoría ética. Madrid: Plaza y Valdés. Tausiet, María, and James Amelang (eds). 2009. Accidentes del alma: Las emociones en la Edad Moderna. Madrid: Abada. Urzainqui, Inmaculada. 1998. ‘Forner o la fascinación del humor’, in Miguel Ángel Lama Hernández and Jesús Cañas Murillo (eds), Juan Pablo Forner y su época. Mérida: Editora Regional de Extremadura, pp. 277–300.


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——. 2002. ‘La Ilustración sonriente: Feijoo y la risa’, Bulletin Hispanique 104(1): 443–89. ——. 2009. ‘Humor y sociabilidad: Jovellanos’, Dieciocho [anejo] 4: 171–99. Uzcanga Meinecke, Francisco. 2001. ‘Ideas de la sátira en el siglo XVIII: hacia una nueva función en el marco de la ideología ilustrada’, Revista de literatura LXIII (126): 425–59. ——. 2005. Sátira en la Ilustración española: la publicación periódica “El Censor” (1781–1787). Madrid: Iberoamericana. Verdon, Jean. 2001. Rire au Moyen Âge. Paris: Perrin. Walker, Nancy. 1988. A Very Serious Thing: Women’s Humor and American Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Weber, Julie A. 2019. The Joke Is on Us: Political Comedy in (Late) Neoliberal Times. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. Weems, Scott. 2014. Ha! The Science of When We Laugh and Why. New York: Basic Books.

Chapter 1

When Spaniards Defied Gravity Humour, Seriousness and Identity in Eighteenth-Century Spain Antonio Calvo Maturana

¡ In the Cartas Marruecas (Moroccan Letters) by the enlightened Spanish author José Cadalso, the Moroccan Gazel tells his teacher Ben Beley an anecdote set in Spain at the end of the seventeenth century, in the last years of life of Carlos II, who, it was already known, would die without descendants. At that time, we read, Louis XIV was trying to please the Spanish so that the throne would go to his grandson Philip (ultimately Felipe V of Spain). To this end, he had given orders that French squads landing at a Spanish port should adapt to the customs and traditions of the country. Well, at two o’clock in the afternoon on a hot July day, a French ship arrived in Cartagena and its commander sent a reconnaissance boat to observe the Spaniards beforehand in order to comply with the king’s order. Because of the time of day and the heat, the port was almost deserted and the advance party found only a ‘grave clergyman with spectacles, ­and – ­not far ­away – ­an elderly gentleman, also with spectacles’.1 The French inferred that some kind of decree from the King of Spain forced the Spaniards to wear eyeglasses, so they hurried to find them for the officers and sailors who were to report to the authorities. Fortunately, a merchant who was travelling on board was able to provide for all those nasal septa. At the news of the arrival of the French, the port had filled with people, who were astonished to see a boat full of men wearing eyeglasses (which were much less common then than now, clearly) and burst out laughing at the hilarious sight (Cadalso 1793, LX). In narrating this supposed anecdote, Cadalso surely had in mind letter LXVIII of the Lettres persanes (1721), in which Montesquieu compiled the testimony of a person presumed to be a French traveller in Spain and Portugal, who began his description with a forceful


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sentence: ‘Gravity is the shining part of the character of both these Nations. It is manifested chiefly two ways; by spectacles and by mustachios’ (Montesquieu 1736, II: 13).2 The spectacles serve to convey eyestrain from so much reading and a moustache is supposed to bestow a respectable appearance. Laziness, pride, fanaticism and jealousy complete this dismal portrait of a people distanced from reason and whose ‘only good book [Don Quixote] . . . is that which shews the ridiculousness of all the rest’ (Montesquieu 1736, II: 18). Therefore, Cadalso’s text tells us much more than might seem to be the case. There was, it is true, in the port of Cartagena (as there was in many other places in the country) ‘a grave clergyman with spectacles’, but to think that all Spaniards were like that implied a view that was as reductionist and ridiculous as that of the French, who became the object of mockery by the Spaniards. In the following pages, we will study the origin and evolution of a long-­standing cliché, that of Spanish gravity, which anchored the country’s inhabitants to the stereotype of the old, pious and affected man, with a ridiculous, embittered expression and dark clothing with which he sought to camouflage his lack of knowledge and exaggerate his lineage. This is a symbol of a declining Spain, on the margins of enlightened civilization and contrasted by that scientific, European secular civilization’s refined (but also relaxed) social customs. We will be especially interested in the reception of this stereotype in Spain, especially in the eighteenth century, during which the country’s intellectuals made real efforts to fit into an enlightened Europe from which they felt excluded. We will observe an interesting evolution in Cadalso’s writings. First, we see an acceptance of foreign criticism, which called the concept of ‘gravity’ into question, as evidenced by the efforts to differentiate the authentic and well understood from the imposed, which was also subject to derision in Spain. However, as the years went by, a striking vindication of gravity would occur, coinciding with the establishment in the Hispanic imaginary of its antithesis: levity. As a result of the political and cultural events of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, admiration for France would gradually wane in the face of a Francophobia that would set honourable (and patriotic) Spanish gravity in opposition to French levity.

Gravity Well- and Misconceived The eighteenth century is fundamental in shaping the perceptions that different European countries formed of each other, as well

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as themselves. The map of civilization is drawn during the period (Fernández Albaladejo 2007: 151) and Spain is placed by French and British writers and travellers at the limits of that European and enlightened mental horizon (Calvo Maturana 2019). In De l’esprit des lois, Montesquieu placed it on the side of the monarchies, but with shades of that despotism that characterized eastern governments. For their part, travellers enjoyed themselves in a country considered to be decadent and searched, in daily life, for the society portrayed by Cervantes in Don Quixote.3 After more than a century of European hegemony, the resounding fall of the Hispanic monarchy that occurred between the Peace of Westphalia (1648) and that of Utrecht-­Rastatt (1713–15) turned the Spanish into a cliché of everything that should not be done. European intellectuals were not so much interested in the Spanish reality as they were in establishing a counter-­model that would serve to defend their ideas of reform or to avoid decline in their countries (Barrière 1947; Fernández Albaladejo 2007: 153–56). Spain thus becomes a negative image, characterized by fanaticism, warmongering and the abandonment of science, industry and commerce. In descriptions of the country, one word recurred: ‘gravity’, which seemed to sum up all the ills of the average Spaniard. This term, which had proudly defined the Spanish during the baroque period, encompassing virtues such as honour, restraint, loyalty and religiosity, became associated with the Hispanic crisis and, through the foreign reception of the term, an object of criticism, if not derision. This pejorative version of gravity reflects a character marked by pride in not working, an inability to abandon traditions and a ceremonious affectation with which one tries to appear wise but under which an antediluvian scholastic discourse (very much associated with the ‘serious’ intellectual), if not utter ignorance, is hidden. The grave person is serious, but in a ridiculous way, according to enlightened manners, which expect a more relaxed, less artificial sociability (Bolufer 2019). Misinterpreted, gravity also implies a certain brusqueness that is both attached to tradition and not ‘contaminated’ by foreign sophistication and mannerisms. In José Cadalso’s Cartas Marruecas, the following advice is given to a water carrier to help him give the impression of being a lord: ‘raise your eyebrows; get serious; cough; clear your throat; take your leave solemnly; yawn with a roar’ (Cadalso 1793, VI).4 Several foreign intellectuals addressed this ‘Spanish gravity’ in the second half of the seventeenth century and the first half of the eighteenth century. It appears in descriptions of the country in French works such as the Grand Dictionnaire Historique by Louis Moréri


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(1674), the Lettres persanes (1721) and De l’esprit des lois (1748) by Montesquieu, and the Grand Dictionnaire Geographique et Critique by La Martinière (1726 and 1739), for whom ‘idle gravity’ was the ‘principal character’ of the Spanish; and also in English works such as Modern History or the Present State of all Nations by the Englishman Thomas Salmon (1739). Of all these criticisms of Spanish gravity, the ones that probably had the greatest repercussions at the national and international levels were those of Montesquieu. But his criticisms were not limited to the Lettres persanes. His tone no longer that of a satirical author but rather that of a political scientist, Montesquieu returned in De l’esprit des lois (1748) to the theme of Spanish gravity, associated with laziness, concluding: ‘All lazy nations are grave; for those who do not labour, regard themselves as the sovereigns of those who do. If we search amongst all nations, we shall find that, for the most part, gravity, pride and indolence go hand in hand’ (Montesquieu 1793, XIX, 9, vol. I: 357). But what interests us most here is how this unflattering image was dealt with in Spain, where, as we will see in the following pages, an effort was made by intellectuals to fit into the European cultural panorama and to earn a place in civilized space. From 1700, the arrival of the Bourbons, a French dynasty moreover, would fly the flag for the restoration of Hispanic glory and prestige, blaming the Habsburgs for having depleted the country with their dynastic wars. The Bourbons would support a long list of authors tasked with redefining Hispanic identity in relation to that modernity so in vogue on the other side of the Pyrenees. The clearest example of this trend was Father Benito Jerónimo Feijoo (1676–1764). His Teatro crítico universal (1726–40), under the protection of the authorities, would lead the Spanish way to the Enlightenment in the first half of the century. The author avoided falling into either of the two possible extremes: repudiating everything Spanish as being in decline and embracing every foreign influence or retreating to a prideful patriotic rigidity that denied the advantages of the European scientific and philosophical advances (Fernández Albaladejo 2007: 125–47). That is why, on the one hand, in his ‘Glorias de España’, he vindicated Spanish history and literature by denying the supposed inability of the Spanish to do great things (Feijoo 1733, IV, 13–14: 320–422) and, on the other hand, he acknowledged Spanish backwardness in the natural sciences, criticized Francophobia, confessed his admiration for Bacon and advocated (in ‘Amor de la patria y pasión nacional’) a well-­understood, and therefore critical, patriotism (1732, III, 10: 212–35). On the path created by Feijoo, Spanish

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modernity was not incompatible with Spain’s preservation of an identity of its own. This point of view also related to gravity. Distancing himself from the affected seriousness attributed to the Spanish intellectual, Feijoo uses humour in his writing as a resource to dismantle superstitions (Urzainqui 2002); ignorance, he tells us, instigates laughter (Feijoo 1738, VI, 2: 83). In fact, he dedicates one of his discourses to reflecting on jokes (Feijoo 1738, VI, 10: 308–30) and another to criticizing ‘apparent wisdom’ (Feijoo 1732, II, 8: 179–92), clearly alluding to that stereotype of the arrogant and contrived intellectual,5 associated with those scholastic disputes based on the work of Aristotle and Saint Thomas Aquinas and alien to modern science.6 In the latter discourse, he calls for the (moderate) use of humour and censures the excesses of gravity (Feijoo 1732, II, 8: 183). It is clear, in any case, that Feijoo did not disavow gravity, but rather that which was misinterpreted and imposed, devoid of already forgotten values and therefore only external, feigned. The following quotation, extracted from his discourse about ‘music of the temples’, indicates this: Truly, when I remember the former Spanish seriousness, I cannot help but be astonished that it has declined so much, that we only like bustling melodies. It seems that the celebrated gravity of the Spaniards was already reduced to walking stiffly through the streets. (Feijoo 1729, I, 14: 299)7

The Royal Spanish Academy’s Diccionario de autoridades, published in 1734, was sensitive to this debate about true and false gravity. The term ‘grave’ had a positive first8 definition: ‘It also means circumspect, having integrity, and causing respect and veneration.’ On the other hand, the fifth definition recognizes that ‘it sometimes means haughty, arrogant and vain, said of one who condescends to accompany or deal with another because he seems to be more humble and of a low station’. That ‘sometimes’ introduces the pejorative connotations that had discredited the term in recent decades. The same dictionary also includes a fourth negative meaning for ‘gravedad’ (‘gravity’ or ‘seriousness’)9 and other totally pejorative terms and expressions, such as ‘ponerse grave’ (to become serious)10 and ‘gravedoso’ (serious).11 Gravity, misconceived, implies vanity and pretence, the presumption of being more (intellectually or socially) than one is, which refers us directly to that ridiculous affectation of which the Spaniards were accused. The field of literature was also exposed to this process. In 1737, Ignacio Luzán’s Poética was published, heralding the Spanish


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neoclassical aesthetic, a trend that renounced the baroque on account of its grandiloquence and artifice. Luzán rebukes those who believe that a text is ennobled by an excessive stylistic ‘pomposity’ and an empty pretentiousness that the ignorant confuse with ‘elevation and gravity’ (Luzán 2008: II, 19: 356). He, just like Feijoo in his discourse on ‘apparent wisdom’, believed that only uneducated commoners allowed themselves to be seduced by these imposed forms. In the Europe of climatic determinism, an attempt would also be made to rewrite a natural history that would be more favourable to the Spanish. Thus, at the foundation of the Royal Academy of History (1738), the physician Francisco Fernández de Navarrete (1739) presented a Disertación sobre el carácter de los españoles (Dissertation on the Character of the Spanish) in which he refuted historical and biological arguments regarding what La Martinière saw as ‘idle gravity’. In 1783, the first volume of the Historia crítica de España y de la cultura española (Critical History of Spain and Spanish Culture) by Juan Francisco de Masdeu, one of the many exiled ex-­Jesuits who tried to gain the favour of the monarchy in order to obtain their return or at least a livelihood, was published. In the face of the ‘foolishness’ in what foreigners said ‘about the gravity and seriousness of the Spaniards’, the author wrote that this gravity was a sign of reflection and wisdom, a product of ‘the melancholy, [Hippocratic] humour predominant in them’ (Masdeu 1783, I: 252–53). Other authors seemed more sceptical of these forms of determinism, which seemed to seal Spain’s unfortunate fate. In his speech ‘Mapa intelectual y cotejo de naciones’ (Intellectual Map and Comparison of Nations), Feijoo considered that the inhabitants of all countries in the world were equally rational (1732, II, 14: 269–88). For his part, the reformer Bernardo de Ulloa, alluding once again to the words of La Martinière, claims that the problem of the Spanish productive and commercial system was not in ‘the gravity and laziness of the nation’ (1740, I: 49), but rather in a series of badly formulated laws that hindered it. The key was the government. In the middle of the century (1758), the Jesuit Francisco de Isla published his monumental satire on the ridiculous paraphernalia of religious oratory, the Historia del famoso predicador Fray Gerundio de Campazas, alias Zotes (History of the Famous Preacher Brother Gerundio de Campazas, alias Zotes), in which the author himself, from the prologue, aspired, in his criticism of bad oratory, to play the role that Cervante’s Quixote had played in ridiculing books of chivalry (Isla 1995). The work was a great editorial success, though this success was cut short by inquisitorial intervention, which prohibited the

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book in 1760. Satire and religion did not make for good bedfellows in Inquisitorial Spain, even though all Isla was trying to do was defend a more authentic and meaningful religiosity. In Fray Gerundio, misinterpreted gravity is usually present. When the situation requires it, Isla uses the word sarcastically and the context reveals the character’s ridiculous pretences where both form and substance are concerned,12 as in his orchestrated use of eyeglasses: ‘he took them off only to read and write or when he was alone; but on visits, on walks or at public functions, he instantly put them on’ (cited in Dubuis 1974: 19).13 Without a doubt, Montesquieu’s words resonated in this matter of the eyeglasses, as they had before (1732) in the commentary of another clergyman, Fray Martín Sarmiento, who wrote of moustaches: ‘I say only that when Spaniards wore moustaches, they did no wrong, but to mourn that loss today, as a sign of gravity, is the sentiment of old men and still sounds like gothic barbarism, or African ferocity’ (1779, II: 154).14 Having reached the last third of the century, the time has come to speak of the enlightened military man and intellectual José Cadalso (1741–82). If, in the words of Pablo Fernández Albaladejo, the general European crisis provoked by modernity resulted in a ‘real “identity crisis”’ in Spain (Fernández Albaladejo 2004: 157), I believe that Cadalso’s work can illustrate the contradictions that enlightened Spaniards of the time had to confront. While Feijoo may have overlooked Montesquieu’s harsh words,15 Cadalso replied openly to Montesquieu, who was, at that time, already considered one of the most prestigious philosophers in Europe, but Cadalso’s responses were not translated and do not seem to have been distributed abroad. The primary intention behind these responses was to contribute to an internal debate on Spanish identity and self-­esteem. It is imperative that we convey the complicated situation in which the European philosophes’ contempt left the enlightened Spaniards. To the limitations imposed by the absolutist government, the inquisitorial threat (which had prohibited the works of Montesquieu himself and which advised against mentioning him even in order to criticize him)16 and the intellectual disputes between conservative scholars, it must be added that they did not even have the consolation of feeling like welcome members of a European intellectual community, since this community looked down on them. Cadalso would have to make an effort to find a coherent place between a double loyalty: that due to his c­ ountry – a ­ t a time when the concept of ‘homeland’ already had considerable weight in the political


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vocabulary (Calvo Maturana 2013: 79–147) – and his loyalty towards one of the leaders of the European enlightened movement, alongside whom he felt he was engaged a stateless struggle against prejudice and superstition and in support of reason and education. Let us remember that the enlightened Spaniard’s admiration for Montesquieu was such that his most important work, Cartas Marruecas, is a more than obvious nod to the Lettres persanes. It had to have been even more difficult for Cadalso and his enlightened Spanish counterparts to be rejected and ignored by their European colleagues, who did not differentiate between antiquated and enlightened Spaniards but saw them all as a homogenous group, than it was to countenance the criticism of their country (with which they partly agreed). There are two texts in which Cadalso refers to Montesquieu’s satirical writings about Spain. The first, which seems to be a youthful text, is the Defensa de la nación española contra la ‘Carta persiana LXXVIII’ de Montesquieu (Defence of the Spanish Nation against Montesquieu’s ‘Carta persiana LXXVIII’), which circulated in manuscript form but remained unpublished until the twentieth century.17 The second is Suplemento al papel intitulado ‘Los eruditos a la violeta’ (Supplement to the Paper Entitled ‘Unschooled Scholars’), published under a pseudonym in 1772. There is also a third, indirect reference in the Cartas Marruecas, already mentioned at the beginning of this chapter. In both of the first two texts, Cadalso, an active defender of love for the homeland, manages to remain faithful to his country without despising or discrediting his idol Montesquieu, who represents so much for him that removing him from his pedestal would mean a kind of personal defeat, as he would have to agree with the anti-­ enlightened Spaniards.18 Cadalso resolves the issue by concluding that the Frenchman – ‘notwithstanding the distinction of his origin, the elegance of his pen, the depth of his knowledge’ (Cadalso 2000) – had made a hasty mistake in writing about a country he did not know, accepting inaccurate second-­hand information. In the Defensa, a young and apologist Cadalso denounces the ‘shameful silence’ of his compatriots in the face of Montesquieu’s unfounded affront, but he does so without renouncing his enlightened values. Cadalso uses reason and satire, just like his opponent, without having to betray his Enlightened convictions, as other apologists of his generation did.19 He is equally careful, of course, to stay within the limits of the permissible for a writer in this country: ‘This is a new offence against the nation and its religion and government. Without abandoning the respect due to both, the weapons of truth, always victorious, can be wielded. I am a Catholic and a Spaniard; I intend to

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fight vigorously against Lord Montesquieu’s falsehoods without engaging in defiance of these two entities’ (Cadalso 2002).20 The following passage illustrates the aforementioned irony and offers a small lesson to the enlightened Frenchman: I thought that our Spanish gravity consisted of our reliability, modesty, piety and hatred of everything superfluous. Yet Mister President of Montesquieu has disabused me of this notion. It is linked to our spectacles and our moustaches. The truth is that if of four men who are infatuated with what seems to them to be science and who flaunt their scientific knowledge with spectacles it must be inferred that the whole nation looks to spectacles as a sufficient basis for its gravity, it can also be inferred with the same reasoning that the French nation bases its beautiful spirit on the lorgnettes of its superficial sages. But this would disrespect the true scholars of France, as Montesquieu disrespects the true sages of Spain. (Cadalso 2002)21

In the Suplemento, Cadalso depicts the dialogue between a father, who represents (in a positive sense) traditional Spanish values, and his snobbish Francophile son, to whom he explains the mistakes of the armchair traveller, using Montesquieu as an example. In this passage, the words are harsher than in the previous one: The idea that gravity is our defining virtue, and that we show it in our spectacles and moustaches, assigning to them the greatest consideration, is despicable satire. The characteristic virtues of the Spanish have always been love for the religion of our parents, loyalty to the sovereign, moderation at the table, constancy in friendship, tenacity in work, and fondness for enterprises of much endeavour and danger. Read our history, and you will see. In Spain, spectacles have never been considered anything but a sign of near-­sightedness. (Cadalso 2000)22

This dichotomy between tradition and novelty is consistent with the work of the author, who is always careful to distance himself from both the affected Francophiles and the grave or antiquated,23 enemies of all reform, a topic that he addresses in a much more satirical way than Feijoo does. Cadalso also acknowledges ‘the many good things we may have acquired from foreigners’ and ‘the loss of some appreciable part of our former character’ (1793, Introduction). He is both supportive of modernization and nostalgic for the old Castilian ways. In Cartas Marruecas, the character of Nuño, who constitutes, to a certain extent, Cadalso’s voice in the work, speaks of a French officer who has achieved ‘an excellent equilibrium between Spanish gravity


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and French levity’ (Cadalso 1793, LXXX). Nuño himself represents that image of an enlightened Spaniard with relaxed approach to social behaviour, but who is committed to his duties as a Christian and as a subject. For Cadalso and his contemporaries, this happy medium is the so-­called ‘hombre de bien’ (reputable, honourable man), endowed with the virtues of prudence, moderation, dignity, honesty and responsibility, both in the public and private spheres; a model of masculinity that assumes a ‘mould of social conventions and moral values of reference’ (Bolufer 2007: 25). But let us repeat the phrase ‘an excellent equilibrium between Spanish gravity and French levity’ (Cadalso 1793, LXXX). Contrary to his predecessors, Cadalso seems to accept the negative definition of gravity, which he does not try to reform and which he associates with an old-­fashioned type of person (baroque, scholastic), a smoker, dressed in black, wearing eyeglasses and with ridiculously solemn ways of being (the ‘grave air’). As demonstrated by Michael Dubuis (1974), Cadalso left ‘gravity’ to the antiquated and granted ‘seriousness’ to the philosophers to differentiate them from the other extreme, the frivolous and superficial petimetres (from the French, petit maître, a ‘dandy’ or ‘fop’). The ‘hombre de bien’ is a ‘serious’ person and ‘Spanish seriousness’ (also vindicated by Feijoo) is a reflection of moral qualities that must be upheld, even if this means removing them from the contaminated semantic field of ‘gravity’. In reality, Cadalso’s ‘dolor de España’ (suffering of Spain) consists of his frustration at the loss of traditional values, which have not been replaced by more modern ones. Both the old, stuffy people and the modern petimetres are a facade, a caricature of the system of values they claim to represent. Enlightened Spaniards close ranks for their country when the attack comes from outside, but otherwise they are, in fact, truly critical of the reality in Spain. On the other hand, that archetype of the Spanish ‘hombre de bien’ (who has profound convictions and is moderate in his ways, both where seriousness and jokes are concerned) is nonetheless a form of self-­fashioning of an intellectual elite that wanted not only to vindicate Spanish honour, but also to find a legitimate and prestigious position among their compatriots as well as their foreign colleagues. Ultimately, it was in the first three quarters of the eighteenth century that many learned people came to accept the imported and pejorative meaning of the word ‘gravity’ and resorted, like Cadalso, to the concept of ‘seriousness’ or paired ‘gravity’ with an adjective or a noun reinforcing its positive connotation. The use of the word ‘circumspection’ was commonplace. Francisco Clavijero wrote of the Aztec Moctezuma that

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he was esteemed ‘for his gravity, for his circumspection and for his religious zeal’ (1917, V, vol. I: 218). One of Fray Gerundio’s characters uses, in addition to ‘circumspection’, the adjective ‘debida’ (due): ‘the orator can make use of bodily garments, provided he does so with due gravity, circumspection and decency’ (cited in Dubuis 1974: 55).24 Previously, Feijoo had spoken of ‘the old Spanish seriousness’ (la antigua seriedad española) and ‘the celebrated Spanish gravity’ (la celebrada gravedad española); ‘old’ and ‘celebrated’, but also lost and longed for.25

French Levity: Towards a Re-evaluation of Gravity In Cadalso’s work, one can observe the formation, over the course of the century, of a counterpoint to the ridiculous grave S ­ paniard – t­he frivolous ­Frenchman – w ­ ho became an object of mockery and satire, acquiring many of the defects associated with the grave Spaniard: vanity, affectation and vacuity. The only thing that differentiated them was that the serious one clung unconditionally to tradition whereas the frivolous one indiscriminately embraced everything that seemed like a foreign novelty: The excessive austerity of the last century in serious gestures, which were considered characteristic of the wise, has been followed by a ridiculous relaxation in the present. In those days, it was believed that one could not learn without hiding from people, using a lot of tobacco, having a bad temper, speaking little and always with the words of an expert, even in the most familiar matters. Now, on the contrary, it is believed that to learn, one needs only to understand French moderately, to frequent public amusements, to murmur of antiquity and to affect levity in the most profound matters. Centuries are like men; they pass easily from one extreme to another. Rarely do they take notice of the middle road. (Cadalso 2000)26

The main criticisms continued to come, however, from the enemies of reason, who associated the petimetre with the moral laxity of the century, as represented by customs such as the ‘cortejo’ (a complex social practice of male companionship, conversation and escorting) and spaces of sociability such as the salon. For these traditional authors, whose discourses were deeply Francophobic (Herrero 1971), Spanish ‘gravity’ was far superior to French ‘levity’, which only fooled the poor in spirit. But, at the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century, several events significantly undermined the


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Francophilia of the enlightened Spaniards, who adopted part of the Francophobic perspective of the traditionalists and were redirected towards an exaltation of the supposedly patriotic value of gravity, without the need for nouns or adjectives to give it a positive nuance. The first of these game-changing events was the astonishing article ‘Espagne’ penned by Nicolas Masson de Morvilliers in the first volume of the Encyclopédie Méthodique, published in 1782. The rhetorical question in the text, ‘But what is due to Spain? And for two centuries, for four centuries, for ten centuries, what has it done for Europe?’27 was implicitly answered with a harsh ‘nothing’. The text made a profound impression on Spanish enlightened intellectuals, who observed how, after almost a century of trying to put themselves on the same level as the rest of Europe, the French, their great reference point, continued to see Spain as a decadent and baroque country, a ‘village of pygmies’. The prejudice was difficult to erase, because, as has been said, Spain had become a source for stories, a counterpoint more than a case study, and therefore, there was an interest in holding it still in time. Although there was a minority who remained critical of Spain, the apologetic tone ­prevailed – ­promoted by those in ­power – i­ n works published in the following years (Mestre 2003: 47–70). The outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 served as the prelude to another real trauma for enlightened Spaniards: the execution of the French royal family and the consequent Reign of Terror in 1793; that same year saw the beginning of the war between France and Spain, which was declared in the latter country as a crusade against the ungodly. These events seemed to confirm the predictions of the anti-­ enlightened, leaving the Francophiles, who were enlightened reformists, not revolutionaries, in a very compromising situation. Carlos IV once again allied himself with France in 1796, with the result that contact with the country and propagandistic interests partially cushioned this collapse of the image of the French in Spain (Aymes 1996). In any case, the French gradually lost their status in Spain and the perception of them as characterized by volatility and levity, a perception that the most critical Spaniards had held for centuries, was accentuated (Gil Novales 1996). In the Spanish sources from the end of the eighteenth century, the perpetual debate about the ‘ser de España’ (Spanish being), that constant desire to retune and update, presents new arguments that demand a return to the Spanish being’s original masculine gravity and the abandonment of its imported French effeminacy. The enlightened Meléndez Valdés called for the education of the common people through heroic stories of the Spanish past that would inspire ‘gravity in

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deeds and words’ in the face of the ‘corruption, baseness, disorder, and effeminacy of our days’ (2004: 1097). In the Diario de Madrid (8 August 1795, 220: 914) a petimetra responds to criticism of women’s clothing by arguing that men’s fashion (one of the ‘ridiculous things the gavachería [from ‘gavacho’, a pejorative word used to refer to French people] has produced’) is much worse, since it seems that those who wear it are ‘ashamed to look like men’. The closing of the article is quite powerful: ‘Spanish gravity! Pray to God for it.’ Having abandoned the French aesthetic, the emulation of common people becomes fashionable among the upper classes. Men dress as manolos (common-­class males, especially from Madrid, in typical folk dress) and women (including the Duchess of Alba and Queen Maria Luisa of Parma when she sat for Goya) dress as majas (common-­class women of Madrid). In El Eugenio, a work penned by the Marchioness of Fuerte Híjar in the early nineteenth century,28 the character of the Count of Meneses, a representative of French laughter and levity, sees the light at the end of the work (‘I see at this moment a new order of things’) and converts to the side of the defenders of gravity: ‘Kind gravity! Happy gravity! You are the solid foundation of equity, legitimate subordination, courage and deep and true wisdom’ (Fuerte Híjar 2019: 301–2). Gravity’s return to prestige can even be observed in the 1803 dictionary of the Royal Academy, which eliminated the negative definitions for ‘grave’ and ‘gravity’, as well as the expression ‘ponerse grave’ (to become serious), keeping only ‘gravedoso’ (circumspect and serious with affectation). Now, it was necessary to resort to a derivative word for gravity to be made negative. Total rupture occurred in 1808 with the Napoleonic invasion of Spain, the country that had been France’s closest ally. That same year, the enlightened Antonio Capmany, who had once been critical of his own country, published the Francophobic Centinela contra franceses. During the Peninsular War (1808–14), the vindication of Spanish gravity was common among supporters of Fernando VII of all political leanings (the so-­called ‘patriots’) and levity remained on the side of those Spaniards (the despised ‘afrancesados’ – Francophiles) who supported Napoleon’s brother, King Joseph I. A liberal text from 1813 contrasted the peaceful Spanish way of engaging in revolution with the violence practised by the volatile French: I must therefore conclude from here that there has been no other cause, that there has been no other reason why we Spaniards have not suffered another revolution perhaps bloodier than that of France ­but . . . ­the difference of ­character . . . ­Spanish circumspection and


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gravity have managed to contain themselves to the extreme within the limits of suffering, when French volatility and levity dragged them, of course, to stain themselves with the blood of their own parents and brothers. (E.C.G.L. 1813: 18)29

With the word ‘gravity’ fully repaired, liberals used another term, ‘rancio’30 (stale/antiquated), to vilify the servile. But even this word was vindicated by traditionalists. One of the most important obsequious opinion leaders of the period, Fray Francisco Alvarado, signs his Cartas as ‘the antiquated philosopher’ (El Filósofo Rancio). Another clergyman, Fray José San Bartolomé, appeals in his defence of the Inquisition to the ‘antiquated and legitimate Spaniards’ (1814: introduction, 43 and 237). This same author gloats about the harmful effects of dealings with France, which had contaminated (he even uses the word ‘germ’) the inhabitants of the country, despite warnings from the pulpit: [The country’s disease] undoubtedly began with contact with France, and that is where its remedy must begin. From then on, the Spaniard ceased to be what he was, and aspiring to what he was not and what did not suit him, he became a ridiculous and despicable ­entity . . . ­Spanish gravity was transformed into l­evity . . . i­ nto foreign fashions and effeminacy, to such a degree that those who did not eat, dress, speak, and deliver speeches in the French way were not even considered to be people. (San Bartolomé 1814: 240–41)31

After the war, the absolutist Fernando VII reinstated the Inquisition and persecuted liberals and Francophiles. His greatest critic, Miguel Martínez, continued to insist on the dichotomy between Spanish gravity and French levity in his work Los famosos traidores. In 1820, when the liberals regained power, they vindicated their role during the last war, arguing that the Cortes had ‘defended the rights of the homeland and of its king, sustained by Spanish gravity which they never denied’ (Representation 1820: 214). There could be no turning back. Ever since, Spanishness has been definitively associated in Spain with that proud traditionalism and uncritical victimhood that continue to be in evidence today. There was a time when the Spanish defied gravity; later, they let themselves be crushed by it. Antonio Calvo Maturana is Associate Professor of History at the University of Malaga and principal investigator of the international research team ‘Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today’. His area of expertise is European cultural history during the eighteenth and nineteenth

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centuries, particularly in Spain. He is the author of four books: Impostores: sombras en la España de las luces (Cátedra, 2015); ‘Cuando manden los que obedecen’: la clase política e intelectual de la España preliberal, 1780–1808 (Marcial Pons Historia, 2013); ‘Aquel que manda las conciencias’: Iglesia y adoctrinamiento político en la Monarquía Hispánica preconstitucional, 1780–1808 (Ayuntamiento de Cádiz, 2012); and María Luisa de Parma: reina de España, esclava del mito (Universidad de Granada, 2007, 2nd edn 2020).

Notes Antonio Calvo Maturana is the main researcher for the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’ (Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today; HAR2017-­84635-­P), financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.   1. ‘grave religioso con anteojos, y − no lejos − un caballero anciano, también con anteojos.’   2. ‘Es la gravedad el carácter distintivo de ambas naciones, y se manifiesta de dos modos principalmente: por los anteojos y los bigotes.’   3. The very prologue of the Royal Academy’s edition of the Cervantine classic expressed regret about this: ‘This view has been followed by several foreign authors, who, in accordance with the weakness of the human spirit, have gladly embraced the opportunity to paint Spanish gravity ridiculously, flattering themselves that they have taken their colours from Cervantes’ palette’ (Este parecer han seguido varios autores extranjeros, que conforme a la debilidad del espíritu humano han abrazado con gusto la ocasión de pintar ridículamente la gravedad española, lisonjeándose de que han tomado sus colores de la paleta de Cervantes) (‘Prologue’ to Cervantes 1780, I: 103).   4. In Padre Isla’s Fray Gerundio, we read: ‘Some spat, others gargled, some blew their noses; and no one dared utter a word’ (Unos escupían, otros gargajeaban, algunos se sonaban las narices; y ninguno se atrevía a hablar palabra) (cited in Dubois 1974: 16).   5. ‘This deception is commonly aided by persuasive gestures mysterious and expressions. Either the forehead is wrinkled, or the eyebrows are drawn in one by ­one . . . ­or the head sways with vibrating movements; and in everything one tries to affect a disdainful frown. These are men who have more than half of their wisdom in their muscles’ (Feijoo 1732, II, 8: 185).   6. This is commonplace and is also reflected, for example, in the fables of Tomás de Iriarte and Félix María de Samaniego, where we find ridiculous animals that are very learned and serious (Dubuis 1974: 69–78).   7. ‘Verdaderamente, yo, cuando me acuerdo de la antigua seriedad española, no puedo menos de admirar que haya caído tanto, que sólo gustemos de


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músicas de tararira. Parece que la celebrada gravedad de los españoles ya se redujo solo a andar envarados por las calles’ (Feijoo 1729, I, 14: 299).   8. The first two meanings linked to the physical aspect of the term are obvious: weight and size.   9. ‘Significa asimismo soberbia, vanidad y entereza en el sujeto que presume lo que no es, despreciando a otros tan buenos como él’ (It also means pride, vanity and integrity in the subject who presumes to be what he is not, scorning others who are as good as he is). 10. ‘An expression that means to affect or show seriousness, moderation or authority in one who should not or in circumstances that should not.’ 11. ‘Proud, haughty, and full of presumption and vanity.’ 12. ‘the way of speaking, hollow, guttural and authoritative, often huffing and puffing for greater seriousness’ (el modo de hablar, hueco, gutural y autoritativo, resoplando con frecuencia para mayor gravedad) (cited in Dubuis 1974: 20). 13. ‘solo se las quitaba para leer y para escribir o cuando estaba solo; pero en visitas, en paseos o en funciones públicas, al instante las montaba’ (cited in Dubuis 1974: 19). 14. ‘solo digo que cuando los españoles usaban los mostachos, no hacían mal pero llorar hoy aquella pérdida, como señal de gravedad, es entusiasmo de viejos y aún suena a barbarie gótica, o a fiereza africana’ (1779, II: 154). 15. Feijoo (who quotes and refutes the aforementioned works by Moréri and La Martinière) put forward a truly extensive reading. The Benedictine’s omission of a contemporaneous author may be due to the fact that the Spaniard published the last volume of his Teatro crítico universal in 1740 and the Frenchman did not publish the work that established him as a celebrated author, De l’esprit des lois, until 1748. 16. See the chapter ‘La recepción de Montesquieu’ in Elorza 1970: 69–90. 17. It was published by Guy Mercadier in 1970. 18. ‘warning that saying that Mr. President Montesquieu has erred in this is not to deny his great authority in other matters’ (advirtiendo que el decir que se ha equivocado el señor presidente de Montesquieu en esto no es negar su grandísima autoridad en otras cosas) (Cadalso 2000). 19. One well-­known example is that of the enlightened Juan Pablo Forner and the ‘stale’ arguments used in his 1786 text Oración apologética por la España y su mérito literario (Lopez 1999: 311–428). 20. ‘Este es un nuevo agravio a la nación y a su religión y gobierno. Sin apartarse un punto del respeto debido a los dos, se pueden manejar las armas de la verdad, siempre victoriosas. Yo soy católico y español, pretendo combatir con fuerza las calumnias del Señor de Montesquieu, sin incurrir en la desobediencia de estos dos objetos’ (Cadalso 2002). 21. ‘Yo pensé que nuestra gravedad española consistía en nuestra formalidad, modestia, piedad y odio a todo lo superfluo. Pero el Señor Presidente de Montesquieu me ha desengañado. Está vinculada en nuestros anteojos y bigotes. Verdad es que si de cuatro hombres infatuados de lo que les

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parece ciencia y que la ostentan con anteojos se ha de inferir que toda la nación mira a los anteojos como fundamento suficiente de su gravedad, también se podrá inferir con igual raciocinio que la nación francesa funda su bello espíritu en las lorgnettes de sus superficiales sabios. Pero esto agraviaría a los verdaderos doctos de Francia, como Montesquieu agravia a los verdaderos sabios de España’ (Cadalso 2002). 22. ‘Lo de que la gravedad sea nuestra virtud característica, y que la demostramos en nuestros anteojos y bigotes, poniendo en ellos la mayor consideración, es sátira despreciable. Las virtudes características de los españoles han sido siempre el amor a la religión de nuestros padres, la lealtad al soberano, la sobriedad en la mesa, la constancia en la amistad, la firmeza en los trabajos y el amor a las empresas de mucho empeño y peligro. Lee nuestra historia, y lo verás. En España nunca se han considerado los anteojos sino como una señal de cortedad de vista’ (Cadalso 2000). 23. We will revisit this term, by which the enemies of the Enlightenment came to be known. 24. ‘puede el orador valerse de las prendas corporales, con tal que lo haga con la debida gravedad, circunspección y decencia.’ 25. Enlightened, but a defender of the ancients, the journalist Francisco Mariano Nifo remembered with nostalgia the time when ‘in any foreign kingdom a Spaniard was known for his integrity and gravity, like the sun for the beautiful diffusion of light’ (Nifo 1761: 87). 26. ‘A la demasiada austeridad del siglo pasado en los ademanes serios, que eran tenidos por característicos de sabio, ha seguido en el presente, una ridícula relajación en lo mismo. Entonces se creía que no se podía saber, sin esconderse de las gentes, tomar mucho tabaco, tener mal genio, hablar poco y siempre con voces facultativas, aun en las materias más familiares. Ahora al contrario, se cree que para saber, no se necesita más que entender el francés medianamente, frecuentar las diversiones públicas, murmurar de la antigüedad y afectar ligereza en las materias más profundas. Los siglos son como los hombres, pasan fácilmente de un extremo a otro. Pocas veces se fijan en el virtuoso medio’ (Cadalso 2000). 27. The complete article is available at​ vos/LIBROS/Libro0664.pdf. 28. Recently published, for the first time, by Elisa Martín Valdepeñas and Catherine M. Jaffe. 29. ‘Debo pues concluir de aquí, que no ha existido otra causa, que no ha habido otra razón para que los españoles no hayamos sufrido otra revolución más sangrienta quizá que la de la Francia ­sino . . . ­la diferencia de ­carácter . . . ­La circunspección y gravedad española ha sabido contenerse hasta el extremo en los límites del sufrimiento, cuando la voltariedad y ligereza francesa les arrastró desde luego a mancharse en la sangre de sus mismos padres y hermanos’ (E.C.G.L. 1813: 18). 30. This word does not appear in the Academy’s dictionary until 1899: ‘it is said of old things and of those persons who cling to them.’


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31. ‘[El mal del país] empezó sin duda con la comunicación de Francia, y por ahí debe empezar su remedio. Desde entonces el español dejo de ser lo que era, y aspirando a lo que no era ni le con venia, se transformó en un ente ridículo y ­despreciable . . . ­La gravedad española se trocó en ­levedad . . . ­en modas y afeminaciones extranjeras, en tal grado que no se tenía por gente quien no comiese, vistiese, hablase y discurriese a la francesa’ (San Bartolomé 1814: 240–41).

References Álvarez de Miranda, Pablo. 1992. Palabras e ideas: el léxico de la Ilustración temprana en España (1680–1760). Madrid: RAE. Aymes, Jean René. 1996. ‘L’interprétation du “Caractère français” en Espagne pendant la década révolutionnaire (1789–1799)’, in Jean-­René Aymes (ed.), La imagen de Francia en España durante la segunda mitad del siglo XVIII. Alicante: Instituto de Cultura ‘Juan Gil-­Albert’, pp. 283–304. Barrière, Pierre. 1947. ‘Montesquieu et l’Espagne’, Bulletin Hispanique 49(3–4): 299–310. Bolufer Peruga, Mónica. 2007. ‘“Hombres de bien”: modelos de masculinidad y expectativas femeninas, entre la ficción y la realidad’, Cuadernos de Ilustración y Romanticismo 15: 7–31. ——. 2019. Arte y artificio de la vida en común: Los modelos de comportamiento y sus tensiones en el Siglo de las Luces. Madrid: Marcial Pons. Cadalso, José. 1793. Cartas Marruecas. Madrid: Sancha. ——. 2000. Suplemento al papel intitulado “Los eruditos a la violeta”. Alicante: Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes. ——. 2002. Defensa de la nación española contra la “Carta persiana LXXVIII” de Montesquieu. Alicante: Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes. Calvo Maturana, Antonio. 2013. ‘Cuando manden los que obedecen’: la clase política e intelectual de la España preliberal (1780–1808). Madrid: Marcial Pons. ——. 2019. ‘Views of an “Overthrown” Kingdom: Britishness and Otherness in The Spanish Journal of Elizabeth Holland’, in Sutapa Dutta (ed.), British Women Travellers: Empire and Beyond, 1770–1870. London: Routledge, pp. 36–51. Cervantes, Miguel de. 1780. El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (. . .) Nueva edición corregida por la Real Academia Española. 4 vols. Madrid: Ibarra. Clavijero, Francisco Javier. 1917. Historia Antigua de México. 2 vols. México: Departamento editorial de la Dirección General de Bellas Artes. Corpus diacrónico del español (CORDE). Real Academia Española. Diario de Madrid. Diccionario de autoridades, 1734 (Nuevo Tesoro Lexicográfico de la Lengua Española).

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Diccionario de la Real Academia Española, ed. de 1803 y 1899 (Nuevo Tesoro Lexicográfico de la Lengua Española). Dubuis, Michel. 1974. ‘La gravité espagnole et le sérieux: Recherche sur le vocabulaire de Cadalso et de ses contemporains’, Bulletin Hispanique 76(1–2): 5–91. E.C.G.L. 1813. Memorable día 8 de marzo. Cadiz: Imprenta de Figueroa. Elorza, Antonio. 1970. La ideología liberal en la Ilustración española. Madrid: Tecnos. Feijoo, Benito Jerónimo. 1729–53. Teatro crítico universal. 9 vols. Madrid: Francisco del Hierro. ——. 1742–60. Cartas eruditas y curiosas. 5 vols. Madrid: Imprenta de los Herederos de Francisco del Hierro. Fernández Albaladejo, Pablo. 2007. Materia de España: Cultura e identidad en la España Moderna. Madrid: Marcial Pons. Fernández de Navarrete, Francisco. 1739. ‘Dissertación sobre el carácter de los españoles’, in Fastos de la Real Academia Española de la Historia. Madrid: Antonio Sanz. Fuerte Híjar, María Lorenzo de los Ríos, Marquesa de. 2019. El Eugenio, in Elisa Martín Valdepeñas and Catherine M. Jaffe (eds), María Lorenza de los Ríos, marquesa de Fuerte Híjar. Vida y obra de una escritora del siglo de las Luces. Madrid: Iberoamericana-­Vervuert. Gil Novales, Alberto. 1996. ‘De la ligereza francesa a la revolución sin sangre’, in Jean-­René Aymes (ed.), La imagen de Francia en España durante la segunda mitad del siglo XVIII. Alicante: Instituto de Cultura ‘Juan Gil-­ Albert’, pp. 307–27. Herrero, Javier. 1971. Los orígenes del pensamiento reaccionario español. Madrid: Edicusa. Holland, Elizabeth. 1910. The Spanish Journal of Elizabeth Lady Holland. London: Longmans, Green and Co. Isla, José Francisco de. 1995. Historia del famoso predicador Fray Gerundio de Campazas, alias Zotes. Madrid: Cátedra. Lopez, François. 1999. Juan Pablo Forner y la crisis de la conciencia española en el siglo XVIII. Valladolid: Junta de Castilla y León. Luzán, Ignacio de. 2008. La poética o reglas de la poesía en general, y de sus principales especies. Madrid: Cátedra. Masdeu, Juan Francisco. 1783. Historia crítica de España y de la cultura española. Madrid: Sancha, vol. I. Meléndez Valdés, Juan. 2004. ‘Discurso (publicado) sobre la necesidad de prohibir la impresión y venta de las jácaras y romances vulgares (1798)’, in Obras completas, ed. Antonio Astorgano Abajo. Madrid: Cátedra, pp. 1094–101. Mestre Sanchís, Antonio. 2003. Apología y crítica de España en el siglo XVIII. Madrid: Marcial Pons. Montesquieu, Charles Louis de Secondat, baron de. 1736. Persian Letters. 2 vols. London: Tonson. ——. 1793. The Spirit of Laws. 2 vols. Glasgow: David Niven.


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Morange, Claude. 2015. ‘La sátira de costumbres como artefacto ideológico: En torno a un opúsculo de 1808’, Cahiers de civilisation espagnole contemporaine 2. Nipho, Francisco Mariano. 1761. Caxón de sastre 3: 71–110. Representación y manifiesto que algunos diputados a las cortes ordinarias firmaron en los mayores apuros de su opresión en Madrid. Madrid: Ibarra. San Bartolomé, Fray José. 1814. El duelo de la Inquisición. [s.l.]: Oficina de Doña María Fernández de Jáuregui. Sánchez Blanco, Francisco. 1991. ‘La risa y el movimiento ilustrado’, in Europa y el pensamiento español del siglo XVIII. Madrid: Alianza, pp. 173–98. Sarmiento, Fray Martín. 1779. Demonstración crítico-apologética del Theatro Crítico Universal. 2 vols. Madrid: Imprenta Real de la Gazeta. Ulloa, Bernardo de. 1740. Restablecimiento de las fábricas y comercio español. Madrid: Antonio Marín. Urzainqui, Feijoo. 2002. ‘La ilustración sonriente: Feijoo y la risa’, Bulletin hispanique 104(1): 443–89.

Chapter 2

Disciplinary Humour in the Public Sphere The Rhetoric of Gender Satire in José Clavijo y Fajardo’s El pensador Sally-Ann Kitts

¡ The humour of satire has been used as a tool to expose and correct folly and vice for more than two millennia. Satire has always used wit and ridicule to reveal and attack the iniquities and idiocies that its authors perceive to exist in the morals and behaviour of their fellow human beings, people who form part of their own society. In issue 46 of his Madrid essay-­periodical, El pensador (The Thinker) (1762–63, 1767), José Clavijo y Fajardo recognizes himself as an inheritor of this tradition, citing the Roman author Juvenal as a key influence on his work. More recent critical work on satire has highlighted the extent to which the moral imperative of satire depends on the presence and power of humour to fully engage with its audience. In his monograph Satire: A Critical Reintroduction (1994), Dustin Griffin reminds us that multiple rhetorical techniques are employed by satirical authors and these need to be explored if we are to gain a complete understanding of the force and significance of these texts. After a brief introduction to the author and his periodical, this chapter will explore how and why Clavijo avails of one of the most forceful of humorous techniques, the employment of a rich variety of insulting language that aims to give representative form to what the author perceives as moral deformity, to maximize the potential of his satire of contemporary men and women. Taking examples from several issues, it will argue that gender satire in El pensador was not simply the artistic expression of moral outrage and judgement, but rather a much more complex and multifaceted response to the experiences and challenges of the gender politics of the age. It will explore how Clavijo’s use of satirical humour reveals what Rebecca Haidt has described as ‘cultural anxiety about female agency in the eighteenth-­century urban luxury


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market-­ place’ (1999: 34), as well as illustrating, more broadly and significantly, that this anxiety extends to the social and moral actions of both sexes. It will contend that Clavijo’s satirical writings reflect a novel and growing sense of uncertainty about how to act and what to do at a time of great social and intellectual change. It will conclude that his response is part of a wider disciplinary discourse that seeks to uphold traditional gender values at a time when these feel threatened. José Clavijo y Fajardo was born in 1726 in Lanzarote and began his life-­long career as a civil servant in Ceuta in 1745. Four years later, he became secretary to a naval commander and was finally able to settle in Madrid, the political and cultural capital of Spain, which became his permanent home from 1761. In February 1763, he started working at the State Archives and that same year was granted a Royal Privilege for publishing his periodical El pensador, tangible proof of his success as a writer and his rising fame. In 1764, Clavijo lost his post as an archivist due to an ill-­fated romantic entanglement with the sister of the French dramatist Beaumarchais.1 This was a short-­lived setback, however, as he began publishing El pensador again in 1767 and was named Director of the Royal Theatres by King Charles III within three years. From 1773 until the end of the century, he was the editor of the Mercurio histórico y político (The Historical and Political Mercury) newspaper, which became known as Mercurio de España (Mercury of Spain) from 1784. He continued to advance in his career as a senior civil servant and, in 1777, was named secretary to the director of the Natural History Institute, forerunner of the National Museum of Natural Sciences, and in 1786 became the de facto director. He died aged eighty in 1806. His life has been described as ‘ascendant and triumphal’ (Trenas 1943: 749) and as that of a man ‘born and raised in a place far removed from the culture of his time, the Canary Islands, who nonetheless was to become one of the most significant Spanish individuals to form part of the European Enlightenment’ (De la Nuez 1990a: 35). Clavijo began publishing El pensador, a work he describes as ‘a satire of the nation’ (1762–63, 46: 99), in the summer of 1762, under the pseudonym of Joseph Álvarez Valladares. It was available every Monday from the bookshop of the Orcel brothers, on Montera Street, just up from the famous Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid. It was to this bookshop that his readers could send their own articles and l­etters – ­known as pensamientos (thoughts) – as ‘el Pensador’ (the Thinker) himself declared in the first issue, in which, in the style of Joseph Addison, the editor of the English essay-­periodical The Spectator, he presents himself to his readers:

Disciplinary Humour in the Public Sphere


I am, dear sirs, an extremely sensitive thinker with a taciturn temperament. My imagination is triggered by the slightest matter of customs, politics, language or any other matter relating to society, life, the arts and sciences, and, without quite knowing how or why, I find myself at every moment with my head full of ideas, ideas that sometimes make me happy, other times sad, but that always keep my thoughts occupied. (1762–63, 1: 2)2

From issue 15, the periodical appeared under Clavijo’s own name. For reasons unknown, it ceased publication following issue 52 in 1763; however, it reappeared in 1767, when a further thirty-­ four issues were published, resulting in a total of eighty-­six issues. These were re-­ edited and republished in 1773 in Barcelona, with the title El pensador matritense (The Madrid Thinker), by Pedro Ángel Tarazona. Clavijo is generally considered to be a man of the enlightenment with a critical reforming spirit (Teófanes Egido López quoted in De la Nuez 1990a: 337). José Miguel Caso González describes him as a man of his time confronted with the challenges of a rapidly changing age: a man who had discovered a new world, who tried to work towards it, and who speaks with all the restrictions that reality imposes upon ­him . . . ­Clavijo is a man of his moment, and on engaging with the modifications to the world he inherited, he aimed to make it as innovative as possible. (1990: 101)3

As we might expect from as renowned an Enlightenment scholar as Caso, his judgement on Clavijo was apposite. On the one hand, we can recognize that he was a man who followed a professional trajectory that led him from a remote part of the Spanish Empire, with very limited intellectual possibilities, to becoming a significant member of the rapidly developing public sphere in Madrid to which he contributed with his publications and his presence in salons and tertulias (Espinosa 1990a; Hontanilla 2004). This was a veritable ‘new world’, in the words of Caso, that Clavijo was to try to describe and manipulate, often with aims that we would recognize as typically modern and enlightened. This is illustrated by his discussion of contemporary theatre, for example. His stringent critiques of the popular religious mystery plays, the ‘autos sacramentales’, played a role in bringing about their prohibition by Royal Order in 1765 and his campaigns for theatre reform along neoclassical lines align him with the ideas of the renowned father-­and-­son neoclassical playwrights Nicolás and Leandro Fernández de Moratín. He was also a strong critic of the faults he perceived in the education of children and young people, both that which was formally provided in


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schools and that given by parents to their sons and daughters; his ideas accorded with those of the English philosopher John Locke and the Swiss thinker Jean-­Jacques Rousseau, with an emphasis on the need to create useful and active citizens for the good of the nation. In one of his last issues, he writes of the importance of education being available to citizens of every social class and type, arguing that even peasants and agricultural labourers could benefit from it: ‘the worker comes to know those laws which are favourable to him, in order to ward off the ambitions of the mighty who seek to deprive him of his property’ (1767, 83: 185).4 He rejects the notion that education should be the preserve of ‘the nobility [las gentes de capa y espada]’ (187) and concludes that: wanting to deprive lay people of this and other knowledge is a form of tyranny and will be understood as such so long as it cannot be proven that clothing has a particular influence on the operations of the mind. (188)5

We can see, then, that Clavijo has strong credentials as an enlightened reformer: he is an active contributor to contemporary debates who argues for equality of opportunities for all people and shows a strong personal commitment to the education and future of Spain’s citizens. Yet the views he expresses through his satire on the men and women he encountered in the Madrid public sphere are very much at odds with this modern, enlightened thinking. When it comes to the moral and social behaviour of the two sexes, a topic that occupies more than a quarter of El pensador’s issues, he is trenchant in his criticism of men and women who fail to behave in a manner consistent with his very traditional, if not reactionary, ideas. The choice of adjectives is deliberate; Clavijo, although forward-­thinking in his egalitarian attitudes to knowledge and education for men, is very conservative, even regressive, in his views on the education of women and a harsh critic of behaviours in either sex that in any way suggest a lack of conformity with established social norms. However, for a large number of scholars, including De la Nuez, Agustín Espinosa, Jean Sarrailh, Richard Herr and Francisco Sánchez-­ Blanco Parody (Daniel Ferreras 1995: 780), for example, the verbal portraits that Clavijo paints of a contemporary society focused on fashion, entertainment, gaming, public encounters between the sexes, and the latest linguistic fads and slang are nothing more than vivid and incisive descriptions of ‘the poor education [and] ignorance of representatives of the upper and middle classes in Spanish courtly society’ (De la Nuez 1990b: 337).6 What Clavijo is seeking to do, De la Nuez argues, is ‘to manage get them to set aside their vices, their

Disciplinary Humour in the Public Sphere


laziness and their traditional superstitions, and open their minds to the new learning of the enlightenment’ (1990b: 337).7 Scholars like De la Nuez see Clavijo as acting, as he himself wrote in pensamiento 46, as a simple ‘mirror placed in the square of the World’ (espejo, que se pone en la plaza del Mundo) (1762–63: 110), reflecting the truth of a corrupt society that he believes is heading towards personal and national disaster if it does not take some determined steps towards reform. And it is certainly the case that many of these essays offer his readers witty and amusing portraits of what he considers to be the problems of contemporary society. He paints these portraits with the express aim of opening people’s eyes to the dangers they face in the form of social and moral corruption and the implications of this both for them personally and in terms of the popular Enlightenment discourse of social and national utility. In pensamiento 8, for example, there is a letter, supposedly sent in to the editor, in which a young woman complains about the upbringing and education she has received, which has turned her into ‘a very pretty doll, (according to everyone), but with a papier-­mâché head, empty of sense but full of trifles, trickery and foolishness’ (1762–63, 8: 9–10).8 She tells us about her social exchanges with men, during which she would say, with much ‘aire de taco’, a very current and fashionable term meaning ‘directness and impertinence’, ‘Your Lordship is a waste of space and can go to hell’ (Vaya Vm. Noramala que es un trasto), calling such men ‘brutes, cheats and idiots’ (bruto[s], petate[s], y majadero[s]) and addressing them as ‘Wee little Count’ (Condesito) and ‘Wee little Marquis’ (Marquesito) (11, 12).9 She illustrates her general ignorance by explaining that if she were asked ‘how many true Gods there were, even extending the number to five or six would have seemed too few to me’ (12).10 Another humorous example focused on the behaviour of women can be found in pensamiento 20, ‘an outline of the [dispositions] of our Spanish Ladies’11 (1762–63, 20: 192), which describes with heavy irony a typical day in the life of a Spanish lady of fashion. Her imperious treatment of her servants is described: There are cries, threats and profanities. The Maid is an impudent cow: the Coachman a drunkard: the Page is a brute; the Footman a savage; and the servant who does the shopping a thief who should be sent to the scaffold. (194–95)12

Her superficial social interactions are ridiculed: the stupid and tiresome customary address of I kiss your ladyship’s hands which is repeated to every Lady in the reception room. For


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such occasions as these, wit is required. Say: I kiss your nose and move on. (203)13

Men are also targeted by Clavijo’s humorous satirical whip, with particular derision focused on two popular social types from the period: the cortejo – a man who offers his services as an intimate friend, and quite possibly something more, to women married to other ­men – ­and the petimetres or pisaverdes, the fops or dandies who had already been the object of his satirical pen in a savage pamphlet published in 1755, La pragmática del celo (The Law of Sexual Attraction). Criticism of the petimetre, whether by Clavijo or others, frequently focused on the emphasis that such men placed on their appearance, seen as a hallmark of their effeminacy: In the dressing ­room . . . ­begins the most amusing of all scenes. The ­ quipment – h e ­ eater, curling tongues, powders, pins, and o ­ intments – ­is a sight to be seen; and the Valet begins his ministries by entangling the hair, rubbing it with tallow and lard, and then covering the whole head and face with powder. A good half an hour is spent on this task after which the hair is styled with pigeon wings, spinach seeds or some other fashionable item from the wide range so happily invented by the genius of humankind. (1762–63, 21: 226)14

The cortejo is evoked through rich visual descriptions as a devilish individual whose bodily actions betray both his self-­satisfaction and his moral corruption: Look up, sir. Scan your eyes along the balconies and boxes and prepare for your first test. Do you see over there a Lady sitting very close to a Gentleman who is clowning around, making silly gestures and speaking to her constantly, one minute behind her fan and then whispering in her ear? Well those two innocents are cortejos. Yes Sir, cortejos. What an air of satisfaction and happiness can be seen in the Lady’s face! What extreme amusement! Look at them roaring with laughter. You would surely imagine that my Lord cortejo has said something witty, or told a funny joke, but have no fear. For a Gentleman to be a fully paid-­up member of the cortejo club, he requires no proof of discretion, flair or judgment. No indeed; the most suitable and sought-­after requirements for a cortejo are to be a pretentious and ignorant playboy with a tendency to madness. (1762–63, 4: 20–22)15

These examples, just four of the many that can be found in over twenty-­five pensamientos that engage with these themes, reveal just

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how amusing this ‘reflection of the world’ that Clavijo offers his readers is, a quality remarked upon by Mehl Penrose: ‘Clavijo sought to place a higher value on the entertainment value of his texts to capture readers who might be put off by a straightforward moralist essay’ (2014: 60). Clavijo makes use of hyperbole and ridicule in his vivid and incisive vignettes of Madrid life, with their powerful visual, almost cinematographic qualities; these vignettes would not only elicit smiles but surely often have his readers roaring with laughter (Ángel Valbuena Prat 1970: ix). It is important to realize, however, that it is precisely this aspect of ­satire – ­the use that it makes of humour in the form of mockery, exaggeration, ridicule, scorn and s­ haming – t­ hat endows it with the power to draw us towards the point of view of the satirist while blinding us to the moral position that informs and underpins it. Yet a deeper examination of the language used by Clavijo reveals that this moral position was based on a strict code of acceptable behaviours, which in turn was based on a dichotomous and fixed conception of the essential nature of men and women that permitted no flexibility in relation to alternative forms of gender expression, whether on the part of women who wished to be more active participants in the growing public sphere or on the part of men who rejected traditional expressions of masculinity. His ideological position can be revealed by highlighting the various nouns and adjectives used throughout the periodical to describe the behaviours of men and women, both in order to criticize behaviour he saw as unacceptable and problematic and to praise and reinforce behaviour he hoped to see more of. In figure 1, four word clouds, based on words of praise and words of criticism, have been created from the language used to describe men and women in these twenty-­five pensamientos. The two clouds to the left contain the words that Clavijo associates with women and the two on the right the words he associates with men. The top two reflect his critical vocabulary and the bottom two his words of praise. So how does the language of satirical humour function? Griffin argues that in order to move beyond the simple moral function of satire, we should pay greater attention to the rhetorical possibilities of the text, thinking of satire as a more open-­ended inquiry that employs ‘a rhetoric of inquiry, a rhetoric of provocation, a rhetoric of display, a rhetoric of play’ (1994: 39) to explore ‘the adventures of an idea or a truth in the world’ (41). He calls the satirist a ‘demotic lexicographer, in love with the richness and variety of the language of insult’ (168) who harnesses the power of the language of ridicule and scorn and uses it in order to ‘give form to deformity’ (167). Looking at these


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Figure 2.1  Word clouds with adjectives concerning men and women in Clavijo y Fajardo’s El pensador. © Sally-­Ann Kitts.

visualizations of Clavijo’s language, we can see the linguistic richness of his mocking descriptions, which use the humour of satire to create powerful mental images in the minds of his readers to give visual form to the moral and social deformity that he sees around him and that, he argues, he is morally obliged to illuminate and reveal with the aim of ‘improving mankind’ (mejorar a los hombres) (1762–63, 1: 6) because ‘while on many occasions they are bad from malice, more often it is through ignorance or through stupid and blind imitation’ (7).16 It is important to remember that, as Alvin Kernan has noted, the satirist always ‘sees the world as a battlefield between a definite, clearly understood good, which he represents, and an equally clear-­cut evil’ (1959: 21–22). The changes for the better that Clavijo hopes to make involve a return to an idealized past and the idea of deformity is key to understanding his satirical humour since it is based on a belief that there are essential, eternal, universal principles, understood to be natural and therefore right and good, that have become twisted and deformed as a result of negative forces acting upon them. Hence the language used to describe the negative traits perceived in women around him: they have become ‘twisted’ (torcidas) and their ‘natural qualities’ (prendas naturales) such as ‘a sense of shame’ (vergüenza), ‘reserve’ (pudor), ‘modesty’ (modestia) and ‘ingenuousness’ (ingenuidad) have been transformed into ‘insolence’ (descaro), ‘a lack of self-­control’ (desenfreno), ‘forwardness’ (marcialidad) and ‘presumption’ (presunción). Women are condemned for qualities associated with assertive behaviour, the

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expression of their personal opinions, having the self-­belief and confidence (seen as presumption and forwardness) to speak o ­ ut – ­all features that could easily have been used to describe women keen to embrace the new open, critical world of the incipient Spanish public sphere. Yet such women are described as misshapen, full of ‘pride’ (orgullo) and ‘artifice’ (afectación), and encouraged to moderate their behaviour, return to acquiescence, to ‘decency’ (decencia), to that most prized characteristic in women, silence. Similarly, men who had previously been ‘natural’, ‘civil’, ‘courteous’ (cortés), ‘discreet’ (discrete) and ‘solid’ (sólido) have become ‘literally hunchbacked, also counterfeit’ (contrahecho) and ‘effeminate’ (afeminado) and are now ‘frivolous’ (frívolo), ‘lazy’ (ocioso), ‘affected’ (afectado) and ‘treacherous’ (traidor), even to the point of losing fundamental human characteristics and being seen as animals, ‘beast’ (bicho) or ‘monkey’ (mono). In pensamiento 21, Clavijo goes so far as to describe a petimetre as a man who ‘succeeds in completely contradicting his sex’ (logra desmentir enteramente su sexo) (226). Clavijo is using satirical humour to bring attention to what is, for him, an unacceptable change in the behaviour of both sexes, a change that, in his view, reveals a strong sense of social and moral decline, an attitude common to satirists, as Griffin tells us, who write at times when they perceive that ‘moral norms are being called into question and must therefore be reaffirmed with some force to prevent further breakdown of the moral order’ (1994: 134). According to Clavijo, the natural, essential characteristics of each sex, described in the positive word clouds, have become deformed and twisted. Clavijo sees himself in the role of the self-­appointed leader: ‘he who takes the trouble to rectify their ideas, will render them a service, perhaps the most important of his life’ (1762–63, 1: 7).17 He feels called upon to use his ability to navigate the ups and downs of social life and steer his readers through the maze of contemporary social relations to the safe harbour of a morally upright existence: ‘I will be the Pilot, pointing out the risks: everyone else will take advantage, if they so wish’ (I, 8).18 He uses what Charles Knight terms the ‘satiric force of representation’ (2004: 2) to attempt to bring about a change in the behaviour of his target readers, ­ ot . . . ­by ­admonition – ­by the translation of behavior into abstract N moral ­language – ­but by a form of representation so skewed as to allow recognition to take place and to force a new judgment on it, so that viewers recognize that they are what is represented and that what is foolish is them. [They] become both the subject and object of satire. (2–3)19


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As mentioned above, Clavijo describes the skewed representation of satire as a mirror that reveals deformities: [Satire] is a copy of all the originals, and a mirror, placed in the square of the World: all regard themselves in it; and he who, upon seeing himself deformed therein, were to break it into pieces would be acting unjustly in wanting the innocent mirror to take the blame for what is there in his own hideous features. (1762–63, 46: 110–11)20

Don’t blame the satirist, he tells his readers, simply for reflecting the reality of the world around him. In El pensador, Knight’s ‘satiric force of representation’ takes the form of a humour of deformity that marks people out as failing to conform to expected gender norms. Clavijo uses the humour of satire with the aim of shaming people back into conformity with nature, which is understood as atemporal, essential and unchanging; any behaviour that does not fit into these fixed and prized gendered norms is perceived as unnatural, warped, twisted and deformed. However, this conception of the world is underpinned by a paradox as Clavijo reveals, on the one hand, his fundamental assumption that the terms ‘male’ and ‘female’ have clear, stable, fixed meanings while at the same time revealing, through his description of contemporary men and women behaving in very different ways, that this is not the case. His humorous revelation of what are, for him, unnatural, deformed behaviours in elite Spanish society actually calls into question the notion of a gendered nature. The very oppositions that Clavijo constructs from his observations of contemporary society, the ‘natural’ female characteristics of ‘modesty’ (modestia) and ‘virtue’ (virtud), for example, set against the ‘unnatural’ forms of behaviour characterized as ‘insolence’ (descaro) and ‘presumption’ (presunción) and the ‘natural’ masculine qualities of ‘good sense’ (cordura) and ‘solidity’ (solidez), for example, contrasted with aberrant and unnatural ‘fatuousness’ (fatuidad) and ‘vanity’ (vanidad), reveal that these characteristics are, of course, performative rather than essential, constructed and defined along particular gendered lines by the long-­standing social, moral and cultural expectations. If women are able to act like men have traditionally behaved, speaking their opinions and expecting to be heard, and if men are acting in ways that are traditionally associated with women, showing an interest in their appearance, social outings and gossip, then what exactly does it mean to be male or female when it comes to actions and behaviour? There is, then, an apparent aporia or lack of logic in Clavijo’s humorous satirical texts: the supposedly accurate perception that he articulates through his pensamientos, of there having

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been a widespread and problematic change in the behaviour of the two sexes, a change he characterizes as a distancing from and a deformation of the natural, reveals that there are no essential natural gendered characteristics and thus his texts themselves, in noting these changes in behaviour, could be said to contain their own counterargument. However, we should be wary of thinking about Clavijo as a traditional moralist using his fine command of satirical humour to rail against the perceived absurdities and moral issues of his age, as a reactionary thinker who, unaware of the illogicality of his arguments, simply seeks to return to an idealized imaginary past where men and women’s social behaviour fitted into agreed gendered roles. Rather, I think it is more fruitful and revealing to return to Caso’s consideration of him as a man confronted with ‘a new world’ (un mundo nuevo), a world in which things that he thought were stable are increasingly found to have shifted and changed, but also as a man ‘of his moment’ (de su momento) (1990: 101), trying to understand and respond to that new world. In this way, we can perhaps begin to understand why there was such a big contrast within the periodical El pensador between those pensamientos that reveal to us the innovative and enlightened Clavijo, with his ideas about equal opportunities for all men, including men like him who had advanced from modest beginnings, together with a personal commitment to a better future through good education, and those of the sharp-­tongued, reactionary satirist who wants to ridicule and shame the men and women he encountered in the Madrid public sphere who did not conform to his very traditional and essentialist ideas about gender behaviour. This complex scenario allows us to see El pensador as Clavijo’s way of trying to understand and respond to that new world or, to use Griffin’s words, as exploring ‘the adventures of an idea or a truth in the world’ (1994: 41). That ‘idea or truth’, for Clavijo, is that the traditional fundament of social relations is rapidly changing and is, in his view, in danger of breaking down. His humorous satires reveal to us an a ­ nxiety – c­ ultural, social and ­intellectual – ­that stems from the immense changes in these areas that Spanish society was experiencing as the public sphere developed, expanded and challenged previous codified forms of knowledge and behaviour, and, most significantly, who had access to it, pushing the boundaries of previously understood gender and class restrictions (Kitts 2019). Clavijo’s pensamientos reveal a novel and growing sense of uncertainty about how to respond to this time of social and intellectual change. While some elements are not only acceptable but welcome to ­Clavijo – s­ uch as modern, rational education for all, which would teach


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people how to be good citizens and how to improve themselves for their own benefit and for the benefit of their country, for example, as he argues so well in pensamiento ­83 – ­others, such as the opening up of the public sphere to women, and alternative expressions of masculinity and sexuality, most definitely are not. Women speaking up, expressing their own opinions in this new ‘rational debate of varied cultural, intellectual and social ideas, in the periodical press, pamphlets, salons, tertulias, societies, institutions, cafés’ (Kitts 2019: 32) and men rejecting traditional forms of masculinity shake the familiar foundations upon which his contemporary society is built. While Clavijo welcomes some limited change, like many members of the growing Spanish middle class, moderation is key, and the anxiety caused by the changes he sees happening around him gives rise to a strong reaction, as is very common in much satire from this period, and a desire to return to the comfort of what he perceives as stable times. Clavijo’s response is, therefore, to publish a series of disciplinary texts that seek to shame and manipulate men and women into conforming with established norms of gender behaviour that are presented as natural, essential and timeless, an approach that is repeatedly adopted throughout the eighteenth century by many otherwise enlightened individuals (Kitts 1995; 2009). Grappling with a world undergoing immense intellectual and social change, Clavijo seeks to achieve correction through humour, using wit, ridicule and exaggeration to persuade his audience of what he understands ­as – ­and perhaps even fears, because of the fundamental changes in the fabric of society to which it might l­ead – ­the ridiculous and reprehensible behaviour of certain men and women in their contemporary society. An analysis of the language of humour in Clavijo’s El pensador offers us, then, a fascinating and valuable window into a rapidly changing age that is both familiar to us and yet also distant. It is Caso’s ‘new world’ (mundo nuevo), the period of early modernity and the beginnings of the public sphere, when long-­standing and familiar values and ideas are being questioned and challenged as men and women come together to socialize and engage in critical debate in unprecedented ways that challenge traditional gender and class divides. Faced with the reality of this rapidly changing age, Clavijo, ‘a young thinker who is very much in touch with his times and sensitive to its rapidly evolving social and intellectual landscape’ (Kitts 2013: 221), is, as Caso says, a man of ‘his moment’, welcoming some changes, but threatened and perturbed by others. The humour of his satirical writings in El pensador reveals his skills as a rhetorician capable of employing the language of insult, ridicule and scorn to ‘give form to deformity’ (Griffin 1994: 167), while

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also presenting us with a profound disciplinary discourse that seeks to uphold traditional gender values at a time when these feel threatened. His entertaining and humorous vignettes of Madrid life are a multifaceted response to the growing sense of uncertainty about how to act and what to do during a period of great social and intellectual change in Spanish society. Sally-Ann Kitts is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, UK. She has published widely on eighteenth-­ century Spanish literature, culture and history of ideas. Recent publications include an in-­depth scholarly edition of Leandro Fernández de Moratín’s La mojigata (The Female Hypocrite, Castalia, 2015), an introduction to new translations by Robert Fedorchek of Moratín’s The New Play and A Girl’s Yes (Juan de la Cuesta, 2019), and ‘The Role of Holland House in the Diffusion, Exchange and Transformation of Spanish Enlightened Ideas, 1793–1845’ in the Routledge Companion to the Hispanic Enlightenment (Routledge, 2019).

Notes Sally-­Ann Kitts is a member of the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’ (Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today; HAR2017-­ 84635-­ P) financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.   1. For an engaging account of the affair, see Thomas 2006.   2. ‘Yo, señor mío, soy de genio taciturno, pensador, y nímiamente delicado. La menor cosilla en orden a las costumbres, a la política, al idioma, o a cualquiera de aquellas, que miran a la sociedad, a la vida, a las artes, y a las ciencias, excita mi imaginación, y sin saber cómo, ni por donde, me hallo a cada instante con el cerebro lleno de ideas, que unas veces me alegran, otras me entristecen, y siempre tienen el ejercicio mi pensamiento.’   3. ‘un hombre que había descubierto un mundo nuevo, que intentaba ir hacia él, y que lo dice con todos los condicionamientos que la realidad le i­ mpone . . . ­Clavijo pertenece a su momento, y al intervenir en las modificaciones del mundo heredado trató de hacerlo lo más innovadoramente posible.’  4. ‘el Labrador conozca las Leyes, que le son favorables, para rebatir la ambición del poderoso, que intenta despojarle de su hacienda.’   5. ‘Querer privar a los seglares de estos, y otros conocimientos, es especie de tiranía, y será tenida por tal, mientras no se demuestre, que los trajes tienen un influjo particular en las operaciones del entendimiento.’   6. ‘la mala educación [y] la ignorancia de los representantes de las clases altas y medianas de la sociedad española cortesana.’


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  7. ‘conseguir apartarla de sus vicios, de su holgazanería, de sus supersticiones tradicionales, y abrir sus mentes a las nuevas luces de la ilustración.’   8. ‘una muñeca muy linda, (según todos decían) pero con la cabeza de cartón, vacía de sentido, y llena de frioleras, embelecos, y necedades.’   9. On the meanings of common popular slang and social linguistic terms in this period, see Martín 1987. 10. ‘cuántos Dioses verdaderos había, aun alargando su numero hasta cinco, o seis, me parecía haber quedado corta.’ 11. ‘un bosquejo de las [inclinaciones] de nuestras Damas Españolas.’ 12. ‘Hay gritos, juramentos, y maldiciones. La Criada es una insolente: el Cochero un borracho: el Page un bruto: el Lacayo un salvaje; y el Comprador un ladrón digno de la horca.’ 13. ‘el necio, y pesado cumplimiento de beso a Vm. las manos, que repiten a cada Dama de las que hay en el estrado. Para estos casos es el ingenio. Decir: Beso a Vm. la nariz, y está acabado.’ 14. ‘En el ­Tocador . . . ­empieza la más graciosa de todas las escenas. El aparato de Brasero, Hierros, Polvos, Alfileres, y Pomadas suele ser magnífico; y el Ayuda de Cámara empieza su ministerio por enredar el pelo, cargarlo de sebo, y manteca, y llenarle luego de polvos el rostro, y la cabeza. En esto se pasa muy bien media hora, y después entra el peinado de ala de pichón, de grana de espinacas, o de alguna de aquellas modas, que tan dichosamente ha inventado el genio de los hombres.’ 15. ‘Levante Vm. la cabeza. Pasee la vista por los balcones, o aposentos, y prepárese para hacer el primer examen. ¿No ve Vm. allí una Dama estrechamente unida a un Caballero, que la está haciendo mil arlequinadas, y monerías, y que no cesa de hablarla, ya a la sombra del abanico, y ya al oído? Pues aquellos dos inocentitos son Cortejos. Sí Señor: Cortejos. ¡Qué aire de satisfacción, y qué alegría se nota en el semblante de la Dama! Mire Vm. ahora ¡qué diluvio de risa! Unas a otras se empujan las carcajadas. Cualquiera creerá, que el señor Cortejo ha dicho alguna agudeza, o contado algún chiste gracioso; pero no hay peligro. Un Caballero para ser Cortejo liso, y abonado no necesita hacer pruebas de discreción, de gracias, ni de juicio. Antes bien un hombre iniciado de loco, con sus ciertos ribetes de calavera, ignorante, y presumido, es el mas proprio, y solicitado para Cortejo.’ 16. ‘son malos muchas veces por mera malicia; pero muchas más por ignorancia, o por una estúpida, y ciega imitación.’ 17. ‘Quien se tome el trabajo de rectificarles las ideas, les hará un servicio, quizá el más importante de la vida.’ 18. ‘Yo haré el oficio de Piloto, señalando los riesgos: los demás se aprovecharán, si quisieren.’ 19. ‘­No . . . ­a través de la ­amonestación – ­traduciendo el comportamiento a un lenguaje moral ­abstracto – ­sino por medio de una forma de representación tan distorsionada que dicha acción distorsionadora pueda ser identificada por el lector y lo obligue a formarse una nueva opinión, haciendo así que los espectadores se den cuenta de que son ellos mismos los representados

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y, por consiguiente, los ridículos, volviéndose a la vez sujeto y objeto de la sátira.’ 20. ‘[La sátira] es una copia de todos los originales, y un espejo, que se pone en la plaza del Mundo: todos se miran en él; y el que por verse deforme, lo hiciere pedazos, será injusto en querer que pague el cristal inocente la culpa, que está en sus facciones horribles.’

References Addison, Joseph, and Richard Steele. 1965. The Spectator, ed. D.F. Bond. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Aguilar Piñal, Francisco. 1978. La prensa española en el siglo XVIII: Diarios, revistas y pronósticos (Cuadernos bibliográficos, XXXV). Madrid: CSIC [Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas]. Caso González, José Miguel. 1990. ‘El Pensador, ¿periódico ilustrado?’, Estudios de Historia Social 52/53: 99–106. Clavijo y Fajardo, José. [1755]. El tribunal de las damas, copia auténtica de la Ejecutoria que ganó la Modestia en el Tribunal de la Razón, representado por las Damas juiciosas de España. Barcelona: María Angela Martí Viuda. ——. [1755]. Pragmática del celo y desagravio de las damas. Madrid, Herederos de D. Agustin de Gordejuela. ——. 1762–63, 1767. El pensador. Madrid: Ibarra. Published in Klaus-­ Dieter Ertler and Elisabeth Hobisch (eds). 2011. The “Spectators” in the International Context. Digital edition. Graz [http://gams.uni-­​ ive/objects/container:mws-­pensador/methods/sdef:Context/get?locale=en​ &context=es]. De la Nuez Caballero, Sebastián. 1990a. Jose Clavijo y Fajardo (1726–1806). Las Palmas: Cabildo Insular de Gran Canaria. ——. 1990b. ‘La moral y la sátira en El Pensador’, Estudios de Historia Social 52/53: 337–44. Espinosa, Agustín. 1970. Don José Clavijo y Fajardo. Las Palmas: Cabildo Insular de Gran Canaria. Ferreras, Daniel F. 1995. ‘Fictional Strategies in El pensador matritense by José Clavijo y Fajardo’, Hispania 78(4): 780–87. Galván González, Victoria. ‘El imaginario femenino en El Pensador de José Clavijo y Fajardo’, in M. Marieta Cantos Casenave (ed.), Redes y espacios de opinión pública: de la Ilustración al Romanticismo: Cádiz, América y Europa ante la Modernidad: 1750–1850. Cadiz: Universidad de Cádiz Servicio de Publicaciones, 2006, pp. 297–310. Griffin, Dustin. 1994. Satire: A Critical Reintroduction. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. Haidt, Rebecca. 1999. ‘Luxury, Consumption and Desire: Theorizing the Petimetra’, Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies 3: 33–50. Hontanilla, Ana. 2004. ‘El Pensador y el sistema de exclusiones del espacio público ilustrado’, Dieciocho 27(2): 365–82.


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Kernan, Alvin B. 1959. The Cankered Muse: Satire of the English Renaissance. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Kitts, Sally-­Ann. 1995. The Debate on the Nature, Role and Influence of Woman in Eighteenth-Century Spain. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press. ——. 2009. ‘Power, Opposition and Enlightenment in Moratín’s El sí de las niñas’, Bulletin of Spanish Studies 86: 193–212. ——. 2013. ‘Who Wore the Trousers in Eighteenth-­Century Spain? The Role, Function and Potential of Satire in José Clavijo y Fajardo’s Pamphlet El tribunal de las damas (1755)’, Dieciocho 36(2): 203–28 ——. 2019. ‘Spain and Habermas’ Public Sphere: A Revisionist View’, in Leticia Villamediana González and David Jiménez Torres (eds), The Configuration of the Spanish Public Sphere. From the Enlightenment to the Indignados. New York: Berghahn, pp. 25–43. Knight, Charles. 2004. The Literature of Satire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Martín Gaite, Carmen. 1987. Usos amorosos del dieciocho en España. Barcelona: Anagrama. Penrose, Mehl Allen. 2014. Masculinity and Queer Desire in Spanish Enlightenment Literature. Farnham: Ashgate. Thomas, Hugh. 2006. Beaumarchais in Seville: An Intermezzo. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Trenas, Julio. 1943. ‘Periódicos madrileños del siglo XVIII: “El pensador”’, Gaceta de la prensa española 12: 747–61. Valbuena Prat, Ángel. 1970. ‘Prólogo’, in Agustín Espinosa, Don José Clavijo y Fajardo. Las Palmas: Cabildo Insular de Gran Canaria, pp. vii–xiii.

Chapter 3

La vieja y la niña Women’s Humour in the Comedies of María Rosa Gálvez Elizabeth Franklin Lewis

¡ Introduction: María Rosa Gálvez, Women and Comedy in the Eighteenth Century María Rosa Gálvez de Cabrera (1768–1806)1 was the most successful Spanish woman writer of her day. She composed thirteen original dramas and translated four plays from French. Almost all of these were published during her lifetime and eight were performed in the most important Madrid public theatres of the period.2 María Rosa Gálvez wrote openly about her professional struggles to see her work pass censorship and be published and presented on the public stage. She dreamed of achieving renown through her plays, as she explains in the introduction to the second volume of her Poetic Works (Obras poéticas) (1804): ‘I am certain that posterity will make a place in its memory for this book, and thus the endeavours of its author will be rewarded at least in part’ (Obras poéticas 1804, vol. 2: 8).3 In Gálvez’s tragedies, she often addressed themes associated with women’s oppression through her heroines, including domestic abuse, sexual assault and social inequality (Lewis 2004; Establier 2006). Her comedies, however, depicted more ordinary conflicts of contemporary domestic life. Despite their seeming orthodoxy, Helena Establier Pérez speaks of the subversive nature of Gálvez’s comedies and the thinking women characters who populated them, ‘without whose efforts, Gálvez subtly informs us, ­familial – a ­ nd by association, s­ ocial – d ­ isorder would rule’ (2006: 192). The topic of women’s education and women’s proper role in marriage, the family and society was the subject of several popular male-­ authored comedies in Spain. Two plays by Leandro Fernández de Moratín – El Viejo y la niña (The Old Man and the Girl, 1790) and El sí de las niñas (The Maidens’ Consent, 1806) – address the issue of


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unequal ‘May–December’ marriages between young women and old men. While the former play ends melancholically with the dissatisfaction of both spouses, in El sí de las niñas the ageing don Diego realizes his folly in time and facilitates a happy conclusion among the young lovers. Women authors like Gálvez also used humour to comment on social issues, contributing their uniquely female perspective. In her study of comedies written by women in eighteenth-­century England, Misty Anderson has analysed the combination of conventional comic structure and certain comic events that referenced contemporary English life. These structures and events served to convey a message of women’s autonomy through their choice of husband, without violating accepted social structures for women in marriage: ‘Comic events establish positions of authority for the negotiating heroines of these plays while comic closure assures the audience that marriage will survive these negotiations’ (2002: 2). Similarly, Gálvez also found comedy to be an apt vehicle for asserting women’s autonomy and agency, without upsetting the status quo of traditional marriage. We will examine three comedies by Gálvez: Un loco hace ciento (One Crazy Makes One Hundred, 1801), Los figurones literarios (The Literary Figures, 1804) and La familia a la moda (The Fashionable Family, 1805).4 These plays make use of both old and new styles of comedy to comment on some of eighteenth-­century Spain’s hottest topics of debate and discussion: from the obsession with fashionable clothes and home décor to the popular interest in science and technology. Like the comedies by British women studied by Anderson, they also make use of pivotal comic events to communicate their messages of female empowerment. The comic structures and events in Gálvez’s plays spark laughter in the audience because they highlight inversions of power, ridiculing contemporary social structures and portraying women as possessors of true reason, at least in matters of the heart. While young women must fend for themselves in some of her comedies, Gálvez’s last play highlights the value of the mother–daughter relationship, through which older women (las viejas) guide and support future generations of young women (las niñas).

The Elements of Gálvez’s Comic Style Theatre in Spain in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was a problematic, even chaotic medium, comprised of multiple genres, and there were competing expectations, between fulfilling audiences’ demand for entertainment on the one hand and, on the other, meeting

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the government’s and ecclesiastic officials’ requirement that theatre have a positive social and moral influence on those audiences. While some Enlightenment figures, such as the aforementioned Leandro Fernández de Moratín, encouraged neoclassical-­ style tragedies and comedies in the utile dulce vein, other more popular forms were also prevalent, from the restaging of Spain’s classic seventeenth-­century baroque plays; translations, especially of popular French works; musical operas, tonadillas and zarzuelas; one-­act comic sainetes; satirical comedias de figurón; and fantastical comedias de magia (Andioc 1976, Álvarez Barrientos 2005 and 2015). María Rosa Gálvez employed elements of most of these dramatic forms in her work. Enlightened reformers promoted their brand of social and moral reform through the theatre. Ignacio de Luzán believed that the function of neoclassical comedy was to teach edifying lessons to the masses, as he stated in his 1737 book La poética (Poetics): Comedy, therefore, in my opinion, however others might want to define it, is a dramatic representation of a particular incident and of a complication of little importance for the audience, which is represented as taking place among common people and has a happy or joyful purpose; so that it may be useful and entertaining to the audience, unwittingly inspiring love of virtue and aversion to vice. (Luzán 1737, libro III, cap. XIV)5

While most comedies in the eighteenth and early nineteenth ­centuries – ­neoclassical or ­otherwise – w ­ ere written by men, Spanish women also wrote comedies for the public and private stage, and María Rosa Gálvez was the most successful of these women.6 Through her use of Luzán’s neoclassical style, as well as her adaptation of comic elements from other popular forms of theatre in her day, Gálvez balanced an enlightened reformist message with the entertainment that audiences craved, while also introducing her own subversive protofeminist message (Establier 2006). One of the popular forms that Gálvez adapted in her comedies was the comedia de figurón, a satirical form that mocked certain character types (figurones). It originated in the late baroque period in the work of important dramatists such as Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Agustín Moreto and Antonio de Solís, and it remained popular into the eighteenth century, especially the plays of José de Cañizares. This theatrical form grew out of another baroque tradition, the comedias de capa y espada (cloak and dagger plays), adding to the convoluted stories of love and marriage, cloaked identities (capas) and duelling sword fights (espadas) the character type of the figurón. This figurón


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was ridiculed for his style of dress, his manner of speaking or his behaviour and his position as galán suelto in the play meant that he would not be rewarded in the end with a marriage (Di Pinto 2007: 337). Frequently, the figurón was a man from the ­countryside – ­often Basque or a mountaineer (montañés) – with an overdeveloped sense of self-­importance or honour. In the words of Olga Fernández, the figurón is an object of ridicule in these plays ‘as much for his physical appearance as for his psychology, through which human defects and negative social behaviours were criticized’ (2007: 337). Of Gálvez’s five original comedies, Un loco hace ciento (1801), Los figurones literarios (1804) and La familia a la moda (1805) demonstrate aspects of the traditional comedia de figurón. Each play employs one or more ridiculed figurón characters, along with elements of the genre, including conflicts over love and honour, threatened duels, and hidden identities revealed. These comedies resolve their conflicts with the marriage of a deserving young couple, thwarting the misguided actions of parents and often exposing ridiculous social behaviour.

A Woman Directs Her Own Happy Ending in Un loco hace ciento Gálvez’s first comedy was a sainete – a one-­act comedy that she wrote as a ‘fin de fiesta’ (close of show) to accompany her tragedy Ali-Bek. The title Un loco hace ciento alludes to a play from the comedia de figurón tradition popular in the seventeenth century: Un bobo hace ciento (One Simpleton Makes a Hundred) by Antonio de Solís (1652). Un loco hace ciento tells the story of a father, don Pancracio, whose obsession with French fashion and customs has led him to give his daughter Inés in marriage to the Marqués de Selva-­Amena, who is obsessed with all things French, instead of keeping his promise to marry her to don Hipólito. Excessive consumption of foreign luxury items was typically a criticism directed at women. The 1788 Discurso sobre el luxo de las señoras (Discourse on the Luxury of Ladies) is an example of a text that is critical of women’s obsession with foreign fashion. Still, women were not the only ones accused of excessive consumption of luxury goods. Effeminate, French-­influenced men known as petimetres were frequent characters in the sainetes of Ramón de la Cruz, satirical newspaper texts and numerous visual representations by Goya and others (Haidt 1998 and 2011, Zanardi 2016). In Gálvez’s Un loco hace ciento, ­Hipólito – ­described as a ‘reserved and staunch Spaniard’ (reservado y

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acérrimo español) – is able to gain favour with Pancracio and win his daughter Inés’s hand in marriage by pretending to be more French-­ obsessed than the marquis. His ridiculous manner of speaking, full of incomprehensible Gallicisms (‘O Monsieur Don Pancracio, ó mon ami, serviteur tres-­humble’; scene X: 383), and the two trunks filled with extravagant clothes that he brings, impress Pancracio and the Marquis of Selva Amena. In the end, Hipólito reveals that his affectations were a trick, invented by Inés. The comedy closes with a declaration by Pancracio that if his story ‘serves to correct the obsessions of such extravagant people, the worries of a Spanish lady who loves her country will be rewarded, since exiling this defect is the reason she offers this little play to the public’ (scene XXI: 408).7 These closing words point not only to the pedagogical nature of Gálvez’s satire in this play (in line with Luzán’s idea of proper neoclassical comedy) but also to her important social role as a female composer of comedies. In the introductory ‘Advertencia’ to Un loco hace ciento, Gálvez includes among her motivations for writing her comedy that she seeks to correct the notion ‘that in Spain dramatic compositions cannot be made comparable in grace, liveliness, and dialogue, to those in this genre from other countries’ (Aa3).8 In addition to criticizing the obsession with French culture in a light and entertaining comedy to accompany her tragedy Ali-Bek, Gálvez sought, with this short play, to comment on the state of contemporary Spanish theatre, making her mark not only by criticizing the imitation of French plays, but also by connecting her comedy to the tradition of the Spanish comedia de figurón. Many elements of the play are typical of the comedia de figurón, especially the exaggerated figures of the father Pancracio and the Marquis of Selva Amena. Their mistaken behaviour is made visible to the audience when Hipólito gives his future father-­in-­law a special suit, which is described in the stage directions as follows: ‘going to the trunk, and taking out a suit embellished with letters in gold paper that spell out “one crazy makes one hundred”’ (scene XV, 393).9 Another point of contact between Gálvez’s play and previous plays like Solís’s Un bobo hace ciento is the crucial function of a letter, written by Inés to Hipólito, in which she suggests that ‘through ­artifice . . . ­and with a few moments of pretence you will gain sure possession of your faithful lover’ (scene XVIII: 399).10 Inés is author and director of this ‘artifice’, a play within a play, and, as such, becomes a stand-­in for María Rosa Gálvez herself. There are also multiple meta-­theatrical references that underscore the contribution that Gálvez hopes to make as dramatist. Although the male characters dominate the dialogue in this comedy, the play’s


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heroine Inés directs their actions. Furthermore, she is the one who determines the happy resolution of the conflicts through her letter. Her comedy has an actor (Hipólito), scenery (her house), props (the trunks of clothes) and outrageous costumes to complete her ‘artifice’. After reading the words ‘one crazy/makes a hundred’ (un loco/hace ciento) printed on the front and the back of Pancracio’s suit, the marquis exclaims ‘what a lovely title for a play’ (406).11 The audience laughs at the double irony, which makes reference to the play Un bobo hace ciento by Solís while also underscoring Gálvez’s comedy Un loco hace ciento, her own ‘little piece’ (pequeña pieza/petite pièce).

Los figurones literarios, or How Women Get the Last Laugh The satirical comedy Los figurones literarios (Literary Figures) was published in the first volume of her three-­volume Obras poéticas (1804), but never produced on the public stage. As in Un loco hace ciento, in this play Gálvez combines elements of neoclassical and traditional comic forms, especially from the comedia de figurón, to communicate an Enlightenment social critique from a woman’s perspective. While the title of Un loco hace ciento evoked an intertextual reference to Solís’s previous comedia de figurón, this play directly names the object of its satire in its t­ itle – ­a group of male ‘literary figures’. Gálvez’s play highlights the plight of a young couple faced with the outrageous behaviour of their parents and their parents’ extravagant friends. The older characters in the play mistake their fascination with popular ­culture – ­from reading international gazettes, watching the sky for shooting comets, playing with magic lantern displays, to composing and performing absurdly pretentious d ­ rama – ­for true intellect and they favour shallow friends over family bonds. In the end, the young heroine Isabel brings her uncle don Panuncio (and, to a lesser extent, her mother doña Evarista) around to a wiser and more reasoned way of thinking and behaving, as well as convincing them to grant her hand in marriage to her cousin Alberto, the husband of her choosing. Yet beyond the idea of a woman’s right to choose her husband, there is another important object of the social satire in the play. Laughter and the power of comedy, in particular laughter by the central female character Isabel at the figurones literarios, not only satirize these figures and by extension a society enamoured of the spectacle of erudition they represent, but also satirize the spaces they ­inhabit – ­the uncle’s private study, as well as the theatre itself. In this way, comedy

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empowers women to break down barriers surrounding these exclusive spaces, so that they can bring order, reason and seriousness to them. In its criticism of pedantry, false erudition and poorly written literature, Gálvez’s Los figurones literarios joins other satirical works by Spanish Enlightenment writers, including José Cadalso’s 1772 Los eruditos a la violeta (False Intellectuals) and, notably, Leandro Fernández de Moratín’s 1792 La comedia nueva o el café. Gálvez’s play opens in the home of don P ­ anuncio – i­n his study, to be exact. Her stage directions are very precise: The scene is in Madrid, in the study of don Panuncio. A telescope, various busts, mathematical instruments, bookshelves with books, a table with a writing set and a large dictionary open on it, various paintings, unfolded maps on the floor, chairs; everything is extremely disordered. (237)12

The first characters on the stage, don Panuncio and his servant Lucas, enter with yet another object, a heavy armillary sphere that they struggle to move (act I, scene 1). Panuncio directs Lucas to prepare a separate room for the arrival of his niece and sister: PANUNCIO  Bring the painting easel in here so that nothing is left in

the north room LUCAS  Sir, for whom is that room then? DON PANUNCIO  For the feminine sex LUCAS My God, you mean we’re housing all women here? How confusing! (Act I, scene I, 241)13

Thus, the separation of male and female spaces is introduced from the beginning and the servant Lucas’s joke, which takes Panuncio’s use of ‘sexo femenino’ to mean all women and not just his niece Isabel and her mother Evarista, points beyond the comedy playing out on stage. In scene two of the same act, Panuncio’s friend don Epitafio (Mr Epitaph), the antiquarian, enters Panuncio’s study. Panuncio has promised his niece to Mr Epitaph, and Panuncio’s sister Evarista, who is obsessed with politics and reading international newspapers, has agreed to the marriage, seeing in it an opportunity for travel. Towards the end of the first act, another of Panuncio’s figurón friends, don Cilindro (Mr Cylinder), an inventor, carries in a magic lantern. These were popular eighteenth-­ century devices that projected an image onto a wall, but don Cilindro has dubbed his gadget a ‘linterna energúmena’ (lunatic’s lantern), perhaps mistaking energúmena for a


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more scientific-­sounding term (act I, scene VII: 270). Another friend, the Barón de la Ventolera (Baron of the Pinwheel) arrives, sprinkling his speech with French and pseudo-­French phrases and punctuating every sentence either with ‘rien de plus’ or its direct and nonsensical Spanish translation ‘nada de más’, while a fourth friend, don Esdrújulo (Mr Dactylic), recites his own ridiculous and convoluted poetry. Panuncio and his crazy friends, through their names, words, actions and the objects with which they interact, are certainly intended to elicit laughter from the audience. That audience laughter is cued by the young niece Isabel. At first, we see her smile, then laugh, at her uncle and her cousin and love interest Alberto when told of her engagement to don Epitafio. When Panuncio demands ‘What are you laughing at?’ Isabel responds ‘At a silly thing, at nothing. I suppose I’ve become a statue to adorn don Epitafio’s museum’ (act I, scene V: 261).14 Not only is Isabel unperturbed by her situation, she cracks a joke about it, comparing herself to a silly object in the collection of her antiquarian suitor. In the second act, Isabel continues to make light of her own situation and the men around her. After the young Alberto dramatically accuses Isabel of being ‘ungrateful’, ‘indifferent’ and accepting her new suitor with ‘smiling eyes’, Isabel responds with a laugh and reassures Alberto: ‘Some resolute effort, to deny my hand to an idiot!’ (act II, scene IV: 293).15 Isabel is in control of her own destiny and she directs Alberto to be in control of his too, suggesting that they bring his father around by having some fun at the expense of Panuncio’s crazy friends. The group gathers in the study to watch don Cilindro’s presentation of his linterna energúmena. Stage directions for this pivotal moment in Gálvez’s comedy show Isabel arranging the seats for the magic-­lantern spectacle, strategically seating herself next to Alberto. While don Cilindro prepares his device and describes the heroic scene they are about to observe, don Panuncio realizes that it is time for the comet to pass. The characters’ comical back and forth between the telescope and the magic lantern result in the baron accidentally breaking the lantern and none of them being able to see either the comet or don Cilindro’s presentation. When Evarista laments that they were unable to watch the lantern, Isabel assures her mother that ‘I’m having fun with other things dear mother’ (act II, scene X: 320).16 She then calmly tells her mother, her uncle and don Epitafio that she is not interested in don Epitafio’s marriage proposal. Don Epitafio storms off and don Panuncio is left exasperated by his sister and niece, as he was counting on don Epitafio’s support at the presentation of his play later that day.

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In the third act, the men have gone to the theatre to see don Panuncio’s play El contraste contrastado (Contrast Constrasted). Panuncio has signed his son Alberto’s name to his play and plans to reveal that he was the author only if it is successful. He is counting on the support of the remaining figurones. Alone in the house at the beginning of the act, Evarista comments to her daughter on the complete disorder in her brother’s house. Panuncio soon arrives from the theatre, his appearance as dishevelled as his home due to a quick escape from the theatre, where the crowd has rejected his play. The chaos continues as the other men return to the home, culminating in Alberto challenging the baron to a duel and insulting don Esdrújulo. When Esdrújulo, the last figurón left in Panuncio’s house, finally storms off, Isabel declares ironically (as indicated by the stage directions) ‘What a tremendous misfortune for this house’ (act III, scene XI, 359–60).17 A few lines later, after her mother suggests that Alberto write for the newspaper instead of the theatre, Isabel comments to the servant Lucas, ‘To each crazy person his own’ (Cada loco con su tema; act III, scene XI, 361), which is the last joke of the play. Isabel also has the last word. Panuncio instructs Lucas not to let anyone else into the house unless his niece approves and Isabel closes the play hand in hand with her mother and uncle, urging that ‘we use more reserve choosing our friends: since good and wise men are seldom found’ (act III, scene XII: 367).18 Isabel’s final words point to the apparent object of the play’s s­ atire – ­to criticize false pedants and to encourage true friendship, familial love and wisdom. However, Isabel’s central function in the play also points to another object of Gálvez’s s­ atire – ­theatre itself. Throughout this comedy, the central female character Isabel directs the actions of others (Alberto, her mother and ultimately her uncle). She visually directs the stage by arranging chairs, physically and metaphorically putting the other characters in their place. She also directs the audience’s response to the play’s comedy through her jokes, wisecracks and her own audible laughter. Thus, not only does the character Isabel have the last laugh in Gálvez’s Figurones literarios, but through her actions and words, she also represents a woman bringing order to the chaotic late Enlightenment Spanish stage.

Old-Fashioned Family Values and a New Role for Women in Familia a la moda Familia a la moda was publicly staged, first in the Caños theatre in 1805 and later, posthumously, in the Principe in 1807, but it was never


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published during Gálvez’s lifetime (Bordiga Grinstein 2003: 104). Ana María Díaz Marcos (2010) has highlighted its connections with Un loco hace ciento, not only in its criticisms of the obsession with French fashion, but also in its presentation of a patriotic cosmopolitanism that affirms Spain’s place as a civilized European nation. Establier (2006) has pointed out stylistic elements of the neoclassic comedia de costumbres and the comedia de figurón in this play, especially in the main character, the old country aunt, Guiomar. As in Figurones literarios, this play highlights certain contemporary social and cultural ­problems – i­n this case, the moral decadence and economic (in)stability of the middle class (Gies 2016). Despite its seemingly orthodox enlightened message about correcting these vices, it was censored by the ecclesiastic tribunal for being ‘a school of corruption and debauchery’ (escuela de la corrupción y el libertinage; Bordiga Grinstein 2003: 163), which Establier attributes to its new, more dissident, image of femininity (2006: 192). In this play, the rich widow Guiomar arrives in Madrid from the countryside to straighten out her gambling brother and neglectful petimetra sister-­in-­law, turn her nephew away from idleness and vice, and save her young niece Inés from the fate of either a bad marriage or life in a convent. The opening stage directions describe the setting where all the action of the play occurs as a ‘room adorned in the best modern style’ (sala adornada con el mayor gusto moderno). The play opens with a conversation between the servants, Teresa and Pablo, who are presented as laughable reflections of their employers, displaying both visually and verbally the decadence of their ‘modern’ family. Teresa is described as dressed ‘ridiculously in the French style’ (vestida a la francesa ridículamente), while Pablo, still in bed at nine in the morning, reflects the idleness of his superiors. This modern style is visually contrasted in scene two by the arrival of Guiomar, who is described as being dressed ‘richly in the old style’ (ricamente a lo antiguo). Contrasts between traditional (Spanish) and modern (French) dress and décor visually communicate the central dramatic conflict of the ­play – ­old-­fashioned family values versus the modern decadence that is causing the breakdown of the family. As the play unfolds, we realize that this fashionable family has squandered its money on pleasure: fancy clothes, extravagant food, trips to France, evenings spent dancing, and gambling. No one in the household works, not even the servants, and the family needs Aunt Guiomar’s money to maintain their lifestyle. The family structure has broken down: the son Faustino exhibits a lack of respect for his elders; the father Canuto is not a responsible and respected head of

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his household and is manipulated by outsiders and his own wife; and Madama de Pimpleas, interested only in her own pleasure, has neglected her duties to her husband and to her children. The main conflict in Familia a la moda is the conflict between two older ­women – ­Guiomar and her sister-­in-­law Madama de P ­ impleas – a ­ bout the destiny of the young Inés. Madama de Pimpleas, who describes herself as a ‘fine petimetra’ (petimetra fina; act 1, scene 11), is primarily concerned with French fashion. She is flattered by the fiancé she has secured for her daughter Inés, the Marqués de Altopunto, who also acts as her cortejo.19 The country aunt Guiomar, who is described by various characters as old, poorly dressed and ‘as ugly as a monster’ (fea como un vestiglo; act II, scene 1), serves as a foil for the Madama. Guiomar’s position as an outsider from the mountains certainly connect her with typical characters from the comedia de figurón tradition and yet, while her old-­fashioned, tell-­it-­like-­it-­is personality elicits laughter, she is not the object of social satire in this play; rather, her ‘fashionable family’ and their decadent behaviour are. The comic events of the play are centred around m ­ arriage – ­the existing marriage between don Canuto and Madama de Pimpleas, and potential marriages for Inés and Guiomar. The marriage between Madama and Canuto de Pimpleas represents the corruption of modern life, whereby a wife dominates her husband and neglects her duties to her children and her household. Her character, as Díaz Marcos has pointed out, is in contrast to portrayals of the ideal wife and mother in contemporary Enlightenment texts, including in Josefa Amar y Borbón’s 1790 Discurso de la educación física y moral de las mujeres (Díaz Marcos 2009: 338). Canuto, the henpecked husband, is controlled by his wife economically but also sexually. Díaz Marcos highlights references to Madama’s sexual dominance, alluded to in act I, first by the servants and later by Canuto himself, who explains to his sister that he tolerates his wife’s overbearing behaviour out of fear of being deprived of the ‘favours’ she gives him: ‘I must indulge her . . ., tell me who will favour me if I don’t oblige her?’ (act I, scene VIII).20 Madama de Pimpleas seeks to use her sister-­in-­law’s money for her own benefit. While she is initially opposed to a marriage between her cortejo friend (and lover) the marquis and her daughter, the marquis points out that, with the dowry Guiomar will give Inés, he could pay off his debts and continue his relationship with the Madama unfettered. He reassures her: ‘Do not fear that I may dedicate my oblations to another deity’ (act II, scene IV).21 The sexual innuendo in her interaction with the marquis, comments alluding to her sexual dominance over her husband and other comments she makes about her daughter’s


Elizabeth Franklin Lewis

young suitor Carlos and his ‘handsome figure’ (tiene muy buena figura; act 1, scene IV) may have sparked audience laughter, but these ‘dirty’ jokes were also certainly the basis of the ecclesiastical censorship of the play. Madama promotes marriage with the Marqués de Altopunto and opposes a more suitable match with the sensible young Carlos, but Guiomar threatens to re-­marry herself if Inés cannot wed Carlos, thus jeopardizing the inheritance the family was hoping for. While Madama de Pimpleas is incredulous in the face of Guiomar’s threat – ‘Marry, at her age!’ (¡Casarse en su edad!) – Canuto reminds them that her wealth would be enough to make any man happy (act II, scene XI). Her riches certainly attract one man, the womanizing singing instructor Trapachino, who explains to the servant (and his lover) Teresa at the end of the second act: ‘her riches are infinite, but you don’t need to worry, because you alone will be my favourite sultana’ (act II, scene XIV).22 He plays along throughout the third act, thinking that he has won Guiomar’s heart, but it is Guiomar who is stringing Trapachino along, as she explains in an aside to the audience: ‘this rascal amuses me, because he thinks he is fooling me’ (act III, scene IX).23 These two opposing models of f­emininity – o ­ ne seeking power for personal pleasure and the other using power to benefit her f­amily – ­highlight women’s influence within the traditional family structure. In the end, Guiomar corrects the misbehaviour of her brother, sister-­ in-­law and nephew. She also paves the way for a happy marriage and future for her niece Inés by promising an inheritance to her. Guiomar pronounces the play’s closing words and its moral: ‘may no one be tempted to imitate in their nonsense, all the ridiculousness of a fashionable family’ (act III, scene XII).24 Instead of ridiculing an old-­fashioned country aunt, the audience is encouraged through comedy to reject the nonsensical and ridiculous behaviour of this fashionable family. Guimoar is, as her name suggests, a wise guide who reins in the decadent and morally corrupt lives of her brother and sister-­in-­law, and serves as mentor and guardian to her nephew and especially her niece Inés, filling the maternal role that Madama de Pimpleas does not fill.

Conclusion: Tradition and Modernity in Gálvez’s Comic Heroines We have seen how María Rosa Gálvez combined elements of Spanish traditional popular theatre from the comedia de figurón with the newer neoclassic comedy to comment on contemporary social issues, such as

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the obsession with foreign fashion, false pedantry and the breakdown of middle-­class family values. In each play, women are key to the resolution of the conflicts and the correction of negative behaviours and attitudes. In Un loco hace ciento and Los figurones literarios, young women restore order and orchestrate their own happiness through their choice of marriage partner, overcoming the short-­sighted folly of the men around them. While, in these first two plays, male figurones are the objects of her social satire, in her later comedy La familia a la moda, Gálvez takes a typical figurón ­character – ­an aged, old-­fashioned country relative out of step with modern ­society – ­and turns the comic tables, making her not an object of ridicule, but rather a wise matriarch who corrects the ills of the modern family. Gálvez’s inversion of the traditional comic structures of the comedia de figurón unite young and old ­women – ­the niña with the vieja – to create, at least within marriage and the family, not only a happy ending, but also the younger generation’s future happiness. In his introduction to this volume, Antonio Calvo Maturana (citing Kotthoff 2006, Greenbaum 1997 and Walker 1998, among others) discusses the gendered nature of humour, with women typically playing passive roles, often the objects and not the subjects of comedy, at least until the modern age. María Rosa Gálvez’s comedies demonstrate that women, even women living in Spain over two centuries ago, used comedy and laughter to have their voices heard and to express their views on contemporary issues. Gálvez’s comic female characters literally laugh out loud, their unusually audible laughter on stage signifying women’s agency. Additionally, the strong meta-­theatrical association between her commanding female characters and Gálvez as a female playwright carved out a space for women’s voices in the male-­dominated theatre. Nonetheless, Enlightenment Spain was not ready to accept a woman as the author of social order, neither as a character on stage nor as the dramatist behind the scenes. A year after the debut of La familia a la moda, Leandro Fernández de Moratín would reserve that role for a man, the ageing hero don Diego in El sí de las niñas, and María Rosa Gálvez would die in relative obscurity at the age of thirty-­eight. Elizabeth Franklin Lewis is Professor of Spanish and Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Mary Washington, USA, specializing in women and gender in Spain’s Enlightenment period. She is the author of Women Writers in the Spanish Enlightenment (Ashgate, 2004) and co-­editor of Eve’s Enlightenment: Women’s Experience in Spain and Spanish America, 1726–1839 (LSU Press, 2009), with Catherine


Elizabeth Franklin Lewis

Jaffe, and The Routledge Companion to the Hispanic Enlightenment (2019), with Mónica Bolufer Peruga and Catherine Jaffe.

Notes Elizabeth Franklin Lewis is a member of the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’ (Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today; HAR2017-­84635-­P) financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.   1. María Rosa Gálvez was part of a famous and well-­positioned family from Malaga with strong political ties to the Bourbons. See Jones (1995), Bordiga Grinstein (2003), Luque and Cabrera (2005) and Martín-­Valdepeñas (2017) for information on Gálvez’s family history and biography.  2. Of the three comedies studied here, Un loco hace ciento premiered in 1801 at the Teatro Príncipe and Familia a la moda appeared at the Caños del Peral theatre in 1805. Galvez also saw two of her translations and a tragedy staged at the third official theatre in Madrid, the Teatro de la Cruz. See Bordiga Grinstein (2003), apéndice D.  3. ‘estoy bien segura de que la posteridad no dejará acaso de dar algún lugar en su memoria a este libro, y con esto al menos quedarán en parte premiadas las tareas de su autora.’ This and all translations from Spanish to English are my own.   4. I cite, when possible, editions of texts published during Gálvez’s lifetime. All of her published and unpublished works, along with contemporary studies of her works and life, as well as other information and documents, are available on a special portal dedicated to Gálvez on the website Cervantes Virtual (Establier 2013).   5. ‘La comedia, pues, a mi parecer, como quiera que otros la definan, es una representación dramática de un hecho particular y de un enredo de poca importancia para el público, el cual hecho y enredo se finja haber sucedido entre personas particulares o plebeyas con fin alegre y regocijado; y que todo sea dirigido a utilidad y entretenimiento del auditorio, inspirando insensiblemente amor a la virtud y aversión al vicio, por medio de lo amable y feliz de aquélla y de lo ridículo e infeliz de éste.’   6. Other important female playwrights of the period include María Lorenzo de los Ríos, Marquise of Fuerte-­ Híjar; Rita Barrenechea, Countess of Carpio; Isabel Morón; Mariana Cabañas; and Joaquina Comella (García Garrosa 2007).   7. ‘sirve para corregir la preocupación de las personas extravagantes, quedarán premiados los desvelos de una Española amante de su nación, que por desterrar este defecto, ofrece esta pequeña pieza a la diversión del público.’  8. ‘que no podrían hacerse en España composiciones ­ dramáticas . . .

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c­ omparables en gracias, viveza y diálogo, a las que de este género han venido de otros países.’   9. ‘yendo al cofre, y sacando un vestido guarnecido de letras de papel dorado que digan “Un loco hace ciento”.’ 10. ‘por medio del ­artificio . . . ­y por pocos instantes de fingimiento tienes segura la posesión de tu fiel amante.’ 11. ‘¡qué bello título para una petite pièce!’ 12. ‘La escena es en Madrid, en el estudio de la casa de DON PANUNCIO. Habrá en él un telescopio, varios bustos, instrumentos de matemáticas, estantes con libros, mesa con escribanía, un diccionario grande abierto en ella, varias pinturas, mapas desdoblados por el suelo, sillas; todo en el mayor desorden.’ 13. ‘PANUNCIO Ve a traer el caballete de la pintura, y que nada quede en el cuarto del norte. LUCAS Pues, señor, aquella sala, ¿para quién es? DON PANUNCIO Para el sexo femenino. LUCAS ¡Dios de mi alma! ¿Conque a todas las mujeres tendremos aquí alojadas? ¡Qué greguería!’ 14. ‘De una friolera; de nada. Vamos; si ya me figuro me he convertido en estatua para adornar el museo de don Epitafio.’ 15. ‘¡Grande esfuerzo de resolución! Negar mi mano y mi amor a un necio.’ 16. ‘con otras cosas, madre mía, me divierto.’ 17. ‘Tremenda desdicha para esta casa.’ 18. ‘para elegir los amigos y usemos de más reserva: pues hombres de bien y sabios son pocos los que se encuentran.’ 19. The practice of the cortejo, whereby a married woman took on a suitor who was not her husband to accompany her socially, was the subject of Carmen Martín Gaite’s 1972 study Usos amorosos del dieciocho en España, published in English as Love Customs in Eighteenth-Century Spain in 1991. 20. ‘sé que indulgente he de ser, . . . pues ¿quién, dime, me ha de obsequiar si no soy muy complaciente?’ 21. ‘no temais que a otra deidad mis oblaciones dedique.’ 22. ‘Su riqueza es infinita; mas no tienes que temer, porque tú sola has de ser mi sultana favorita.’ 23. ‘Este bribón me divierte, porque piensa que me engaña.’ 24. ‘que a nadie acomoda/imitar en sus sandeces/todas las ridiculeces/de una familia a la moda.’


Elizabeth Franklin Lewis

References Álvarez Barrientos, Joaquín. 2005. ‘Neoclassical versus Popular Theatre’, in David Gies (ed.), Cambridge History of Spanish Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 333–42. ——. 2015. Ilustración y neoclasicismo en las letras españolas. Madrid: Síntesis. Anderson, Misty G. 2002. Female Playwrights and Eighteenth-Century Comedy: Negotiating Marriage on the London Stage. New York: Palgrave. Andioc, René. 1976. Teatro y sociedad en el Madrid del siglo XVIII. Madrid: Fundación Juan March. Bordiga Grinstein, Julia. 2003. La rosa trágica de Málaga: vida y obra de María Rosa de Gálvez. Anejo 3, Dieciocho: Hispanic Enlightenment 26(1), Spring. Díaz Marcos, Ana María. 2009. ‘Viejas ladinas, petimetras finas: (des)obediencia y transgresión en La familia a la moda de María Rosa Gálvez’, Dieciocho: Hispanic Enlightenment 32 (2): 333–50. ——. 2010. ‘Ciudadanos del mundo: cosmopolitismo, civilización y barbarie en Un loco hace ciento’, Anagnórisis: Revista de investigación teatral 1: 105–29. Di Pinto, Elena. 2007. ‘Las “hechuras” del figurón: (Entre bobos anda el juego, de Rojas Zorrilla, Un loco hace ciento, de María Rosa Gálvez)’, in Luciano García Lorenzo (ed.), El Figurón. Texto y puesta en escena. Madrid: Fundamentos, pp. 221–48. Establier Pérez, Helena. 2006. ‘Una dramaturgia feminista para el siglo XVIII: las obras de María Rosa Gálvez de Cabrera en la comedia de costumbres ilustrada’, Dieciocho: Hispanic Enlightenment 29(2): 179–203. ——. 2013. María Rosa de Gálvez. Alicante: Biblioteca Cervantes Virtual. Fernández, Olga. 2007. ‘Pervivencia y evolución de tipos y formas: de los figurones “especiales” de Cañizares al figurón “inexistente” de Iriarte’, in Luciano García Lorenzo (ed.), El figurón: Texto y puesta en escena. Madrid: Fundamentos, pp. 335–71. Gálvez, María Rosa de. 1801. Un loco hace ciento: Comedia en un acto en prosa para servir de fin de fiesta, in Teatro Nuevo Español. Tomo V. Madrid: Benito García y Compañía.​ ria_rosa_de_galvez/obra/la-­familia-­a-la-­moda-­comedia-­en-­verso-­en-­3-ac​ tos/. ——. 1804. Los figurones literarios: Comedia en tres actos, in Obras poéticas, Tomo I. Madrid: Imprenta Real, pp. 237–367. ——. 2001. La familia a la moda: Comedia en tres actos y en verso, ed. René Andioc. Salamanca Plaza Universitaria, 2001. Garrosa, María Jesús. 2007. ‘La creación literaria femenina en España en el siglo XVIII: un estado de la cuestión’, Cuadernos de Historia Moderna. Anejos 6: 203–19. ——. 2011. ‘La otra voz de María Rosa de Gálvez: las traducciones de una dramaturga neoclásica’, Anales de Literatura Española 23: 35–65. Gies, David. 2016. ‘María Rosa Gálvez de Cabrera, La familia a la moda (1805), and the Multiple Anxieties of Late Nineteenth-­Century Spain’, Studies in

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Honor of Roberta Johnson. Anales de la literatura española contemporánea 41(4): 149–72. Greenbaum, Andrea. 1997. ‘Women’s Comic Voices: The Art and Craft of Female Humour’, American Studies 38(1): 117–38. Haidt, Rebecca. 1998. Embodying Enlightenment: Knowing the Body in Eighteenth-Century Spanish Literature and Culture. New York: St Martin’s Press. ——. 2011. Women, Work, and Clothing in Eighteenth-Century Spain. Oxford: The Voltaire Foundation. Jones, Joseph R. 1995. ‘María Rosa de Gálvez: Notes for a Biography’, Dieciocho: Hispanic Enlightenment 18(2): 173–87. Kotthoff, Helga. 2006. ‘Gender and Humor: The State of the Art’, Journal of Pragmatics 38: 4–25. Lewis, Elizabeth Franklin. 2004. ‘Crying out for Feminine (Un)Happiness: María Rosa Gálvez’s Search for Sapphic Immortality’, in Women Writers in the Spanish Enlightenment: The Pursuit of Happiness. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 97–152. Luque, Aurora, and José Luis Cabrera. 2005. El valor de una ilustrada: María Rosa de Gálvez. Malaga: Instituto Municipal del Libro de Málaga. Luzán, Ignacio de. 1737. La poética o reglas de la poesía en general y de sus principales especies. Zaragoza: Francisco Revilla. Martín Gaite, Carmen. 1991. Love Customs in Eighteenth-Century Spain. Berkeley: University of California Press. Martín-­Valdepeñas Yagüe, Elisa. 2017. ‘María Rosa de Gálvez: nuevos datos para su biografía’, Dieciocho: Hispanic Enlightenment 40(1): 7–28. Walker, Nancy. 1988. A Very Serious Thing: Women’s Humor and American Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Zanardi, Tara. 2016. Reframing Majismo: Art and Royal Identity in EighteenthCentury Spain. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

Chapter 4

When Women Are on Top Humour, Politics and Pornography in Goya’s Swings Javier Moscoso

¡ Introduction At the beginning of the twentieth century, two cultural theorists reflected on what makes a joke funny. Both Sigmund Freud and Henri Bergson came to the conclusion, albeit in different ways, that jokes, like Marx’s merchandise, hide a metaphysical secret: a truth that, when revealed, moves us to laughter. The swing, today found in children’s playgrounds, also hides a forgotten secret that no longer amuses anyone. Although usually associated with simple children’s games, the swaying of a suspended body has been at the centre of the most common form of humour. The joke is based on the fact that the ritualized experience of swinging, whatever its social function, has always been related more to sex and death than to childhood (Moscoso 2021). Both aspects were represented in the work of Francisco de Goya (1746–1828). The painter showed interest in the swing on different occasions and in different formats. His canvases, engravings and drawings demonstrate a thematic evolution in which the most primary elements of oscillation, those that make the joke possible, merge and converge. In one of the most disturbing drawings on the subject that Goya ever produced, a naked figure balances on a swing made of children’s bodies that are joined together by their feet and hands. Known as The Witches’ Swing, this sanguine preparatory work for one of the Caprichos, which was never engraved, also hides a secret. On the other side of the page, the reverse, written in such a way that the message can only be read by turning the drawing upside down, we find the following sentence: ‘This Canvas on which Goya / So much the Brush stands out, / Representing Bayeu, / He makes both of them immortal.’1 We leave it to scholars of Goya to delve into the possible meaning of

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Figure 4.1  Francisco de Goya, Columpio de brujas, preparatory drawing, 1797. Madrid, Museo del Prado. Wikimedia Commons.



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this obscure message. For our purposes, it is enough to emphasize the (material) circumstance that the sentence is a ciphered text that can only be read when the hierarchy of space is reversed, that is to say, as in the best jokes, when the top is down and the bottom is up (figure 4.1).

The Gallant Swing and Its Symbolic Function As in Fragonard’s ­painting – ­probably the most famous representation of the swing in European h ­ istory – F ­ rancisco de Goya reclaims an instrument that by the late seventeenth century had already achieved great popularity. ‘From the moment some women decided to renounce the use of their legs, the escarpolette [the swing] has become very fashionable’, the French physician and bookseller Charles-­ Joseph Panckoucke wrote ironically in his Dictionnaire de sciences médicales in 1815 (Panckoucke 1815: 271). Beyond medicine, the swing invaded the European cultural landscape and its presence was overwhelming in both the fine and the decorative arts. Wallpaper, for example, featured it frequently, as did fans, card games and tea services. The artefact was part of the European imagination, especially since Antoine Watteau, the last of the great French baroque artists, praised the activity of swinging, which was linked to popular festivals and became part of the stylish taste and entertainment of the nobility and the bourgeoisie. In his best-­known work on the subject, Les bergers (The Shepherds), the viewer is subjected to a double joke of deception. On the one hand, while the true shepherd is shown fleetingly with his sheep, the nobles, disguised as shepherds, are given prominence. On the other hand, the scene is only apparently innocent: a couple dance a minuet at the same time as a young man puts his hand in the neckline of his companion and a dog licks its own genitals with relish. The first painting that Goya produced on the subject was also imbued with this form of deceptive humour in which nothing is what it seems. As in the case of Watteau, the first work that Goya devoted to the s­ ubject – a ­ n oil on canvas painted in 1779 that was to serve as the basis for a set of tapestries designed for the Palacio del Pardo in ­Madrid – a ­ lready tangentially explored the theme of eroticism through the gaze of the men who, situated at the back of the scene, watched the swaying of the children’s nursemaids with interest. A little bit further away, the shepherds serve to give meaning to this form of carnival, during which the members of the upper social strata, disguised as shepherds, have fun as shepherds and swing like shepherds do.

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Figure 4.2  Francisco de Goya, El columpio, 1779. Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado. Wikimedia Commons.



Javier Moscoso

Even though it is his best-­known work on the subject, this 1779 canvas is not the only painting that Goya dedicated to the subject. Some years later, in 1787, he created a different version for the decoration of the Casa of the Osuna. Like good nobles à la mode, this family commissioned a swing scene for their country home. In describing his work, the artist noted that those observing the young woman swinging between two trees ‘were gypsies’, a comment that further emphasized the way in which the instrument caused confusion and suggested danger. To accentuate this, the painter introduced a disruptive element: the knot of the rope that holds the young woman ­swaying – ­perhaps a metaphor for v­ irginity – s­ eems to be about to break. Both the pioneering work of Watteau and the works of Goya underline that, even in the most gallant forms of representation, the referential field of the swing was full of lascivious connotations. Lovers of metaphors have never had difficulty associating this artefact with the material culture of sex. Its uses are tangible and even ­today – ­perhaps more than ­ever – ­there are numerous examples of swings for such sexual uses on the adult toy market. This secret of swaying came about in two different ways. Firstly in a way that could be considered medical-­ mechanical: the swing has been used since ancient times for its ability to promote the expulsion of sweat and other liquids, including seminal fluids. With the arrival of the swing in the European garden, people had to face the fact that the same device that was used as a remedy for some organic diseases could also frequently be found in brothels. In the anonymous text Letters to a Father of a Family, the writer addressed his father in these terms: ‘I have not told you about the Parisian brothels, true places of bad living from which it is impossible to leave chaste. There are swings in which women sway themselves in public’ (Anonymous 1789: 42). This relationship between the oscillation of the body and an increase in sexual potency was so established that, by the end of the eighteenth century, a German pornographer considered the swing an ideal remedy for impotence (Anonymous 1798: 211–12). Since sexual health depended on the correct circulation of nutrients in the blood, excesses had to be compensated for by shaking and compressing different parts of the body. Following the logic of this Galenic tradition, the wealthiest classes could find a solution to the retention of fluid in boat or carriage trips, but popular classes found in the swing a convenient substitute, in which one could copulate at a trot or at a gallop, depending on the circumstances. These sexual mechanics were represented in some of the most emblematic images that the English cartoonist Thomas Rowlandson produced on the subject (Rauser 2008; Heard 2013).

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Figure 4.3  [Thomas Rowlandson], A Naked Woman on a Swing, Watched by Male Musicians. Coloured print by a follower of Thomas Rowlandson. Wellcome Library.



Javier Moscoso

In the case of Goya, the movement of the swing emphasizes its symbolic rather than its mechanical functions. In Los Caprichos series, there are two prints specifically dedicated to the subject and we also find some examples in other drawings for the so-­ called Bordeaux Engravings. In both cases, the sexual uses of the artefact depend not so much on the physics of movement as on the logic of the transposition. The swing’s sexual secret concerns not only the distinction between inside and outside, but also the much more subtle correspondence between up and down. The coming and going of the machine affects the hierarchy in which women take the (sexual) top position. There is no better summary of this logic of sexual transposition in Goya’s work than Capricho 62, ‘Who would believe it!’ (¡Quién lo creyera!). In this picture, the reversal of sexual roles coincides with the world of witchcraft and death. What makes the joke possible is the relationship between the machine and the sexual position known since ancient times as venus pendula, whereby the woman swings on the man’s penis. The history of this sexual posture has long been linked to ritual forms of swinging, often with the aid of a machine. In Apuleius’ Metamorphoses, where the expression was coined, the love affairs between the protagonist Lucius and Photis take place precisely through this exercise of transposition in which she, promoting the idea of amor militaris, takes the dominant position. Written around the middle of the second century ad, the story of how the young Roman Lucius was not only turned into an ass, but also used as a sexual horse, is based on the social meaning of the woman who rides on a penis or, as the poet Martial called it, on a petaurus, that is to say, on the instrument that the ancient Romans called the swing (Apuleius, book II: 17). Hence, Juvenal’s phrase, according to which ‘there is no greater pleasure than being thrown into the air by the force of a petaurus’, acquires a new meaning (Juvenal 2010). According to the classic erotology manual of the scholar Michael Forberg, written in the middle of the nineteenth century, the position ‘in which the roles are interchanged, so that the woman takes the role of the rider and the man of the horse’, is called ‘Hector’s horse’ (Forberg 1884: 25). Whatever its denomination, the history of this sexual position is continually interwoven with the history of the swing. The comedian Aristophanes, for example, referred to this sexual position at the beginning of his Lysistrata. Calonice, one of the protagonists, explains that the women from Thebas will arrive late, because ‘at dawn they have spread their legs to get on t­he . . . ­boats’. The Greek word keles, which refers to a saddle and by extension to everything related to the riding of animals and artefacts, also

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has a clear sexual connotation. The Theban women will arrive late because they were swinging with their legs wide open in the morning. Hector’s horse was also the favourite posture of Lysidice, the famous hetera who enjoyed dominating men by mounting them. Asclepiades of Samos, a Greek lyric poet of the fourth century bc, wrote in one of his epigrams that ‘she had ridden many stallions without ever reddening her. It refers to Lysidice’sthighs with the swing (Guichard 2004: 183). In the Roman world, the way in which swinging was related to sexual activity found one of its first forms of expression in the novel known as Satyricon, attributed to the Roman writer Petronius. Written in the times of the Emperor Nero, in the first century, the story is based on the search for a remedy for the imissio penis to which the god Priapus condemned the protagonist. Near the end of the book, Encolpius, as he was called, regains his sexual strength as he watches a young woman make love to an old man in the swing posture. ‘Praised be the mightiest gods who have restored my coveted manhood!’ he exclaimed (Petronius 1913: 373). During the Renaissance, it was up to Giulio Romano, a disciple of Raphael de Urbino, to revitalize a classification that was no less basic because it was old. Despite working for Pope Clement, this painter delivered to the press sixteen erotic designs that corresponded with the illustrations on the apoditerium of Pompeii and with the teachings of Elephantis, a first-­century bc poet famous for having written a book on sexual positions. The modi, as they came to be called, were finally distributed in the form of engravings in 1524 and, despite the scandal they caused, they were soon accompanied by the equally obscene sonnets of Pietro Aretino, the most famous of the Renaissance pornographers. In Romano’s illustrations, the swing position features a small-­winged Cupid cheekily showing his buttocks to the two lovers. It is also the only one of all the postures in which the lovers use a mobile p ­ latform – ­that is, a stroller or a swing. Through the use of the machine, the lovers swing, so to speak, twice. On the one hand, it is the male’s body that serves as a mount, as in Petronius’ Satyricon or Martial’s Epigrams. On the other hand, it is Cupid himself who pushes the stroller. Forming an inverted plank with his body, supported by his feet and hands, the man offers his sex to the woman, who introduces it into her body with one hand while holding a harness attached to the neck of her lover with the other. In the verse corresponding to the posture, the man this strange correspondence between the postures and the verses, the man recriminates the unpleasantness of his posture, which not even a mule could maintain. Although he begs Cupid not to pull the car anymore,


Javier Moscoso

since he prefers ‘fotter in potta, e non in culo’ (to fuck in the pussy and not in the ass), he also complains, bearing his weight on his hands and feet, that even the most stubborn of horses could not endure such a position for long. The obsession with the mulier equitans, with the equestrienne, the horsewoman or horsebreaker, with the modern jinetera, re-­emerges again in the Victorian world. For the scholar scholar of prostitution Michael Harrison, for example, a good prostitute had to master two jobs: mounting their clients and fleecing her client (Harrison 1971). Far from being a position that has not received attention in other cultures, both the ‘swing posture’ and the swing as a metaphor for a sexual posture appear, explicitly or symbolically, in various cultures worldwide, with an influence that extends from the China Sea to the Americas. In one of the most erotic novels of all time, Jin Ping Mei, a work first published in China in 1617, some of the young women practise swinging during the Spring Festivals. It was in such circumstances that Mr Jou’s daughter was thrown off the swing, ‘with such bad luck that she lost her virginity’ (Jin Ping Mei: 506). Likewise, in the Pavilion of the Peonies, a play written by Tang Xianz in 1598, the young lover Du Liniang, the same young girl who would spend her moments of amorous reverie ‘drawing swings in the gardens’, loses her virginity in the swing garden (Tang: 98). In the story of the young Chun’hyang, one of the most popular stories in Korea, the protagonist falls in love the day he sees Spring Perfume ‘rocking’ for the first time. A very similar situation is found in the great treatises of love arts of the Asian subcontinent. In the Sanskrit compendium on love, the Kamasutra, written by the sage Vatisiviana between the third and fifth centuries, the swing posture, which is called purishayita, bears an enormous similarity with the Roman descriptions and Renaissance treatises. In all cases, and here we return to Goya, the position of the ­swing – ­in which the woman rocks on the male’s penis (petaurus) – not only represents a traditional inversion of social roles, but also seems to be linked to a danger capable of disrupting and (more graphically) inverting the natural and social order. Goya makes evident that strange correlation between disorder, sexuality and death. This dramatic form of subversion can be identified in the West both in a sexual activity and in the political criticism of the popular festival that in the modern world we call ‘Carnival’. As in other ritualized activities, the swing encourages the exchange of roles between those above and those below, whether the roles be social roles, such as those represented in the scenes of gallant parties, or sexual positions, in which women claim

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the autonomy of their pleasure at the cost of ridiculing and deriding those who serve as their horses. Goya represented the figure of the romper in a work from the late eighteenth century with his legs to one side, flying in space in the manner of a being that has lost the last trace of solvency. Modern ethnography has amply accounted for the way in which this life-­size straw doll provided entertainment for young women in Madrid during the time of Carnival (Fraile Gil 2007: 207–28). Tossing a puppet in a blanket, like swinging, was part of a culture of transposition in which the female population gave the puppet the same humiliating treatment that was given to dogs at the time. The deep-­rooted custom in modern Spain of tossing dogs in a blanket in the period immediately before Lent, known as carnestolendas, was followed, in the eighteenth century, by the tradition of tossing a Judas doll, which would, in the previous century, have been dressed in a grim black suit. Both in its secular and religious aspects, the festival clearly had a denigrating intention and involved, in many cases, satirical verses of explicit sexual content: Estaba el pelele muy empelelao, se tienta lo suyo, lo tiene arrugao; lo da con el dedo, lo quiere bullir y el pobre pelele se quiere morir. [The poor dummy feels miserable. He tempts his thing, but it is wrinkly. He touches it with his finger; he wants it to budge. The poor dummy wants to die.]

In a different version of the scene, contained in the series known as Los Disparates, Goya not only represents two puppets tossed in a blanket by five girls, but also hides the figures of a man and a crouching donkey inside the blanket, in the manner of a visionary dream. Far from stopping at a mere morphological similarity, Goya delved into the world of functional metaphor that only came to be theorized at the beginning of the twentieth century. Girls in France, sexologist Havelock Ellis explained, love to ride wooden horses less for play than for the implicit pleasure of arousal. The stick they hold between their legs, he reasoned, is the same one that witches sat on in the late Middle Ages. The same kind of practice takes place in some temples in India, where men and women swing in pairs until they reach sexual climax. During the times when men in these villages had to be absent, women tended to swing themselves ‘to console themselves for the absence of their husbands’ (Ellis 1901: 120).


Javier Moscoso

Figure 4.4  Francisco de Goya, Disparates, I Disparate femenino, 1815–19. Madrid, Museo del Prado. Wikimedia Commons.

By Way of Conclusion An adequate understanding of the paintings, drawings and engravings that Goya dedicated to the subject of the swing necessitates entering into the sinuous history of an instrument of substitution, the uses of which have historically been associated with rituals of (sexual and class) transposition. It is important to remember that rites of social reversal affect large population groups in which there is a symbolic ­inversion – ­but not only ­symbolic – ­between ‘those below’ and ‘those above’. The difference between these two social groups is structural or primary. In other words, this difference is not an occasional characteristic, such as that distinguishing the child from the adult or the learner from the teacher. In contrast to rites of initiation (or elevation), – like those that take place during the reading of a doctoral thesis, for ­example – r­ ituals of social reversal depend on an unequal social structure, as well as a rigid social hierarchy. At least once a year, those who are structurally ­subordinate – w ­ omen, in this ­case – ­and not only occasionally inferior, will experience the pleasure of questioning their

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own position, especially in those societies in which kinship structure is based on a strict patrilineal system (Turner 1966). As part of a female culture, and long before the swing reached the children’s playground, the artefact was the prerogative of the woman, the virgin or the witch. From the point of view of its emotional construction, the movement of oscillation recalls ancient tragedy, in which the principles of modern subjectivity were not yet developed. Goya was able to glimpse the emotional sources from which swinging emerges: from the sexual position known as venus pendula to the broomstick that also served, like the petauro, to ‘exile oneself from the body’. It is through this exercise of transposition that women, at least once a year, meet, dance and swing relentlessly on their brooms, their goats, their sticks or their penises. The swing prank hinges on the revelation of that secret. The sexual posture in which women use men as a mount, in which they ride on and use men as if they were a broomstick, the back of a goat or the chair of a swing, takes place in the interstices of humour and politics. Javier Moscoso is Research Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at the Institute of History of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). His book, Pain: A Cultural History, was published in Spain by Taurus in October 2011. The English version, published by Palgrave Macmillan, was released in October 2012. The French edition received the Libr’à nous award for the best history book of 2015 from French booksellers. His second major book, Promesas incumplidas: Una historia política de las pasiones (Broken Promises. A Political History of the Passions), was published in September,2017. Director of HIST-­EX, a Spanish group of scholars and artists exploring the history of emotions, Moscoso has turned his attention to the study of subjective and global experiences. He has recently published A History of the Swing in both Spanish (Taurus) and English (forthcoming by Reaktion Books).

Note 1. ‘Este Lienzo en que de Goya / Tanto el Pincel sobresale, / Representando á Bayeu, / A los dos hace inmortales.’


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References Anonymous. 1789. Lettres à un père de famille sur les petits spectacles de Paris, par un honnête homme. Paris: Garnéry. Anonymous. 1798. Amors experimental-physikalisches Taschenbuch: Erstes Bändchen mit Kupfen. British Library, Private Case, 31.i.12, sect, 8. Aristophanes. Lisistrata, v. 60. Brendel, Otto J. 1970. ‘The Scope and Temperament of Erotic Art in the Greco-­ Roman World’, in Theodore Bowie and Cornelia V. Christenson (eds), Studies in Erotic Art. New York: Basic Books. Cameron, Alan. 1981. ‘Asclepiades’ Girlfriends’, in Helene P. Foley (ed.), Reflections on Women in Antiquity. New York: Gordon and Breach, pp. 275–302. Panckoucke, Charles-­Joseph (ed.). 1815. ‘Escarpolette’, in Dictionnaire de sciences médicales. Paris, vol. 16. Ellis, Havelock. 1901. Studies in the Psycology of Sex, vol. I., The Evolution of Modesty, the Phenomenon of Sexual Periodicity, Auto-Erotism. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company. Forberg, Friedrich Karl. 1884. Manual of Classical Erotology (De figuris veneris). Manchester: Julian Smithson and Friends. Fraile Gil, José Manuel. 2007. ‘Peleles y coplas de carnaval madrileño’, Revista de Dialectología y Tradiciones Populares LXII, 2: 207–28. Guichard, Luis Arturo. 2004. Asclepíades de Samos, Epigramas y Fragmentos. Berlin: Peter Lang. Harrison, Michael. 1971. Fanfare of Strumpets. London: W.H. Allen. Heard, Kate. 2013. High Spirits, The Comic Art of Thomas Rowlandson. London: Royal Collection Trust. Jacobelli, Luciana. 1995. La pitture erotiche delle Terme suburbane di Pompei. Rome: L’Erma. Jin Ping Mei. 2011. Obra completa, trans. and ed. Alicia Relinque Eleta. Atalanta: Girona. Juvenal. 2010. Sátiras, ed. Francisco Socas Gavilán. Madrid: Cátedra. Moscoso, Javier. In press. Historia del columpio. Madrid: Taurus. Ovid. Arte de amar, III, v, 777–78. Petronius, Seneca. 1913. Satyricon. Apocolocyntosis, trans. Michael Heseltine and W.H.D. Rouse and revised by E.H. Warmington. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Rauser, Amelia. 2008. Caricature Unmasked: Irony, Authenticity and Individualism in Eighteenth Century English Prints. Newark: University of Delaware Press. Talvacchia, Bette. 1999. Taking Positions. On the Erotic in Renaissance Culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Tang Xiangzu. 2016. El pabellón de las peonías, trans. Alicia Relinque. Madrid: Trotta. Turner, Victor. 1966. The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press

Chapter 5

The Terrible and the Ridiculous in Goya’s Los Caprichos Manuel Á. Junco

¡ In promoting Los Caprichos, a series of prints he made in 1799, Francisco de Goya announced that he wanted to put a face on what was ridiculous in his society, using what he called ‘universal language’. Thus, he did not wish to simply express himself, as he usually did in his paintings, but rather to communicate to the general public a critique of the world he saw, influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment. This chapter studies the iconographic approaches taken in certain works in which the terrible and the ridiculous intersect and considers the curious relationship between judgements that are seemingly so opposed. In Los Caprichos, Goya establishes the conceptual bases for artists from the world of visual communication whose ingenuity is directed towards social reflection. He seems to be somewhat disillusioned with Reason and, at the same time, fascinated by a sinister world of spirits and witches that he purports to criticize.

The Ridiculous in Society At a vital moment, marked by convalescence after a serious illness as well as the important European events of the late eighteenth century, Francisco de Goya, the most renowned Spanish artist of his time, engaged in intense creative activity, producing critical images that were ideologically aligned with the select group of Spanish literati and enlightened philosophers that surrounded him.1 With the light of Reason, he proposed to combat the shadows cast by his society’s ignorance and superstition through visual work that was free from the restrictions of the assignment of a client. This is how the collection of Los Caprichos emerged, encompassing themes that were limited only by ‘his imagination’ and that were ‘suitable for supplying subject matter for the ridicule’ of human errors


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consecrated by ‘authority, ignorance, and self-­ interest’ (Diario de Madrid, 6/2/1799). In the late eighteenth century, European countries were experiencing the last rales of feudalism and the crisis of the absolute monarchies, the so-­called Ancien Régime, which the French Revolution brought to an end. In order to combat ignorance, institutional abuse and the rigid censorship upheld by religious ­law – ­in both Catholic and Protestant ­countries – t­hat was still obsessed with the persecution of heretics and witches, a movement of progressive intellectuals arose on the old continent and the American colonies. According to the ideology of the Enlightenment, Reason and simple, natural laws would lead both to the extension of knowledge and to social justice, having as a fundamental reference point the Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers. The Spanish Empire was in decline, despite the modernizing attempts of the enlightened kings of the eighteenth century, Fernando VI, Carlos III and Carlos IV. When Los Caprichos appeared, the court of the Inquisition was especially attentive to the revolutionary ideas arising from France, Freemasonry, materialism and the influence of the Encyclopédie, while, for their part, enlightened thinkers saw incarnate in that tribunal the evils of political and religious oppression (García Cárcel and Moreno Martínez 2002: 195–213) and proposed that its authority simply pass to ordinary jurisdiction, forfeiting its religious character.2

A Primarily Communicative Visual Creation Two years before Los Caprichos, Goya produced an important group of drawings called Sueños, a reference to Francisco de Quevedo’s sarcastic reveries criticizing Habsburg Spain, which had been published one hundred and fifty years earlier. The sketch known as Ydioma Universal (figure 5.4), words that accompany his signature and the date, presents the first version of the famous El sueño de la razón produce monstruos (The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters). In it, besides including Sueño 1 in the heading, he writes along the bottom edge, ‘The author dreaming. His only intent is to banish harmful vulgarities and perpetuate with this work of whims solid testimony of the truth.’ Evidently, this image was intended for the frontispiece of Los Caprichos, even though it would ultimately become number 43 in the final version. In the advertisement for Los Caprichos published in the Diario de Madrid on 6  February 1799, Goya issued an emphatic position

The Terrible and the Ridiculous in Goya’s Los Caprichos


statement assessing the originality and freedom of these new creations, as well as explaining the ‘universal language’: Painting (like poetry) chooses in the universal that which it judges most suitable for its purposes: it gathers in a single fantastic figure circumstances and characters that nature presents as divided into many, and from this combination, ingeniously arranged, that felicitous imitation by which a good artist acquires the title of inventor and not of servile copier results.3

These prints will in no way be referential, then, since they omit the representation of something external in order to establish the uniqueness of their own discourse. Hence, the author posits a subjectivity that leads to each work being appreciated for its specific and unique meaning. Goya affirms, as we have seen, that painting ‘chooses in the universal that which it judges most suitable for its purposes’. Its originality, thus, involves moving away from the individual and offering what is generic and common to the general public. In other words, he does not wish to simply express himself, as he does in his usual artistic activity producing portraits and folk scenes, but rather to convey to the spectator a concrete criticism of the world that he sees. This type of creation leads him to fully communicative graphic expression, which gives rise to the problems associated with this strategy. The first such problem is the contextualization of the message to be transmitted, that is, ensuring that it is sufficiently well conceptualized for its effect to be understood by the group to which it is addressed. The viewer’s ease in recognizing the situation depicted requires that the situation be familiar so the viewer can understand the meaning of that which is generic in the collective memory, that registry of symbols and cultural archetypes. Following Leandro Fernández de Moratín in La comedia nueva (The New Comedy, 1792), Goya must ‘imitate nature in the universal, forming with many a single individual’ (Moratín 1970: 101). The ­promise – a ­ s we can read in the legend of Goya’s drawing Ydioma universal – to ‘perpetuate the testimony of the Truth’ implies his ‘commitment’ to reveal social reality through a conceptualization that is understandable to the viewer. It should be noted that ‘the ridiculous’ and ‘the truth’, in my opinion, are incompatible goals because mockery never seeks to discover what is authentic; rather, its prey is the absurd, the hypocritical and the false. That is, a satirical approach to apparent reality will never be philosophical and positive (offering what is true); rather, it will always be mocking and negative (uncovering the lie).4 Therefore, pursuing the truth leads Goya, as we will


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see later, to the terrible, while depicting the ridiculous leads him in another direction: towards the mocking. For the ridiculous to be made evident, adequate contextualization has to be accompanied by a transgression (a conceptual one involving unconventional provocative elements). This irreverence of the message is accompanied by images of a disrupted reality that is unequivocally imaginary and significantly removed from normal forms, so that the criticism is shown through the manifest inconsistency and fantasy of its visualization. The objective of substituting representative and imitative art with ‘shapes and attitudes that until now have existed only in the human mind, obscured and confused because of the lack of enlightenment’ and presenting that authentic reality, with the intention of being an original painter, ‘a creator of actions, scenes and human figures in lines, lights and shadows conceived in the universal language of unreason’ (advertisement for Los Caprichos, 1799), endow Goya’s images with forms characteristic of sub-­realistic expressionism.5 Along with the contextualization and the transgression of the figurative message, the reproduction of his w ­ ork – ­hitherto rare in the Spanish artistic world, with the exception of the international success of the engravings of the seventeenth-­century painter José R ­ ibera – ­adds another dimension that is characteristic of graphic communication: dissemination to the general public at a modest price. Following Rembrandt, Goya preferred etching and aquatint for printing, techniques that are freer and more autonomous than those involving the burin or engraver’s chisel, and in his later years he tried the more agile lithography typical of caricaturists. The conceptual ensemble he offers –visual fantasies, communicative methodology (contextualization + meaningful transgression) through a comprehensible figuration and social d ­ issemination – ­takes us to a graphic territory now considered typical of cartones (cartoons) or editorial images of the world of communication. Goya would have had to pay attention to another delicate aspect of his artistic approach: ensuring that his ‘solid truth’6 – or falsehood and ­hypocrisy – r­eaches the public, while avoiding suffering the serious reprisals that his activity could provoke from the contemporaries he criticized and in particular from the Tribunal of the Holy Office.7 In order to more clearly communicate his ideas, Goya had decided to accompany the images with brief titles explaining their meaning. The incorporation of words, as long as the message they convey is understandable, helps concretize a concept. Hence the epigraphs of each print; although, paradoxically and possibly due to censorship,

The Terrible and the Ridiculous in Goya’s Los Caprichos


Figure 5.1  Francisco de Goya, Caricatura alegre and Capricho 13, Están calientes. Calcografía Nacional. Wikimedia Commons.

sometimes the explanation given does the opposite by concealing the intention behind the image. One example of this is print 13, Están calientes (They Are Hot) (figure 5.1). Its title seems to refer to the porridge that the friars are eating, but in Goya’s preparatory drawing (Caricatura alegre [Cheerful Caricature]), the character in the foreground is endowed with a spectacularly phallic nose. Bearing in mind that ‘calientes’ (hot) has a sexual connotation in popular Spanish, Goya clearly decided to eliminate this visual reference, thus defusing the meaning of the title, revealing nothing to those unfamiliar with the previous drawing and ensuring the absolute innocuousness of this capricho. Along with certain titles so cryptic that they are incomprehensible, the figurative discourse of some images is characterized by great communicative ambiguity, despite the existence of three documents by Goya’s contemporaries (manuscripts from the Prado Museum, Ayala and the National Library; Jacobs et al. 2019) that comment on and often shed light on these meanings, at times even revealing details of Goya’s private life. For example, in the enigmatic print 61 Volaverunt (They Have Flown), Ayala’s comments and those of the National Library clarify that the protagonist is the Duchess of Alba, who ‘flew’


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from his side, referring to the finished romantic relationship between the painter and her noble model. Likewise, in 55 Hasta la muerte (Until Death), Goya’s contemporaries identified the well-­known Duchess of Osuna on the basis of her determination to appear young and beautiful despite her advanced age.

Terror, Mockery and Dreams Goya declares that the mission of Los Caprichos is to offer ‘subjects for ridicule’, understanding this last concept as ‘extravagancies and errors that are common in every civil society, . . . vulgar troubles and lies, authorized by custom, ignorance and self-­interest’, according to his explanation in the Anuncio (Advertisement). Although ridículo (ridiculous) may derive etymologically from the Latin ridiculus, which derives from ridere (to laugh), I fully agree with Goya’s explanation, because the concept of the ridiculous is not identified so much with the laughable as with the inconsistent and hypocritical.8 According to Goya’s criterion of reflecting ridiculousness in society, three main areas can be distinguished in the visual discourses of Los Caprichos: terror, mockery and dreams.

The Terrible There are scenes depicted in the prints of this collection that crudely exhibit the violent, irrational world of, as Goya states, a society degraded by ignorance, superstition and social injustice, for example, those corresponding to the autos de fe or those relating to various hardships of the time (figure 5.2). In the figurations included in this section, it does not occur to the artist to present the terrible as ridiculous because, as I stated previously, these are incompatible concepts. His goal is to directly denounce the dreadful reality of a backwards and unjust society, without any kind of satire. Thus, in this group of images, he creates an aseptic visual description of the reality he observes, trusting that the depiction of the terrible is sufficient denunciation. He reserves sarcasm for certain titles, if he employs it at all. The comments by Goya’s contemporaries provide us concrete facts from that time, giving us an insight into the intentions behind the etchings. According to them, print 23 Aquellos polvos (Those Specks of Dust) alludes to condemnation for supplying potions or powders for lovers. The other print dedicated to the Inquisition, print 24, No hubo

The Terrible and the Ridiculous in Goya’s Los Caprichos

Figure 5.2  Francisco de Goya, Lo terrible (The Terrible). Aquellos polvos (Those Specks of Dust), No hubo remedio (There Was No Cure), El amor y la muerte (Love and Death) and Porque fue sensible (Because She Was Sensitive). Calcografía Nacional. Wikimedia Commons.



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remedio (There Was No Cure), restricts itself, like the previous one, to describing without the slightest irony the shocking public display of a condemned woman. The contemporary comments are surprising not only because, in cases such as this, they do not criticize the scene, but also because they insult the victim. The comment from the Prado reads: ‘She deserves everything she gets, and if they do it to confront her, it is time wasted. No one can embarrass those who have no shame’ (Jacobs 2019). Print 74, No grites, tonta (Don’t Scream, Silly Girl), similarly casts doubt over whether the intention behind its explanation is to secure greater protection for its author from the consequences of his criticism. The despicable scene of a friar’s carnal harassment of a girl is mocked in the National Library manuscript: ‘they pretend that they are afraid, but they have nothing else and receive them with open arms.’ The capricho 10, El amor y la muerte (Love and Death), reflects the agony of the lover who was fatally struck in a duel and who is being held in the arms of his beloved, while 32 Porque fue sensible (Because She Was Sensitive) presents a woman incarcerated as a result of her sensitivity or carnal desire. These dramatic images contrast with others in which the terrible and the ridiculous are brought together in the bitter irony of their titles. Thus, the denunciation of a deplorable education in 25 Si quebró el cántaro (If the Pitcher Broke), the miseries of a commodified romantic life in 8 Que se la llevaron (They Carried Her Away), the sale of the teeth of the hanged in 12 A la caza de dientes (The Hunt for Teeth), the alcoholism in 18 Y se le quema la casa (And the House Burned Down Around Him), etc.

Mockery In this group of prints, the concept of the ridiculous announced by the artist appears in its entire range. These are scenes in which the grotesque and the absurd are embodied through ingenious graphic solutions, with caricatures, stereotypes and situations, which are recognizable because of the resource of the ‘universal language’, offering the distance provided by visual metaphors. We are presented with the extravagant unreality and fiction of the ridiculous. The communicative mechanism characteristic of graphic humour can be observed in these images (Álvarez-­Junco 2016). Once a known and familiar context is established, Goya makes a purposeful error or ‘intelligible defect’ in his discourse.9 His formal exaggeration or expressionist graphic approach makes the fantasy and subjectivity of his proposal clear. The accompanying titles usually complete the critical iconographic message. Figure 5.3 depicts a collection of linguistic resources through

The Terrible and the Ridiculous in Goya’s Los Caprichos


Figure 5.3  Francisco de Goya, Lo ridículo (The Ridiculous). Mocking graphic metaphors. Calcografía Nacional. Wikimedia Commons

which a translation or displacement of meaning from reality to the figure is carried out, thus establishing a direct analogy through an evident conceptual parallelism. These visual metaphors are revealed in the section dedicated to animal fables, a classic Aesopian resource widely used by Goya’s contemporary Enlightenment writers, both French and Spanish. The


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transgression consists in figuratively creating the fantasy of animals performing human actions. The so-­called Asnerías,10 transpositions in which donkeys perform obstinate human actions, make up the thirty-­ seventh to the forty-­ second Caprichos: Si sabrá más el discípulo (Might Not the Pupil Know More?), Bravísimo (Bravissimo!), Hasta su abuelo (And So Was His Grandfather), De qué mal morirá (Of What Will He Die?) and the comical Ni más ni menos (Neither More Nor Less), in which a monkey paints an elegant portrait of a presumptuous ass. The sixth and last of these transpositions, Tú que no puedes (You Who Cannot), alludes to the well-­known Spanish refrain that begins with those words and finishes with ‘take me in tow’. In this image, Goya transgressively reverses roles to criticize the inequality between the tax burdens of ordinary people and the exemptions granted to nobles. There are other scenes with animal references, with characters like chickens that are ‘desplumar’ or ‘descañonar’ (plucked): 19 Todos caerán (All Will Fall), 20 Ya van desplumados (They’re Already Plucked) and 21 Cual la descañona (How They Pluck Her!). Other transpositions include an audience fascinated by the speech of a parrot in 53 Qué pico de oro (What a Golden Beak) and the caricatured mockery of a bestial fantasy in 63 Miren qué graves (Look How Serious). In 50 Los Chinchillas (The Chinchillas), the artist uses the characters from a popular comedia de figurón by José de Cañizares that highlights the lack of culture of certain members of the nobility. The grotesque scene presents a visual melting pot of ‘universal’ narrative resources: an image of ignorance, blindfolded and with donkey’s ears, spoon-­ feeds those who are paralysed by their uniforms and hear nothing because of the padlocks that block their ears. Likewise, 26 Ya tienen asiento (They Are Already Settled Down) presents a visual inversion of the popular, well-­known saying ‘sentar la cabeza’, meaning behave reasonably, by placing the chairs on the characters’ heads.

The Terrible Together with the Ridiculous The reasons for the coexistence of terrible and mocking images in the same c­ ollection – t­ hat is, the juxtaposition of that which paralyses and that which activates the intelligence, of fear and jokes, of atrocity and jest, in a surprising dialectic of horror and a ­ musement – m ­ erit reflection. Juan José Millás, in line with other thinkers, comments that ‘humour, when it is good, is the other side of terror’ (Millás 2018). It is worth noting that Goya’s prints appeared during a period marked

The Terrible and the Ridiculous in Goya’s Los Caprichos


by both the French revolutionary Terror11 and the popularization of caricature, which we generically call graphic humour today. Laughter is common in situations of uncontrolled terror, according to studies carried out on primates and humans (Preuschoff 1997). Amused laughter is also linked to terrible situations as long as the paralysing circumstances are considered already overcome, distant and free from danger. The terrible, the serious and the threatening are the opposite of the mocking, the fictitious and the ridiculous. Our brain decides immediately whether something is one thing or the other, but never both, because the two are incompatible. Therefore, any threat perceived as unreal and false is no longer considered dangerous. Thus, a smile appears when one relievedly awakes from a nightmare, upon the achievement of a goal after a risky journey, upon remembering a worrisome episode in the past that ultimately did not have negative consequences, the joke that ends up friendly when it seemed a dangerous contingency. Such a smile also appears when a dramatic conflict is observed from a suitable remove, embodied in another person or group, as in a comedy. The funny and the terrible both relate to taboos, that is, those issues that we consider serious and dangerous, to be avoided at all costs. The mocking constitutes a soothing and ingenious mechanism that proclaims its falsehood, revealing its innocuousness and converting the terrible into the amusing. For Sigmund Freud (2012), laughter is equivalent to an emotional discharge that allows the body to eliminate superfluous or repressed excitement. Without a doubt, this mechanism of psychic decompression after the overcoming of a threat necessitates an impressive exercise of understanding with the spectator. This affective component creates distance from a problem, as well as evoking pleasure when we consider ourselves participants in the joke. It is precisely this emotional connection and reinterpretation that comedy provides to the public: a dramatically violent situation full of persecution, blows and cruel threats is experienced as a delightful catastrophe with harmless results when represented by clowns and comedians or accompanied with a wink. Aristotle viewed the comical as that which is capable of uncovering what must be hidden by means of a painless manoeuvre.12 If a situation is shown to be ridiculous and unreal, it will not be seen as harmful. Thus, mocking provides a safe distance from which to observe something terrible as relative, fanciful and pleasant. This was conveyed by the Greek sceptics by means of epoché, the decision to suspend the real, or, in other words, what Freud (2012) calls ‘the denial of reality’.


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Dreams A third group of images, as Goya indicated in his advertisement, is intended to ‘exercise at the same time fantasy of the artist’ (Advertisement for Caprichos). In the knowledge that Los Caprichos derive from some of the Sueños, many of which depict the world of witches and spirits, these visions present a world of nightmares and hallucinations, doubtlessly characterized as objectionable. Goya dedicates no less than 40 per cent of his Caprichos prints to the dream world of witchcraft, which had never before been represented in the Spanish tradition. In my opinion, despite the fact that his contemporaries’ comments understand these images as manifest denunciations of their corrupt society, if we strictly adhere to the graphic discourse presented in most of them, there is little of the ridiculous in these sinister scenes.13 One cannot help but notice the attraction to the grim in the symbolic 60 Ensayos (Trials), the cryptic 61 Volaverunt14 (They Have Flown), the thoughtful 64 Buen viaje (Bon Voyage), the intriguing 65 Dónde va mama (Where Is Mommy Going?), 66 Allá va eso (There Goes That) and 67 Aguarda que te unten (Wait Till You’ve Been Anointed), and the classical image of witches flying in 64 Linda maestra (Pretty Teacher). In my opinion, the morbidity of the sinister sequence of the three scenes that make up the grand finale of Los Caprichos (figure 5.4) must be emphasized: Despacha que despiertan (Be Quick, They Are Waking Up), Nadie nos ha visto (No One Has Seen Us) and Ya es hora (It Is Now Time).15 Mary Shelley, a few years after the publication of Los Caprichos, depicted the world as a hell dominated by the helplessness of the irrational in her Frankenstein. This sombre nullification of intelligence is precisely what Enlightenment thinkers sought to combat. The Romantic writer presents in her novel an ironic nightmare in which scientific development leads to the creation of a monster without feelings or passions. In the most famous Goyesque fantasy, El sueño de la razón produce monstruos (The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters), that same conflict between emotion and logic is depicted visually. Goya, through this sequence of dream prints, leaves a record of his disillusionment with reason, communicating his conviction that everything in life is a deception and a lie, as some titles highlight (Jacobs 2019). The National Library commentary (the authorship of which some attribute to Goya himself) explains that this drawing was intended for the ‘Front cover for this work: when men do not hear reason’s cry, everything becomes visions’, but the visual s­ emiotics – a ­ nd the very

The Terrible and the Ridiculous in Goya’s Los Caprichos


Figure 5.4  Francisco de Goya, The Dream. Universal Language or Dream 1, a drawing that would later become the famous Capricho 43, The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters. Below, the three prints that make up the final sequence (78, 79 and 80) of the Caprichos. Calcografía Nacional. Wikimedia Commons.

concept of the t­ itle – ­indicate precisely the opposite: in Goya’s o ­ neiric world, the lights of the Enlightenment have turned into shadows, revealing the most morbid and bestial aspects of the artist. The humanized male goats, ghosts, spirits and witches depicted by Goya in his attempt to disapprovingly highlight the superstition and backwardness of his society contribute to his disconcerting aesthetic of the gruesome. Goya’s friends insisted on a critical interpretation through the identification of the monks with the spirits of the night, dedicated to gastronomic and sexual debauchery (Jacobs 2019), but


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the visual discourse directs its meaning towards the strange sarcasm of nocturnal scenes that are not without a sinister appeal. My opinion does not coincide with that of the great scholar of Goya’s work, Edith Helman: ‘By drawing and engraving the depraved customs and ridiculous superstitions of his contemporaries, he admits to his own vices and preoccupations, hatreds and terrors, achieving in this way his liberation from them’ (Helman 1963: 158). More than a redemption through contrition, I would dare to posit a personal fascination with the morbid visions of rituals with witches and formidable scenes involving male goats. This conceptual ambiguity is not only present in Goya’s Caprichos, but also in the artist’s other pieces on this subject, such as the canvases made for the Dukes of Osuna (the powerful and colourful Aquelarre or Gran Cabrón, now in the Museo Lázaro Galdiano) and the totally unironic Pinturas Negras (Black Paintings). Francisco de Goya’s taste for the phantasmagorical and esoteric, which led him to immerse himself in these fantastic scenes of covens, male goats, witches, ghosts, goblins, devils and spirits, was shared by many people in his time.16 The ridicule that characterizes these works is typical of esperpento, as Helman rightly points out.17 Goyesque images of banquets and nocturnal orgies of friar-­spirits fit into this genre, with its deformed and grotesque reality, a genre that was institutionalized a century later by the Spanish playwright Valle Inclán. Intellectuals were certainly not immune to the magnetism of these irrational subjects, which were common at the time. Among Spaniards (including enlightened thinkers), there was an interest not only in popular classic spectacles like Carnival, the theatre or bullfighting (all of which Goya was known to enjoy), but also in mass gatherings at which entire families enjoyed the purifying catharsis of t­ he – r­ are – autos de fe or public executions.18 Sarcasm appears only in a few of the fantastic prints, such as the enigmatic 54 El vergonzoso (The Shameful One), in which Goya depicts a nose as a phallus, a graphic metaphor that he did not dare to use in 13 Están calientes (They Are Hot) and that is now made explicit. Likewise, the etchings 44 Hilan delgado (They Spin Finely), 45 Mucho hay que chupar (There Is Plenty to Suck) and 47 Obsequio al maestro (A Gift for the Teacher), alluding to children being used to sate the paedophilia of ecclesiastics, are noteworthy for the disturbing and dark denunciation they convey. In my opinion, the dreadful 69 Sopla (Blow), in which a group of friars feed their sexual fire with little ones who, according to the National Library commentary (Jacobs 2019), ‘les chupan la minga’ (suck their cocks), is obviously critical.

The Terrible and the Ridiculous in Goya’s Los Caprichos


The Appeal of the Sinister Freud (1919), following Friedich Schelling’s idea that ‘the ominous is something that, destined to remain hidden, has come to light’, was of the view that the sinister does not arise from the new, but rather as a childish anguish that returns as something familiar and known, having been alienated in the process of repression. He is interested in the way in which that which is near becomes terrifying. The psychologist Carl Jung posited that one of our obligations as persons is to accept our Shadow (Zweig and Adams 1991). Within each person’s Shadow, there is ghoulishness, that fascination with what is considered morally unhealthy in our environment, the taste for the culturally grotesque. ‘Prohibited’ behaviours that involve the violation of the conventional are attractive to our transgressive instincts. Pornography is a classic example of morbid inclination, involving the rupture of established moral boundaries and entry into an intimate pleasurable territory. There are many with a taste for the horrifying and the esoteric, for the miraculous and diabolical, and for the sinister and the supernatural. It is clear that our attraction to the forbidden has given rise to popular spectacles nourished by the terrible, from dragons stealing children, sadistic stepmothers and handsome apparitions on Halloween to love-­struck adult vampires, cannibalistic emperors, the living dead, cruel sorcerers and satanic clowns. Our culture is not unique in having a taste for the sinister. Goya’s was alive during the golden age of Japanese yokai, imaginary nocturnal creatures that combine the bloody and repugnant with the likeable, although there is no evidence to suggest that the Aragonese painter was familiar with this style of art. According to psychologist José María Prieto, ‘In romantic life beauty is appearance (illusion), and the skeleton is the underlying, intimate reality. We live with both; they are simultaneous. From one day to the next we appreciate one and fear the other.’19 Unlike yokai art, Goya’s engravings offer hardly any playful aspect, instead being marked by constant critical anguish. Sometimes, however, as in the case of the spirit-­friars, there is a curiously empathetic attitude towards the supernatural.


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Conclusions In Los Caprichos, Francisco de Goya uses his creativity to criticize a society dominated (and here we return to the text that announced the collection) by ‘authority, ignorance and self-­interest’. For this work, he makes use of what he calls ‘Universal Language’, based upon generic situations, archetypes and graphic patterns. He proposes to ‘unveil the truth’ while also showing ‘the ridiculous’ in his society. While mockery of how things appear may not reveal that which is authentic, it does serve, without a doubt, to highlight the absurd and social falsehood. That negative mechanism, whereby hypocrisies and taboos are brought to light, plays a useful and positive role in explaining an unjust reality and imposing some order in this world. Goya made use of print media at his disposal during that period in order to disseminate his critical work among the general public, entering into what we include within the world of visual communication. Consequently, he set the benchmark for later illustrators like Honoré Daumier, the young Gustave Doré, John Heartfield, Roland Topor and Ralph Steadman, as well as Spaniards such as Chumy Chúmez and Andrés Rábago ‘El Roto’. This type of artist is difficult to fit into the world of graphic humour because their wit is based not on mere amusing mockery, but rather on a sarcasm typical of philosophical reflection. Goya’s most personal works, including Los Caprichos, the part of Los Desastres de la Guerra called ‘emphatic whims’, some of his Disparates and the Pinturas Negras produced in his last years, present a world in which the terrible coexists with a caricatured expressionism. These are interwoven because they have a common subject: the treatment of diverse, forbidden topics. T ­ aboos – ­which paralyse the mind in the case of the ­terrible – a ­ re adequately distanced through the diverting and innocent mechanism of mocking wit. This kind of amusement is not exactly equivalent to humour or comedy, although it does sometimes coincide with these concepts. In the world of editorial illustration, although political cartoons, current affairs caricatures, visual parodies and graphic jokes are all part of generic graphic humour, without necessarily offering anything humorous, they do have to fulfil the mission of amusing or offering a different ‘version’ of our way of thinking. In his Caprichos, Goya, without ever claiming to be either funny or banal, presents the drama of transgressive forms that provide us with an ingenious and necessary new version for our intellectual pleasure.

The Terrible and the Ridiculous in Goya’s Los Caprichos


In the twilight of the Age of Enlightenment, Goya emerged as an artist who was struggling conceptually between emotion and logic. It could be deduced that his visions, led by El Sueño de la Razón produce monstruos (The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters), which serves as a symbol and summary of Los Caprichos, more than a staging of Dante’s dark forest, represent the nightmare in which the rational mind recognizes that it is often overwhelmed and subdued by the emotional. Manuel Á. Junco is Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). He has held positions at the UCM as Director of the Department of Design and Image, Vice-­Rector of Culture and General Director of the El Escorial Summer Courses. He has published several articles in international magazines and several books in Spain and Argentina on humour and graphic design. He is a graphic artist who has had solo exhibitions in the United States, China, Italy, Mexico, Colombia and elsewhere. He has been named Honorary Professor of Humour by the University of Alcala and Notary of Humour 2020 by the University of Alicante and was granted the Success Award 2006 at the Aydin Dogan Foundation, Istanbul.

Notes Manuel Á. Junco is a member of the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’ (Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today; HAR2017-­ 84635-­ P) financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.  1. Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, José Cadalso, Juan Meléndez Valdés, Agustín Ceán Bermúdez, Tomás de Iriarte, Leandro Fernández de Moratín and the Dukes of Osuna, among others.  2. The Inquisition in eighteenth-­ century Spain pursued witchcraft only symbolically, unlike in other countries such as Germany, Switzerland or the Netherlands, as well as France and England. It is estimated that in seventeenth- and eighteenth-­century Germany, there were between 20,000 and 30,000 victims of persecution for witchcraft, which represents half the number of victims in Europe at that time (Levak 1995). Despite the fame of the Spanish Inquisition, its last death sentences issued for witchcraft were Zugarramurdi’s eleven in 1609 (Caro-­Baroja 1961).   3. ‘La pintura (como la poesía) escoge en lo universal lo que juzga más a propósito para sus fines: reúne en un solo personaje fantástico, circunstancias y caracteres que la naturaleza presenta repartidos en muchos, y de esta combinación, ingeniosamente dispuesta, resulta aquella feliz


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imitación, por la cual adquiere un buen artífice el título de inventor y no de copiante servil.’   4. Charles Baudelaire states, rightly, that humour belongs to the negative, critical and ludic side. ‘Laughter is satanic; thus it is profoundly human.’ He considers the comic to be a sign of intelligence, of rebellion against the established, of transgressive advancement (1988: 18).   5. Nigel Glendinning very aptly comments: ‘A model for the romantics; an impressionist for the impressionists, Goya later became an expressionist and a precursor of surrealism’ (2017: 41).  6. The Verdad (Truth) is a concept that Goya uses in Los Caprichos, but also, in an especially convincing form, in Los Desastres de la Guerra, which culminates with the etchings ‘Murió la Verdad’ (Truth Has Died) and ‘Se resucitará?’ (Will It Be Resuscitated?).   7. In fact, fourteen days after putting Los Caprichos on sale, when Minister Manuel Godoy lost power, Goya decided to withdraw them from circulation. In 1803, he offered the plates and all his available copies to the king to protect himself from the Inquisition. Goya was the first court painter of Carlos IV.   8. Yves Delage (Revue du Mois, 10 August 1919, t. XX, p. 337), cited by Henri Bergson in La rire, defines as comedic that in which ‘a certain lack of harmony between cause and effect is given’. My opinion ascribes a similar sense to the ridiculous, considering it as the appearance of what it claims to be without being it. The ridiculous would become comical, however, if its inconsistency were accompanied by a meaningful transgression.   9. On this subject, Edith Helman cites Paul Valéry: ‘A mysteriously exact conjunction between the sensual “cause”, which constitutes the form, and the intelligible “defect”, which constitutes the substance or content’ (Helman 1963: 90). In other words, the artist makes use of his mastery to provide the viewer with the evidence of a meaningful error, which he identifies as an ‘intelligible defect’. 10. In Goya’s time, the 1877 series ‘Memorias de la Insigne Academia Asnal’ (Memoirs of the Distinguished Asinine Academy) by the so-­ called Dr Ballesteros was very popular. 11. The Terror was the period of the French Revolution between September 1793 and June 1794, during which all of Europe was shaken by the bloody and expeditious events in Paris, where the revolutionaries executed and were executed by guillotine in the name of so-­called ‘rapid justice’. No fewer than 11,000 people met such a fate, with some sources saying that the number may have been as high as 40,000. The term ‘terrorism’, today an all too familiar strategy to provoke mental paralysis, stems from that period. 12. ‘The laughable is a defect and an ugliness without pain or injury’, we read in Chapter V of Aristotle’s Poetics. 13. He wrote in a letter to his close friend Martín Zapater (d. 1803) in 1789: ‘I confess that I was stunned at first, but now? Now, now I no longer fear witches, spirits, ghosts, bullying giants, brawlers, wicked scoundrels, etc. Nor any kind of bodies but humans.’

The Terrible and the Ridiculous in Goya’s Los Caprichos


14. In Volaverunt, the message could not be more cryptic. The title corresponds to a Latin word meaning that something had disappeared and was gone. The print shows a lady carried by three attractive young dandies, perhaps bullfighters, with her hands under her knees. It seems that Goya, in a sketch, pointed out that ‘They are making her fly’, which might refer to his past relationship with the Duchess of Alba, from whom others had made him separate. 15. There are many disconcerting interpretations in the commentaries and other texts of this enigmatic ending to Los Caprichos. Perhaps the most comprehensive interpretation and the one that is most consistent with the ridicule that Goya had sought to depict in his series is that of the anthropologist Julio Caro Baroja: ‘it seems an allusion to the time when inquisitors and friars stop taking action in the country’ (2003: 282). I, however, interpret the three last engravings as a sequence characterized by sinister playfulness: their amusements over, the monstrous friar-­spirits yawn and, without further ado, go to sleep with the arrival of the sun. 16. It was during this period that Goethe’s Faust appeared: a fragment was published in 1790 and the complete work was finally published in 1808. 17. ‘Goya sees his drawings and prints of witches as grotesque scenes of farce, but in the process of their elaboration, the farce is transformed into tragic grotesque, and his monstrous and fantastic characters into real creatures that impose themselves even in the creator himself’ (Helman 1963: 194). 18. Executions in the Plaza de la Cebada in Madrid were as popular as those in London Tower or the Place de la Concorde, then called Plaza of the Revolution, in Paris. 19. I am grateful to Professor of Psychology José M. Prieto for this observation, which he made in a personal email to me.

References Álvarez-­Junco, Manuel. 2016. El humor gráfico y su mecanismo transgresor. Madrid: Antonio Machado Libros. Baudelaire, Charles. 1989. Lo cómico y la caricatura. Madrid: Visor. Bozal, Valeriano. 1994. Goya y el gusto moderno. Madrid: Alianza. Caro Baroja, Julio. 2003. Las brujas y su mundo. Madrid: Alianza. Fernández de Moratín, Leandro. 1970 [1792]. La comedia nueva. Madrid: Castalia. Freud, Sigmund. 1919 [1919]. Lo siniestro. Buenos Aires: Noé. ——. 2012 [1905]. El chiste y su relación con el inconsciente (Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious). Madrid: Alianza. García Cárcel, Ricardo, and Doris Moreno Martínez. 2002. ‘Inquisición y debate sobre la tolerancia en Europa en el siglo XVIII’, Bulletin Hispanique, 104(1): 195–213. Glendinning, Nigel. 2018. Goya y sus críticos. Madrid: Ed. Complutense.


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Hauser, Arnold. 1978. Historia social de la literatura y del arte moderno. Barcelona: Labor. Helman, Edith. 1963. Trasmundo de Goya. Madrid: Revista de Occidente, S.A. Jacobs, Helmut C. 2011. El sueño de la razón: El Capricho 43 de Goya en el arte visual, la literatura y la música. Madrid: Iberoamericana. Jacobs, Helmut C., Mark Klingenberger and Nina Preyer. 2019. Los comentarios manuscritos sobre Los Caprichos de Goya. Zaragoza: Institución Fernando el Católico. Levak, Brian P. 2003. La caza de brujas en la Europa Moderna. Madrid: Alianza. Millás, Juan José. 2018. “El terror y la risa son dos caras de la misma moneda” [interview], Canal Sur. Radio y Televisión, 13/03 [​ /el-­terror-­y-la-­risa-­son-­dos-­caras-­de-­la-­misma-­moneda/1260797.html] Preuschoft, Signe, and Jan van Hoof. 1997. ‘The Social Function of Smile and Laughter: Variations across Primate Species and Societies’, in Ullica Segerstrale and Peter Molnar (eds), Nonverbal Communication. Where Nature Meets Culture. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp. 171–90. Zweig, C., and J. Abrams. 1991. Meeting the Shadow. New York: Tarcher/ Penguin.

Chapter 6

Satire and Humour in Anti-Liberal Public Opinion in Cadiz during the Cortes (1811–13) Gonzalo Butrón Prida

¡ This essay analyses the different strategies adopted by absolutists and counter-­revolutionaries, the so-­called Serviles,1 to devalue, discredit and ridicule their political enemy, as represented not only by the invading French, but more particularly by the Spanish Liberals. The context is the Napoleonic siege of Cadiz (1810–12), at a time when Spain was immersed in a wide-­ranging crisis that led to a noticeable process of political renewal. The siege of Cadiz was one of the most important sieges of the Peninsular War (1810–14). Surrounded by remarkable fortifications and hostile terrain, and aided by the British navy and British and Portuguese troops, Cadiz was able to withstand the French military challenge for more than two and a half years. Its siege was not as severe and brutal as others in Spain (like Saragossa or Girona, both good examples of heroic and bloody resistance in a context of destruction and barbarism), but it gained greater political and symbolic meaning and had major consequences for the outcome of the war due to the perfect confluence of military and political resistance to Napoleon’s rule.2 On the one hand, there is the strategic importance of Cadiz as the capital city of the so-­called Patriotas (Patriots). The Patriotas had remained loyal to King Ferdinand3 and had refused to accept French rule. Led firstly by the Supreme Central Junta and later, at the beginning of 1810, by the newly created Regency, they had sought refuge in Cadiz, where they challenged the legitimacy of the pro-­French government represented by King José Bonaparte. Cadiz’s resistance was crucial because of the work of the National Assembly or Cortes that convened within its walls, especially because the Cortes undertook a complete programme of political and social reform. In fact, the Ancien Régime was dismantled and the foundations of the Liberal state


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were laid in Cadiz, not only by the legislative renewal that was firmly developed by the Cortes, but also by the constituent process launched to ensure a modern constitution for Spain. This process culminated in March 1812 with the enactment of the Constitution of Cadiz, which had enormous repercussions in Spanish America and Mediterranean Europe. Within the Napoleonic resistance led by the Patriotas in Cadiz, there were two visible parties united by a common military enemy but ideologically opposed: the Liberals, who supported the return of King Ferdinand but under a constitutional monarchy, and the absolutists or Serviles, who wanted the restoration of the young king on a traditional political basis. One of the most significant measures adopted by the Cortes was the decree of freedom of the press, passed on 10  November 1810, although in fact freedom of the press had de facto been achieved some months before the approval of the decree. This enabled the growth of public opinion and the extension of political journalism, which spread broadly in Liberal Spain, especially in Seville, until the arrival of French troops, and Cadiz. The latter rapidly became a highly politicized city, with several spaces where public opinion was freely expressed, from official spaces, like the Cortes, to more informal discussions of current political affairs at tertulias, cafés and even in small groups, or corrillos, in the street. In the beginning, the Liberals took advantage of this freedom by publishing all kinds of documents to express and spread their political ideas, whereas the absolutists, who were more focused on condemning the French Revolution, only started to build their own political discourse later, well into 1811. Once they realized the power of the press in influencing public opinion in the besieged Cadiz, the absolutists overcame the initial impasse in which they found themselves and articulated a strategy of active defence of their political and social values. As a result of this ideological counter-­offensive, dozens of conservative and absolutist publications of all ­genres – ­newspapers, dictionaries, letters, plays, comedies and p ­ oems – w ­ ere published in Cadiz between 1811 and 1813, representing a broad ideological spectrum that ranged from ultraconservative immobility to moderate reformism, but all intensely opposed to Liberalism. A significant number of these publications were written by Catholic churchmen who, threatened by the spread of new political ideas and deprived of their traditional institutions of control, such as censorship and the Inquisition, decided to fight for the maintenance of the status quo from before the war. Francisco Sánchez-­Blanco has highlighted

Cadiz during the Cortes (1811–13)


their attempt to link the fate of the nation to the maintenance of the traditional monarchy and religious unity as part of this plan (2007: 91–92). Within a few months, political factions were using the press as an instrument of political and ideological struggle. In this context of confrontation and uncertainty, and in order to strengthen their strategy, the absolutists used political satire in their discourse against their opponents, henceforth identified as the enemies of Spain’s traditional values, namely, religion and monarchy. In practice, these churchmen, in order to defend themselves against the threat of Liberalism, tenaciously used humour as a weapon, in the sense that Peter Berger ascribes to satire: ‘the deliberate use of the comic for purposes of attack’, generally as part of a campaign against a defined enemy (2014: 146). The absolutists faced a double contest, since they identified at least two different enemies: the external one, represented by the French and their Spanish supporters or Afrancesados, who were clearly conspicuous and, therefore, easily assailable; and the internal one, the Liberals and their peers (Freemasons, philosophers and Jansenists or Catholic reformist followers of Cornelius Jansen), whom they considered even more dangerous than the former, since it was more difficult to identify them. In order to confront this challenge, the absolutists articulated a well-­defined propaganda campaign that revolved around the appropriation of the three main referents of Spanish popular identity at that time, that is, homeland, religion and king. The campaign included the disavowal of the Liberal press and Liberal journalists, which it disassociated from those three major axes, characterizing Liberals as enemies of the homeland, impious and Republicans. It is noteworthy that the absolutists used traditional and cultured language, intended to attract the interest of cultivated sectors of society, in most of their publications; satire and humour were implemented as a means of political propaganda to widen the social impact of their messages and, accordingly, to reach the largest audience possible. It was not the first time that absolutists had followed this plan. As Antoine de Baecque points out in his study of incidents of laughter in the Constitutional Assembly in France, a kind of political humour had already been practised during the initial stages of the French Revolution. At that time, the counter-­revolutionaries exploited humour as a tool of persuasion and combat, in contrast to Liberals, who made an effort to imbue the parliamentary sessions with a sense of seriousness (Baecque 1997: 179–99; Minois 2000: 422).


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Humour as an Unmasking Strategy From 1810 onwards, scores of publications appeared in Cadiz. Its population, which increased as a result of the arrival of thousands of refugees and troops, some from upper social and intellectual backgrounds, participated to a great extent in the aforementioned process of politicization and expansion of the public sphere. Consequently, the population started to show greater interest in the development of political affairs. The thirst for information gave way to a kind of journalistic war, known at the time as a Guerra de pluma or Pen War (Cantos, Durán and Romero 2008), with those involved being convinced of the need to spread their own political discourse to as much of the population as possible. Accordingly, the printers began to operate at full speed, seeking to attract a potential readership and, as one of the more prominent absolutist publications, the Diarrea de las Imprentas or Printing Diarrhea, denounced in 1811, Cadiz was flooded every day with all kind of papers: ‘What confusion, what disorder! Papers up, papers down . . .: in the stores, papers and more papers, in the Plazuela del Correo papers, in the Alameda, papers; on the corners papers and more papers’ (Diarrea 1811: 4). On the conservative side, humour was seen as a key confrontational weapon in this war. At a time when humour was shifting from character to discourse and became identified with a subjective way of seeing and a means of representing persons (Wickberg 1998: 35), attention turned to ‘unmasking’ the Liberals through a propaganda campaign designed to disparage and ridicule them and their ideas, drawing on a series of incisive descriptions of the Liberal creed and Liberal publicists. With this goal, conservative publicists made use of at least two different delegitimizing strategies to deprive Liberals of their status as Spanish or Patriotas, thereby making them vulnerable in public opinion. On the one hand, the political enemy was dehumanized using animal metaphors, through which they were associated with the natural state that preceded civilization. For the absolutists, monarchy and religion had been crucial in allowing humans to transcend the primal wild state; if Liberals aspired to overthrow the throne and the altar, as the revolution in France had, the logical consequence of such a course of action would be regression to an animal form of life. On the other hand, Liberals were depicted as if they were sick as a result of an ideological epidemic. This illness was generally described using scatological references, which served not only to humiliate the enemy, but also to shift the debate from reason to nature and, consequently,

Cadiz during the Cortes (1811–13)


to deprive Liberals of the capacity to present a counter-­argument. Finally, secondary arguments were employed to associate Liberals’ behaviour with different vices in order to underline their cowardice, their betrayal of Spain and their alignment with the French Revolution.

Dehumanization as a Means of Dishonouring The propaganda strategy of depicting Liberals as animals had already been employed during the Enlightenment era. Several works from that period dishonoured ideological opponents by downgrading them to wild animals. One of the earliest examples of satirical dehumanization was significantly anti-­absolutist, the Italian La Monacologia (1783), in which criticism of religious orders took the form of different kinds of monks being depicted as animals; in fact, they were described as ‘anthropomorphic animals’, following Carl Linnaeus’s classification. A few years later, Spanish reactionaries applied the same strategy in Memorias de la insigne Academia Asnal (1788), which was also published with a satirical purpose. Unlike La Monacologia, the Academia Asnal was clearly anti-­ modern and sought to ridicule the Enlightenment intellectuals through the use of both texts and images. As Joaquín Álvarez Barrientos has already pointed out, this work aligned with José Cadalso’s ‘eruditos a la violeta’ (Erudites to the Violet), a critique of modern intellectuals’ superficiality (Álvarez 2001: 19–36). In this text, humans are compared to donkeys and the author satirically defines a series of Enlightenment profiles as ‘Asinus Musicus’, ‘Asinus Astrologus’ or ‘Asinus Mathematicus’. Such ambivalent zoomorphic metaphors can also found, not long thereafter, in Francisco de Goya’s series Los Caprichos, in which he also used the allegory of the donkey to ridicule both the false literati (El Asno Literato, 1796–97) and the false nobility (Asta su Abuelo, 1797–99).4 After the outbreak of the French Revolution, dehumanization continued to be used as a key means of confrontation, in particular by the French counter-­revolutionary satirical papers, which would transform the members of the National Assembly into animals. For instance, in Les Chevaux aux manège (1789), they were depicted as horses and each was labelled with an adjective and cruelly described. Animal metaphors were also employed as a way of dishonouring political opponents in the chamber by one of the most prominent representatives of the counter-­revolutionary faction, the viscount of Mirabeau, who, in February 1790, proposed in the Assembly that his declaration of horses’ rights be sanctioned (Baecque 1997: 186 and 192–93).


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Nevertheless, animal figuration was not exclusive to conservatives; the non-­institutional revolutionary celebrations also used animal figuration to denigrate the enemy (Minois 2000: 432). Dehumanization and animalization were widely employed in the Napoleonic era too, especially in caricatures intended to humiliate Napoleon and his soldiers, who were commonly placed on the level of animals. Elisabeth Cheauré has analysed Russian representations of Napoleon in which the emperor and his troops were ridiculed, for instance, in depictions of them as rabbits fleeing in panic from the Russian winter (2014: 27–28). Sometimes, however, the animal representation referred to both the self and the other; on these occasions, the animalization acquired a dual meaning, with some animals representing positive values and others representing quite the opposite. This is the case in the British caricature of the Russian campaign, ‘Quadrupets or Little Boneys Last Kicks’, in which the allies are depicted as brave bears, while the enemies are represented as vulgar monkeys. In the centre of the cartoon, the strong Russian bear degrades the French emperor, holding him upside-­down by his ankle and beating him as if he had been a naughty boy; while in the background brave Russian bears force back French monkeys (Cruiskshank 1813).5 The representatives of French power in Spain, the aforementioned Afrancesados, also endeavoured to fight the enemy with humour, although their attempts, as in the Ensayo de la Pecinología, had little impact. Publicized in June 1812 in the Gazeta de Madrid, the official channel of Joseph Bonaparte’s government, the Ensayo de la Pecinología was inspired by the Italian La Monacologia. Its author, who introduced himself as a zoologist, announced a categorization of the enemy as animals, although he only published five records in which, inter alia, he catalogued the Empecinado, one of the guerrilla leaders, as a ruminant and Francisco Ballesteros, the Spanish general, as a biped monster (Gazeta 19–20 June 1812). In this context, Spanish conservatives joined in the strategy of using dehumanization and animalization as a means of dishonouring the political enemy. This is evident in their works, such as Cartas del Filósofo Rancio, written by the Dominican friar Francisco de Alvarado between 1811 and 1814; Diccionario razonado manual para inteligencia de ciertos escritores que por equivocación han nacido en España, published anonymously in Cadiz in 1811 by Freire Castrillón and Pastor Pérez, both reactionary deputies (Alonso 2014: 57–59); and the series Prodigiosa vida, admirable doctrina, preciosa muerte de los venerables hermanos los filósofos liberales de Cádiz, signed and published in 1813,

Cadiz during the Cortes (1811–13)


also in Cadiz, by El Filósofo de Antaño, which may be a pseudonym adopted by Alvarado. All of these works employ an ironic tone with equal doses of erudition and mordacity, which prevented them from being disregarded as simple and rough reactionary discourse. Although these works sometimes represented Liberals as primitive humans living almost naked and without respect for any rule of law, the preferred simile was the animal one. In all three publications, the Liberals were intensely dehumanized and were subject to all kinds of animal representations: insects, reptiles, birds, quadrupeds, felines, canids, etc. However, they were most frequently depicted as donkeys, indicating ignorance, and as horned animals, representing a personal offence to the honour of cuckolded husbands. For instance, El Filósofo Rancio (The Grouch Philosopher) characterized the philosophers and the Jansenists as animals, especially birds, but in the particular and derogatory meaning given by the Spanish language to ‘pájaro’. Specifically, the author chose the image of the bat, perceived as dangerous and unpredictable: ‘The devil himself is not capable of divining where the bat goes. It goes up, it goes down, it turns to the right, it escapes from the left, we see it and suddenly it disappears, it looks like a mouse, and rapidly it flies like a bird, it goes towards the light, and unexpectedly it goes away and it hides in the darkness’ (Alvarado 1824: 322). The Diccionario razonado (Reasoned Dictionary) is part of a common literary genre at the time that frequently used satire and humour to have a greater impact on public opinion (Durán 2016: 137–38). It announced, on the cover of its second edition, the addition of a ‘highly effective recipe to kill philosophic insects’. For instance, the voice ‘Charlatanes’ (Chatters) stated that philosophers only seemed to be born ‘to make noise in the world, like cicadas and crickets’;6 while the voice ‘Napoleon’ identified the emperor with ‘a harmful and poisonous insect that adopts all different shapes and colours like a chameleon’7 (Diccionario 1811: 16 and 49). In the same vein, ‘Jacobins’ were classified as ferocious and indomitable cats always agitated ‘by a burning thirst for human blood’;8 ‘Jansenists’ as ‘another species of cat no less fierce, that although wild and feral by nature, becomes domesticated and seems meek’;9 ‘Public opinion’ was characterized as ‘a quadruped animal that walks in the cafes, in the streets and in the squares’;10 and ‘Freemasons’ as ‘wily birds’ (pájaros) (Diccionario 1811: 40–41, 89–90 and 35–36). The Freemasons were also represented as foxes and vipers in contemporary El Sol de Cádiz, an absolutist paper published by Father Rafael Vélez to combat Freemasonry (El Sol, 17 October 1812). By contrast, ‘Liberals’ were not depicted as animals, but as primitive


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men, soldiers who fought ‘half naked and just huddled in wild furs’ (Diccionario 1811: 42–43).11 Lastly, El Filósofo de Antaño disregarded Liberals through the use of different animal satirical allegories, favouring both horned animals and donkeys. On more of one occasion, its author described Cadiz as being full of horned animals (El Filósofo 1813: 15 and 17) and, in connection with the Diarrea’s above-­mentioned ironic description of the extension of political journalism, he laughed at Liberals as a human species distinguished by its horned head: ‘Horns in the city, horns on the promenade, horns in the houses, horns in the bedrooms, horns at the top and at the bottom, horns to the front and to the rear!’;12 he thereby concluded that Liberals and cuckolds were one and the same (El Filósofo 1813: 18). With respect to donkeys, El Filósofo de Antaño associated them with the supposed state of ignorance and abandonment experienced by humans at the beginning of time. In this sense, he belittled the Liberals by associating them with animals from the very moment of the world’s creation. This author not only laughed at the cosmological models that were opposed to the Christian theory of creation, but also portrayed the Liberals as animals belonging to a pre-­civilized world: ‘In the beginning, when the dancing of atoms created men, they were all Liberals, they were all untethered donkeys, without law, out of control and without order.’13 From his point of view, religion and the throne had eradicated this chaos through the implementation of laws and, ever since, peace, happiness and social order had prevailed and men were no longer motivated merely by blind impetus ‘like the donkey and the pig’ (El Filósofo 1813: 257–58).14 Consequently, El Filósofo de Antaño concluded that the aim of the Spanish Liberals was the same as that of the French revolutionaries, those who ‘cut the throats of the priests and beheaded the kings’, namely, ‘to reinstate man with the freedom and the rights of the untethered donkey’ (El Filósofo 1813: 258–59).15 Animalization as a political weapon was also employed by absolutists outside Cadiz. A fable published in Valencia in 1813, once the French had abandoned the city, is worth mentioning here. The fable, entitled The Rebellion of the Beasts against Men, made fun of the National Assembly convened in Cadiz, giving an account of the meeting of a hypothetical assembly that gathered virtually all known species. They were unable to deal with the new age of freedom and equality, and debated and fought in complete disorder (García 2002).

Cadiz during the Cortes (1811–13)


An Ideological Epidemic: The Importance of Scatology in Undermining the Enemy The association between Liberalism and illness was the second major satirical element of the Conservatives’ propaganda campaign during the siege of Cadiz. Several publications depicted Liberals as if they were sick with an illness so extremely contagious that it represented a real danger not only to the Spanish people, but also to the outcome of the war. The metaphor of a toxic Liberal epidemic was exploited by different publications, such as El Filósofo de Antaño, the Diccionario razonado and the second volume of La Diarrea de las Imprentas. According to the first of these, the Liberals suffered a lethal fever, with several symptoms of death (El Filósofo 1813: 15); the Diccionario razonado, in its voice ‘Semanario’ (a reference to Manuel José Quintana’s renowned Semanario Patriótico),16 stated that an intermittent and terrible fever reigned in Cadiz, exceptionally ‘contagious and incurable’ (Diccionario 1811: 64), while the last of these texts diagnosed some publications with dangerous ‘republican delirium’ (delirio republicano) and ‘republican fury’ (furor republicano) (Nuevo 1811: 20). However, the metaphor of an ideological fever was not the main argument of the campaign; conversely, the campaign emphasized the scatological consequences of the fever. The Conservatives tried to exploit the full potential of degrading visual representations of these consequences to disparage the enemy and again turn the debate from reason to nature, with tradition representing reason and order, and revolution representing untamed nature and chaos. The scatological strategy had been important in visual discourse during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era. George Minois has underlined how both the Jacobins and the Committee of Public Safety promoted the circulation of political caricatures as a means of desecrating traditional values and references, as well as boosting public spirit. They believed that cartoons were a pedagogical weapon that could be used to underline the force of revolution and to propagate the principles of the new social and political order among the illiterate population. The process of the humiliation of the king was very clear: he was reduced, especially after the Varennes affair, to a mere physiological organism with ‘grotesque holes’ that served for nothing more than the transit of food (Minois 2000: 428–29). The French engraving Ma finte pour ce coup (1790) or the British The New Prussian Exercise (1792) illustrate this pedagogical strategy. In the former, the symbols of the Ancient Régime are explicitly ridiculed


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by a national guard, who is defecating on two representatives of the aristocracy and the clergy; in the latter, the subject of ridicule is the enemy, symbolized by the Prussian soldiers, who, including their general the Duke of Brunswick, are persecuted by French sans-­culottes.17 Some references from the Napoleonic era also made use of scatology to represent a kind of primary reaction against the French menace, as in the Russian cartoon The retreat or the effect of Russian laxatives (1813), in which Napoleon, subjected by Russians to a special treatment with a laxative, is depicted with his trousers full of excrement (Cheauré 2014: 27). Such images can also be found in Spain. Carlos Reyero has analysed nationalist and anti-­Napoleonic cartoons, such as Napoleón trabajando para la regeneración de España (figure 6.1) and Un patriota Manchego, both of which represent Spaniards defecating on Napoleonic plans for Spain; or La ventaja que ha sacado Napoleón de España (figure 6.2), in which the scatological representation acquires a dimension of popular aggressiveness when a Spanish soldier gives an enema to Bonaparte, while another soldier defecates on his head (Reyero 2009: 477–78 and 491). Reyero has also pointed out how absolutists made use of these weapons against the Liberals, for example, in the engraving El Monstruo Gaditano, dated a few years later, in which a big goat-­shaped man with diabolical horns, hair and plumage excretes the Constitution of 1812, thereby linking the symbol of Spanish liberalism with excrement (Reyero 2009: 481). It was against this background that several conservative publications exploited scatological similes during the siege of Cadiz. For instance, the foreword of the Diccionario razonado alluded disparagingly to the ‘Chairs of pestilence’ and the entry ‘Newspapers’ not only defined newspapers as pieces of excrement, but it also linked those pieces of excrement to the Liberals’ sinful attitudes towards sexuality: ‘fetid and disgusting evacuation resulting from sinful communication with people infected with syphilis: there are daily evacuations, weekly, menstrual and without regulation’ (Diccionario 1811: 8 and 55–56).18 El Filósofo de Antaño also used scatological parodies, making out that Liberals were born from people’s excrement, and even introduced another scatological element to the conservative discourse: vomit. From his point of view, Liberals have vomited poison into the papers, staining them with heresy, impiety and revolution (El Filósofo 1813: 272 and 270). Nevertheless, where scatological images are concerned, the most important publication is the aforementioned series Diarrea de las imprentas, in which the association between Liberalism and illness is

Cadiz during the Cortes (1811–13)

Figure 6.1  Napoleón trabajando para la regeneración de España (c. 1810). Biblioteca digital, Memoria de Madrid.

Figure 6.2  La ventaja que ha sacado Napoleón de España (c. 1808–14). Biblioteca Nacional de España.



Gonzalo Butrón Prida

very clear and there are frequent references to the bowels of Cadiz’s printing press. According to the author, the press is suffering a cruel and devastating epidemic of a malignant and pestilential diarrhoea, which is vitiating the political atmosphere of the nation (Diarrea 1811: 3). Due to the seriousness of the problem, Pedro Tirte de Afuera, the alleged doctor who is the main character of the Diarrea de las imprentas, tries to find the origins of the epidemic. He determines that the starting point of the epidemic was the inappropriateness of passing the decree of the freedom of the press at a time of revolution and disorder, when the ideas of the French Revolution had already been instilled in some Spaniards. In his view, the decision was particularly dangerous in Cadiz, where journalism had become a lucrative business that had induced many to choose the pen over arms or the mattock in the fight against the French; such people did not produce ‘useful, judicious and Christians’ pieces, but ‘pestilential and contagious depositions’ (Diarrea 1811: 8).19 The analysis of the symptoms of the illness allowed the author not only to criticize the infected papers, but also to introduce his political programme. Liberal publicists were accused, firstly, of having abandoned the traditional principles of monarchy and religion and, secondly, of having relativized the danger that surrounded Cadiz, prioritizing the debate about ideas at the expense of saving the country from perishing on the battlefields. Accordingly, the enthusiasm of Spaniards had been extinguished by these ‘miserable writers’ (miserables escritores), who had stunned the people and introduced disunity and distrust among good Spaniards. It was therefore necessary to contain the pestilential literary diarrhoea; the first remedy proposed was refraining from buying or reading any paper that did not meet a series of ten requisites, probably a replication of the Ten Commandments, including: respect for the Roman Catholic religion, love for Ferdinand VII, hatred of Republicanism and Jacobinism, hatred of Napoleon and all the maxims of the new France, and gratitude towards the allies (Diarrea 1811: 13). A couple of months later, the second instalment of the Diarrea de las imprentas disparaged the journalists and the press of Cadiz with some hilarious parodies. For instance, at Quintana’s press, the alleged doctor referred to the presence of the Duendes, a prominent Liberal publication, as if they were three men of small stature lying on the ground with their pants down, swimming in a lake of crap. However, the most infected press was that of Requena, which was deemed to be particularly badly affected by pestilence. There, Tirte de Afuera

Cadiz during the Cortes (1811–13)


found that one of the contributing authors of the Diario Mercantil had prepared an article so sharp that ‘it hurts his orifice’, hence the prescription of an enema, another recurrent motif in the scatological strategy. A little further on, he met the fourth Concise – that is, El Conciso, probably the most important journal of the t­ime – ­who was in a corner of the room ‘crouching, gritting his teeth’ and said ‘let me just finish expelling tomorrow’s Concise’.20 Thereafter, he refused to go to the printing press of Redactor General, since this paper collected all the depositions of the printing presses, so the bad smell would be insufferable (Nuevo 1811: 6–8). In the end, he proposed an ideological remedy for that pestilential sickness, a synthesis of the sympathies and phobias of the conservative political programme: four pounds of Christian charity, four of forgetfulness of Jean-­Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract, four of memories of and love for Ferdinand VII, four of separation from the republican government and the opinions of the Jacobins and Jansenists, and another four of evangelical humility (Nuevo 1811: 19).

Vice and Cowardice In addition to dehumanization and ideological infection, the absolutists employed secondary arguments to ridicule and humiliate their political enemy. In particular, Liberals were grotesquely associated in absolutist publications with alcoholism, gambling and all the carnal vices severely censured by Christian moral conventions at that time. El Filósofo de Antaño was especially harsh in associating the Liberals’ initiatives with all kinds of vices and corruption. He laughed at their supposed lack of knowledge and accused them of improvising at their informal meetings on the busy and distinguished Ancha Street or in the famous Café Apolo ‘after emptying rum bottles’ or whilst they played cards or billiards (El Filósofo 1813: 115 and 133). The Liberals were also blamed for having put into practice the supposed lessons learnt from the hated Manuel de Godoy, the powerful favourite of the former King Charles and his wife. It was claimed that Godoy taught the Liberals ‘how to be adulterers, polygamists, and concubines and how to practice that liberal virtue that in Cadiz is now called refinement, and which until recently was called fornication’ (El Filósofo 1813: 306).21 Furthermore, he laughed at the supposed cowardice shown by Liberals in Madrid in 1808, when their massive bowel movements created so much work for the washerwomen (El Filósofo 1813: 371).


Gonzalo Butrón Prida

The same cowardice was apparent later in Cadiz, when they were said to prefer making money from their writings over obeying the law and fighting on the battlefields (Diccionario 1811: 43–44). Liberal writers were also alleged to have undergone a double process of prostitution and feminization. For instance, they were depicted in the Diccionario razonado as ‘filthy monsters similar to professional prostitutes, who do not want to apply to work and who earn their livelihood with their body living off their infamy’ (1811: 28–30).22 While, according to El Filósofo de Antaño, they were subjected to a process of ‘softness, effeminacy, puerility and extravagance’,23 Manuel de Godoy, the object of a campaign that began in 1808, was deemed responsible (El Filósofo 1813: 306). Less radical in its criticism was the comedy Los liberales o los filósofos del día, sin máscara y sin rebozo (1811), which presents grotesque caricatures of the managers of the main Liberal periodical publications in Cadiz (named, the Diario Mercantil, the Semanario Patriótico, the Duende, the Conciso, the Redactor General and the Robespierre Español). The work was written in response to a previous work, Los serviles o El nuevo periódico, which had ridiculed the conservatives’ journalistic initiatives. The ultimate goal of this campaign was to discredit the Liberals in the eyes of the public by highlighting that their vicious habits, their effeminacy and puerility, their cowardice and their absurd personalities rendered them incapable of representing the interests of Spain.

Conclusion The siege of Cadiz was lifted at the end of August 1812. Within a few months, the exceptional times experienced by the city would come to an end. The progressive departure of troops and refugees was followed by the transfer of the Cortes to Madrid. The steady flow of the people and ideas that had enriched cultural life in Cadiz gradually dried up, arousing a feeling of emptiness among the inhabitants of Cadiz, where Liberals and absolutists had fought each other with ferocity in order to impose their political and social values on Spaniards. That feeling of emptiness would soon turn to fear and sorrow when, in May 1814, the king annulled all the reforms introduced in the previous years, closed the Cortes, decreed a complete return to absolutism and initiated a terrible period of persecution against Liberals. Freedom of the press was revoked and political debate was forced to return to the private sphere. Humour, which had become a powerful

Cadiz during the Cortes (1811–13)


political weapon in the context of the birth of Liberalism in Spain, lost its relevance in the face of the seriousness and severity that were the distinctive features of the new era inaugurated in 1814. This chapter has sought to illustrate the impact of the response capacity of the absolutists’ propaganda machine. They proved that they had learnt their lesson and were able to turn the situation to their advantage by adopting the same strategy that had previously been used against them. In this manner, they tried to undermine any criticism of the social and political order that prevailed before the revolution. It is noteworthy that in this quest to preserve traditional Spanish society, the absolutists tested and made use of the same weapons deployed by the Liberals, among them several forms of jocularity used to ridicule and disparage their enemy. Their strategy revolved around two main axes: the animalization of the Liberals themselves, who were associated with a wild pre-­civilization state, and the scatological parodying of their ideas and messages, which were represented as excrement that had been the origin of a dangerous epidemic. In view of the publications analysed, there can be little doubt that conservative humour was a worthwhile vehicle for counterbalancing the Liberals’ initial appropriation of the public sphere in Cadiz. Gonzalo Butrón Prida is Associate Professor of Modern History at the University of Cadiz (Spain). He holds a PhD in Modern History from the University of Cadiz (1995) and has conducted extensive research on the crisis of the Ancien Régime in the final years of the reign of Ferdinand VII, paying special attention to the transition to Liberalism in Spain and its transnational implications. He has been an academic visitor at the University of Oxford, has participated in several research projects and has published works in Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Mexico and Colombia.

Notes Gonzalo Butrón Prida is a member of the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’ (Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today; HAR2017-­84635-­P) financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.   1. ‘Serviles’ is the nickname used by the Liberals to refer to the defenders of absolutism.


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  2. For an overview of the sieges of the Peninsular War, see Butrón and Rújula (2011). On the severity and barbarism of the fight, see Fraser (2008).   3. Who was a Napoleonic hostage in France from 18 May 1808.   4.­de-­arte/el-­asno-­literato/62​ 39de91-­f371-­4f2b-­933f-­6c873fc57010 and​ /coleccion/obra-­de-­arte/asta-­su-­abuelo/e8b2b850-­44d0-­4c5a-­931a-­4b951d​ a5420a [last accessed 22 April 2019].   5. More examples of animalization in British caricatures of Napoleon can be found at​ arch.aspx?searchText=satirical+prints+napoleon+british [Last accessed 27 March 2019].   6. ‘para meter ruido en el mundo, como las cigarras y los grillos.’   7. ‘un insecto dañino y venenoso que toma todas las figuras y colores como el camaleón.’   8. ‘por una sed ardiente de sangre humana.’  9. ‘otra especie de gato no menos feroz, que aunque salvaje y montaraz por naturaleza, se hace doméstico y se vuelve manso por la hipocresía y blandura con que anda y mueve sus garras.’ 10. ‘un animal cuadrúpedo que anda en los cafés, en las calles y en las plazas.’ 11. ‘medio desnudos y arrebujados solamente en algunas pieles salvajes.’ 12. ‘¡Cuernos en la ciudad, cuernos en el paseo, cuernos en las casas, cuernos en las alcobas, cuernos por arriba, cuernos por abajo, cuernos por detrás y cuernos por delante!’ 13. ‘Al principio, cuando el bailoteo de los átomos produjo a los hombres, todos eran liberales, todos eran burros sueltos, sin ley, sin sujeción y sin orden.’ 14. More references to donkeys in El Filósofo de Antaño can be found in nº 16, p. 250 and 256, and nº 21, p. 353, and a reference to donkeys and pigs can be found in nº 21, p. 356. 15. ‘degollaron a los sacerdotes y decapitaron a los reyes’; ‘reintegrar al hombre de la libertad y derechos del burro suelto’. 16. Manuel José Quintana (1772–1857) was one of the most important Spanish Liberals. Some of his writings played an important role in legitimizing Spanish revolution. 17. Ma finte pour ce coup cy y n’en reviendrons jamais (​ k:/12148/btv1b69443148.item); The New Prussian Exercise (https://www​​ .aspx?assetId=154302001&objectId=1642808&partId=1) [last accessed on 25 February 2019]. 18. ‘evacuación fétida y asquerosa precedida de comunicación pecaminosa con personas infectas de gálico, hay evacuaciones diarias, semanarias, menstruas y sin regla.’ 19. ‘útiles, juiciosas y cristianas’; ‘deposiciones pestilentes y contagiosas.’ 20. ‘en cuclillas, apretando los dientes’; ‘dejen ustedes que yo acabe de echar el Conciso de mañana.’

Cadiz during the Cortes (1811–13)


21. ‘a ser adúlteros, polígamos, concubinarios, y a practicar aquella liberal virtud que en Cádiz se llama ahora de buen gusto, y que se llamó fornicación hasta estos tiempos.’ 22. ‘monstruos inmundos similares a las prostitutas profesionales, que no quieren postularse para trabajar y que se ganan la vida con el cuerpo viviendo de su infamia.’ 23. ‘molicie, afeminación, puerilidad y extravagancia.’

References Sources Alvarado, Francisco de. 1824. Cartas del Filósofo Rancio. Gerona: Antonio Oliva impresor de S.M. Cruiskshank, G. 2015 [1813]. ‘Quadrupets or Little Boneys Last Kicks’, in Little Boney and John Bull. Napoleon and his Era in Caricatures and Prints. London: Bernard Quaritch Limited. Diarrea de las Imprentas. Memoria sobre la epidemia de este nombre que reina actualmente en Cádiz. Se describe su origen, sus síntomas, su índole perniciosa, su terminación y su curación. Escribíala en obsequio de la patria afligida el doctor Pedro Recio de Tirte Afuera. 1811. Cadiz: en la Oficina de la viuda de Comes. El Filósofo de Antaño. 1813. Prodigiosa vida, admirable doctrina, preciosa muerte de los venerables hermanos los filósofos liberales de Cádiz. Cadiz: Imprenta de Lema. [Freire Castrillón and Pastor Pérez]. 1811. Diccionario razonado manual para inteligencia de ciertos escritores que por equivocación han nacido en España. 3rd edn. Cadiz: Imprenta de la Junta Superior. Gazeta de Madrid. 1812. Imprenta Real, June. Los liberales o los filósofos del día, sin máscara y sin rebozo. Comedia joco-seria, en un acto, que se puede representar en todas las imprentas de Cádiz. La entrada sin distinción de personas a cuatro reales vellón, que se pagarán en cualquiera de los puestos públicos. Su autor el licenciado don Censinato Vigornia. 1811. Cadiz: en la imprenta de D. José María Guerrero. La monacologia, ossia Descrizione metodica de’ frati di Giovanni Fisiofilo Dalla latina nell’ italiana favella recata da C.B. [c. 1783]. Eridania, Dai Tipi filantropici Nuevo y funesto síntoma de la epidemia llamada Diarrea de las Imprentas. Segunda Memoria Médica. Escrita por el Doctor Pedro Recio de Tirteafuera. Se añade un estado de los principales enfermos que ha habido, y hay de dos meses acá con diarrea periódica y aguda. Cadiz: en la Oficina de la viuda de Comes, 1811. El Sol de Cádiz. 1812. Imprenta de la viuda de Comes, October.


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Literature Álvarez Barrientos, Joaquín. 2001. ‘Las Memorias de la insigne Academia Asnal (h. 1788), contra el nuevo orden literario’, Pliegos de Bibliofilia 14: 19–36. Baecque, Antoine de. 1997. ‘Parliamentary Hilarity inside the French Constitutional Assembly (1789–91)’, in Jan Bremmer and Hermann Roodenburg (eds), A Cultural History of Humour. Cambridge, MA: Polity Press, pp. 179–99. Butrón, Gonzalo, and Pedro Rújula (eds). 2011. Los sitios en la Guerra de la Independencia: la lucha en las ciudades. Madrid/Cadiz: Sílex/Universidad de Cádiz. Cantos, Marieta, Fernando Durán and Alberto Romero (eds). 2008. La guerra de pluma: Estudios sobre la prensa de Cádiz en tiempo de las Cortes (1810– 1814). 3 vols. Cadiz: Universidad de Cádiz. Cheauré, Elisabeth. 2014. ‘Napoleon and the 1812 Patriotic War in Russian Humour’, in Elisabeth Cheauré and Regine Noheijl (eds), Humour and Laughter in History. Transcultural perspectives. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, pp. 15–32. Durán, Fernando. 2016. ‘Pelearse con las palabras: diccionarios políticos en la prensa española de principios del siglo XIX’, in Leonardo Funes (ed.), Hispanismos del mundo. Diálogos y debates en (y desde) el Sur. Anexo digital. Buenos Aires: Miño y Dávila Editores, pp. 137–46. Fraser, Ronald. 2008. Napoleon’s Cursed War: Popular Resistance in the Spanish Peninsular War. London: Verso. García Arguëz, Miguel Ángel. 2002. ‘La Rebelión de las bestias contra los hombres (1813). Una fábula política de Juan Llopis’, Cuadernos de Ilustración y Romanticismo 10: 237–60. Minois, Georges. 2000. Histoire du rire et de la derision. Paris: Fayard. Reyero, Carlos. 2009. ‘El poder es una mierda, la mierda es un poder. El combate escatológico por la libertad’, in Alberto Ramos and Alberto Romero (eds), 1808–1812: los emblemas de la libertad. Cadiz: Universidad, pp. 473–506. Sánchez-­Blanco, Francisco. 2007. La Ilustración goyesca. La cultura en España durante el reinado de Carlos IV (1788–1808). Madrid: CEPC-­CSIC. Wickberg, Daniel. 1998. The Senses of Humor: Self and Laughter in Modern America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Chapter 7

Humour, Gender and Nationalism Female Quixotism and Heroine-ism in Early Nineteenth-Century Spain and Mexico Catherine M. Jaffe

¡ I hope I never ridicule what is wise or good. Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies, do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can. —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

When Henry Tilney disabuses Catherine Morland of her quixotism in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey – Catherine incongruously imagined Gothic horrors in ‘the midland counties of England’ – he teaches her to situate herself as a reading subject in the ‘reality’ of her context as an Englishwoman rather than losing herself in the sublime passions of her favourite novels set in exotic locales. Charming as were all Mrs. Radcliffe’s ­works . . . ­it was not in them perhaps that human nature, at least in the midland counties of England, was to be looked for. Of the Alps and Pyrenees, with their pine forests and their vices, they might give a faithful delineation; and Italy, Switzerland, and the South of France, might be as fruitful in horrors as they were there represented. (Austen 1972 [1818]: 202)

Catherine is taught a gentle lesson without being ridiculed and Austen humorously defines Englishness through incongruity, as ‘Other’ to the nations of the ‘Alps and Pyrenees’, with their ‘pine forests and their vices’. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, modern nations were under construction and society was undergoing changes associated with m ­ odernization – ­a rising middle class, new work and leisure practices, liberal ideologies, a new attention to educating the ­citizenry – ­and novelists like Jane Austen often employed humour to reflect and critique changing gender roles within their own national context. This chapter considers how gender humour functions to construct social


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hierarchies and national identities in Spanish and Mexican female quixotic novels that were contemporaneous with Austen’s famous novels: Don Quijote con faldas (Don Quijote in a Skirt, 1808), Bernardo de María Calzada’s (unattributed) translation of British author Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote (1752); and José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi’s La Quijotita y su prima (The Little Quixote and Her Cousin, 1818–19, 1832).1 Calzada and Lizardi appropriate the model of quixotism, Spain’s famous contribution to world literature, through their female protagonists, but in different ways: Calzada reclaims quixotism as uniquely Spanish, employing condescending but sympathetic humour; whereas Lizardi uses harsh ridicule to reject quixotism as Spanish decadence that is harmful for Mexican creole society. Theorists have posited that humour plays an important disciplinary function in maintaining a social order characterized by patriarchal and heteronormative power relations: humour works to maintain a patriarchal gender order in which ‘an idealized form of masculinity gains cultural ascendancy over, and at the expense of, all femininities and other forms of masculinity’ (Abendinifard 2016: 238). Humour can ‘both maintain and disrupt gender, as processes of performative discourse, hegemony, and resistance’ (Weaver, Mora and Morgan 2016, 227). Three main theories have historically been used to explain the function of humour (Critchley 2002): the superiority theory, derived from the writings of Plato and Aristotle (Hobbes 1999; Bergson 1900; Billig 2005); the incongruity theory (Hutcheson 1971); and the relief or release theory (Freud 1960). Recently, scholars have proposed a fourth theory of humour: the equality theory, ‘specifically political, critical, concerned with social inequality and the role of humour in perpetuating unequal social relations’ (Weaver, Mora and Morgan 2016: 228; Rowe 2007), which critiques the role of humour in maintaining gender hierarchies. The equality theory attempts to explain how humour functions in a society to enforce unequal power relations. Constructions of masculinity and femininity in literature both produce and reproduce power structures in society. Humour allows us to feel superior to its object; juxtapositions of the incongruous and the paradoxical produce humour; and humour functions to relieve tension or stress through laughter’s affective and emotional dimensions. Humour subverts the status quo by questioning the validity of social hierarchy; satire reduces its object through humour and its distancing effect. The fundamental structure of satire, a mode based on humour, is the corruption of the ideal order by a society’s false values, the punishment of the false element, and the return to the ideal (Paulson 1967; Coughlin 2002).

Humour, Gender and Nationalism


Humour is a product of a particular time and place (Ward 2017: 728; Green 2010; Green and Johnson 2015; Mainer 2002; Rutherford 2012). Around the turn of the nineteenth century, the aesthetic appreciation of the cruelty of ridicule was giving way to a more gentle ‘humour’, understood as sympathetic to its object, benevolent, nourished by evolving notions of sensibility and connected to the ‘Romantic concept of the imagination’ (Ward 2017).2 The early nineteenth century also marked the beginning of the construction of modern, national identities; nations are imagined (in Benedict Anderson’s formulation) through gendered norms of behaviour and identity. Although nations promote an illusion of shared beliefs, history and customs, Anne McClintock (1993) asserts that they ‘depend on powerful constructions of gender’ that ‘organize systems of power and gender hierarchies’: ‘nations are contested systems of cultural representation that limit and legitimize peoples’ access to the resources of the nation-­ state’ (61). Women and men are implicated in the nation-­building project in different ways, as Joanne Sharp (1996) writes: ‘The imagined bonding between individuals and the nation in narratives of national identification is differentiated by gender’; men embody the nation, whereas ‘[w]omen are not equal to the nation but symbolic of it’ (99). Calzada’s and Lizardi’s female quixotic novels appeared during crucial moments in the formation of national identities in Spain and Mexico: El quijote con faldas in 1808, the year of the Napoleonic invasion, the abdication of King Carlos IV and the outbreak of the Peninsular War; La Quijotita y su prima during Mexico’s protracted struggle for independence from Spain between 1810 and 1821.

Transnational and Gendered Quixotisms Spain’s most famous novel was admired, imitated, adapted and appropriated by novelists on both sides of the Atlantic during the eighteenth century. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Don Quixote was appreciated as a burlesque comedy about a madman (Tave 1960; Russell 1969; Close 2000; Wood 2005; Ardila 2009; Pardo 2020); by the nineteenth century, the Romantics exalted Don Quixote’s idealism (Close 1978 and 2000). With the explosion in the popularity of novels in the eighteenth century, Don Quixote was appropriated by other authors, a phenomenon David A. Brewer (2005) has called ‘the afterlife of character’. In Spain and elsewhere, eighteenth-­ century quixotic novels satirized and mocked moral corruption, political excess, fanaticism and social pretension (Aguilar Piñal 1982; Álvarez


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Barrientos 1991; Álvarez de Miranda 2004; Barrero Pérez 1986; Lopez 1999). While Don Quixote was circulating transnationally via translation and being appropriated in diverse national contexts, seemingly losing its original connection to Spain (Hanlon 2017), an appreciation of Cervantes’s novel as a uniquely Spanish contribution to world culture grew in the Hispanic world. But Spain’s ownership of the novel was far from uncontested, given the extent of the novel’s international diffusion. Elizabeth Lewis (2017) has shown how Spanish and British writers sought to use the novel ‘to support claims of each nation’s cultural superiority thus bolstering national pride’ (36). British author Charlotte Lennox presented in The Female Quixote an influential model of female quixotism, a young woman who imagines herself as the heroine of her own story. Although not without precedent (Doody 1989), Lennox’s female quixotic reader proved to be an enduring model that was imitated and appropriated, like Cervantes’s Don Quixote, in different national contexts and through translation (Lorenzo-­Modia 2006; Jaffe 2017a, 2017b; Dale 2019; Alliston 2011; Carlile 2018). For his 1808 translation of Lennox’s novel, Calzada used a mediating French translation first published in 1773 and reprinted in 1801 (Jaffe 2005 and 2019), yet, in his translator’s introduction, Calzada still proudly claims the character for Spain, stating that the protagonist acts ‘in imitation of our extremely famous Don Quixote’ (a imitación de nuestro Don Quijote famosísimo) (Lennox 1808, I, vi; emphasis added).3 Lennox’s Arabella is a beautiful, young heiress, reared in solitude in the country. She reads seventeenth-­century French romances by Madeleine de Scudéry that she quixotically mistakes for reality, believing that her suitors will perform the exaggerated acts of devotion she has read about. Arabella is a deluded but sympathetic heroine who is admired by many other characters in the novel, even though they fear she is mad, because she is not only beautiful but also intelligent, generous and kind. She is ‘disillusioned’ at the novel’s end and finally accepts that life is not like her books. Relinquishing her ­madness – ­her self-­fashioning as a h ­ eroine – ­she agrees to assume her pre-­ordained domestic role and marry her cousin. Calzada’s translation appears during the aesthetic transition from neoclassicism to pre-­Romanticism, and its gentle humour reveals a sympathetic attitude towards the quixotic heroine. Whether or not Mexican creole writer Fernández de Lizardi read Calzada’s El Quijote con faldas or Lennox’s The Female Quixote, his treatment of the female quixote in La Quijotita y su prima is quite different. Lizardi’s protagonist is an anti-­heroine whose life lays bare

Humour, Gender and Nationalism


the failures of existing social structures, especially women’s education, and the corruption and decadent values of late viceregal society that he attributed to Spain (Alba Koch 1999 and 2010). A transitional figure between Enlightenment and Romanticism, Lizardi, also known as the ‘Pensador Mexicano’ (Mexican thinker), was influenced by Enlightenment thought and philosophical rationalism; he criticized Spain’s aristocratic culture and opposed the extremes of Mexico’s revolutionary insurgents.4 Lizardi’s Quijotita, Pomposa, is a young girl both neglected and spoilt by her parents, who misguidedly give her an education that emphasizes pride, pleasure, self-­indulgence and the social p ­ retension – ­especially admiration for aristocratic ­titles – t­hat Lizardi attributes to decadent Spanish society. Pomposa’s uncle often reminds her of this in his lectures, which affirm the subordination of women to men. He is a virtuous man, raising his own daughter according to opposite principles, those of modesty, chastity, thrift and hard work; he is Lizardi’s model of creole masculinity. Young men ridicule Pomposa as a quixote because she presumptuously believes that women wield great power over men through their beauty. Later, Pomposa decides she will become a religious heroine by imitating a saintly hermit. She escapes from home but only manages to endanger her health. After this misadventure, she abandons saintly heroism to devote herself to frivolity, pleasure and securing a husband with an aristocratic title. According to Lizardi, Pomposa’s eventual moral downfall and death are the result of her father’s effeminate weakness and her mother’s lack of virtue. Lizardi seeks, in La Quijotita, to construct a new, creole national identity (Vogeley 2001; Benítez Rojo 1996; Insúa 2014; Palazón Mayoral 2010). The fact that Lizardi’s novels were published in instalments as pamphlets was, according to Amy Wright (2016), of crucial importance in the construction of national identity, for it allowed the reading public to see themselves over time in his characters, who were ‘recognizably Mexican human beings’ living in their own contemporary reality. Furthermore, ‘[a]ny overt linkage to a European culture or literate tradition seems to have been ignored’ (Wright 2016, 856) by Lizardi, who focused on Mexican reality and repressed Mexico’s Peninsular cultural heritage. The construction of gender roles, often delineated through the use of humour, underlay Lizardi’s projection of a creole, Mexican national identity.


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Female Quixotism and Heroine-ism: ‘Monstrous and Impractical Ideas’ In the prologues to their novels, Calzada and Lizardi orient their readers, justify their purported intentions and project through humour the gendered grounds of the novels’ critiques. Calzada almost literally reproduces the French translator’s introduction, adding some nationalizing touches (Jaffe 2019; Lasa Álvarez 2017, 178–79). He states that a defect of the novel he is translating is that it criticizes novels that have gone out of fashion and therefore are less dangerous to read than those that are popular now (Lennox 1808, I: iii),5 yet the lesson about reading is clearly intended for his contemporary readers. Both French and Spanish translators highlight the close connection between the novel’s protagonist and the novels that she reads as the basis of the quixotic trope: it deals with a young English gentlewoman, born in a distant retreat, isolated from all kind of society, without a mother, without a guide, without having anything to while away her solitude than the ridiculously heroic works of Magdalena Scudery [sic]. One can see the effects that such reading can have on a young, simple, and honest girl who receives these first impressions. (Lennox 1808: iii–iv; emphasis added)6

Calzada adds a final paragraph to the French translator’s introduction in order to specifically claim Don Quixote for Spain and to diagnose the malady of female quixotism: ‘our heroine was driven mad by reading these books (whose monstrous and impractical ideas she decided to adopt in imitation of our extremely famous Don Quixote)’ (Lennox 1808: v–vi).7 In his prologue, therefore, Calzada clearly establishes the humorous connection between women readers and ridiculous and even dangerous novels that propose out-­of-­proportion, ‘monstruous’ ideas of female heroism. In the prologue to La Quijotita, Lizardi reproduces a letter he supposedly received from a woman reader, ‘La Curiosa’ (the curious lady). Having read Lizardi’s Periquillo sarniento, she asks whether the Pensador will ever turn his attention to women and ‘give them a good lathering?’ (Lizardi 1979: xxv).8 She observes that when men have written about women, they have produced idealized treatises filled with rules aimed at girls’ parents, or cruel satires of women’s faults, ‘trying to get a laugh out of their readers at our expense’ (xxv).9 She suggests that instead ‘El Pensador Mexicano’ write a book, that, ‘without berating women in general, ridicules their most common faults’

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(xxv).10 In typical neoclassical fashion, the book should be utile et dulce, entertaining while also instructing girls’ parents on their proper upbringing. Anticipating the intended readers’ likely reaction, ‘La Curiosa’ also declares that women would read such a book with pleasure, ‘believing we’re not included in such a picture; and by ourselves, or in cold blood, we would notice that in many ways the satire and rebuke fall on us, that we were the real originals of those imaginary portraits’ (xxvi).11 Lizardi’s women readers will laugh along with the ridiculing of girls’ foolishness, all the while recognizing this foolishness in themselves. They perform, in other words, one role in public and another in private, condemning through ridicule certain behaviours gendered as ‘female’, thereby joining male readers in establishing norms of behaviour, but also interiorizing the critique. ‘La Curiosa’ closes her letter with the suggestion that ‘El Pensador’ write about ‘una cotorra’ (a bird, a chatterbox), as a companion work to his Periquillo sarniento (Mangy Parrot) (xxvi). Despite his misgivings about becoming the target of women’s ‘unforgivable curses and sniping’ (maldiciones y tijeretadas inexcusables) (xxvii), ‘El Pensador’ will write about the ‘Quijotita’, the victim of a bad education, and her cousin, the product of a moral upbringing. Lizardi’s light tone and word play allude derogatorily to feminized behaviours, such as mindless chatter and petty verbal attacks (‘cotorra’ and ‘tijeretadas’, from ‘tijeras’, meaning scissors). Lizardi’s verbal jokes are a good example of the dual stance that his women readers have to adopt: laughing with other readers at the weakness of the ‘Quijotita’ also means accepting as their own the attributes and behaviours being criticized. Humour is thus deployed to elicit an external performance of conformity to sanctioned gender norms, for no one wants to identify with the object of ridicule and censure. At the same time, humour instils an internal discipline that the woman reader would apply to herself privately to regulate her own behaviour. Implied male readers were also being taught lessons: they should assume their proper authority; they should control and educate their daughters and wives. Lizardi thus creates an image of his reading community by writing not a novel, but rather ‘a true story that I have witnessed, and whose characters you know’ (xxvii).12 Lizardi mirrors his readers’ lives, for his characters are ‘well known in this capital city’ (harto conocidas en esta capital) (xxvii). His reflection and construction of gender roles produce and reproduce Mexican creole society. Arabella’s quixotic delusions make her an oddity in Don Quijote con faldas. Her acquaintances alternately scorn and admire her for


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the virtues and knowledge she has acquired from her reading; her performance of gender (clothes, speech, etc.) also signals her difference. Other women are the most critical of her transgression of gender norms; men more often praise her beauty, her moral discourse and her learning. Arabella imagines that women have a heroic power over men who love them. When her cousin and suitor Mr Glanville falls ill, she ‘commands’ him to live and then modestly takes credit for his improvement, much to the amusement of his family and friends. Arabella, though, is usually unaware that she causes others to laugh. When she discourses with Glanville’s friend Sir George about her favourite novels, George plays along with her whimsy by discussing with her the elaborate rules governing the behaviour of virtuous heroines: Sir Charles and Miss Glanville were extremely diverted at this Speech of Sir George’s; and Mr. Glanville, though he would have wished he had been raillying any other Person’s follies than his Cousin’s, yet could not help smiling at the solemn Accent, in which he delivered himself – Arabella, mightily pleased with his Manner of talking, was resolved to furnish him with more Occasions of diverting the Company at her Expence. (Lennox 1989: 146)13 The baron and Carlota laughed heartily at Jorge’s seriousness; and Glanville, although resenting hearing Arabella being made fun of, had to bite his lips so as not to laugh. Only Arabella didn’t understand the joke, and she gave new reasons for the gentleman to please her, and amuse himself. (Lennox 1808, I: 257–58)14

Calzada’s translation states unambiguously that Arabella alone was fooled, that she does not understand the humour the others enjoy and that she was the real object of their mirth. In general, his translation makes explicit affective reactions to ­humour – ­laughs, chortles, ­guffaws – ­that are more subtly implied in Lennox’s original. Yet Arabella’s ‘heroine-­ism’ – her imagining herself at the centre of an exalted tale of ­love – ­is at the root of her illusions and it is laughed at by all as deluded feminine self-­aggrandizement. This laughter highlights that she has not accepted her appropriate ‘feminine’ place in the world, in which she can exercise very little autonomous power. Lizardi’s Quijotita similarly believes she has exceptional heroic powers over men because of her beauty. Pomposa intends to marry a nobleman with a title (‘marqués’; XX, 164). Some merry ‘colegiales’ (students) who regularly attend her family’s tertulias (social gatherings) baptize her as ‘Quijotita’ and enumerate the ways in which she is

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similar to Don Quixote: she is also mad and she is delirious when she talks about love and beauty.15 Pomposa believes that she is ‘the most beautiful and the most complete lady in the world, born to avenge her sex from the affronts of men’ (XX: 166–67).16 The students leave a poem addressed to the Quijotita on Pomposa’s keyboard and she reacts furiously when she discovers it during a well-­ attended tertulia, ‘bright red and mad as a snake, a Fury’ (XXI: 172).17 Her uncle is forced to read the poem aloud to the entire company and all their guests react with laughter: ‘the prudent guests smiled and the others burst out laughing, at which Pomposita got even angrier’ (XXI: 172).18 Her uncle takes her aside to point out to her that it would have been better to just hush it up: ‘with all your fussing there’s not even a dog or a cat that doesn’t know that they’ve nicknamed you Quijotita’ (XXI: 172–73).19 Unlike Arabella, Pomposa knows that she is the object of the company’s humour; she simply does not think the joke is funny at all and so the disciplinary function of humour is not effective in her case. Pomposa, overwhelmed by vanity, is incapable of such self-­correction. Pomposa also displays a second type of quixotic, feminine heroism. Influenced by a superstitious, ignorant beata (an exaggeratedly pious and observant woman), Pomposa decides to renounce the world to become a hermit (Alba-­Koch 2007). All the company laughs at the beata’s foolishness: ‘everyone laughed heartily at her nonsense, except the coronel, who pitied her’ (XXVII: 220).20 When the beata announces she would not feel safe out on the streets at night, ‘They couldn’t contain their hilarity hearing that the poor old woman thought that she still would have anything to fear out in the streets’ (XXVII: 220).21 Lizardi implicitly links the old woman’s naïveté as a reader, her credulous superstition and her mistaken vanity as worthy objects of laughter. Influenced by the beata, Pomposa and her mother interpret certain unexplained, loud noises they have heard in their house as divine communications. Pomposa tells her cousin, Pudenciana, that she and her mother have gone to confession and decided to completely reform their lives. Although Pomposa asserts that she will be as brave as a saint in the face of deprivation, her cousin Pudenciana relates her father’s opinion that women’s pious excesses are ‘the effects of a refined, hidden pride’ (XXVIII: 223).22 Later, Pudenciana’s father attributes their superstition to a deficient education. When he and his visitors hear about Pomposa’s decision to become a hermit in the conviction that angels would visit her, ‘they laughed delightedly at this joke’ (XXVIII: 228).23


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Lizardi describes the absurd lengths to which Pomposa and her mother carry their devotions: ‘as their virtue was not solid, it degenerated and filled with extreme sanctimoniousness and ridiculousness’ (XXIX: 231).24 Pomposa’s ‘pendantic and hypocritical discourse’ (discurso pedante e hipócrita) causes a learned family friend to burst out laughing: ‘he laughed so hard that he had to get up from the table and throw himself down on a couch, holding his belly, which only increased our beatas’ anger’ (XXIX: 236).25 Lizardi belittles their excessive, disproportionate ambitions through laughter.

Quixotes and Their Cousins, Examples and Counter-Examples Lennox contrasts Arabella with her rather ignorant and petty cousin, Charlotte Glanville. When Arabella makes eloquent reflections on glory and virtue, she impresses both her lover Mr Glanville and his father. However, Charlotte does not admire Arabella’s virtue and intelligence, but rather encourages laughter at her cousin’s absurdities. In Bath, Charlotte gleefully shares stories of her cousin’s follies with the company in the Assembly Rooms: because of ‘[Charlotte’s] more than passive Behaviour upon this Occasion, banishing all Restraint among those she convers’d with, the Jest circulated very freely at Arabella’s Expence’ (Lennox 1989: 322); ‘escuchó cuantas bufonadas se dijeron a cuenta de su prima, y no se quedó corta en contribuir a ellas con cuanta hiel pudo mezclar’ (Lennox 1808, III: 70)26. The subtle admiration Lennox conveys for Arabella’s heroism, virtue, intelligence and generosity is present yet somewhat diminished in Calzada’s text. Arabella once again fails to understand others’ laughter when she tries to defend a woman, who is dressed as a man and obviously of loose morals, being accosted in Vauxhall gardens in London. Arabella pushes through the laughing, mocking crowd: For her Veil falling back in her Hurry, she did not mind to replace it, and the Charms of her Face, join’d to the Majesty of her Person, and Singularity of her Dress, attracting every Person’s Attention and Respect, they made way for her to pass, not a little surpriz’d at the extreme Earnestness and Solemnity that appear’d in her Countenance upon an Event so diverting to every one else. (Lennox 1989: 335) Arabela pushed her way through the people, took off her veil, and revealed a face so beautiful that all gave way to allow her to pass.

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What astonished them was seeing her so serious, when everyone was laughing. (Lennox 1808, III: 94)27

Calzada’s translation conveys the crowd’s reaction to her beauty and their amazement at the incongruity of seeing her serious when everyone else is laughing. Arabella earnestly offers to aid the young women, but Glanville is pained by the crowd’s laughter: Mr. Glanville was struck dumb with Confusion at this strange Speech, and at the Whispers and Scoffs it occasion’d among the Spectators. (Lennox 1989: 336) Glanville was confused and embarrassed to see his cousin acting so ridiculously in public, and he painfully endured the comments and jokes that reached his hearing. (Lennox 1808, III: 95)28

Calzada emphasizes the singularity of Arabella’s response; her incongruity provokes laughter, although the narrator makes it clear that her own morals and virtue are admirable. Glanville’s father warns him against marrying someone who seems crazy and does not perform the feminine roles expected in their society. Madness is thus defined as performing a role involving behaviour towards other people, dress and speech. The laughing stops in Lennox’s novel once Arabella has been cured of her madness by a priest who shows her, through reason, that her books could not possibly be mirrors of the world. Arabella is sympathetic and morally superior to her cousin Charlotte. The two marriages that close the novel show their different resolutions: Arabella marries a man who loves and respects her and they will be happy; Charlotte marries a man who reluctantly accepts her as second-­best after her cousin and the prospects for their marriage are not so promising. The ending reinforces social structures of family and rank in society, but conveys a critique of the shallowness and vanity of those other women who had laughed at Arabella. In La Quijotita, the laughter stops once Pomposa is of marriageable age and sets off on her misguided path in search of prestige and opulence only to find misery and debasement. Her cousin Pudenciana is her opposite, a happily married woman who accepts her station in life. One of the students who gave Pomposa her nickname writes a satirical epitaph for her, invoking the trope of vanitas: ‘What good did your antics and raptures do you?’ (XXXIX, 292).29 However, Lizardi’s narrator deliberately articulates the novel’s lessons:


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A woman should show her talent and prudence in the business of the family, not of the State, . . . Woman, don’t try to be like a man. The two sexes should not have anything in common. . . Don’t aspire to dominate your husband . . . (XXXIX: 292)30

Just as Mexicans should not be perverted by the false aristocratic values of Spain, women should stay at home and refrain from meddling in public affairs (Pomposa did not attempt to do this).31 As Lloyd Kramer (2011) observes, ‘Nationalism flourished by connecting the intimate spheres of individual lives with the public spheres of politics and collective identities’ (102). By laughing at deviant femininities in his novel, Lizardi reinforces social hierarchies in the emerging Mexican nation.

Conclusion Using sympathetic humour, Calzada reclaims quixotism as a positive model for Spanish national identity and pride, while Lizardi rejects Spanish quixotism as a negative model. Lizardi uses harsh ridicule to criticize deviant femininities, a synecdoche of all those in creole society who hold decadent Spanish values and do not internalize their proper subordination in society. The lessons in realism that the quixotic heroines are taught are lessons in national identity; they project the individual’s position in social structures, defined as national realities. ‘It is w ­ omen – a ­ nd not (just?) the bureaucracy and the ­ intelligentsia – w ­ ho reproduce nations, biologically, culturally, and symbolically’, as Nira Yuval-­Davis (1997) reminds us (2; Anthias and Yuval-­Davis 1999). Laughing with and at characters in a novel releases tensions created by violations of perceived norms and effects the internalization of these norms to control behaviours and legitimize hierarchies. For Tamara Mayer (2012), the link between gender and nation is forged through acts of the imagination: ‘For both “nation” and “gender” help construct a fiction of “innateness” in the name of bonds whose fragile, endangered status is evidenced in the fierceness with which they are defended’ (2). These quixotic heroines were taught to relinquish their monstrous dreams of power as heroines because they were incongruous in their national realities. As Spain and Mexico entered periods of political and social transition, these female quixotic novels demonstrate that humour could serve as a powerful instrument in reinforcing the gendered norms that undergird a nation’s hierarchies of power.

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Catherine M. Jaffe is Professor of Spanish Literature at Texas State University. Her research focuses on eighteenth-­century Spanish women writers, gender and the Enlightenment, gender and translation, and quixotism and has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Madrid Institute for Advanced Study. She has published María Lorenza de los Ríos, marquesa de Fuerte-Híjar. Una escritora del siglo de las Luces (Iberoamericana, 2018), The Routledge Companion to the Hispanic Enlightenment (Routledge, 2020) and Eve’s Enlightenment: The Experience of Women in Spain and Spanish America, 1726–1839 (Louisiana State University Press, 2009).

Notes  1. Lizardi’s novel was published in Mexico in instalments: the first and second volumes in 1818–19 and the complete edition, containing volumes three and four, appeared posthumously in 1832 (Ruiz Castañeda 1979, x–xi).   2. For studies of the theory and humour of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, mostly focused on England and Spain, see Tave 1960; Johnson 1993; Coughlin 2002; Paulson 1967 and 1998.   3. All quotations from Don Quijote con faldas are from this edition, cited by volume and page number. Spelling and punctuation have been modernized. Translations of Calzada’s text are my own. For a study of translation practices in eighteenth-­century Spain, see García Garrosa 2019.   4. For a study of Lizardi and his novels, see Vogeley 2001; Alba-­Koch 1999, 2000 and 2010; Romine 2020.   5. ‘el defecto principal de que critica algunas novelas, cuya lectura ya no es peligrosa, como la de varias que corren en nuestros días.’   6. ‘se trata de una señorita inglesa, nacida en un paraje retirado, distante de toda suerte de sociedad, sin madre, sin guía, y sin tener, para minorar su tedio, más libros que las obras, ridiculamente heróicas, de Magdalena Scudery. Se ven los efectos que semejante lectura puede producir en una muchacha de alma honrada y sencilla, que recibe aqullas primeras impresiones.’  7. ‘a nuestra heroína se la trastornó su buen juicio con la lectura de los mencionados libros heróicos (cuyas ideas gigantescas e impracticables se propuso adoptar, a imitación de nuestro Don Quijote famosísimo).’   8. ‘darles una enjabonadita.’ All quotes from La Quijotita are from this edition. Translations are mine.   9. ‘procurar excitar la risa de sus lectores a nuestra costa.’ 10. ‘sin zaherir generalmente al sexo, ridiculizara los defectos más comunes, que en él se advierten.’ 11. ‘creyendo no estar comprendidas en aquella pintura; y a nuestras solas o a sangre fría, advertiríamos que en muchas materias la sátira y la reprensión


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recaían sobre nosotras, que éramos los legítimos prototipos de aquellos retratos imaginarios.’ 12. ‘una historia verdadera, que he presenciado, y cuyos personajes usted conoce.’ 13. All quotations from Lennox’s The Female Quixote are taken from this edition. 14. ‘Rieron mucho el Barón y Carlota de la gravedad de Jorge; y Glanville, aunque resentido de oír burlarse de Arabela, tuvo que morderse los labios para no reírse. Solo Arabela no cayó en la burla, y dio nuevos motivos al caballero para agradarla, y divertirse.’ 15. ‘es otra loca’, ‘delira en tocándole sobre puntos de amor y de hermosura’. 16. ‘la más hermosa y la más cabal dama del mundo, nacida para vengar su sexo de los desprecios que sufre de los hombres.’ 17. ‘muy colorada y hecha una víbora de rabia’, ‘hecha una furia’. 18. ‘las visitas prudentes se sonreían y las no prudentes soltaron la carcajada, con lo que se puso de peor condición Pomposita.’ 19. ‘pero con tus alharacas no ha quedado perro ni gato que no sepa que te han puesto por mal nombre Quijotita.’ 20. ‘Se reían todos de buena gana de estas sandeces, menos el coronel, que se compadecía de ellas.’ 21. ‘No pudieron contener la carcajada de risa los concurrentes oyendo que la triste vieja pensaba que aún tenía riesgos que temer en la calle.’ 22. ‘efectos de una oculta soberbia refinada.’ 23. ‘[s]e reían los señores alegremente con este chiste.’ 24. ‘como su virtud no era sólida, bastardeó desde sus principios y llenó el extremo de la gazmoñería y ridiculez.’ 25. ‘con su risa burlona, que fue tanta, que no pudiendo refrenarla, se levantó de la mesa y se fue a tirar a un canapé, apretándose la barriga, lo que aumentó la cólera de nuestras beatas.’ 26. ‘She listened to all the jokes told at her cousin’s expense, and didn’t hesitate to contribute to them with as much bile as she could mix in.’ 27. ‘Hendió Arabela por entre la gente, se quitó el velo, y mostró una cara tan hermosa, que todos la abrieron paso: de lo que sí se admiraban era de verla seria, cuando todos reían.’ 28. ‘Estaba Glanville confundido y mortificado de ver a su prima representar un papel tan ridículo en una escena tan pública, y aguantaba dolorosamente las hablillas y bufonadas que le llegaban a los oídos.’ 29. ‘¿de qué te sirvieron / Tus monadas y embelesos . . .?’ 30. ‘En los negocios de su familia, y no en los del Estado, es donde una mujer debe manifestar su talento y su p ­ rudencia . . . ­Mujer, no quieras parecerte al hombre. Los dos sexos no deben tener nada de común en s­í . . . ­No aspires a dominar a tu marido . . .’ 31. For an analysis of gender and the division of public and private spheres in national projects, see Walby 1996, 242–44.

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——. 2000. Cervantes and the Comic Mind of his Age. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Coughlin, E.V. 2002. La teoría de la sátira en el siglo XVIII. Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta. Critchley, S. 2002. On Humour. London: Routledge. Dale, A. 2019. The Printed Reader: Gender, Quixotism, and Textual Bodies in Eighteenth-Century Britain. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press. Doody, M.A. 1989. ‘Introduction’, in C. Lennox, The Female Quixote, eds M.  Dalziel, M.A. Doody and D. Isles. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. xi–xxxii. Fernández de Lizardi, J.–J. 1818, 1831–32. La Quijotita y su prima; historia muy cierta con apariencias de novela. Escrita por el Pensador mexicano. Vols 1–2 (1818), México: Mariano Ontiveros; Vols 3–4 (1831–32), México: Altamirano. ——. 1979. La Quijotita y su prima, ed. M.C. Ruiz Castañeda. 4th edn. México: Porrúa. Freud, S. 1960 [1905]. Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious: The Standard Edition, trans. and ed. J. Strachey, intro. P. Gay. New York: Norton. García Garrosa, M.J. 2019. ‘Translation in Enlightenment Spain’, in E.F. Lewis, M. Bolufer Peruga and C.M. Jaffe (eds), The Routledge Companion to the Hispanic Enlightenment. London: Routledge, pp. 258–70. Green, S. 2010. ‘Humour and National Identity in Spain: The Failed Americanisation of Spanish Comedy (1939–1945)’, Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies 16(2/3): 127–42. Green, S., and P.L. Johnson. 2015. ‘Humor in Spain, Part 1: Introduction’, Romance Quarterly 62(4): 193–98. Hanlon, A.R. 2017. ‘Quixotism as a Global Heuristic: Atlantic and Pacific Diasporas’, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 46: 49–62. Hobbes, T. 1999 [1640]. Human Nature and De Corpore Politico. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hutcheson, F. 1971 [1750]. Reflections Upon Laughter; and Remarks upon the Fable of the Bees. Facsimile edn. New York: Garland. Insúa, M. 2014. ‘Hacia la constitución del maestro ejemplar en el México ilustrado: El caso de Fernández de Lizardi’, Hispanófila 171: 59–75. Jaffe, C.M. 2005. ‘From The Female Quixote to Don Quijote con faldas: Translation and Transculturation’, Dieciocho: Hispanic Enlightenment 28(2): 120–26. ——. 2017a. ‘Female Quixotism in the Transatlantic Enlightenment: Fernández de Lizardi’s La Quijotita y su prima’, Dieciocho: Hispanic Enlightenment 40(1): 81–104. ——. 2017b. ‘El género, el sujeto colonial, y la traducción cultural en La quijotita y su prima de José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi’, in G. Franco Rubio, N. González Heras and E. de Lorenzo Álvarez (eds), España y el continente americano en el siglo XVIII. Somonte-­ Cenero, Gijón, Spain: Sociedad Española de Estudios del Siglo XVIII/Ediciones Trea, pp. 649– 57.

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——. 2019. ‘Arabella’s Veil: Translating Realism in Don Quijote con faldas (1808)’, in M.L. Coffey and M. Versteeg (eds), Imagined Truths: Realism in Modern Spanish Literature and Culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp. 39–57. Johnson, J.G. 1993. Satire in Colonial Spanish America: Turning the New World Upside Down. Austin: University of Texas Press. Kramer, L.S. 2011. Nationalism in Europe and America: Politics, Cultures, and Identities since 1775. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Lasa Álvarez, B. 2017. Novelistas británicas del siglo XVIII en España. Seville: ArCiBel Editores. Lennox, C. 1773. Don Quichotte femelle: traduction libre de l’anglois, trans. I.M. Crommelin. 2 vols. Lyon: Les libraires associés. ——. 1801. Arabella ou le Don Quichote Femelle, trans. I.M. Crommelin. 2 vols. Paris: Bertaudet. ——. 1808. Don Quijote con faldas o perjuicios morales de las disparatadas novelas, trans. B.M. de Calzada. 3 vols. Madrid: Fuentenebro. ——. 1989 [1752]. The Female Quixote or the Adventures of Arabella, eds M. Dalziel, M.A. Doody and D. Isles. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lewis, E.F. 2017. ‘Mapping Don Quixote’s Route: Spanish Cartography, English Travelers and National Pride’, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 46: 35–48. Lopez, F. 1999. ‘Los Quijotes de la Ilustración’, Dieciocho: Hispanic Enlightenment 22(2): 247–64. Lorenzo-­ Modia, M.J. 2006. ‘Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote into Spanish: A Gender-­Biased Translation’, Yearbook of English Studies 36(1): 103–14. Mainer, J.C. 2002. ‘El humor en España: del romanticismo a la Vanguardia’, in Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (ed.), Los humoristas del ’27. Madrid: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, pp. 17–31. Mayer, T. 2012. ‘Gender Ironies of Nationalism: Setting the Stage’, in T. Mayer (ed.), Gender Ironies of Nationalism: Sexing the Nation. London: Routledge, pp. 1–22. McClintock, A. 1993. ‘Family Feuds: Gender, Nationalism and the Family’, Feminist Review 44: 61–80. Palazón Mayoral, M.R. 2010. ‘La Referencia: los padres y madres de la Patria. Metáforas familiarizantes en Fernández de Lizardi’, Literatura Mexicana 21(1): 53–66. Pardo, P.J. 2020. ‘From Hispanophobia de Quixotephilia: The Politics of Quixotism in the British Long Eighteenth Century’, in Y. Rodríguez Pérez (ed.), Literary Hispanophobia and Hispanophilia in Britain and the Low Countries (1550–1850). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 189–212. Paulson, R. 1967. Satire and the Novel in Eighteenth-Century England. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ——. 1998. Don Quixote in England: The Aesthetics of Laughter. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.


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Romine, J.T. 2020. ‘Nacionalismo, ironía y desilusión en la obra narrativa de José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi’, Master’s thesis. San Marcos: Texas State University. Rowe, K. 2007. ‘The Unruly Woman: Gender and the Genres of Laughter’, in B.A. Arrighi et al. (eds), Understanding Inequality: The Intersection of Race/Ethnicity, Class, and Gender. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 261–75. Russell, P.E. 1969. ‘Don Quixote as a Funny Book’, The Modern Language Review 64(2): 312–26. Rutherford, J. 2012. The Power of the Smile: Humour in Spanish Culture. London: Francis Boutle. Sharp, J.P. 1996. ‘Gendering Nationhood: A Feminist Engagement with National Identity’, in N. Duncan (ed.), BodySpace: Destabilizing Geographies of Gender and Sexuality. London: Routledge, pp. 97–108. Tave, S.M. 1960. The Amiable Humorist: A Study in the Comic Theory and Criticism of the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Vogeley, N. 2001. Lizardi and the Birth of the Novel in Spanish America. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. Walby, S. 1996. ‘Woman and Nation’, in G. Balakrishnan (ed.), Mapping the Nation. London: Verso, pp. 235–54. Ward, M. 2017. ‘Laughter, Ridicule, and Sympathetic Humor in the Early Nineteenth Century’, Studies in English Literature 1500–1900 4: 725–49. Weaver, S., R.A. Mora and K. Morgan. 2016. ‘Gender and Humour: Examining Discourses of Hegemony and Resistance’, Social Semiotics 26(3): 227–33. Wood, S.F. 2005. Quixotic Fictions of the USA, 1792–1815. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wright, A.E. 2016. ‘Serial Space-­Time as a New Form of National Consciousness: The Case of Lizardi’s El Periquillo Sarniento (1816)’, Bulletin of Spanish Studies 93(5): 839–57. Yuval-­Davis, N. 1997. Gender and Nation. London: Sage.

Chapter 8

Humour in the Political Analysis of Absolutism in Mariano José de Larra’s Articles (1828–33) José María Ferri Coll

¡ In the following pages, I consider a case of humour being used as a mechanism for political and social denunciation in a context in which freedom of the press did not exist, that is, the use of humour as a resource for overcoming the obstacles created by censorship in an absolutist system. This chapter concerns the final years of the government of the last absolutist Spanish monarch, Fernando VII, known for having twice abolished (in 1814 and 1820) the first liberal Spanish constitution and for instigating the bloody persecutions of its defenders. Our subject is the journalist Mariano José de Larra (1809–37), who, between 1828 and 1833, was a contributor to four Madrid newspapers, El Duende Satírico del Día (1828), El Pobrecito Hablador (1832–33), La Revista Española (1832–33) and the Correo de las Damas (1833), in which his famous rehiletes (banderillas) appeared unsigned. Rehiletes is a bullfighting term that Larra used with a clearly satirical and mocking intention.1 He was the sole editor of the first two newspapers.2 Today, the concept of a newspaper written entirely by one editor might seem somewhat strange to us, but it was not strange at that time, although it was more common in periodicals for there to be many contributors. In the twenty-­first century, the closest thing to the single-­author periodical is the personal blog, in which an author shares his or her opinion about different issues, reports on events or experiences, gives advice, publishes images, etc. In the nineteenth century, it was not as easy to reach the public. It was necessary to have the economic means to print and distribute a publication, however modest it might be, or the support of a publisher, as in the case of El Pobrecito Hablador, which was endorsed by the influential Madrid bookseller Manuel Delgado (d. 1848), who purchased from Larra the


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exclusive rights to a substantial portion of his work, including the articles in El Pobrecito. Although Larra wrote plays, novels and poetry and worked as a translator and literary critic, his most natural means of expression was always the newspaper. Through it, he sought out his audience and set out his intellectual project and his notion of how the country should be. The subject of politics was always of greater interest to Larra than mere customs. However, in the years studied in this chapter, when absolutist censorship was the norm, the Madrid journalist realized that he could tackle the first by including it in discussions of the second. Humour was the scalpel with which customs could be penetrated without incurring risks to the editor. Thus, satirical journalism and satire, well established in the Spanish and European traditions, were a perfect fit for the young writer, whose work was beginning to convey his conception of how the world should be, formed as a result of his education, readings and travels (Krato 1996; Ferri Coll 2009).

Years of Youth: The Search for Sustenance and Life However, it was not an easy time for the author. In November 1826, Larra had unsuccessfully sought to become a member of the Cuerpo de Voluntarios Realistas (Royalist Volunteer Corps), a paramilitary group created by Fernando VII (1784–1833) that served to combat any trace of liberalism (Miranda de Larra 2009: 48 and ss.).3 Larra was rejected because he had not yet reached the age of eighteen, which was the required aged for entry into the corps. Finally, he joined in March 1827 (Varela 1983: 239; Escobar 1983). The young journalist lived alone in Madrid and had very little means from the time when he became financially emancipated from his parents in 1825 (Miranda de Larra 2009: 45). He was neither recognized as a journalist nor supported by his family. We do know that his mother visited him during that period. She and her husband were concerned about the rather unstable temperament of their son, as well as the fact that he had joined the aforementioned organization. The words of Larra’s mother, preserved in a letter to her uncle Eugenio in which she requests help preparing for her visit to Madrid, are a valuable testimony to the state in which she found her son in those years: ‘I thought that I could count on my son for this [to find lodging in Madrid]; but, well, he doesn’t have money, or a house, or credit, and is entirely useless for this’ (Miranda de Larra 2009: 50).4

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There has been much speculation regarding the fact that Larra, later an avowed liberal, was one of the Royalist Volunteers; this speculation is the result of a lack of information, which has given rise to various interpretations.5 It seems plausible that an unprotected and lonely young man without any means of earning a living might seek employment that would allow him to get by on his own without needing to ask his parents for help. The Volunteer Corps could offer the means that the journalist was looking for in order to survive. Moreover, Larra was still very young and it is possible that his political preferences were not yet as deeply rooted or strong as they would be years later when he became an advocate of liberalism. Having a job provided Larra with the necessary means to participate in the cultural life of Madrid, which was a hotbed of social gatherings, coffee houses, newspaper editorial offices, etc. The ambassador of the United Kingdom, Federico Lamb (1782–1853), and the ambassador of Russia, Dmitry Pavlovich Tatischev (1767–1845), held lively gatherings in the Spanish capital, as did the Count of la Cortina, José Justo Gómez (1799–1860); Manuel María Cambronero (1765–1834); the Duke of Abrantes, Ángel María de Carvajal (1793–1839); the Duke of Pastrana, Pedro de Alcántara (1768–1841), and other members of the nobility. In the coffee houses, Larra could rub shoulders with the crème de la crème of national culture. The Fontana de Oro (Fountain of Gold), a coffee house frequented by liberals, was immortalized in Benito Pérez Galdós’s first novel, which was named after the establishment (1870). In December 1827, the venue reopened to the pubic after considerable renovations, as announced on Saturday, 1 December 1827, in the Diario de Avisos, which compared it to the finest European inns (it was both a hotel and coffee shop at the time). In ‘La fonda nueva’ (The New Inn), published in La Revista Española on 23 August 1833, Larra recalled that La Fontana had been Madrid’s best inn when it was established (Larra 2000: 108). Previously, in an article entitled ‘¿Quién es el público y dónde se le encuentra?’ (Who Is the Public and Where Is It Found?), published on 17 August 1832 in El Pobrecito Hablador, Larra had already lambasted the coffee houses of Madrid for their dirtiness, darkness and bad service. In the article, he focused on the coffee shops Príncipe (the street where, towards the end of 1830, a group of writers, editors, etc., known as the Parnasillo, met; Larra later joined this group) and Venecia, which were inexplicably crowded, while Santa Catalina and Tivoli, despite being of better quality, had been overlooked by the public. It was to these meeting places that Larra dedicated ‘El café’, published in El Duende Satírico del Día on 26 February 1828. In the article,


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one can appreciate his taste for caricature: ‘Two or three lawyers that will not be able to speak without their spectacles on, a physician who could not heal without his cane in his hand, four walking ­chimneys . . . ­and several others that during the day they call the foolish and tawdry name of dandies’ (Larra 2000: 650).6 These characters talked about the Battle of Navarino (20 October 1827), a fact that would have been lost if Larra had not associated the conversation with news published by the Gaceta de Madrid, the only newspaper authorized to publish political information. It was thus that Larra ironically addressed the issue of the lack of freedom of the press, it was only possible to read important news in one newspaper.

Censorship and the Press in Late Spanish Absolutism In effect, Tadeo María Calomarde (1773–1842), Fernando VII’s Minister of Justice during the last and darkest years of his reign, brought an end to most of the periodical publications that appeared between 1820 until 1823, which coincided with the period known as the Liberal Triennium, a brief pause in Fernando VII’s despotic reign. Larra himself would later recall the minister’s intransigence where freedom of the press and any hint of liberalism were concerned as he took stock, in 1835, of his ten years of work in defence of freedom of expression (Álvarez Barrientos 2011: 17): With the publication of the Pobrecito Hablador, I began to cultivate this daring genre under the ministry of Calomarde; the Revista Española opened its columns to me in the time of Cea [he was the equivalent of a head of government (1832–34)]; and I have written in the Observador during Martínez de la Rosa [who succeeded Cea, Fernando VII already dead]. This collection will be, therefore, at least an historical document, an eloquent chronicle of our so-­called freedom of the press. (Larra 2000: 11)7

In the so-­called ‘ominous decade’ (1823–33), the last of his reign, Fernando VII had put an end to the intense journalistic activity of the three years (1820–23) in which the monarch had been obliged to swear allegiance to a liberal constitution.8 The censorship of the reactionary Fernando VII would reach such an extreme that some years only two newspapers, both of an absolutist and servile nature, remained in distribution: the aforementioned Gaceta, which had, since 1762, served as the government’s official means of communication, and the Diario de avisos de Madrid (1825). But during the years when

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Larra was a Volunteer, the Gaceta did not yet play this role, though it did support an absolutist ideology. In addition to newspaper editors’ lack of freedom, fiction writers also suffered censorship, so Larra had to deal with the censors (Pérez Vidal 1986; 2009a). In ‘El café’, he recalled how difficult it was for writers to get their work published at the time and the danger that literature’s light posed to the darkness of the Fernandine regime. This was expressed, of course, with the irony necessary to avoid arousing any suspicion: – We good Spaniards, men who love our country, cannot tolerate the disgrace that for so long those swarms of pseudoauthors have spread, this determination that everyone must publish; damn the light! How much better we would live in darkness rather than illuminated by these literary lights! (Larra 2000: 654)9

The year 1828 was characterized by a tentative openness that allowed for the creation and distribution of new titles. El Correo Literario y Mercantil (1828), founded by José María Carnerero (1784–1866), offered its readers different types of news, as well as literary criticism. It was immediately ridiculed by Larra, who, in an article entitled ‘Un periódico del día, or El Correo Literario y Mercantil’, employed irony to laugh at the style of the new newspaper: This is not to say, although it might seem so, that the Correo Literario is not without merit, and no one would be lying more than I if it were argued that it is useless; quite to the contrary, because it happens that only on the days that it comes out can I manage to take a nap, since before, the heat and various ponderings robbed me of it; now I am very careful to not buy the issue until lunchtime, and as soon as I complete this preparatory operation, I take my Correo, and opening it to any page, at the crack of a whip I fall asleep like a man without a care in the world, so deeply, that there have been afternoons when it has been too late to go for a walk and I wake at ten at night; and it seems to me that for whomever has the ill fortune to not be able to fall asleep, it is well worth spending six cuartos. This is the reason why I imagine that it will last a bit longer; because I am not the only one who has discovered this virtue, which proves the truth that there is no book or writing, no matter how bad it might be, that does not have something good in it. (El Duende, 27 September 1828)10

But he also corrected the style and grammatical errors of the editors of the new newspaper, emphasizing the humorous sense of the object of the mockery:


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To cement the love of country. – The love of country is the love that the country feels towards some object; but when one wants to say what the editor means, then one writes ‘love for country’, which means, so that the editor might understand, the love that individuals who are a part of the country feel towards it. But now a courier will arrive, as fast as he can, to amuse himself by getting rid of these snide comments. (El Duende, 27 September 1828)11

In addition, he played cunning language games in which he exposes the editor of the article he is making fun of: Characteristics of fools. – So why didn’t the author include the last characteristic, which is ‘writing articles of this kind’? Leaving out the best is a bias of the many. (El Duende 27 September 1828)12

As for its political position, this publication was pleasing to Fernando VII. In the article ‘Vuelva usted mañana’ (Come Back Tomorrow) (El Pobrecito Hablador, January 1833), Larra describes looking through a keyhole and seeing an official smoking and reading El Correo (Larra 2000: 50) rather than either of the two publications approved by the absolutist regime (a novelty in 1828). By the winter of 1833, however, El Correo was already an outdated publication. Larra, who never missed an opportunity to criticize what he did not like, used it as a humorous resource to reinforce the idea of Spanish society’s prostration and inaction during the final days of absolutism. Dating from the same time, La Gaceta de Bayona (1828), also pro-­ government and a defender of the monarchy, was created to support the Minister of Finance Luis López Ballesteros (1782–1853), but its tone was more moderate than that of Calomarde and the more fundamentalist followers of Fernandism. Under the direction of the renowned intellectual Alberto Lista (1775–1848), the newspaper mainly championed the political economy of Ballesteros, the monarch’s support of culture, which reached its zenith with the opening of the Prado Museum in 1828, and the succession to the crown to Fernando’s daughter Isabel, then a child.

Satire and Irony in Larra It was in this environment that El Duende Satírico del Día (1828) emerged. A newspaper written entirely by Larra, its first issue was announced in La Gaceta de Madrid on 28 February 1828, two days after its publication. Larra had not yet turned nineteen. He had paid for the

Larra’s Articles (1828–33)


publication out of his own pocket and was in debt until 1836. The title was daring compared to the other mastheads mentioned above. Satire, in Calomarde’s time, was not the easiest genre for a journalist. In the article ‘De la sátira y de los satíricos’ (Of Satire and Satirists), published in El Español on 2 March 1836, Larra reviews the historical evolution of satire in different periods, as well as defending the position of the satirist (Penas 1980; Caravaca 1966; Romero 1995; Reyes Cano 2000; Larubia-­Prado 2006): We are satirical because we want to criticise abuses, because we would like to contribute with our feeble strengths to the possible perfection of the society to which we have the honour of belonging. But always delineating what is lawful from what is forbidden, and ceaselessly studying the customs of our age, we do not write without a plan; we do not harbour a dominant passion to criticise it with or without reason; we are extremely jealous of the good or bad opinion that our fellow citizens might form of our character; and in the midst of the displeasure to which the harsh obligation we have imposed upon ourselves condemns us, whose dangers we face without restriction, the greatest regret we can feel is that we have hurt no one with our criticism and ­satire . . . ­We will always avoid everything that has no relation to general interest. (Larra 2000: 479)13

The article ‘El Duende y el librero. Diálogo’ (The Sprite and the Bookseller. Dialogue), published on 26  February 1828, perfectly demonstrates young Larra’s weapons, which were loaded mainly with humour, as highlighted by his readers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Mazade 1848; Castelot 1873; Guerra 1907; Lomba y Pedraja 1936). José Ramón Lomba y Pedraja (1936) had been correct in attributing to Larra ‘the divine gift of humour, which is not exactly the joke, and which provokes, together with laughter, aesthetic delight’ (198). Therefore, irony is the principal resource that Larra draws upon to criticize the lack of freedom of the press and opinion in Spain. Larra himself reveals his strategy to avoid going awry in the exercise of satire: ‘You know better than I that one can criticise without naming anyone and without anyone taking offense’ (Larra 2000: 648).14 In effect, the author uses collective terms such as ‘government’ to avoid naming Fernando VII or Calomarde: ‘Yes, sir, the government watches over society; and society does not cease to conspire to thwart the noble goals of the government’ (Larra 2000: 647).15 Larra’s capacity for social criticism, constructed with a calculated irony that allowed him to escape censorship, is already apparent in his first articles in El Duende Satírico del Día. The feeling of constant


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surveillance to which Spaniards were accustomed during the last years of Fernando VII’s reign, which was ominous and frustrating for those who had had illusions about the openness to liberalism that had triumphed in the first three years of the 1820s (the so-­called Liberal Triennium), could not be better expressed. How different the journalistic scene was when Larra launched his first publishing business! This is how he describes that beginning, hiding the resentment he feels about what could happen to him: To commit myself to doing a newspaper [Larra (el Duende) says to the bookseller], no sir. Suppose that you insist, yes, a few pages I wrote on previous nights will come out of the darkness, and God forbid that I should have to regret it. If humour follows me as usual, I will publish others when I get settled or when I can, through individual articles; if not, it will stay wherever my pleasure runs out. (Larra 2000: 648)16

Indeed, he taunted the readers on the topic of freedom of expression at the beginning of the article ‘¿Quién es el público y dónde se le encuentra?’ (Who Is the Audience and Where Is It Found?) in El Pobrecito Hablador (17  August 1832), the second of the one-­man newspapers he founded: I am what the world calls a good man, an unhappy man, a poor man, as already can be seen in my writings; I have no other defect, or whatever you might call it, other than speaking a lot, most of the time without anyone having asked my opinion; perhaps it is because others have the flaw of not saying anything, even if they’re asked their opinion. (Larra 2000: 663)17

When we recognize the irony of the text, we can interpret Larra’s words as meaning that freely expressed opinions are not plentiful, because, among other things, the fear of governmental retribution increases self-­censorship. In the same article, he manages, through the well-­known rhetorical device of captatio benevolentiae, to make the censor lower his guard by presenting himself to his readers as a writer ‘with a childlike, innocent character’ (de carácter pueril e inocentón) who confronts the world ‘with his childish and silly face’ (con su cara infantil y bobalicona) (Larra 2000: 663) and his ‘poor man’s smile’ (sonrisa de pobre hombre) (Larra 2000: 666). It should also be noted that the publication’s title is also his pseudonym: pobrecito hablador (poor little chatterbox) (Penas 1980: 228–29). The epithet’s use of the diminutive, which, in this syntagm, has an affective connotation in

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Spanish, is likely to arouse sympathy in readers. It may surprise the modern reader that Larra, in his meticulous scrutiny of the Madrid public and its tastes and opinions, does not make a single allusion to politics. According to the editor, the people of Madrid talk about everything: bullfighting, theatre, poetry, journalism, current books, even honour. But this list of conversation and debate topics does not include anything related to the government, the king or the country’s socioeconomic situation. The types of people that Larra portrays in his article vehemently defend their position on classicism or romanticism, on one comedy or another, on one book or another, etc., and one would expect them to take similarly strong positions on political issues. Their silence, in this case, could not be more eloquent. In ‘El mundo todo es máscaras. Todo el año es carnaval’ (The World Is All Masks. All Year Round It’s Carnival) (El Pobrecito Hablador, 4 March 1833), Larra complains about the banning of an earlier issue of the newspaper, although this observation did not reach readers because it was eliminated by the censor. What passed unnoticed by the censors was Larra’s criticism of a collection of laws that had been published under Fernando VII in 1805 (the Novísima Recopilación), to which a new instalment had been added more recently, in 1829. The journalist, who does nothing without a reason, describes a lawyer friend ‘with his Novísima and his Partidas’ (con su Novísima y sus Partidas) (Larra 2000: 672). The former is the work cited above and the latter is none other than the Partidas of Alfonso X (1221–84). What Larra is mocking here is the fact that laws from the thirteenth century, when they had not been modified by later ones, were still in force in Fernando VII’s Spain. In other words, Fernandine absolutism continued to draw upon old legal codes that no longer satisfied the needs of a modern state. Even the title of this article suggests general criticism of hypocrisy and appearances from which the rulers could not escape. Some censored fragments that it has been possible to reread thanks to a preserved autograph (Pérez Vidal 1986) suggest that some malevolent allusion to the clergy and the royal palace itself might have been present in the writer’s original version (Larra 2000: 682). Another article in El Pobrecito Hablador, published on 22  March 1833 under the title ‘Carta última de Andrés Niporesas al bachiller don Juan Pérez de Munguía’ (The Last Letter of Andrés Niporesas to the Bachelor Don Juan Pérez de Munguía), met the same fate of censorship. The fictive letter was a useful resource for satire, the main ingredient of the newspaper (Escobar 1972). In the Spanish literary tradition, a close model can be found in Cartas Marruecas (1789), by José Cadalso (1741–82),18 which had also been published in instalments


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in a newspaper, El Correo de Madrid, previously known as Correo de los Ciegos (1786) because blind people were charged with selling it on the streets of Madrid. The letter is a literary form that makes the reader aware, in an agreeable way, of different perspectives on a subject. The different points of view, nationalities, education and even languages of the correspondents served to highlight the defects of the Spanish system. In order to highlight the censorship it had undergone, Larra printed the article with a series of six full stops in those places where the censors had cut text from the original. Fortunately, the preserved autograph of this article allows us to read Larra’s original text. The first passage eliminated was an ironic criticism of the intervention of the censor. It was not only criticisms of the government that were censored. Sometimes, as in this case, passages were suppressed because of simple ironic allusions to librarians, whom the censors considered to be part of the administration and therefore tied, albeit distantly, to the government. However, the censors did not notice Larra’s criticism of education, in which he denounced the lack of public professorships in topics of national interest such as history and geography. Spain’s capital offered only an Academy of History and an office where Tomás López’s geographic maps were stored, located on Príncipe Street. However, the main emphasis is on the difficulty associated with expressing oneself freely: Stop [Andrés Niporesas writes to the Bachelor], therefore, gossiping, which will cost you your life, or your tongue; imitate me, and from now on write only simple, serious family letters, like this one, where you relate facts without reflections, commentaries or morals, and in which no one can find a malicious word, nor a reproach to throw in your face, but rather a simple relation of the things that naturally happen every day in the Batuecas; or, what would be better, don’t write even that, and so that you don’t lose this ability, it will be sufficient to jot down the washerwoman’s bill every week. (Larra 2000: 687)19

Irony reappears in this fragment as a humorous resource used to denounce the relentless censorship that the writer was suffering first-­ hand. The country’s name, also humorous, serves as a way of linking Fernandine despotism to a Spain that was dark and backward with respect to Europe. Not in vain, throughout this article, Larra compares different European capitals with Madrid in connection with the repair of a watch, the binding of a book, the making of a sheet plate, etc. The government of Fernando VII has returned the country to the past. Larra draws upon the familiar name of the Batuecas, whose significance and

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origin had been revealed by Benito Jerónimo Feijoo (1676–1764) in the fourth volume of his Teatro crítico universal, in its tenth discourse, entitled ‘Fábula de las Batuecas y países imaginarios’ (The Tale of the Batuecas and Imaginary Countries) (1783: 241 and ss.). Feijoo’s account is very clear. He debunks the fables and myths that had been spreading throughout Spain and abroad about this territory and its inhabitants, who were considered ignorant and isolated from any form of civilization. Larra undoubtedly took advantage of the fact that the term was widely known, applying it to the environment that was the opposite of the urban progress that he defended, of which London and Paris were the main examples. Fernando VII’s Spain resembled the Batuecas more than it did those European capitals. Larra defended the idea with greater zeal in one of his most famous articles, the title of which has become a national saying. I am referring to ‘Vuelva usted mañana’ (Come Back Tomorrow), published in El Pobrecito Hablador on 11 March 1833. It is in this article that the wide range of humorous resources that the journalist had been employing in his earlier writings reach fullness and maturity. The result is criticism channelled through humour that seeks to denounce Spain’s backwardness and customs. Larra had realized that he could not express even a superficial opinion about topics related, however distantly, to politics, the government or the country’s rulers, so he saw in humour and in this article on customs two ways of escaping censorship and the retaliation that he might have suffered. The article is exemplary in that Larra used different humorous resources to denounce the inability of the Fernandine government to lift Spain out of the state of prostration in which it found itself. Although he could not mention the government’s responsibility for any of this, it is not difficult to deduce that public administration ultimately depends on it, as do laws, regulations and administrative procedures, as well as the education of the citizenry to be prepared for the challenges of a modern state. Larra, in order to keep the censors at bay, used the generalizing plural to refer to the government’s responsibility: All wise and prudent governments have called foreigners to themselves; France has always owed its high degree of splendour to its great hospitality; it has been due to foreigners from all over the world that Russia has become one of the first nations in much less time than it has taken others to become the last . . . (Larra 2000: 53)20

And although, in the collection of articles published in 1835 when Fernando VII was deceased, Larra eliminated a sentence that had appeared in the version in El Pobrecito Hablador, in which he excused


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the government for the inefficiency of its employees, it was clear who was responsible even in the earlier version. Monsieur Sans-­délai (Mister Without-­Delay), the humorously named main character of the article, has visited Spain with the intention of resolving certain family matters and investing some capital, a venture that he cannot complete in the end because of the proverbial Spanish idleness, which Larra masterfully summarizes in the catchphrase that gives the article its title and that Spaniards still repeat today. The repetition of the tag line throughout the article reinforces its humorous tone. This is evident, for example, in the passage in which Monsieur Sans-­délai visits a Madrid genealogist. Here, the anaphora reinforces the repetition of the title: – Come back ­tomorrow – ­the maid told us –, because the master has not gotten up yet. – Come back t­ omorrow – s­ he told us the following day –, because the master has just left. – Come back tomorrow –said the other one –, because the master is taking a nap. – Come back ­tomorrow – s­ he told us the next Monday –, because today he’s gone to the bullfight. (Larra 2000: 49)21

In spite of the censorship, Larra’s career continued. After his two solo journalistic ventures, he became an editor, under the famous pseudonym Fígaro and, towards the end of 1832, without a signature (Miranda de Larra 2009: 122), of La Revista Española, which, at around the same time, took over Cartas Españolas (1831–32). This coincided with the last death throes of the reign of Fernando VII, who fell gravely ill that autumn, a circumstance that was availed of to prepare a tentative opening in absolutism. As the king was on his deathbed, the new government under the leadership of the moderate Francisco Cea Bermúdez (1779–1850) ordered universities to be reopened, and conceded amnesty to liberals among other measures in an attempt to contain the absolutist Carlist sector, which after the passing of the Pragmática Sanción had no legal recourse to deny the daughter of Fernando the accession to the throne. José María Carnerero, who was in charge of La Revista, had been lambasted by Larra in certain articles in El Duende when Carnerero was directing El Correo, a publication and events to which I referred above. The fact that Larra joined the editorial staff of the new magazine with many financial advantages for him, is evidence of his potential, to which the entrepreneur Carnerero was not blind. On 30 April 1833, he published the article ‘En este país’ (In This Country), in which it is possible to read between the lines that

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Spain was in a moment of transition to a new regime, without this being explicitly stated, instead resorting, as has been already seen, to indeterminate generalization: When a country finds itself in that critical moment in which it is approaching a transition and, in emerging from the shadows, a light glow begins to shine in its eyes, it does not yet know good, but it already knows the evil from whence it seeks to leave to try any other thing that is not what it has had until then. (Larra 2000: 79)22

Another of Larra’s most beloved humorous resources appears in this article: parody, which, in this case, targets, as the object of the parody, the most rutinera Spanish youth (‘wary of the romantic idea of the nation’s progress’). Don Periquito is the representative of the parodied group. He is a young man who has not seen the world, speaks no other languages, has no dealings with those who do not think as he does, has had a very limited education and, finally, is disdainful of things in his country. Larra willingly accepts foreigners’ criticisms of Spain because they, at least, can compare two countries and formulate criticism on the basis of well-­founded arguments. On the contrary, those Spaniards who, like the parodied youth here, have no other model with which to compare their country should be more prudent. In order to prevent the censor from suspecting that the criticism in the article was aimed at the government, the editor included a few lines containing a kind of praise, but these were later suppressed: Today this country is less than ever worthy of our contempt; for years the government, by earning the gratitude of its subjects, will communicate to many branches of prosperity a certain beneficent impulse, which will one day complete the great work of our regeneration. (1833: 531)23

Finally, the analysis of political life in the last decade of Fernando VII’s reign has little to do with what we are accustomed to reading in the newspapers of democratic countries nowadays. Larra realized that the main obstacle to all progress was censorship, for it not only restricted freedom of expression and the press, but also condemned citizens to perpetual ignorance and atavistic immobility. For this reason, and in view of the impossibility of calling out the rulers, Larra often focused his criticism on the censors and, in passing, reviewed the citizens’ c­ ustoms – ­not superficially, as in the work of other essayists of the time, but in light of their most profound function as a mirror of the nation. Through the lens of humour,24 Larra tried to confront


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absolutism with progress, demonstrating in many different ways his faith in the latter and the dangers of the former. Thus, he acted according to the dictates of his own opinion: ‘When things are hopeless, one must turn things to one’s own advantage’ (Larra 2000: 687).25 José María Ferri Coll is an Associate Professor of Spanish Literature at the University of Alicante (Spain). He was awarded his licentiate and doctoral degrees with special distinction. He has written widely on nineteenth-­century topics, including the spleen and illness and their relationship with literature, the theatre of Martínez de la Rosa, Romantic literary genres, Gil y Carrasco, Romantic poetry, Romantic magazines, Spanish-­American Romantic costumbrismo and the constitution of national identities, Napoleon among the Spanish Romantics, etc. He is editor of Larra en el mundo (University of Alicante, 2011), together with Enrique Rubio and Joaquín Álvarez Barrientos. He also co-­edited with Enrique Rubio La península romántica. El Romanticismo europeo y las letras españolas del XIX (Genueve, 2014) and La tribu liberal. El Romanticismo en las dos orillas del Atlántico (Iberoamericana, 2016); and with Raquel Gutiérrez and Borja Rodríguez, Historia de la literatura española ilustrada del siglo XIX (University of Cantabria & University of Santiago de Compostela, 2019, XXIII National University Publishing Award) and Literatura para una nación (Renacimiento, 2019).

Notes José María Ferri Coll is a member of the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’ (Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today; HAR2017-­84635-­P) financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.  1. The rehilete was the banderilla that bullfighters used, on the basis of which Larra would note the double meaning of the word punzante (sharp, pointed, stabbing) in Spanish. An example of this genre is the following: ‘A stranger who had already been to Madrid before said as he groped his way along the street on one of those nights when the lanterns aren’t lit on the pretext that the moon is out, “Blessed streetlight! Before there were few lights in Madrid, but that has changed: now there are none”’ (Un forastero que había estado ya en Madrid en otra ocasión, decía al retirarse a tientas por las calles una de estas noches en que no se encienden los faroles con pretexto de la luna. ¡Bendito alumbrado! Antes había pocas luces en Madrid, pero ya ha variado mucho: ahora ya no hay ninguna) (Correo de las Damas, 3 June 1833).

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  2. For consideration of both publications as brochures and not periodicals, see Ferrer 2000.   3. It is true that the Royalist Volunteers was not a completely homogenous group in that it included a more radical faction formed by the so-­called Apostolics, who were more supportive of Carlos (1788–1855), who aspired to succeed his brother Fernando on the throne, than Fernando. Thus, they considered the 1826 regulations of the Volunteers to be insufficient. Between March and September 1827, they encouraged the Catalan revolt of the Malcontents (Aggrieved), who demanded more absolutism and less liberalism, as well as the re-­establishment of the Inquisition (Torras 1967). Benito Pérez Galdós (1843–1920) would later dedicate two of his Episodios nacionales (National Episodes) to this group, under the very meaningful titles of Un voluntario realista (A Royalist Volunteer) (1878) and Los apostólicos (The Apostolics) (1879). The reading of these texts is highly recommended for those who wish to reconstruct the social and political environment of the era. Incidentally, the young Galdós was greatly influenced by Larra’s work.   4. ‘Yo creía que podía contar con mi hijo para esto [para encontrar alojamiento en Madrid]; pero, pues, ni tiene dinero, ni casa ni crédito, que es enteramente inútil para esto.’  5. Including speculation that the Madrid writer had not always been an adamant liberal (Urrutia 1977) and that he may have professed to being a moderate royalist (Valera 1978); that his concept of liberalism was adjusting to Spanish reality and nourished by his readings, above all those in French, including works by Étienne de Jouy (1764–1846), François-­René de Chateaubriand (1768–1848), Charles Didier (1805–64) and Eugène Lerminier (1803–57) (Pérez Vidal 2009b); that he knew how to adapt to circumstances to be able to publish in those years of absolutism, relying first on the ideals of the Enlightenment in which he had been educated until adopting later a liberal position (Escobar 1983); that, identifying with the ideals of progress, his political thinking evolved according to circumstances (Kirkpatrick 1977), etc.   6. ‘Dos o tres abogados que no podrán hablar sin sus anteojos puestos, un médico que no podría curar sin su bastón en la mano, cuatro chimeneas ­ambulantes . . . ­y varios de estos que apodan en el día con el tontísimo y chabacano nombre de lechuguinos.’   7. ‘Con la publicación del Pobrecito Hablador empecé a cultivar este género arriesgado bajo el ministerio Calomarde; la Revista Española me abrió sus columnas en tiempos de Cea [fue el equivalente a un jefe de gobierno (1832–34)]; y he escrito en el Observador durante Martínez de la Rosa [sucedió a Cea, ya muerto Fernando VII]. Esta colección será, pues, cuando menos un documento histórico, una elocuente crónica de nuestra llamada libertad de imprenta.’  8. What is known in nineteenth-­ century historiography as the Liberal Triennium involved a great proliferation of newspaper publications, including El Censor (1820), which had the best reputation at that time;


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Miscelánea de Comercio, Artes y Literatura (1819), which, from 1820, was called Miscelánea de Comercio, Política y Literatura and, from that point on, discussed political topics in its pages; El Universal (1820); La Colmena (1820); El Imparcial (1821); Periódico de las Damas (1822), the first aimed at a female audience, which sided with the more moderate liberals; the Diario Constitucional de Barcelona (1820), which, in almost all its issues, ran the caption ‘Constitution or Death’; El Zurriago (1821), a radical weekly paper that was the scourge of both moderantism and absolutism; La Periódico-Manía (1820), a very original magazine that was based on a tenuous liberalism too servile to the monarchy, etc. These publications represented the most radicalized sectors of Spanish liberalism.   9. ‘– Los buenos españoles, los hombres que amamos a nuestra patria, no podemos tolerar la ignominia de que la cubren hace muchísimo tiempo esas bandadas de seudoautores, este empeño de que todo el mundo se ha de dar a luz, ¡maldita sea la luz! ¡Cuánto mejor viviríamos a oscuras que alumbrados por esos candiles de la literatura!’ 10. ‘No es decir esto, aunque lo parezca, que el Correo Literario no tenga mérito, y nadie mentiría más que yo si se tratase de sostener que es inútil; muy por el contrario, porque a mí mismo me sucede que sólo los días que sale puedo conseguir dormir siesta, que el calor antes y varias cavilaciones me robaban; ahora tengo muy buen cuidado de no comprar el número hasta la hora de comer, y al momento que acabo esta operación preparatoria cojo mi Correo, y ábrale por cualquiera parte, a los chasquidos de su látigo me duermo como un hombre sin cuidados, tan profundamente, que ha habido tarde de pasárseme la hora del paseo y despertarme a las diez de la noche; y me parece que para quien tenga la desgracia de no poder conciliar el sueño, bien vale esto la pena de gastar seis cuartos. Ésta es la razón, porque columbro que ha de durar algo más; porque no soy el único que le ha encontrado esta virtud, que comprueba la verdad de que no hay libro ni escrito, por malos que sean, que no tengan algo bueno.’ 11. ‘Cimentar el amor de la patria.– El amor de la patria es el amor que siente la patria hacia algún objeto; pero cuando se quiere decir lo que el señor redactor, entonces se pone “el amor a la patria”, que quiere decir, para que lo entienda el señor redactor, el amor que tienen a la patria los individuos que la forman. Pero ahora iría un correo, con la prisa que lleva, a entretenerse en quitar esas chinitas del camino.’ 12. ‘Características de los necios.– ¿Y por qué no puso el redactor la última característica, que es “escribir artículos de esta especie”? Sobre dejarse la mejor, es una parcialidad de las muchas.’ 13. ‘Somos satíricos porque queremos criticar abusos, porque quisiéramos contribuir con nuestras débiles fuerzas a la perfección posible de la sociedad a la que tenemos la honra de pertenecer. Pero deslindando siempre lo lícito de lo que nos es vedado, y estudiando sin cesar las costumbres de nuestra época, no escribimos sin plan; no abrigamos una pasión dominante de criticarlo todo con razón o sin ella; somos sumamente celosos de la opinión buena o mala que puedan formar nuestros conciudadanos

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de nuestro carácter; y en medio de los disgustos a que nos condena la dura obligación que nos hemos impuesto, cuyos peligros arrostramos sin restricción, el mayor pesar que podemos sentir es el haber lastimado a nadie con nuestras críticas y s­ átiras . . . ­Siempre evitaremos todo cuanto no tenga relación con el interés general.’ 14. ‘Mejor sabe usted que yo que se puede criticar sin nombrar a nadie, sin que nadie se pueda ofender.’ 15. ‘Sí, señor, el Gobierno vigila sobre la sociedad; y la sociedad no cesa de conspirar a desbaratar los buenos fines del Gobierno.’ 16. ‘Comprometerme a dar un periódico [dice Larra (el Duende) al librero], no señor; supuesto que usted se empeña saldrán, sí, de la oscuridad unas cuantas hojas que escribí noches pasadas, y Dios quiera que no me tenga que arrepentir. Si como es regular me sigue el humor, publicaré otras cuando me acomode o pueda, por artículos sueltos; si no, allí se quedará donde a mí se me acabe el gusto’ (Larra 2000: 648). 17. ‘Yo vengo a ser lo que se llama en el mundo un buen hombre, un infeliz, un pobrecillo, como ya se echará de ver en mis escritos; no tengo más defecto, o llámese sobra si se quiere, que hablar mucho, las más de las veces sin que nadie me pregunte mi opinión; váyase porque otros tienen el de no hablar nada, aunque se les pregunte la suya.’ 18. This is a collection of ninety letters from three correspondents, two Muslims of foreign origin and a Spanish Christian (Gazel, Ben-­Beley and Nuño), in which they exchange views on Spain, making a comparative analysis of different matters relevant to the country’s problems and its decline. Many of Cadalso’s criticisms and satires reverberate in Larra’s articles, as well as the satirical and humorous resource of introducing foreign characters who react with surprise at what happens in Spain. Cadalso’s work inevitably recalls Montesquieu’s Lettres persanes (1721), dedicated to satirizing society. One of the letters was directed specifically against Spain; Cadalso himself responded to this letter in an unpublished manuscript titled ‘Defensa de la nación Española contra la “Carta persiana LXXVIII” de Montequieu. Notas a la carta persiana que escribió el presidente de Montesquieu en agravio de la religión, valor, ciencia y nobleza de los españoles’ (Defence of the Spanish Nation against Montesquieu’s ‘Persian Letter LXXVII’. Notes on the Persian Letter that The President Montesquieu Wrote in Detriment to the Religion, Courage, Science and Nobility of the Spanish) (written possibly between 1758 and 1775). 19. ‘Déjate [escribe Andrés Niporesas al Bachiller], pues, ya de habladurías, que te han de costar la vida, o la lengua; imítame a mí, y escribe solo de aquí en adelante cartas simples y serias de familia, como ésta, donde cuentes hechos, sin reflexiones, comentarios ni moralejas, y en las cuales nadie pueda encontrar una palabra maliciosa, ni un reproche que echarte en cara, sino la sencilla relación de las cosas que natural y diariamente en las Batuecas acontecen; o lo que sería mejor, ni aun eso escribas, que para que esta habilidad no se te olvide, bastará que pongas semanalmente la cuenta de la lavandera.’


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20. ‘Todos los gobiernos sabios y prudentes han llamado a sí a los extranjeros; a su grande hospitalidad ha debido siempre la Francia su alto grado de esplendor; a los extranjeros de todo el mundo que ha llamado la Rusia, ha debido el llegar a ser una de las primeras naciones en muchísimo menos tiempo que el que han tardado otras en llegar a ser las últimas.’ 21. ‘– Vuelva usted mañana –nos respondió la criada-, porque el señor no se ha levantado todavía. – Vuelva usted mañana –nos dijo al día siguiente-, porque el amo acaba de salir. – Vuelva usted mañana –nos respondió al otro-, porque el amo está durmiendo la siesta. – Vuelva usted mañana –nos respondió el lunes siguiente-, porque hoy ha ido a los toros.’ 22. ‘Cuando se halla un país en aquel crítico momento en que se acerca a una transición, y en que saliendo de las tinieblas, comienza a brillar a sus ojos un ligero resplandor, no conoce todavía el bien, empero ya conoce el mal de donde pretende salir para probar cualquiera otra cosa que no sea lo que hasta entonces ha tenido.’ 23. ‘En el día es menos que nunca acreedor este país a nuestro desprecio; hace años que el gobierno granjeándose la gratitud de sus súbditos comunicará a muchos ramos de prosperidad cierto impulso benéfico que ha de completar por fin algún día la grande obra de nuestra regeneración.’ 24. Here, I recall the words of Leonardo Romero Tobar: ‘Laughter in Larra is the crystallization of his attitude in the face of the absurd disorder of collective life, of the disorder that translates the installation of inert automatism in the current of existence’ (1995: 204). Jean-­Marc Pélorson’s (1983) examination of the matter is likewise useful. 25. ‘Cuando las cosas no tienen remedio, la habilidad consiste en convertirlas como son en provecho de uno.’

References Álvarez Barrientos, Joaquín. 2011. ‘Proyecto literario y oficio de escritor en Larra’, in Joaquín Álvarez Barrientos, José María Ferri Coll and Enrique Rubio Cremades (eds), Larra en el mundo. La misión de un escritor moderno. Alicante: Universidad, pp. 17–42. Caravaca, Francisco. 1966. ‘Las ideas de Larra sobre la sátira y los satíricos’, Quaderni Ibero Americani XXX: 4–25. Castelot, E. 1873. ‘Un humoriste espagnol Fígaro-­Larra’, Revue de Belgique XV: 161–86. Escobar, José. 1972. ‘El Pobrecito Hablador de Larra y su intención satírica’, Papeles de Son Armadans LXIV: 5–44. ——. 1983. ‘Larra durante la Ominosa Década’, Anales de Literatura Española II: 233–51.

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Estruch Tobella, Joan. 2009. ‘Larra en la transición del absolutismo al liberalismo’, Ínsula 756: 3–6. Feijoo Montenegro, Benito. 1783. Theatro crítico universal. Vol. IV. Madrid: Viuda de Francisco del Hierro. Ferrer, Antoni. 2000. ‘La transformación de El Pobrecito hablador en una revista satírica que nunca existió’, Cahiers d’Études Romans 4: 349–65. Ferri Coll, José María. 2009. ‘Larra y la representación romántica del mundo: un fogonazo sobre el tema’, in Joaquín Álvarez Barrientos, José María Ferri Coll and Enrique Rubio Cremades (eds), Larra en el mundo. La misión de un escritor moderno. Alicante: Universidad, pp. 43–50. Guerra, Ángel. 1907. ‘La ironía de Fígaro’, La España Moderna 226: 5–21. Kirkpatrick, Susan. 1977. Larra. El inextricable laberinto de un romántico. Madrid: Gredos. Krato, Jennifer Rae. 1996. ‘Enlightenment Satire and Larra’s El Pobrecito Hablador’, Dieciocho XIX, 1: 65–72. Larra, Mariano José de (Fígaro). 1835. Colección de artículos dramáticos, literarios, políticos y de costumbres, publicados en los años 1832, 1833 y 1834 en El Pobrecito Hablador, La Revista Española y El Observador. Madrid: Repullés. ——. 2000. Colección de artículos dramáticos, literarios, políticos y de costumbres, ed. Alejandro Pérez Vidal. Barcelona: Crítica. ——. 2003. El Pobrecito Hablador, ed. Pilar Palomo. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. Larubia-­Prado, Francisco. 2006. ‘Demonios públicos y privados: Del humor satírico a la ironía absoluta en Mariano José de Larra’, Colorado Review of Hispanic Studies 4: 221–38. Lomba y Pedraja, José Ramón. 1936. ‘Mariano José de Larra (Fígaro) como escritor político’, in Mariano José de Larra (Fígaro). Cuatro estudios que le abordan o le bordean. Madrid: Tipografía de Archivos, pp. 97–199. Mazade, Charles de. 1848. ‘Un humoriste espagnol: Larra’, Revue des Deux Mondes XXI: 216–49. Miranda de Larra, Jesús. 2009. Larra. Biografía de un hombre desesperado. Madrid: Aguilar. Navas Ruiz, Ricardo. 1982. El Romanticismo español. Madrid: Cátedra. Pélorson, Jean-­Marc. 1983. ‘El humor de Larra o la descortesía de la desesperanza’, in Revisión de Larra. Protesta o revolución. París: Les Belles Lettres, pp. 167–74. Penas, Ermitas. 1980. ‘Las firmas de Larra’, Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos 361–62: 227–51. Pérez Vidal, Alejandro. 1986. ‘Larra y la censura: Un manuscrito olvidado’, Trienio VII: 235–59. ——. 2009a. ‘Los avatares de Larra con la censura’, in Larra. Actas de conferencias. Madrid: Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, pp. 97–127. ——. 2009b. ‘El liberalismo de Larra: algunas inspiraciones francesas’, in Joaquín Álvarez Barrientos, José María Ferri Coll and Enrique Rubio


José María Ferri Coll

Cremades (eds), Larra en el mundo. La misión de un escritor moderno. Alicante: Universidad, pp. 51–72. Reyes Cano, Rogelio. 2000. ‘Influencia de los recursos satíricos de Quevedo en la obra de Larra’, in Rogelio Reyes Cano (ed.), De Blanco White a la Generación del 27: estudios de literatura española contemporánea. Seville-­ Huelva: Universidad, pp. 41–59. Romero Tobar, Leonardo. 1995. ‘Risa en Larra, la risa de Larra, in La sonrisa romántica. (Sobre lo lúdico en el Romanticismo hispánico). Rome: Bulzoni, pp. 195–206. Torras Elías, Jaime. 1967. La guerra de los agraviados. Barcelona: Publicaciones de la Cátedra de Historia General de España. Urrutia, Jorge. 1977. ‘Larra, defensor de Fernando VII’, Ínsula 366. Varela, José Luis. 1964. ‘Larra ante el poder’, Ínsula 206: 1 and 7. ——. 1978. ‘Larra, voluntario realista’. Hispanic Review XLVI: 407–20. ——. 1983. Larra y España. Madrid: Espasa Calpe.

Chapter 9

‘Long Live the Joke’ Political Satire and Humour through the Valencian Newspaper El Mole (1837) Alejandro Llinares Planells

¡ How is a Spaniard like an ass? – In that they put two packsaddles on him, they starve him to death, they beat him to a pulp, and he doesn’t complain. —El Mole, 11 February 1837: 441

Introduction This chapter is a study of the humorous resources employed by the liberal publication El Mole, which used political satire to disseminate the principles of the liberal revolution and to denounce what its editors considered political setbacks, such as corruption, pacts with the oligarchies of the Old Regime, censorship and the government’s lack of forcefulness in the measures it was taking to end Carlism. Political  satire attempts, by means of jokes, sarcasm or ridicule, to denounce a situation or institution, attack a political rival or establish a new social order. The writings studied in this chapter certainly gave rise to a smile, laughter or guffaws in their readers or listeners, but this form of humour is above all ‘the expression of those discontented with the bias taken by ­governments . . . ­for this reason, through the ­apparent appearance of joy with which it is presented one must glimpse the complaint that has always given birth to it’ (Egido 1973: 9–10). In the period on which we are focusing, the nineteenth century, political satire was mainly channelled through the press. The emergence of humour in the newspapers is linked to the fall of absolutism at the beginning of the century, as the great political upheaval of 1808 entailed a series of transformations in the political habits ‘and in the coexistence of the Spanish p ­ eople . . . ­under such conditions, it was


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not feasible to control how many papers were published, nor could a large part of Spanish society accept it’ (La Parra 2005: n.p.). This freedom of the press was regulated in legal terms in 1810 when it was recognized by the Cortes of Cadiz because the population wanted to be aware of what was happening in the parliamentary sessions. This is the great change that broke with the Old Regime because, while eighteenth-­century newspapers, for the most part, served the erudite classes, during the Cadiz Cortes an authentic propaganda campaign in favour of one or the other approach was carried out through the press, where satire was also very present (La Parra 2005: n.p.; see the work of Gonzalo Butrón Prida in this same volume). In this liberal context (which was experienced in Spain, punctuated by absolutist restorations, in the periods 1810–14, 1820–23 and from 1834 onwards), we also witness an evolution in public opinion and in the reading public, which, for María Cruz Seoane is ‘that which fundamentally distinguishes nineteenth-­century liberal politics from the absolutism of the previous period’ (quoted in La Parra 2005: n.p.). Nineteenth-­century printed media became responsible for spreading political discussions; it was in such publications that alternatives were presented by the different political tendencies, that is, there was a connection between the press and public opinion with regard to the social and political reality of the moment (Ruiz 1999: 419–50). With the development of editorial production and the press as a means of disseminating public opinion, the number of reading places, such as bookstores, coffee houses and literary offices, also increased, although the rate of illiteracy did not vary much from that of the eighteenth century; nevertheless, there was an increase in the potential number of readers seeking fresh news, information on recent events or amusing reflections on political, economic or social issues (Botrel 2003: 19–36). The periodical press became much more accessible for the popular masses as a result of affordable subscription prices, the use of prints, many of which were satirical cartoons, the use in many sections of songs written in verse to facilitate recitation and the use of language that was much simpler than that used by eighteenth-­century newspapers. The publishers knew that if they wanted to be successful, they had to copy the model of chapbooks so that the population would be amused by and curious about their publications, which could be read and heard in public and thus would be more widely disseminated, with the advantage that the press has a regularity that loose sheets lack (Fuertes 2010: 52–53). In relation to accessible language, another step was taken by newspapers like El Mole (the publication that concerns us here) or

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Fray Gerundio, which used a type of humour that we can describe as ‘popular’ because of the use of verse, colloquial language and repetitive allusions to the general populace as the recipients of the written message. This dual approach2 combining the cultured and popular, inherited from nineteenth-­century folklorists, is now outdated. In the present study, we understand popular humour as the means of using the laughable to reach all of society, literate and illiterate, nobles and day labourers, although each social class would surely interpret the text differently (Chartier 2005). Since humour cannot be understood without context, we cannot begin to speak of El Mole without first explaining the political environment in which its jokes developed.3 In 1833, upon the death of Fernando VII, the country’s last absolutist king, who had twice repealed the liberal constitution of 1812, Spanish liberalism embarks on a new path through a conceded charter (the Royal Statute of 1834) and a constitution (1837) that has to be developed in a challenging environment. The newspaper’s first period unfolds during the regency of Maria Cristina (1833–40), during the minority of Isabel II, a period marked by civil war and liberalist fears of a return to absolutism. The civil (or Carlist) war was a dynastic fight for the Spanish Crown, but it was also a warlike contest to determine a state model, since the supporters of Carlos María Isidro (brother of the late Fernando VII, who did not recognize the right to the throne of the king’s daughter, Isabel) defended, for the most part, orthodox Catholicism mixed with monarchical traditionalism. Under the motto ‘God, Country and King’ or ‘God, Country and Laws’, they became strong in the Basque country, southern Catalonia, lower Aragon and some regions in the north of the Valencian country, although they made many incursions into the vicinity of Valencia City (Martínez and Pan-­Monlojo 2000). For its part, liberalism would encounter problems consolidating the bourgeois revolution among its own ranks, as it was very divided between moderates and progressives. The former wanted to consolidate a new liberal order from the ‘doctrinaire’ model, that is, making a pact with the social elites of the Old Regime because they feared a ‘social revolution’; therefore, they retained the previous print censorship in the Royal Statute of 1834. The progressives argued that the revolution should be consummated by making a pact with popular groups in order to achieve the full sovereignty of the nation. Their strength lay in their ability to mobilize public opinion in their favour through social agitation in the streets and they, therefore, defended freedom of the press without restrictions (Martorell 2018: 13: 26).


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This is the context in which El Mole emerges, in a city, Valencia, t­hat – a ­ ccording to Encarna García and Justo Serna – ‘was a kind of laboratory in which, like an experiment, the same situations of crisis and exaltation were being experienced as in the rest of the country’ (2009: 424).

Popular Humour in El Mole On 1 February 1837, the first issue of the satirical periodical El Mole appeared in Valencia, the result of freedom of the press at that time, despite the fact that, in practice, the prohibitions and restrictions imposed by censorship had not come to an end. It was a publication of a markedly liberal, constitutionalist and anti-­Carlist nature (Pérez 1993: 363–79). Like many other periodicals,4 its continuity was disrupted by political instability. When the moderates came to power, the newspaper’s publishing activity was interrupted. For that reason, its name changed several times and its publication history is divided into six different periods, ranging from 1837 to 1870. We will focus on the first one (1837)5 because it was the period of greatest continuity and success. El Mole was managed by the journalist, writer and painter Josep Maria Bonilla i Martínez (1808–80), who was a contemporary of other satirical authors, such as Mesonero Romanos, Mariano José de Larra and Modesto Lafuente, but less famous than these because, despite having published numerous satirical texts of a markedly liberal character, his activity was limited to Catalan-­speaking territories, especially Valencia and, to a lesser extent, Barcelona, whereas the others carried out their activity in Madrid. El Mole was written in the Valencian variety of Catalan and made use of popular language typical of the city of Valencia and its metropolitan area. Bonilla was a pioneer in creating a humorous newspaper that employed its own language, far from the centralism of Madrid, and that had, in its first two periods, four thousand and five thousand subscribers, good figures taking into account its restricted area of influence (Simbor 1979: 161). The success of the newspaper was highlighted by the Diario Mercantil in August 1837: El Mole has almost become the fashionable reading of the towns of La Ribera and Marina, and even in La Plana and Maestrazgo, despite the little bit of humour that the current circumstances must set aside in order to think about foolishness; the cultured capital of the kingdom has been pleased to honour with its suffrage and numerous

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subscriptions to this humble production, and these demonstrations persuade its editors to continue with renewed ardour the work begun, so as not to undermine the objectives achieved, and close their mouths to those detractors, who unfortunately are never lacking. (Diario Mercantil 17 August 1837)6

The newspaper did well since, among other factors, it was able to capture what people liked. This was because it was an evolution of the humorous chapbooks that had flooded eighteenth-­century Valencia, the Col·loquis (Sansano 2009), copying their style in some sections and even resorting to characters whom people already recognized from popular literature like Sento el Formal or Lluc. As with loose sheets, the publisher of El Mole understood that the newspaper would be read directly from the printed page, but also aloud; through such collective readings, the information it contained could reach the majority of the illiterate population (Frenk 1997). The press was a means used by the bourgeoisie to spread different liberal ideas and to denounce the policies of their rivals (Fuertes 2010: 61). El Mole sought to reach the most marginalized class of Valencian society, which was also the most ­numerous – ­the farmers of the Valencian countryside, els llauradors – and it used popular language and humour to do so. Although the newspaper used a colloquial register typical of common folk, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the editors belonged to the urban liberal bourgeoisie that surged in this century. At the same time, we must remember that the mission of the periodical was surely derived from progressive liberalism’s goal to bring about a revolution by making a pact with popular sectors, which had to be convinced through publications like this one. However, the meaning that those in charge of the publishing house intended to communicate and the way in which the content was culturally appropriated were not necessarily in alignment. El Mole was read by the working classes, but also by the affluent urbanite middle class, to which the figure of an uneducated and innocent Valencian labourer could seem funny. However the text was appropriated, humour was employed as a means of communication, though its ultimate meaning could have varied. The editors knew that the poorest peasants were suffering many calamities during the Civil War and that many of them fattened the Carlist ranks because they were given food, since the state was not attending to their basic needs (Balaguer 1988: 73). These people were poorly educated, without a well-­defined ideology, and therefore newspapers like this one tried to make them see that the Carlist option


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was not good for them. In order to more easily reach this sector of the population, all the content was set in or related to the Valencian countryside. For example, there was, at the beginning of each issue, an engraving of a child dressed in the typical clothing of Valencian peasants, the activities described took place in the streets or country houses, known as les barraques, and the pseudonyms used by the contributors to the paper related to vegetables and elements of the countryside. Bonilla signed his articles as Nap-y-Col (Rutabaga), the famous satirical writer Joan Bernat i Baldoví did so as Garrofa (Carob) and the third editor, Pasqual Pérez, used the pseudonym Pataca-Grosa (Thick Potato) (La Traca. La transgressió como a norma 2017: 26).7 In addition, at the beginning of each issue, there was a section dedicated to culturally educating this part of the population by means of a fictitious colloquy between a farmer and a learned man, who explained to the former subjects such as the constitution, freedom of the press, Valencian history and political parties. The intention was to educate the peasants so they could understand the reality of the moment; this would allow them to listen to conversations without having ‘their mouths open’ (en la boca oberta), as the publication itself affirms, since the state did not provide them with education (El Mole, 18 February 1837: 67–71). Even though those who wrote for the publication did not belong to the agrarian social s­ ector – t­hey were writers, lawyers and people of letters in g ­ eneral – t­ hey posed as farmers. Ironically, in one issue, one of the magazine’s subscribers stated that she did not believe that those responsible for the publication were farmers and that they had names like Rutabaga; however, when she arrived at the editorial office, she saw that it was true: They had told me that you were farmers, and that you were called Rutabaga and names like that, but I thought it a lie and a thing to cause laughter; something to shock, and that you’d taken those names to make people laugh; and now I discover that it’s t­ rue . . . i­s it true that you are the ones you make El Mole? – And why not? We [those responsible for the daily] said to her ‘What’s so special about them?’ – But, sir, hats, pant legs, leggings, espadrilles and making El Mole? Since when do farmers make newspapers? – Of course; since those who didn’t want to, or couldn’t, came to be in charge and go against the current; since journalists who don’t know, or know wrongly, started writing; since the members of the faction [Carlists] do what the liberals should do, since in Valencia everything is backwards . . . (El Mole, 17 April 1837)8

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El Mole always dealt with topics such as politics, the Civil War, the economic crisis, freedom of the press and the relationship with other contemporary newspapers sarcastically, in a similar way to Modesto Lafuente (1806–66), at around the same time, in his Madrid newspaper Fray Gerundio (Fuertes 2012). The humour of the Valencian magazine begins with its title, El Mole, which refers to a plaster cast that had the ability to bring out the true personality of the subject who wanted to make a copy of his face. The newspaper itself tells a story in which a hawker named Parruchini went through villages making copies of people’s faces; in one of these villages, the result was not what the customers were expecting. The mould made of the first person came out as an aged figure, in which one could behold ambition and greed – ‘the nose like an artichoke and rolled-­up sleeves, the lower lip protruding more than the top one, the cheeks dry and wrinkled’9 – and that indicated that he was one of those people ‘who become faction members overnight just as they become liberal in a single day and who would just as soon become Turks, Jews or demons’,10 that is, a selfish man, without ideology, who ascribed to whatever political tendency would benefit him in a given moment. The second person to have a mould made of his face was a man with an ‘a very devout countenance’ (aspecte molt devot); however, when he put on the plaster, the mould had ‘a long, red ­nose . . . t­ he eyes of a tiger, throwing flames, the mouth open from ear to ear, and the ­ears . . . w ­ ould you believe it? They were donkey ears . . . “Carlist! Carlist!” all began, “hypocrite . . .” he ­is . . . ­look at the p ­ ortrait . . . ­The poor devil is in a hurry’ (El Mole, 1 February 1837: 11–12).11 Later, other men, who apparently were good people without evil intentions, went, but their moulds reflected that they were Republicans, Carlists or moderate liberals; everyone began to scream their political slogans, but the writer claims that in the midst of this hullabaloo, no voice was heard saying ‘Long live pure freedom! Long live the pure Constitution! Out with the parties!’ (El Mole, 1  February 1837: 14).12 After this ironic parody, the editors of the newspaper stated that this periodical would speak candidly, that it would expose the true personality of men and that it would still believe in the liberal revolution but not with the political factions of liberalism; it concludes by saying ‘long live the joke’ (Viva la broma). Sarcasm, ridicule, jokes and easy insults are the means that are most often used by this newspaper to denounce situations of which it does not approve. It also uses different languages ironically, employing Latin phrases for the church, French and English to speak of European politics, and an Andalusian accent to refer to people of the south, but what it resorts to most is the word play based on mixing Castilian and


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Catalan. El Mole says that Spaniards speak in one language ‘and we understand them in another’ (els entenem en altra).13 It creates parodies by using words that have one meaning in Catalan and another in Castilian, such as the word ‘res’, which means ‘nothing’ in Catalan and is used to refer to cattle in Castilian: ‘What’s wrong? – [He responds in Catalan] Res, Mister, res (nothing). – Well, sir, Cattle, c­ attle . . . ­the cattle; we’ll have to begin the fleecing’ (El Mole, 11  February 1837: 37).14 The editors of the newspaper laugh at those who criticize them for creating journalism in their own language and who say they do not understand the content of the publication, since, for the newspaper, the worse thing would not be people not understanding the language, but rather that ‘I speak to many Spaniards in good Castilian, and they do not understand me or they refuse to understand me’ (El Mole, 11 February 1837: 38).15 But most of the mockery was directed at the government because the newspaper’s editors thought it was corrupt and ineffective, and did not hesitate to use means such as scatology to laugh at measures taken by the government: The ills of Spain can be said to be nothing more than the ills of children who are not remedied when they are men. In the same way the cortes will cure our ills, at the rate they are going, that now rain turnips; and even if forty congresses like ours were to convene, they would advance as much as if in order to cure me of a bellyache they were to put a bow on the tail of my donkey. (El Mole, 18 February 1837: 74)16

The mockery of the Cortes’ ineffectiveness and uselessness in relation to different issues was a constant. A seasonal section entitled Sesión extraordinaria (Extraordinary Section) was even created as a parody of the cortes generales of Madrid. The protagonists were the main characters of the newspaper, Mister Rutabaga, Mister Thick Potato and Mister Carob, and the place of the assemblies was a typical country house of the kind inhabited by Valencian farmers. Most sessions dealt with issues of relevance to rural people, like silkworms or mulberry leaves, but all the meetings became nonsensical and ended with chaos reigning, with the result that no solution was ever reached. In a footnote to one of these parodies, one of the editors writes with great irony: ‘The malicious people who are enemies of El Mole want to assume that this is a parody or satire of other sessions. That’s a lie. Slander’ (El Mole, 31 August 1837: 120).17 One of the politicians who was most ridiculed was Juan Álvarez Mendizábal (1790–1853), who was held accountable for unfulfilled

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promises such as the new electoral law, freedom of the press and, above all, the promise to end the Civil War soon, without increasing property taxes (Gómez Aparicio 1967: 210): Mister Mendizábal said in front of the nation that the war would end in six months without ruinous loans, but he did not say in which six months he would finish it; because he meant in the last six months of this century, and then he can still fulfil it, if he doesn’t die: he has sixty years left to fulfil the promise. (El Mole, 28 June 1837: 236)18

He was also reproached because the policy of confiscation of church property had not resulted in more wealth for the state; rather, the rich had become richer, leaving thousands of ex-­cloistered people in abject poverty because they were not paid the pension of five reals that they had been promised (Fuertes 2010: 79). El Mole was one of the newspapers that denounced this situation. In its characteristic satirical style, it explained that the minister did not know how to take advantage of resources, remarking that not even saving the pension of the religious left him with enough to make himself two pairs of shoes: ‘The ex-­cloistered are going to act out a performance, forgiving the government the eighteen months that are owed to them, and forty years more, and surrendering to Mendizábal the quantity needed for shoes; although they do not know if it will be enough to make him two pairs. But in the end, everything helps’ (El Mole, 30 August 1837: 109).19 In another issue of the newspaper, the editors ironize the fact that the representatives of the Quadruple Alliance (England, France, Spain and Portugal) have a good opinion of Minister Mendizábal, asking themselves: ‘How do these men praise someone who can hardly speak, let alone write? He lacks knowledge of both grammar and how to be a minister’ (El Mole, 10 April 1837: 285).20 The animosity towards this minister reached the point that the editors resorted to easy insults and disqualifications relating to his physique and wrote ironically about the false promises that the minister made, such as ending the war or paying a pension to the ex-­cloistered, in sonnets entitled Dolores y gozos del patriarca Mendizábal (Sorrows and Joys of the Patriarch Mendizábal)21 (El Mole, 30 August1837: 111). But the magazine’s main enemy was undoubtedly Carlism. In its various issues, one can follow the progress of the war and the criticisms levelled at the authorities by the editors, who believed that the politicians responsible were not doing enough to put an end to the supporters of Carlos María Isidro, whom they considered the greatest danger to society and always referred to as factious: ‘the factious are people so backwardly backward that if they ever take a step forward, it


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is to move backwards into the same backwardness’ (El Mole, 30 August 1837: 110).22 Mockery and sarcasm are frequently directed at the claimant to the Spanish Crown in this newspaper, w ­ hich – i­n order to ridicule his conviction that he is the legitimate ­king – r­ epeatedly refers to him as ‘The Pretender’ and uses various plays on words related to his name (Carlos V) that are untranslatable: ‘Don Carlos-­Asno’, ‘Don Quirlos Canto’ or ‘Carlos Chirlos’. The strong religious and traditionalist aspect of Carlists is satirized as well: ‘Don Carlos is like a saint, an image of Jesus Christ on Earth; he wants to imitate him in everything and therefore he says: Yes, Spaniards, I am the King, but Regnum meum non est de hoc mundo’23 (My kingdom is not of this world), to which one of the paper’s editors responds: ‘May you soon go to reign’ (Ojala ten vaches pronte a reinar) (El Mole, 31  May 1837: 123). It is also remarked that Carlos ‘is said to have died from fear and diarrhea’ (diuen que ha mort de por y de diarrera) (El Mole, 29 May 1837: 111). One parody even made out that one morning the leader of the Carlists turned into a hermaphrodite and that this issue was not recognized in the Salic law, making a clear mockery of the fact that the supporters of the claimant to the Spanish Crown were not in agreement with the Pragmatic Sanction of 1830 that allowed women to rule: Don Carlos has turned into a hermaphrodite. One morning he arose with this new development following the battle of Chiva.24 A council of officials and friars of the retinue met and declared that this new case is not anticipated in the Salic law. Therefore, they have presented the decision of the ustrum diplomats regarding whether Carlitos could be king, and another of those asked has made this distinction: I ‘distinguish’, Carlos male, denied; Carlos female, denied. And Carlos hermaphrodite? Also denied. (El Mole, 31 August 1837: 127)25

Mockery and sarcasm were also used to target the ineffectiveness of the Quadruple Alliance, and the different newspapers’ disputes regarding each other’s liberal tendencies were criticized. El Mole denounced liberalism’s lack of unity and posited that much of the blame for the disputes and the divisions lay with liberal periodicals, which were dedicated to pointlessly insulting each other. Accordingly, a brief theatrical comedy was written in which the actors were the main liberal Valencian newspapers of the time: Act One Scene One. (In the middle of the market) Turia: Sow!

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Mercantil: She’s more so. Satanás: She’s more so. Pueblos: She’s more so. Todos: Long live unity! The curtain falls. (El Mole, 18 February 1837: 80)26

Censorship against the Humour of El Mole El Mole’s direct, shameless style sparked criticism from its detractors, as well as lawsuits. It is ironic that the newspaper’s editors were close to being sent to prison in Ceuta or the Canaries for mocking the powerful as many jokes and parodies state that it is better to be quiet because of the risk of consequences: ‘I’ll ­stop . . . ­now I’m ­afraid . . . ­because . . . when it comes to the King and the Inquisition, ­shush . . . ­later we’ll talk about the matter . . .’ (El Mole, 11 February 1837: 44).27 In a fictitious colloquy, a journalist says that he does not know what to do because everything he has said has been criticized and he is having problems with the authorities; another person responds: ‘Haven’t you realized that what they want is for you not to speak?’ (El Mole 19 April 1937: 334). 28 The first period of the newspaper was marked by constant uncertainty about the future of the publication because printing laws were becoming more demanding and it was mandated that editors had to be registered with the authorities at the cost of four hundred reales. The principles of freedom of the press were gradually being established and those in charge of the newspapers were fiscally suffocated (Fuertes 2010: 67). A month after the creation of El Mole, the editors believed that it would not last long because they thought they would not be able to meet the economic demands that were being made on them by the authorities in Madrid: Have they thought in Madrid that the provincial journalists are counts or marquises or ­merchants . . . ­archbishops or v­ icars . . . i­n a word, rich men who tie up their dogs with sausages? Don’t they know in Madrid that the rich don’t think about writing, or studying, or reading ­because . . . ­they don’t know how to read or write, and when they sign, their name and lineage has to be guessed like a riddle or has to be divined by witchcraft? (El Mole, 22 March 1837: 220)29

But money was not the only difficulty: the magazine was denounced on several occasions and some of these complaints were admitted for


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processing, such as the complaint filed against El Mole on 26 March 1837 because of a humorous piece that condemned the corruption and lack of criteria in the requisition in Valencia of horses and pack animals for the war. The editors dedicated the two following issues to defending themselves and in the subsequent one a sarcastic brief was published, listing six points that had to be adhered to in order for a publication to avoid having criminal problems: it was recommended to never speak the truth and to not speak clearly or ‘send the government through the roof, whoever it may be’ (posar als núbols al gobern, siga qui siga) (El Mole, 26 April 1837: 357–58). But the real problems and criticism arose in July and August 1837, after the proclamation of the constitution, since, although the constitution was the work of liberals, it very much restricted the freedom of the press. El Mole did not hesitate to criticize the new legislative code, stating that no one celebrated its enactment in Valencia and that ‘the great work’ was the result of forty-­six ministers ‘of four years of war, of universal hunger, of a ruined homeland and of a Don Carlos in the Kingdom of Valencia’ (El Mole, 8  July 1837).30 In the issues published in late July and early August, the magazine’s editors defended themselves against accusations that said that the newspaper was the result of ‘the malice of a writer who had sold out to usurpation’ (de la malicia de un escritor vendido a la usurpación), that is, that it was playing into the hands of Carlism by criticizing the legislative code of 1837, since the constitution was based on liberal consensus in the midst of civil war. Even Bonilla, the newspaper’s director, was incarcerated because of a complaint against him; he said in his defence that ‘I have never ridiculed nor sought to ridicule the establishment of a code’ (El Mole, 29 July 1837: 350–51).31 Further repressive measures targeting the satirical press that mocked and questioned the government and the rulers in general were taken during the regency of General Espartero (1840–43). In this second period, from the 7  November 1840 issue until that of 9  July 1841, El Mole each issue was published with a different name (El Garrofó, La Mosca, El Papagall, El borinot, etc.) to make it seem that they were independent of one another and thereby avoid taxes and possible criminal consequences. Nevertheless, the 2 May 1841 issue, published under the name El Papafigo, was denounced and seized by the authorities for laughing at and criticizing Pope Gregory XVI and the clergy of Valencia. In that issue, the abuses committed by high ecclesiastic circles were reported. The ecclesiastical governor of Valencia condemned the publication for discussing ecclesiastical dogma without the licence issued for that purpose. Consequently, 316 copies of El Papafigo were

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seized and left unsold at the print shop. Bonilla dedicated the two following issues, El Papamosques and La Lley, to defending himself, although he also resorted to irony, stating that ‘you know that all the Papafigos had been caught under a cassock and in the custom of the Spanish-­style strong government, that is, leaving the laws crying tears like melons in a corner’ (El Papamosques, 14 May 1841: 35);32 by this, he meant that the newspaper had suffered ecclesiastical censorship and that by accepting these complaints, the state violated the laws that protected freedom of the press. Such fiscal and judicial problems caused Bonilla to flee to Barcelona ‘to save his life’, according to José Enrique Peláez Malagón (1998: 788). El Mole would be published again years later, but the satirical style of this newspaper weas reproduced in Valencia by magazines such as Donsaya (1844–45), El Tabalet (1847) and El Sueco (1847), which had the same people in charge.

Conclusions This chapter has examined the humour and political satire of the Valencian newspaper El Mole, a publication written in colloquial Catalan in the city of Valencia, aimed at the farmers who constituted the main social sector in Valencia and were the sector that was most mistreated by the government. This magazine was very well received by the Valencian population in the first half of the nineteenth century because it was able to channel the type of humour characteristic of popular literature of the eighteenth century, which the population liked so much. The language, the characters and the settings used are all taken from the Valencian countryside so as to be relatable to the peasantry. We are speaking of popular humour written by the well-­ to-­do progressive bourgeoisie of the city, who seem to have thought that it would be easier for them to disseminate liberal ideals through this kind of satire, since progressives believed that the revolution had to be accomplished through a pact with the popular sectors. As has been pointed out, this publication was consumed not only by the popular classes and it is possible that the humour of the magazine would be culturally appropriated in different ways depending on the person reading it, because the laughter of the urban bourgeoisie could be aroused by representations of the peasant as a naive and clumsy figure. But the humour of this newspaper was, above all, a political weapon employed to promote liberal ideas and to denounce Carlism, the lack of freedom of the press, political corruption and the hunger


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that people were suffering. It involved irony, sarcasm, jokes, personal denigration, wordplay in different languages, theatrical parody, the social inversion or animalization of ministers, clergy, military and noblemen and even those responsible for the publication, under their pseudonyms. In conclusion, El Mole was a very popular newspaper in nineteenth-­ century Valencia and was part of the political satire of the time. As a result of its remove from the epicentre of power, Madrid, it has distinctive features compared to other publications, such as the use of its own language, the denunciation of Spanish centralism and its interest in particular issues relevant to Valencia. Alejandro Llinares Planells is a doctoral fellow at the University of Malaga. He holds an undergraduate degree in History and a master’s degree in History and Identity in the Western Mediterranean from the University of Valencia. His research interests include banditry, criminality and popular literature in the early modern period. He has published articles on gallows literature, chapbooks and criminality in journals such as Scripta, Manuscrits and eHumanista and in book chapters in publishers such as John Benjamins, Peter Lang and IGI Global: International Academic Publisher.

Notes This work is part of the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’ (Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today’) (HAR2017-­ 84635-­ P) financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. It has been made possible thanks to the help of the ‘Pre-­ doctoral Contracts for the Training of Doctors’ of the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.   1. ‘¿En que se pareix el español al burro?- En que li posen dos albardes, el maten de fam, el cluixen a bastonaes, y no se queixa.’   2. For the author Mikhail Bakhtin, popular humour was the sign of a popular culture that used the laughable in a spontaneous way in ‘public squares’, where the grotesque was of great importance. Although other social classes could participate in this type of humour, the Russian writer stresses that there was a confrontation between ‘the popular’ and ‘the learned’ since learned culture was marked by rationality and seriousness and tried to repress the other (Bakhtin 2005). According to Bakhtin, laughter and popular humour degenerated over time; the nineteenth century saw the development of what he calls ‘grotesque romanticism’, in which, under the

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guise of false popular humour, ‘laughter is attenuated and takes the form of humour, irony and sarcasm. It stops being jocular and cheerful. The regenerative and positive aspect of laughter is extremely reduced’ (Bakhtin 2005: 32). According to this approach, El Mole’s humour would fall within this ‘grotesque romanticism’ because satire for Bakhtin was ‘a rhetorical, sad, serious and judgmental laugh (not in vain it has been compared to the whip of the welts)’ (Bakhtin 2005: 43). This approach was also reproduced by Peter Burke, Carlo Ginzburg and Robert Muchembled, although in a different way (Benigno 2013: 118–45).   3. As Alejandro Larrubiera points out, ‘Political-­satirical newspapers have the serious disadvantage that, once the current events that motivated the satire are over, they lose their interest almost completely, and their reading, which entertained their contemporaries and made them smile with joy or burst out laughing because of the ingenuity, grace or intention of the allusions, becomes for successive readers to a large extent unintelligible, and the graces and ingenuity that captivated their ancestors (former readers) seem to the new reader sappy and absurd, which shows that in order to appreciate this genre of satire, based on opportunity, it is necessary to live in the time and the environment that produced it’ (quoted by Capdevila 2012: 10–11).   4. We will use the terms ‘daily’, ‘newspaper’ or ‘periodical’ interchangeably.   5. Although, in the second section, some of the problems that the newspaper faced in the second period are pointed out.  6. ‘El Mole se ha hecho casi la lectura de moda de los pueblos de la Ribera y Marina, y aun de la Plana y Maestrazgo, a pesar del poco humor que las circunstancias actuales deben dejar para pensar en chocarrerías; la culta capital del reino se ha complacido en honrar con su sufragio y numerosas suscripciones a esta humilde producción, y estas demostraciones empeñan a sus redactores a proseguir con nuevo ardor la carrera comenzada, a fin de no desmerecer del concepto adquirido, y cerrar la boca a los detractores, que por desgracia nunca faltan.’   7. Our thanks to Doctor Antonio Laguna Platero for sending us a copy of this book.   8. ‘M’habien dit que vostés eren llauradors, y que es nomenaben Nap-­y-Col, y coses aixina; però yo hu tenia per falòria y cosa de choc, y que habien pres eixos noms pera fer riure; y ara em trove en que es una ­veritat . . . ­es cert que son vostès qui fan El Mole?   – ¿Y per què no? Li digueren nosaltres, Què té de particular? –   – Però señor ¿barrets, camalets, calses de trabeta y espardeñes y fer El Mole? ¿De cuant s’han tirat els llaurador a fer diaris? –   – Clar està, des de que es fiquen a manar els que no volen, u no poden, u no saben, y tiren contra la corrent; des de que es posen á escriure periodistes que no saben, u saben mal; des de que els facciosos fan lo que deurien fer els lliberals; des de que en Valensia tot va al revés . . .’   9. ‘el nas com una archofa y arremagat, el llabi inferior més eixit que el de dalt; les faltes seques y arrugades!’


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10. ‘de eixos que se fan facsiosos de la nit al matí, lo mateix que se fan lliberals del matí a la nit, y se farien turcs, chodios ó dimonis.’ 11. ‘el nas llarc y ­roch . . . ­els ulls de tigre llansant flames, la boca uberta hasta les orelles, y les orelles . . . ¿ho creieu vostés? . . . les orelles eren de burro . . . “¡Carliste! ¡Carliste!” escomensaren tots “hipócrita . . .” ell ­es . . . ­mireu el ­retrato . . . ­el pobre diable se veu apurat . . .’ 12. ‘¡Viva la llibertat pura!, ¡viva la constitución pura!, ¡afora els patits!’ 13. This refers to Valencians. 14. ‘¿Qué tiene usted?- Siñor res es lo que tenim. -Pues, señor. Reses, r­ eses . . . ­las reses; ya hay para empezar el esquilmo . . .’ 15. ‘sino que a molts castellans els parle en bon castellà y no mentenen o no me volen entendre.’ 16. ‘Els mals de España, es pot dir que no son més que mals de Chiquets que no es curen cuant son homes. Lo mateix curarán els nostres mals les Corts, al pas que van, que ara plouen naps; y encara que sachuntaren curanta Corts com les nostres, adelantarien tant, com si pa curarme un dolor de ventre li posaren un pegat al rabo del meu burro.’ 17. ‘Chent maligna y enemiga del Mole vol suposar que asó es una parodia, o satira de altres sesions. Mentira. Calumnia.’ 18. ‘El sr. Mendisabal ofirió á la fas o a cara de la nación que acabaría la guerra sin emprésitos ruinosos, en sis mesos: pero no digué en quins sis mesos l’acabaria; perque voldria dir en los sis mesos últims de este sigle, y entonces encara ho pot cumplir, si no·s mort: li falten sixanta dos añs per a cumplir la promesa.’ 19. ‘Els esclaustrats van a fer una representasió, perdonant al gobern els 18 mesos que els deu y 40 añs més, y sedint la cantitat pera sabates, á Mendisabal; encara que no saben si hi haurà prou en tot, pera ferlín dos parells. Pero en fi, tot achuda.’ 20. ‘Com alababen estos homens a qui apenes sap parlar y meñs escriure? Li falta tant pera saber gramàtica, com pera ser menistre.’ 21. Minister Mendizábal was characterized as short, very thin and of a generally unrobust appearance. 22. ‘els fasciosos son chent tan retrogradament retrograda, que si alguna volta fan un pas capa avant, es pera retrogradar en la mateixa retrogradasió.’ 23. ‘D.Carlos es un sant, una imache de Chesucrit en la terra, el vol imitar en tot, y per això diu: sí, españols, yo soc Rey, pero Regnum meum non est de hoc mundo.’ 24. This refers to the battle between the Carlists and Isabelinos on 16  June 1837 in the Valencian locality of Chiva, where the former were defeated (El Mole, 31 May 1837: 123). 25. ‘Don Cárlos s’ha tornar hermafrodita. Un matí s’alsá en esta novetat después de la batalla de Chiva. S’ha reunit un Consell d’ofisials y frares de sa comitiva, y han declarat que este es un nou cas no previst en la lley sálica. De conseguint han proposat a la desició dels diplomatics utrum si Carlets pot ser rey, y un altre dels preguntants ha donat esta distinsió:

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“Distingo”; Carlos macho, negó, Carlos hembra, negó. ¿Y Carlos hermafrodita?. También negó.’ 26. ‘Acte primer. Escena primera. (Es en lo mich del Mercat.) Túria: “¡Cochina!” Mercantil: “Mes es ella” Satanás: “Mes es ella” Pueblo: “Mes es ella” Todos: “¡Viva la uniooooooo!” Cau el teló.’ 27. ‘Ya ­parlarem . . . ­ara tinc ­por . . . ­perque . . . con el rey y la inquisición, ­chitón . . . ­mes avant parlarem sobre el asunte . . .’ 28. ‘¿No has caigut en que lo que es vol es que no parles?’ 29. ‘¿Si s’hauran pensat en Madrit periodistes de provincia son condes o marquesos o c­ omersiants . . . ­arzobispos o vicaris ­chenerals . . . ­en una paraula, homes ricots que lliguen els gosos en llonganises?. ¿No saben en Madrit rics no pensen en escriure, ni estudiar, ni llechir, perque. . . . No saben llechir, ni escriure, y cuant firmen has d’asertar el nom y llinache com una endevinalla o l’has de traure de bruixola?’ 30. ‘de cuatro años de guerra, de un día de dengañs, de una fam universal, de una patria arruinada y de un Don Carlos en loa Reine de Valensia.’ 31. ‘jamás he ridiculizado ni pretendido ridiculizar el establecimiento de un código.’ 32. ‘sabe que a tots los Papafigos els habien agarrat Baix d’una sotana, y a uso del gobierno fuerte a la española, que es el dir deixant les lleis plorant en un rincó llagrimes com a melons.’

References Bakhtin, Mikhail. 2005. La cultura popular en la Edad Media y el Renacimiento: el contexto de François Rabelais. Madrid: Alianza. Balaguer, Enric. 1988. ‘Una revista popular valenciana: El Mòle (1837 I 1840– 41)’, Caplletra: revista internacional de filologia 4: 69–78. Benigno, Francesco. 2013. Las palabras del tiempo. Madrid: Cátedra. Botrel, Jean-­François. 2003. ‘La construcción de una nueva cultura del libro y del impreso en el siglo XIX’, in Jesús Antonio Martínez Martín (ed.), Orígenes culturales de la sociedad liberal: España siglo XIX. Madrid: Casa Velázquez, pp. 19–36. Capdevila, Jaume. 2012. ‘La figura femenina en la prensa satírica española del siglo XIX’, Historietas 2: 9–30. Chartier, Roger. 2005. ‘Lo Culto y popular’, in Roger Chartier (ed.), El presente del pasado. Escritura de la historia, historia de lo escrito. México: Universidad Iberoamericana, pp. 29–32. Egido, Teófanes. 1973. Sátiras políticas de la Edad Moderna. Madrid: Alianza.


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Frenk, Margarit. 1997. Entre la voz y el silencio. Alcalá de Henares: Centro de Estudios Cervantinos. Fuertes-­Arboix, Mónica. 2010. La sátira política en “Fray Gerundio” (1837–1842) de Modesto Lafuente. Alicante: Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes. ——. 2012. ‘Madrid en los artículos satíricos costumbristas de Modesto Lafuente’, Anales de literatura española 2 (24): 29–42. García Monerris, Encarna, and Justo Serna. 2009. ‘La Valencia liberal, 1808– 1874’, in Jorge Hermonsilla (ed.), La ciudad de Valencia: historia, geografía y arte de la ciudad de Valencia. Valencia: Universitat de València, vol. 1, pp. 411–42. Gómez Aparicio, Pedro. 1967. Historia del periodismo español. De la “Gaceta de Madrid” hasta el destronamiento de Isabel II. Madrid: Editorial nacional. La Parra López, Emilio. 2005. La libertad de prensa en las Cortes de Cádiz. Alicante: Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes. La Traca. La transgressió como a norma. 2017. (Exhibition book about the magazine La Traca in the Centre Cultural La Nau of the Universitat de València). Valencia: Universitat de València. Martínez Dorado, Gloria, and Juan Pan-­Montojo. 2000. ‘El primer carlismo, 1833–1840’, Ayer 38: 35–64. Martorell Linares, Miguel. 2018. ‘Liberalismo en un país con pocos liberales: España, 1808–1874’, Revista Internacional de Ciencias Sociales 37: 13–27. Peláez Malagón, José Enrique. 1998. ‘La ilustración gráfica y la caricatura en la prensa valenciana del siglo XIX’, PhD dissertation. Valencia: Universitat de València. Pérez Montaner, Jaume. 1993. ‘Una defensa radical del liberalisme: El Mole’, Afers: fulls de recerca i pensament 8(16): 363–79. Ruiz Acosta, María José. 1996. ‘Opinión pública y prensa española en los Siglos XIX y XX’, Revista de historia contemporánea 7: 419–50. Sansano, Gabriel. 2009. Un cabàs de rialles: Entremesos i coloquis dramatics valencians del segle XVIII. Valls: Cossetània Edicions. Simbor, Vicent. 1979. Els origens de la Renaixença. Valencia: Institut de Filologia valenciana.

Chapter 10

Monochatus Non Est Pietas Anticlerical Humour and Political Violence (c. 1750–1840) Gregorio Alonso

¡ The saying goes, ‘the habit does not make the monk’. In Catholic communities, there had been an acute sense of the underlying realities, even before Desiderius Erasmus coined the dictum in his 1518 Enchiridion or The Handbook of the Christian Knight. Spain has historically been no exception in exploiting for the sake of humour the apparent inconsistencies between the sacred and the mundane attitudes displayed by Catholic clergy. This has proved to be a fertile ground for humoristic victimization and cultural experimentation. This trend has assumed various forms and it denounces the perceived moral corruption, lack of intellectual might, and greed of friars and monks. Examples abound in poems, songs, novels and plays, as well as in newspapers, aleluyas, vignettes and caricatures. The tone, tropes and functions of anticlerical humour and criticism have changed over time. In the medieval and early modern periods, such humour and criticism mostly centred on the moral condemnation and ethical censure of the clergymen’s perceived vices. In more recent times, however, anticlerical scorn transformed into the political mockery of ‘superstition’ and the denunciation of those clerics who acted as the ‘agents of the Counterrevolution’ (Ullman 1983: 145). Critical remarks and sarcasm frequently originated from cloisters and monasteries, either as a result of moral rigour or due to competition between different religious orders. The crossfire between the regular and the secular clergy has often been felt, too. This chapter highlights some of the cultural, material and political conditions that facilitated such transformations in the latter half of the eighteenth and the early nineteenth centuries. It will first identify the recurrent emblems of ‘anticlerical’ satire before the 1808 Napoleonic invasion and the ensuing Hispanic revolutions. The focus will then shift to the political cultures and public discourses that informed


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anticlerical humour during and after the Napoleonic period. In the last section, light will be shed on the role played by satire and humour after the outbreak of violent expressions of modern Spanish anticlericalism in the mid-­1830s. Inspired by the works by Michael Billig, William J. Callahan, Emilio La Parra and the late Antonio Moliner Prada, this chapter seeks to show how the study of irony, mockery and parody constitutes a privileged means of observing the sociopolitical and political developments during the emergence of modernity in Spain.

Laughter, the Clergy and Catholic Enlightenment Monks, priests and friars have traditionally been targets of sarcasm and derision in Spain. As shown by Ryan Denis Giles’ work, Castilian and Aragonese authors mocked holy entities, the clergy and local cults in both popular and elite cultural products in the Middle Ages and the early modern period. Reflecting on these sacrilegious expressions, Giles argues that Iberians used anticlerical humour to ‘symbolically free themselves from the gloom and doom from the pulpit’ (2009: 3). As early as 1330, Juan Ruíz, the Arcipreste de Hita, in his renowned Libro del Buen Amor (The Book of Good Love), satirically denounced the corruption of the Roman Catholic clergy and the widespread habit amongst priests of taking concubines in Talavera (Toledo).1 Anticlerical humour constituted a subgenre in Spanish literature and arts that successively denounced the alleged moral corruption and the privileged status of the Catholic Church in the country’s civil and political life. However, most of the growing academic research on humour remains confined within national boundaries (Ervine 2019; Hakkarainen 2019; Knight and Morton 2017).2 Each group of people, nationally understood, allegedly finds specific traits, situations and characters funnier than others, while repelling and dismissing others. Large sections of the Spanish Catholic folk have historically found in ecclesiastical and religious matters a fertile source of inspiration for mockery and sneering. Critics have underscored the many links between humour and sociopolitical criticism. After his renowned essay Banal Nationalism, Michael Billig published Laughter and Ridicule. Towards a Social Critique of Humour, in which he stated that ‘the goal of criticism is neither to increase seriousness at the expense of laughter, nor vice versa’ (2005: 251). The tension between seriousness and laughter can be fruitfully explored when analysing religious ideas and the social roles and perceptions of institutions. In this context, Terry Eagleton

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has emphasized the often-­ contradictory ways in which Christian theologians have approached humour and its impact on the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of the faithful folk. Echoing Thomas Aquinas, Eagleton highlights that ‘in Summa Theologiae, [Aquinas] recommend[s] humour as a form of therapeutic play of words or deeds in which nothing is sought beyond the soul’s pleasure’ (2019: 95). Moreover, as Johan Verberckmoes (1997: 81) stated, there is an Augustinian tradition in which God himself laughs at sinners in hell (cited in Eagleton 2019: 36). Far from being only frivolous expressions of hatred and disdain, jokes and scoffing expressions aimed at the holy reflected long-­held assumptions and widespread anxieties (Saroglou 2002). During the second half of the eighteenth century, gazettes, almanacs, newspapers and newsletters inundated most European countries and their colonial possessions. In Spain, writers and journalists discussed scientific, political, artistic and educational matters (Pimentel 2003). The role to be assigned to religious values and clerics in society was central in debates in the press. Recent research has examined how these publications established, and sometimes questioned, the perception of Spain as a country dominated by the clergy and thus unfit for modern progress. Some of these Spanish literary products discussed the image of Spain presented by the foreign press and compared it to the self-­perceptions of other international powers (Rodríguez Pérez 2020; Villamediana González 2019). Moreover, the alleged incompatibility of the Catholic tradition and ‘enlightened’ ideas has been questioned in recent works by Ulrich L. Lehner (2016) and Andrea J. Smidt (2010), amongst others. However, this assumed incompatibility with modern knowledge did not shield clerics from censure; in fact, the bitterest criticism of the clergy often came from clerics themselves (Martínez 2010). This was true of one of the best-­known pieces of eighteenth-­century Spanish literature: Fray Gerundio de Campazas, alias Zotes. The author, the Jesuit Father José Francisco de Isla, masterfully intervened in the public debates on the role of the religious order Company of Jesus and whether it should be banned. Religious orders were subjected to reform under Charles III (Caro López 1992). The Jesuit’s attack was related to their alleged participation in the 1766 Escilache’s riots, which wreaked havoc in Madrid and other major cities. (Andrés Gallego 2003). In this context, Isla rejected all accusations of the Company’s involvement in the riots, and made a strong case in its defence by ridiculing priests, cathedral canons and the members of other congregations (Boggs 1936: 159). Fray Gerundio derided the ignorance and simple ways of an


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anonymous Dominican friar. His alleged lack of intellectual abilities was complemented by his fatuous vanity and insatiable appetite: Yet, as he lost no opportunity to whipping a loaf or a commons into his sleeve, and transfused the contents of a Jesus, or wine-­cup, into his stomach in a trice, whenever he helped the butler to put in order the refectory, or hall of refreshments, where the community took their meals, it came to be suspected that he was not altogether as innocent as he looked, and both the butler and the clerk laid a complaint before the master of the novices, that when Friar Gerund assisted in the refectory or at mass, the wine unaccountably vanished, and that in turning their heads they found that one or two Jesuses that they swore by God and the holy cross they particularly remembered to have filled. (Isla 1772: 259)3

Other authors used direct and emotional language to engage with their readerships, even when their writings were not meant to be made public. In his Diarios, the Asturian enlightened politician and essayist Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos denounced the monks’ idleness, drunkenness and lack of civic values. They reproduced some popular songs that lyrically highlighted some other moral faults, such as lust: Sparrows eat our wheat; Priests drink our wine; And friars snog our young ladies: God deliver us from those three evils. (Cited in Helman 1961: 523)4

Even a female writer and member of the aristocracy, the Countess of Montijo, a temporary ally of the reformist minister Manuel Godoy, indulged herself by slurring monks and nuns. According to historian Vicente de la Fuente: [The Countess] was famous for her hatred of the religious institutes and for the burlesque epigrams that she uttered against friars. Her jokes were popular amongst all those people who were educated in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Those obscene and impious epigrams were repeatedly recited during the parties and dinners at Godoy’s palace, although the authorship of those epigrams has also been attributed to Frenchified (afrancesados) poets (Moratín? Meléndez?). (De la Fuente 1870: 144)5

Nevertheless, there are crucial caveats to be borne in mind when assessing those scathing late eighteenth-­century utterances. When it comes to exploring the scorn of the clergy and institutions like the

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Inquisition, historian Emilio La Parra López has warned against the superficial and often hasty use of the label ‘anticlerical’. Along with Callahan (1980), La Parra underscores that most Spanish enlightened writers were deeply Catholic. Their allegedly ‘anticlerical’ remarks focused on controversial ecclesiastical attitudes and behaviours that provoked widespread criticism (La Parra 2001: 110). His work accords with a growing body of literature that argues against the Enlightenment’s automatic identification with the total abandonment of pre-­ existing religious beliefs and practices (Coleman 2010; Van Kley 1996). Literary and press historians have singled out the Enlightenment as the turning point in the emergence of the Habermasian public sphere in the West (Kitts 2019). New controversies and polemics excited readers’ imaginations and allowed writers and satirists to gain leverage and influence on policymakers. However, writings from the time also reflected the ‘fear of the mob’, because ‘nobody ignored the dangers of having the people against you, and the advantages of having it behind you’ (Calvo Maturana 2014: 214). Fernando Álvarez-­Uría pointed out that the enlightened ruling classes distrusted commoners but aimed to provide them with the basic notions of literacy and numeracy contained in ‘popular versions of the Encyclopaedia, such as El catón’, to make them economically and socially more adapt to the emerging commercial society (Álvarez Uría 1988: 371). Meanwhile, the timid secularization process that had allegedly started in the late seventeenth century was reflected in the replacement of the comedias de santos as evangelizing tools with the comedias de magia, as demonstrated by Joaquín Álvarez de Barrientos (1986: 8). The tone of comic plays acquired different connotations in France at the end of the eighteenth century. As recalled by Pablo Sánchez León (2020), the change was not overlooked by the insightful observer Edmund Burke. In his Reflections on the Revolution in France, he argued that before 1789 public writers had become ‘propagators of all novelties, pretended to a great zeal for the poor, and the lower ranks’, and in their satires ‘they rendered hateful, by every exaggerations, the faults of court, of nobility, and of priesthood’. In Burke’s view, ‘these intellectuals, who had been despised by King Louis XVI, what they could not achieve by any direct or immediate act, they obtained by means of a long process through the medium of opinion’ (Burke 1910: 112–13, cited in Sánchez León 2020: 141). Something comparable would happen in Spain once the French troops crossed the Pyrenees in 1807.


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Reform, Laughter and Slaughter According to Elisabel Larriba, the baptism of fire that the Spanish public sphere underwent coincided with the outbreak of the Peninsular War (1807–13), when vast sectors of the Spanish people and the army joined forces with the English and Portuguese troops to resist Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion (Larriba 2019). Many clergymen took part, with some even leading guerrilla groups that blossomed across the Iberian Peninsula. However, this ‘patriotic’ involvement in politics was followed by some other clerical interventions in Spanish public life that warranted condemnation, as will be seen below. The renewed criticism soon became political and targeted specific ecclesiastical institutions and behaviours. Satirists and critics of the church focused on three main areas: the Inquisition, the religious orders and the perceived ecclesiastical support for monarchical absolutism. The long shadow cast by the workings of the Holy Office of the Inquisition on Spain’s international reputation was a significant aspect of the so-­called Black Legend. In its three-­centuries-­long existence, its shady judicial methods gave a bad name to Spaniards across the globe. Several authors itemized the vast number of cruelties and injustices committed in the name of the preservation of the inherited faith by the Holy Office. Daniel Muñoz Sempere (2008) shows that the Inquisition excited the artistic imagination amongst Romantic authors in England, before and after the British intervention in the Peninsular War. Critics of the Inquisition blamed it and, more generally, the almighty local clergy for the apparent economic backwardness of the country and the pernicious ambitions and despotic nature of its rulers. From 1808, a growing number of local authors echoed those views. Consequently, some of the changes introduced by the Cadiz Cortes (1810–13) were intended to reduce the level of privilege enjoyed by clerics in the country. These changes included a reduction in the number of religious houses, the abolition of the tithe, the electoral disenfranchisement of friars and other members of the religious orders, and, more importantly, the abolition of the Inquisition in 1813. The parliamentary debates that led to the approval of those reforms were heated and, on occasions, bitter. They often relied on the contents of the growing number of publications consumed in the city’s streets, cafés and learned societies. The presence of seventy clerics in the unicameral Cortes was not enough to stop the reformist efforts to revamp the Catholic Church’s structures and finances. Indeed, some of the most outspoken defenders of the reforms were clergy members. For instance, the chairman of the Constitutional Matters commission of

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the Parliament was the priest, academic and theologian Diego Muñoz Torrero. He famously supported the abolition of the Inquisition because ‘it was incompatible with the Constitution’ (Martí Gilabert 1976: 37ff). Another deputy of Parliament and librarian of the Cortes, Bartolomé José Gallardo, would soon become a famous author who used satire to mock those clergymen who opposed Liberal ideas and popular participation in politics (Bozal Fernández 1982). In his renowned Diccionario crítico-burlesco, Gallardo systematically reproduced the most commonplace criticisms of the clergy that had become popular in previous publications. The Diccionario constituted a humorous response to an absolutist dictionary published the year before that had condemned modern and reformist ideas. For Gallardo, this was a waste of paper and energy because God and the fatherland’s real enemies were not forward-­thinking Spaniards but the invading French armies. He blatantly states in the introduction to his Diccionario: ‘The devil would laugh at the fact that, in the presence of the foes of God, [the author] tries to convert us (for God’s sake), who praised ourselves to be Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman’ (vi).6 In those opening pages, Gallardo criticizes those clerics whose livelihoods have been negatively impacted by the arrival of the Napoleonic troops and denounces their selfishness: ‘They now find themselves, poor them, with no rents, no refectories, no helping ladies (amas) to pamper them, with no devout women to spoil or look after them, women who would give them some bite or snuff box or, above all, their rich chocolate: dense, aromatic and powerful’ (vii).7 At that time, chocolate was a luxury beverage produced in male and female convents across the peninsula, and rationalists and social observers extensively denounced the indulgent consumption of it (Sanz de la Higuera 2014; Bartolomé Bartolomé 2016). The deputy also made scornful comments about the true commitment of those ‘Pharisees’ who hid their vested interests under the blanket of religious fervour: ‘Christianity is for many people today like patriotism for many patriots, to whom their pure love for the fatherland is nothing more than their convenience. This is all that Christianity means to many thaumaturgical Christians’ (31).8 Gallardo reserved the use of the term ‘thaumaturgical’ for members of the religious orders, as he did in the introductory section of the Diccionario: ‘How will they entertain themselves, those many thaumaturges who concentrate here, now that they have been released and do not need to follow the bell tolls, nor need to sing in the choir?’ (ii).9 The answer was apparent to him. In his view, accumulating new knowledge would not be a top priority when it came to deciding how to spend their newly


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found spare time. Gallardo condemned the vocal opposition of the counter-­revolutionary clergy to the novelties arising from the findings of scientific inquiries. Thus, in his definition of the term ‘physiology’, Gallardo scoffed at the author of the Diccionario Razonado Manual, the ultraconservative deputy Justo Pastor Pérez (Romero Ferrer 2014: 787). He pointed out that ‘we can largely forgive that a theologian lacks knowledge of physiology’,10 but he could only ‘critically condone’ the fact that the author of the Diccionario had defined physiology ‘as a safe method to learn to disbelieve the mysteries of a sacred Religion’ (iv).11 In addition to criticizing their rejection of modern science, Gallardo denounced what he perceived as deadly sins committed by ecclesiastics. He aired his grudges against the Catholic clergy’s unjustifiable economic privileges and their greed, stating that ‘it is a well-­known fact that in some Spanish towns, clerics and monks paid to Caesar less than half of the taxes on God’s share of the harvest reaped by the useful farmer with effort and sweat. And the sad farmers are left with barely the weeds!’ (9).12 His rage, though, was mostly directed at friars, whom he defined as ‘a species of vile and contemptable animals, who live in leisure and laziness at the expense of their neighbours’ sweat at café-inns (monasteries), where they indulge in all kinds of delights and pleasures with no other work but to scratch their bellies’ (48).13 Gallardo accused them of not having any goals other than pursuing their own interest: ‘We know you, hypocrites! Your religion is your stomach and your fatherland any country where you can thrive effortlessly!’14 These severe allegations, combining Spanish Golden Age and Voltairean satire (Romero Ferrer 2014: 799), would soon cost him dearly. In 1814, along with other writers, politicians and members of the public, Gallardo’s fortune was sealed by the return of royal absolutism. He sought refuge in London, where he remained active in the following years. Fernando VII’s restoration of direct monarchical rule radically changed the life of a country that would intermittently live through absolutist and constitutional periods for the following two decades. According to the journalist, diplomat and politician Gonzalo Calvo Asensio (Fernández y Gonzalez 1872: 179–82), Ferdinand VII’s reign meant the ‘comeback of political reaction and fanaticism’ (Calvo Asensio 1875: 31). After having recovered the throne, the king decided to retaliate by purging Spanish public, cultural and political life. For Calvo Asensio, ‘miraculous nuns, pious exorcist women, warrior friars, saloon army officers, omnipotent favourites, and over-­famous bullfighters populated the royal court and were the pride of the most sadly well-­known reign of our history’ (Calvo Asensio 1875: 31).15 It would

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take six more years, an unrelenting imperial crisis and several conspiracies to secure the return of constitutional rule in Spain. The failed January 1820 revolt led by Felipe Arco Agüero, Miguel López Baños, Antonio Quiroga and Manuel de Riego in the province of Cadiz would later resonate across the Peninsula and, after a successful rebellion in La Coruña, provoked the Liberal uprising, which overthrew absolutism for a second time (Rújula and Frasquet 2020). The following three years saw a return to representative government, but absolutism was restored again in 1823 and endured for the decade that followed. From 1820 onwards, certain monks and priests joined forces with the irregular armies that fought against Liberal rule (Comisión de Oficiales 1824). During the so-­called ‘ominous decade’ between 1823 and 1833, they also played a prominent role in repressing and persecuting Liberals (Fontana Lázaro 2006). The outbreak of the Civil War in 1833, the cholera epidemic in the summer of 1834, the revolutionary spirit that spread throughout Spain and the vicious rumours regarding the Jesuits, who had allegedly poisoned Madrid’s wells, constituted a horrifying cocktail that led to outbursts of sacrilegious violence in the city of Zaragoza and in Catalonia, with a death toll of more than two hundred friars and priests (Moliner Prada 1997). The role of anticlerical satire and mockery must not be overlooked. According to a reputed nineteenth-­century historian and official chronicler of the City of Barcelona, Víctor Balaguer, the long-­ lasting effects of derision were felt in 1835, when ‘everything seemed to lead to the religious communities [becoming] the target of the people’s fury. Heads were fuming; hearts were boiling, and arms were waved in convulsion. Public opinion was unanimous in its accusation of the friars. However, it should be said for impartiality’s sake, many of their enemies were no more than visionaries who saw a Carlist in every friar’ (Balaguer 1863: 591–92).16 The Catalan journalist and writer Joaquín del Castillo y Mayone played a significant role in disseminating and adapting pre-­existing anticlerical motifs in the mid-­1830s. His works went beyond the mere repetition of well-­established anticlerical commonplaces: they consistently denounced the anti-­Liberal manoeuvres of vast sectors of the clergy and its colonial and oppressive past (Molina Martínez 1998: 145–50). However, the Catholic matrix upholding Spanish public life stretched itself widely, extending to all corners of the political spectrum. Therefore, authors like Castillo supported religious tolerance, the reduction of the power of the clergy and the fight against clerical support for any anti-­Constitutional factions. At the same time, they also underscore the positive impact of religion on social morality. In his


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1835 essay praising the abolition of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, he argued: ‘The need for religion to protect civil order, to uphold public decency, and to make laws firm and stable is undeniable.’17 Moreover, he praised the stabilizing sociopolitical effects of sharing a common religious faith: ‘Without religion, nothing would be fixed or established within the immense diversity of individual opinions; human hearts would be disconcerted; and men would fall prey to their disorderly passions. With no notion of a supreme being and creator of society, men would not be able to tell their right principles, what is just from what is unjust, or have either order or moral obligation’ (Castillo y Mayone 1835: 1).18 Castillo’s views revealingly echoed those expressed by his political enemies. In fact, in his 1818 treaty on morals, the Franciscan friar Vicente Martínez Colomer had made precisely the same point: ‘Religion is the foundation upon which lays the building of the res publica; and no State is safe without it; because he who does not have a religion, or who does not love and fear God, will rebel against his own King’ (1818: 179).19 However, this Catholic consensus also hid some subtle differences: for Martínez Colomer, ‘to keep our holy religion safe, [devout men] shall never read dangerous or impious books, which only seduce citizens and keep them away from God’ (180).20 Castillo’s tirade against the Inquisition would probably have fallen squarely into that category in Martínez Colomer’s view, despite their fundamental agreement on the social necessity of a religious foundation. Political satirists interacted with their society differently and invented outstanding characters to highlight the weaknesses of human nature. The author of the poem ‘An evil man’ used a young citizen’s changing political allegiances to illustrate sociopolitical developments in Madrid in the 1820s and 1830s. The list of those developments recalled the most significant scandals and political conflicts that took place during the period: Enters service with a canon/Report his master to the Inquisition/ Enters service with an inquisitor as a page/Steals from the inquisitor and assassinates him/He is taken to prison/Flees prison and joins Riego/Stirs debate in the Landaburu society and steals a watch/ Assassinates the Cura de Tamajón/He is liberated to join the campaign led by General Bessieres/Sings ‘La pitita’ and beats up some Liberals/Becomes a Royalist Volunteer and Secret Policeman/Wears a frock-­coat and smokes lush Havana cigars/He is evicted from the Royalist Volunteers but stays a Secret Policeman/The Royalists lead an uprising and he marches against their barracks/Unsuccessfully applies to become an Urban Militiaman/Wears moustache and a

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goatee/Partakes in the slaughter of the friars/Has a brawl with an innkeeper, and kills him calling him ‘A Carlist’/Attends Parliamentary sessions and shouts loudly/Throws stones against Martinez de la Rosa’s chart/He finally joins the National Militia. (El Estudiante 1839: 35)21

Along with this fictional representation of a petty criminal, the clerics’ involvement in the Civil War on the anti-­Liberal side was also extensively reported. Sometimes the details given were gruesome. In his first-­hand account of the anticlerical riots in Catalonia in the summer of 1835, the journalist and politician Francisco Raüll recalled a highly unpleasant scene that was the result of the rage of a vengeful monk. The friar instructed his troops ‘to gouge out the eyes and crucify’ (había mandado crucificar y sacar los ojos) six National Militia members who had been patrolling the rebelling Catalan countryside (Raüll 1835: 30). As soon as news of this incident reached the neighbouring city of Reus (Tarragona), it gave rise to a violent outburst of anticlerical violence, with the convents of Saint Francis and the Dominicans being burnt and some friars being killed (Alonso 2014: 141). However, one of the finest political observers of the period, the journalist and poet Mariano José de Larra, alias Fígaro, rejected the idea that the slaughter of the monks had been politically motivated: ‘The disaster of the friars cannot be considered a political movement: it was the result produced by the outbreak of cholera, and only one deep and unexpected lesson can be learned from it. That is that the suspicions of the Spanish people fell on the friars, and they were believed to be the poisoners.’22 Rather, he argued that the incident illustrated a tremendous socio-­religious shift in people’s minds and souls: ‘This essential fact resulted in the popular beliefs of the Peninsula to be seen in a new light and, at least, it demonstrated that their ancient prestige had thus ceased to exist in Catholic Spain as well as in other countries’23 (Fígaro 1837: 235). Years later, however, the Republican political writer Fernando Garrido interpreted the anticlerical riots of the mid-­1830s differently. Although he condemned them, he also contended that ‘we cannot judge the persecution suffered by the friars in 1835 but from a historical point of view, as the fatal consequence of monastic institutions’ history in our country’.24 For him: During the whole century, the friars had constituted the greatest obstacle to progress; the upholders of fanaticism, ignorance, and the barbarism of the masses. The convents, with very few exceptions, had been either the burrows of smuggling or the foci of conspiracies:


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since the first symptoms of change in public opinion in a liberal sense were felt, the friars were its fiercest enemies and the firmest defenders of despotism. They opposed [Liberal ideas] not only with libels and sermons, but also with weapons in hand, like El Trapense, Father Puñal in Catalonia, and countless others. (Garrido 1866: 1068–69)25

Given those precedents, Garrido wondered: ‘Why it should be so startling, then, that the people launched themselves against the convents to loot them and set them on fire, slitting the throats of those friars who could not escape, or, as in some convents in Barcelona, those who lacked the weapons or the money to save their lives?’ (1866: 1069).26 Ruthless as they sound, these words reflected the long-­lasting effect of the slaughter of the friars in the culture wars that unfolded in nineteenth-­century Spain. Moreover, the severity of the confrontation and its consequences did not prevent some writers from recreating violent scenes that were intended to be comical: You lie; you are not infallible. Your flesh is like mine, and so are your bones and your soul. You think, speak and act like me. Your desires, your passions, your weaknesses are the same as mine. Well said, bravo! Bravo! Yelled the other three men, clapping their hands. You, deceiver, claimed the choleric friar. I will burn your tongue with a piece of incandescent iron and mark your forehead with it as a man of the devil. Priest of God, responded Bamboche, I will first tie your feet and hands, and I will then sink you to the bottom of the Harlem lagoon, where you can say your prayers. I will burn you at the Plaza Mayor, replied the friar. Are you threatening us, you, friar? Help me out, José, give me your napkin, and yours too, my brother. Alas, this so funny. The poor Franciscan friar’s feet and hands were immediately tied up with the napkins. It was terrifying to see that poor old man, pale, shaking, and sweating, surrounded by those four youngsters, drunk and full of rage. (El Panorama 1838: 7–8)27

The staunchly anti-­liberal clergy became a recurrent theme in comedies and plays. The so-­called ‘cura trabucaire’ (armed priest) often appeared in popular theatre pieces and comedies. The play Los Trabucaires by the scientist and medical doctor José Rodrigo (Hidalgo 1879: 336) premiered in Barcelona in 1846; it depicted these warrior priests as ‘rascals’ and ‘scoundrels’ (Rodrigo 1846). In the first scene of the fourth act, while celebrating the local summer holiday, a young

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peasant states: ‘we will this year thank Our Lady Virgin of Requesens (Girona) for having ridden us from the plague of the trabucaires.’ But another villager disagrees: ‘we should instead pity them. As our village priest told us, we must “hate the crime, not the criminal”.’ To which the former responds: ‘We must pity them indeed. I have witnessed how their leaders were decapitated in Perpignan’ (Rodrigo 1846: 52).28 The events portrayed took place during the War of the Matiners (1846–49), which constituted the second episode of the Carlist War and mostly affected Catalonia (Vallverdú i Martí 2019). The ‘trabucaires’, however, also feature in history books. Carlos Rubio, in the preface to his two-­volume Historia Filosófica de la Revolución de 1868, states in his discussion of the political struggles during the reign Isabella II: ‘All (parties) wore their masks to defend their interests and, instead of saying that they attended their own pockets, they argued that they fought for the throne and the religious cause. It was thus that so many warrior priests, with a crucifix in one hand and the sword in the other, preached a new crusade using the language of the tavern’ (Rubio 1869: 55).29 This chapter has shown that, for centuries, humorous and derogatory comments served to undermine the protected image of ecclesiastics. The content of these comments changed over time and became weaponized in times of civil unrest. The Catholic clergy were protagonists in many of the polemics during the successive political revolutions and civil wars that took place in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Sometimes they were unwillingly drawn into such polemics, but in other instances the clerics purposely took up the quill or the sword to defend what they considered their sacred rights. Writers and political actors employed scoffing accusations and ridiculing remarks to further their secularizing agendas and to undermine the privileged position of those sectors of the clergy that outspokenly resisted Liberal ideas and ecclesiastical reforms. Both groups thus helped fan feelings of hatred and rejection in relation to one of the most divisive politico-­ cultural issues facing emerging Spanish civil society. The extent to which anticlerical humour directly led to sacrophobic violence, however, is still debatable. Gregorio Alonso is Associate Professor in Hispanic History at the University of Leeds, and he taught at King’s College London from 2005 up to 2009. His teaching and research focus on the political, cultural and religious conficts linked to the arrival of modernity in the Hispanic Atlantic. He is the author of La nación en capilla: Ciudadanía católica y cuestión religiosa en España, 1793–1874. (Comares, 2014),


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and the co-­editor with Diego Muro of The Politics and the Memory of Democratic Transition: The Spanish Model (Routledge, 2011), and of Londres y el Liberalismo Hispánico (Iberoamericana/Vervuert, 2011), with Daniel Muñoz-­Sempere.

Notes Gregorio Alonso is a member of the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’ (Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today; HAR2017-­ 84635-­ P) financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.  1. ‘Enxiemplo de la propiedat que el dinero ha’ (An example of money’s property) and ‘Cántica de los clérigos de Talavera’ (A song by the clerics of Talavera). Available at­ visor/el-­ lib​ ro-­de-­buen-­amor--0/html/ff0ec418-­82b1-­11df-­acc7-­​ ml#I_49_ and http://www.cervantesvirtual.  2. There are some illuminating exceptions, such as Hart (2007); Sciama (2018); and West and Chao (2019).   3. ‘No obstante, como no perdía ocasión de correr un panecillo, de encajarse en la manga una ración, y en un santiamén se echaba a pechos un jesús, cuando ayudaba al refitolero a componer el refectorio, llegó a sospecharse que no era tan limpio como parecía. Y así el refitolero como el sacristán le acusaron al maestro de novicios, que cuando fray Gerundio asistía al refectorio o ayudaba a las misas, se acababa el vino de éstas a la mitad de la mañana, y a un volver de cabeza se hallaban vacíos uno o dos jesuses de los que juraría a Dios y a una cruz que ya había llenado.’   4. ‘Los gorriones se comen el trigo, y los curas se beben el vino, y los frailes retozan las mozas: líbrenos Dios de estas tres malas cosas.’  5. ‘fue célebre por su odio a los institutos religiosos y por los epigramas burlescos contra los frailes, de que se la supone autora, y que andan en boca de todos los que se educaron en los cinco primeros lustros de este ­siglo . . . ­Estos epigramas obscenos e impíos eran recitados de sobremesa en los convites y francachelas, a que Godoy convidaba también a la autora, aunque se dice que eran más bien de otro poeta afrancesado (¿Moratín? ¿Meléndez?).’   6. ‘pues sería cosa de que se reiría el diablo tener en frente a los enemigos del Señor, y venirnos a convertir a nosotros los que (por la misericordia de Dios) nos preciamos de católicos, apostólicos, romanos.’   7. ‘Vense los pobretes sin rentas, sin refectorios, sin amas que los popen, sin devotas que los mimen, que los amadriguen, que los regalen el bocadito, el bote de rapé, y sobre todo el rico chocolate macho aromático y potencioso.’

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  8. ‘El cristianismo de muchos cristianos es en el día como el patriotismo de algunos patriotas, en quienes el ponderado amor a la patria no es más que el puro amor a su conveniencia: esto ni más ni menos es el amor de la religión en ciertos cristianos taumaturgos.’   9. ‘A la verdad, ¿en que han de aburrir el ocio que los atedia, tantos, taumaturgos como aquí se abrigan, viviendo horros y sin sujeción a coro ni campanilla?’ 10. ‘que un teólogo no sepa de fisiología, es muy de perdonar.’ 11. ‘que “esta ciencia es un método seguro para aprender a descreer los misterios de nuestra santa Religión”.’ 12. ‘se sabe en fin que en algunos pueblos de España, de la cosecha que el útil labrador recoge, con afán y sudor, entre clérigos y frailes se llevan para Dios el doble de lo que se tributa al César; ¡y al triste labrador le quedan apenas los granzones!’ 13. ‘Una especie de animales viles y despreciables que viven en la ociosidad y holganza, a costa de los sudores del vecino, en una especie de café-­fondas donde se entregan a todo género de placeres y deleites, sin más que hacer que rascarse la barriga.’ 14. ‘¡Hipócritas! se os conoce: vuestra religión es vuestro vientre, y vuestra patria todo país de cucaña.’ 15. ‘monjas milagreras, beatas exorcistas, frailes trabucaires, militares de antesala, favoritos omnipotentes, toreros popularísimos, sin olvidar teólogos archi-­sabios, formaron la corte y fueron el orgullo del reinado más tristemente célebre de nuestra historia.’ 16. ‘Todo parecía reunirse para convertir a las comunidades religiosas en el blanco de la ira de los pueblos. Las cabezas fermentaban, los corazones hervían, los brazos se agitaban convulsos. La opinión pública unida y compacta en acusar a los frailes. Sin embargo, la imparcialidad obliga a decirlo así, mucho de sus enemigos no eran más que visionarios que veían en cada fraile un carlista.’ 17. ‘Es innegable la necesidad de la Religión para mantener el orden público, mantener las buenas costumbres, y dar a las leyes firmeza y estabilidad.’ 18. ‘Sin religión nada habría fijo y determinado en la inmensa divergencia de opiniones; el corazón humano estaría desarreglado; y el hombre sería incontinente en sus pasiones desordenadas. Sin la idea de un ser omnipotente autor de la sociedad no distinguiría esta sus primeros elementos, esto es, lo justo de lo injusto, ni lo que es orden y obligación moral.’ 19. ‘la religión es el fundamento sobre el que estriba todo el edificio de la república; y que sin ella no hay ningún estado seguro; porque el que no tiene religión, es decir el que no ama a Dios y le teme, se rebelará contra su Rey.’ 20. ‘para conservar pura la santa religión, [un hombre religioso] no lee jamás ningún libro peligroso o impío, pues solo sirven para seducir a los ciudadanos y apartarlos del culto a Dios.’ 21. ‘Se pone a servir a un canónigo/Delata a su amo a la inquisición/Entra de page de un inquisidor/Roba al inquisidor, y le asesina/Le llevan a


Gregorio Alonso

presidio/Huye de presidio, y se va con Riego/Alborota en la Sociedad Landaburiana y roba un reloj/Asesina al cura de Tamajón/Sale de voluntario a campaña, y se pasa a Bessieres/Canta la pitita, y apalea a liberales/ Entra voluntario realista y en la policía secreta/Gasta levita y fuma puros habanos/Le echan de los voluntarios realistas, y sigue de espía/Se sublevan los realistas, y se va al cuartel con ellos/Quiere alistarse de urbano, y no le admiten/Gasta bigote y perilla/Gran degollina de los friales/Riñe con un tabernero y le mata, llamándole carlista/Va a gritar a las galerías de las Cortes/Apedrea el coche de Martínez de la Rosa/Se alista por fin de nacional.’ 22. ‘desastre de los frailes no puede considerarse como un movimiento político: efecto de la exaltación producida por la invasión del cólera, sólo se puede sacar de él una profunda e inesperada lección: a saber, que las sospechas del pueblo español y su ira cayeron sobre los frailes, y que estos fueron juzgados envenenadores.’ 23. ‘Este es hecho importantísimo que proyectó una nueva luz sobre el estado de las creencias populares de la Península, y probó por lo menos que el antiguo prestigio había cesado así en la católica España como en los demás países.’ 24. ‘no nos es posible juzgar la persecución que siguieron los friales en España en 1835 más que desde el punto de vista histórico, como consecuencia fatal de la historia de las instituciones monásticas en nuestro país.’ 25. ‘Los frailes habían sido durante todo el siglo la rémora más grande del progreso, los sostenedores del fanatismo, de la ignorancia y de la barbarie de las masas. Los conventos, salvo muy raras excepciones, eran madrigueras de contrabando unos, y focos de conspiraciones otros; desde que empezaron a mostrarse los primeros síntomas del cambio de la opinión pública en sentido liberal; sus más encarnizados enemigos fueron los más acérrimos defensores del despotismo, no solo con sermones y libelos, sino con las armas en la mano, como el Trapense¸ el Padre Puñal en Cataluña, y mil otros que sería prolijo enumerar.’ 26. ‘¿qué tiene pues de extraño que cuando los ánimos estaban más enconados, más sobrexcitadas todas las pasiones, el pueblo se arrojase sobre los conventos, los saqueara e incendiara, degollando a los frailes que no les dejaron escaparse, o que, como en algún convento de Barcelona, no tuvieron armas y valor para vender caras sus vidas?’ 27. ‘– Mientes, no eres infalible. Tu carne es como la mía . . ., tus huesos como los míos . . ., tu alma como la mía. Piensas, hablas y obras como y ­ o . . . ­tus deseos, tus pasiones, y tus debilidades son iguales a las mías.   – Bravo, bravo, bien dicho; gritaron los tres dando palmadas de aplauso.   – Prevaricador, gritó el clérigo encolerizado, yo abrasaré tu lengua con un hierro ardiendo, yo marcaré con él tu frente como la de un réprobo.   – Sacerdote de Dios, replicó con viveza Bombache, antes te ataré yo de pies y manos y te enviaré a recitar tus rezos al fondo de la laguna de Harlem.   – Yo te haré quemar públicamente en la Plaza Mayor.

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  – ¡Nos desafías, fraile! ¡Nos desafías! Ayúdame, José, venga tu servilleta . . ., y la tuya hermano.   – Vive Dios que esto es muy divertido, aquí está.   En un instante el pobre franciscano fue atado de pies y manos con la servilleta.   Era un espectáculo terrible ver al pobre viejo pálido, temblando, lleno de sudor, en medio de cuatro hombres jóvenes, embriagados de vino y de cólera.’ 28. ‘dar las gracias a Nuestra Señora de Requesens (Girona) por haber librado al país de la plaga de los trabucaires. ¡Valientes bribones!. Pero su paisano se mostró en desacuerdo respondiendo: “Ya solo debemos compadecerlos. «Odia el delito y compadece al delincuente», como nos dijo el otro día en el púlpito el cura en nuestra aldea”.’ 29. ‘Todos querían ponerse la máscara para defender sus intereses, y por no decir que lo defendían era su bolsillo, decían que pelaban por el trono y la religión. De aquí tantos frailes trabucaires que con el Cristo en una mano y el espada en la otra, predicaban una nueva cruzada contra la revolución.’

References Alonso García, G. 2014. La nación en capilla: Ciudadanía católica y cuestión religiosa en España, 1793–1874. Comares: Granada. Álvarez de Barrientos, J. 1986. ‘La comedia de magia del siglo XVIII’, PhD dissertation. Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Available at https://digi​ Álvarez-­Uría, F. 1988. ‘La Ilustración y su sombra: Dominación cultural y pedagogía social en la España del Siglo de las Luces’, Revista de Educación 1: 345–72. Andrés-­Gallego, J. 2003. El motín de Esquilache, América y Europa. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas. Balaguer, V. 1863. Historia de Cataluña y de la Corona de Aragón, escrita para darla a conocer al pueblo, recordándole los grandes hechos de sus ascendientes en virtud, patriotismo y armas, y para difundir entre todas las clases el amor al país y la memoria de las glorias pasadas. Vol. 5. Barcelona: Librería de Salvador Manero. Bartolomé Bartolomé, J.M. 2016. ‘Vestir los cuartos y el cuerpo en el clero regular masculino: los canónigos de San Isidoro de León (1700–1825)’, Estudios Humanísticos. Historia 15: 97–116. Available at revpubli.unileon​ .es/index.php/EEHHHistoria/article/download/5043/3877. Billig, M. 2005. Laughter and Ridicule: Towards a Social Critique of Humour. London: Sage. Boggs, R.S. 1936. ‘Folklore elements in Fray Gerundio’, Hispanic Review 4(2): 159–69. Bozal Fernández, V. 1982. ‘Gallardo, Miñano y Larra en el origen de la sátira crítico-­burlesca’, Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos 388: 51–61.


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Burke, E. 1910 [1790]. Reflections on the Revolution in France. London: J.M. Dent & Sons. Callahan, W.J. 1980. ‘The Origins of the Conservative Church in Spain, 1793– 1823’, European History Quarterly 10(2): 199–223. Available at https://doi​ .org/10.1177/026569148001000203. Calvo Asensio, G. 1875. El teatro hispano-lusitano en el siglo XIX: Apuntes críticos. Madrid: Imprenta de los Señores Rojas. Calvo Maturana, A. 2014. Cuando manden los que obedecen: La clase política e intelectual de la España preliberal (1780–1808). Madrid: Marcial Pons. Caro López, C. 1992. ‘La reducción de las Órdenes Regulares: Documentos para un caso de la política religiosa en tiempos de Carlos III’, Hispania Sacra 44(89): 335–92. Castillo y Mayone, J. 1835, Vol. 1. El tribunal de la Inquisición, llamado de la Fe o del Santo Oficio. Su origen, prosperidad y justa abolición. Barcelona: Imprenta de Ramón Martín Idar. Coleman, C. 2010. ‘Resacralizing the World: The Fate of Secularization in Enlightenment Historiography’, The Journal of Modern History 82(2): 368–95. Comisión de Oficiales del Primer Batallón de Guipúzcoa, 1824. Relación histórica de las operaciones militares el cuerpo de guipuzcoanos realistas acaudillados por el presbítero coronel D. Francisco María de Gorostidi. San Sebastián: Imprenta de Ignacio Ramón Baroja. Available at​ Eagleton, T. 2019. Humour. London: Yale University Press. El Panorama. Periódico de Literatura y Artes. 1838, Vol. I, Issue 13. Available at​ rch=fraile+borracho&lang=es. El Estudiante (Antonio María de Segovía e Izquierdo). 1839. Colección de composiciones serias y festivas en prosa y verso, recogidas entre las publicadas e inéditas del escritor conocido por el Estudiante. Vol. 1. Madrid: Imprenta de Sancha. Ervine, J. 2019. Humour in Contemporary France: Controversy, Consensus and Contradictions. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. Fernández y González, M. 1872. Retratos y semblanzas. Madrid: Imprenta de la Biblioteca de instrucción y recreo. Fígaro (Maria José de Larra). 1837. ‘De 1830 a 1836 o la España desde Femando VII hasta Mendizábal’, in Obras completas de Fígaro: Colección de artículos dramáticos, literarios, políticos y de costumbres publicados desde en los años de 1832, 1833 y 1834 en El Pobrecito Hablador, la Revista Española y El Observador. Vol. II. Barcelona: Imprenta de la Publicidad. Fontana Lázaro, J. 2013. De en medio del tempo: La segunda restauración española (1823–1834). Barcelona: Crítica. De la Fuente, V. 1870. Historia de las sociedades secretas antiguas y modernas en España, y especialmente de la franc-masonería. Vol. I. Lugo: Imprenta de Soto Freire.

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Gallardo, B. 1812. Diccionario crítico-burlesco del que se titula ‘Diccionario crítico manual para inteligencia de ciertos escritores que por equivocación han nacido en España’. Madrid: Imprenta de Repullés. Available at http://​ Garrido, F. 1866. Historia de las persecuciones políticas y religiosas ocurridas en Europa desde la Edad Media hasta nuestros días. Vol. 6. Barcelona: Librería de Salvador Manero. Giles, R.D. 2009. The Laughter of the Saints: Parodies of Holiness in Late Medieval and Renaissance Spain. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Hakkarainen, H. 2019. Comical Modernity: Popular Humour and the Transformation of Urban Space in Late Nineteenth-Century Vienna. New York: Berghahn. Hart, M. 2007. ‘Humour and Social Protest: An Introduction’, International Review of Social History 52, 1–20. DOI: 10.1017/S0020859007003094. Helman, E.F. 1961. ‘El humanismo de Jovellanos’, Nueva Revista de Filología Hispánica 15, 3/4, pp. 519–28. Hidalgo, D. 1879. Diccionario general de bibliografía española: Índice de autores. Vol. 6. Madrid: Imprenta de Moreno y Rojas. Isla, J.F. 1772. The History of the Famous Preacher, Friar Gerund de Campazas: Otherwise Gerund Zotes. Vol. 1. London: Printed by T. Davies, 1772. Kitts, S.-A. 2019. ‘Spain and Habermas’ Public Sphere: A Revisionist View’, in D. Jiménez Torres and L. Villamediana González (eds), The Configuration of the Spanish Public Sphere: From the Enlightenment to the Indignados. New York: Berghahn, pp. 25–43. Knights, M., and A. Morton (eds). 2017. The Power of Laughter and Satire in Early Modern Britain: Political and Religious Culture, 1500–1820. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer. La Parra López, E. 2001. ‘La transformación del anticlericalismo español: consideraciones desde el final de dos siglos’, in J.-R. Aymes and S. Salaün (eds), Les fins de siècles en Espagne. Paris: Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, pp. 109–33. Larriba, E. 2019. ‘De la formación de la opinión pública a la expresión de la opinión del pueblo: La prensa de la crisis del Antiguo régimen (1808–1823)’, Dieciocho: Hispanic Enlightenment 42(1): 203–26, available at https://www​ Lehner, U.L. 2016. The Catholic Enlightenment: The Forgotten History of a Global Movement. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Martí Gilabert, F. 1976. La abolición de la Inquisición en España. Pamplona: EUNSA. Martínez, G.B. 2010. Clérigos a la greña: Sátiras, mascaradas, insultos, infundios, descaros, libelos y trampas entre sí de la gente de púlpito y altar. Alicante: Editorial Club Universitario. Molina Martínez, J.L. 1998. Literatura y anticlericalismo en el siglo XIX. Murcia: Universidad de Murcia. Moliner Prada, A. 1997. ‘El anticlericalismo popular durante el bienio 1834– 1835’, Hispania Sacra 49(100): 497–541.


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Muñoz Sempere, D. (2008). La Inquisición española como tema literario: Política, historia y ficción en la crisis del Antiguo Régimen. Suffolk: Tamesis. Pimentel, J. 2003. Testigos del mundo: ciencia, literatura y viajes en la Ilustración. Madrid: Marcial Pons. Printy, M. 2009. Enlightenment and the Creation of German Catholicism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Raüll, F. 1835. Historia de la conmoción de Barcelona en la noche del 25 al 26 de julio de 1835: causas que la produjeron y sus efectos hasta el día de esta publicación. Barcelona: Imprenta de Ignacio Estivill. Rodrigo, J. 1846. Los trabucaires: Drama en tres actos y seis cuadros por José Rodrigo. Representado por primera vez en el Teatro Principal de Barcelona en mayo de 1846. Barcelona: Imprenta de A. Gaspar y Roca. Rodríguez Pérez, Y. 2020. ‘Introduction: On Hispanophobia and Hispanophilia across Time and Space’, in Y. Rodríguez Pérez (ed.), Literary Hispanophobia and Hispanophilia in Britain and the Low Countries (1550–1850). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 11–45. Romero Ferrer, A. 2014. ‘Los duelos y quebrantos de Bartolomé José Gallardo: el lenguaje y la sátira moderna en su Diccionario crítico-­burlesco’, Revista Signa 23: 779–804. Rubio, C. 1869. Historia Filosófica de la Revolución de 1868. Vol. I. Barcelona: Imprenta y Librería de M. Guijarro. Rújula, P. and I. Frasquet (eds). 2020. El Trienio Liberal (1820–1823): Una mirada política. Granada: Comares. Sánchez León, P. 2020. Popular Political Participation and the Democratic Imagination in Spain. From Crowd to People, 1766–1868. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Sanz de la Higuera, F.J. 2014. ‘Clero catedralicio y consumo de chocolate en el Burgos del Setecientos’, El futuro del pasado 5: 299–315, available at 10.14516/fdp.2014.005.001.011. Saroglou, V. 2002. ‘Humor Appreciation as Function of Religious Dimensions’, Archive for the Psychology of Religion 24(1): 144–53. Sciama, L.D. (ed.). 2018. Humour, Comedy and Laughter: Obscenities, Paradoxes, Insights and the Renewal of Life. New York: Berghahn. Smidt, A.J. 2010. ‘Luces por la Fe: The Cause of Catholic Enlightenment in 18th-­Century Spain’, in U.L. Lehnerand and M. Printy (eds), A Companion to Catholic Enlightenment in Europe. Leiden: Brill, pp. 403–52. Ullman, J.C. 1983. ‘The Warp and Woof of Parliamentary Politics in Spain, 1808–1936. Anticlericalism vs. “Neo-­ Catholicism”’, European Studies Review 13: 145–76. del Valle, I. 2016. ‘Jesuit Enlightenment: Interventions in Christianity and Intellectualism’, in A. Nogar, J.R Ruisánchez and I. Sánchez-­Prado (ed.), A History of Mexican Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 81–96. Vallverdú i Martì, R. 2019. ‘La guerra dels Matiners en Cataluña, crisis económica y revuleta social’, Aportes: Revista de Historia Contemporánea 34(100): 99–121.

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Van Kley, D.K. 1996. The Religious Origins of the French Revolution: From Calvin to the Civil Constitution, 1560–1791. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Verberckmoes, J. 1997. ‘The Comic and Counter-­Reformation in the Spanish Netherlands’, in J. Bremmer and H. Roodenburg (eds), A Cultural History of Humour. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 76–90. Villamediana, L. 2019. Anglomanía: la imagen de Inglaterra en la prensa española del siglo XVIII. Woodbridge: Tamesis Books. West, V., and S.-L. Chao. 2019. Humour in the Arts: New Perspectives. New York: Routledge.

Chapter 11

Laughter, Gender and the Politics of Celebrity in Fin-de-Siècle Spain Isabel Burdiel

¡ This chapter seeks to make a historical evaluation to the elusive and profoundly dialogic nature of humour and laughter, from a perspective that aims to move from the question of what they are towards the radically contextual question of what they do. This perspective stresses the vital importance of hierarchies of social and symbolic power, especially those of class and gender, to when, how, at whom and with whom we laugh. Only thus, in my view, is it possible to appreciate, in all its complexity, the social and historical context of the laughter that has reached us from the past and that, then as now, always oscillated between reinforcing and transgressing power relationships (Bremmer and Roodenburg 1997; Kotthoff 2005; Cheauré and Nohejl 2014; Phiddian 2019). I want to address these issues within a specific framework of analysis: the consolidation and ambivalences of the culture of celebrity in late nineteenth-­century Spain, with its profound gender connotations and the strategic employment of humour and laughter as factors of exaltation and denigration, inclusion and exclusion. Access to celebrity, since its origins in the eighteenth century, was unequal where gender and the moral connotations associated with fame were concerned. For women, the seduction and public exposure associated with it were intrinsically immoral and illegitimate, leaving women who attained celebrity in a similar position to that of prostitutes and courtesans (Lilti 2017: 231–33). Although things gradually changed, and class, nationality and religion made it possible to establish differences in terms of time and manner, at the end of the nineteenth century, the status of the famous female writer was still highly problematic. I would like to emphasize that the interrelations between celebrity, humour and gender have, in general, rarely been addressed. I hope to be able to demonstrate their strategic value in order to better understand the political mechanisms, in the broadest sense of the term,

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mobilized in relation to the conflictive nature of female celebrity, both by those aspiring to access that celebrity and those who saw it as a threat. This was a conflict in which the ability to laugh, prompt laughter or be laughed at was fundamental. The protagonists of this story are members of the Spanish cultural elite at the end of the nineteenth century, journalists and writers, for whom humour and laughter were expressed through irony, understood as a cornerstone of cultivated civility, a criterion of class distinction removed from the alleged brutality and Rabelaisian coarseness of popular humour. The individual who was subjected to this chorus of scathing, ironic voices was one of the great European writers of her generation, Emilia Pardo Bazán (1851–1921), a woman who was capable of creating a feminine version of the term ‘intellectual’, originally thought of as masculine, which was central to the new relationships between celebrity and culture during the last decades of the nineteenth and the first decades of the twentieth century. Following her celebrated address at the Hispano-­Portuguese and American Pedagogical Congress, held in Madrid in 1892, Emilia Pardo Bazán observed: ‘Women must scorn foolish insults, scorn vapid ridicule and mockery, scorn fuss, scorn all malice, every threat, all bad faith, all hypocrisy, all intellectual pettiness; and for this healthy and fortifying scorn, as bitter as absinthe and like absinthe, medicinal, clothe themselves in the serenity of the stoic, or arm themselves with the cultured laughter of the satirist’ (Pardo Bazán 1999: 173–74).1 Pardo Bazán knew what she was saying. She was perhaps the most famous female Spanish writer of the day and a substantial part of her fame had been established through an intense and public games of humour. In an overwhelmingly masculine and predominantly misogynous cultural sphere, satire, mockery and laughter had been employed with enthusiasm, and in very diverse political arenas, to neutralize the power of her works of fiction, her ideas and her public persona. In that context, the modernity and the multifaceted nature of her literary and intellectual challenges were truly notable and recognized as such by present-­day critics and historians. Along with figures like Benito Pérez Galdós and Leopoldo Alas, also known as Clarín, Pardo Bazán played a decisive role in the renovation of Spanish fiction during her era, as well as in the construction of the nineteenth-­century cultural sphere and literary canon. Apart from her best-­known work as novelist (translated during her lifetime into a dozen languages, including English and Japanese), she was an influential cultural and political journalist, literary critic and historian,


Isabel Burdiel

cultural entrepreneur and p ­ laywright – ­the only field in which she did not achieve success. A prolific author of short stories that were quite unique in the European literary world, she was a pioneering figure in the diffusion in Spain of the debate on naturalism (a way of understanding the novel that was regarded as particularly unfeminine), as well as Russian literature (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Leo Tolstoy and Ivan Turgenev), modernism and the Decadent movement. Furthermore, one of the most original aspects of her career as an intellectual was her inclusion of feminism (a term she used openly) in the cultural and political debate of the last third of the nineteenth and the first decades of the twentieth centuries. In her Biblioteca de la Mujer, she edited and translated The Subjection of Women (1869) by John Stuart Mill and August Bebel’s La femme et le socialisme (1891). In 1889, she published a long essay in the Fortnightly Review, entitled The Woman in Spain, the Spanish version of which is regarded as one of the foundational texts of Spanish feminism. At the same time, she was always highly politically conservate and a militant Catholic, and her private life was as jealously guarded as it was unorthodox in relation to expectations at the time of a woman of her class. At that key moment in Spain and Europe, when the culture of ­celebrity – i­n which a new public combined admiration for literary or artistic achievements with interest in the private lives of writers and ­artists – ­was consolidated, she managed to be both a prominent agent of and object of change, ­seeking – ­not always ­successfully – t­ o manage her image as a writer and a famous woman. In a similar fashion to Madame de Staël or George Sand, her passion for public engagement, her desire to participate in the most significant political and cultural controversies of the day, gave rise to a constant flow of jokes, more or less accurate and lurid details about her private life, caricatures and biting profiles. She was as respected and applauded as she was ridiculed and attacked (Burdiel 2019). Towards the end of her life, and at the height of her glory, she wrote: The truth is that I have been, during the thirty or so years of my literary career, the most attacked and embattled of Spanish writers. All my achievements have been haggled over; I have conquered territory inch by inch. It is true that I have had a readership since my first novel, but it was a trek through the dunes; no sooner had I progressed than invisible forces drove me back. With barely the time or the humour thoroughly to analyse my writings, they studied through smoky lenses my character and even my physical appearance, which has nothing to do, I believe, with my literature. I was like this, I was like that, my hairstyle was different, I enjoyed hurting my literary

Laughter, Gender and the Politics of Celebrity


rivals, I was arrogant, I was v­ ain . . . ­For the sake of reproach, I was even reproached for being blessed with good health. My work was scanned for errata: as they used to say, typos: and it was claimed, and many believed it, that I had said, in a story, that quadrupeds can fly. (Pardo Bazán 2013: 165–66)2

Her assessment of this hostility was accurate, especially when her literary success was consolidated and she was perceived as too aggressive a competitor by some of her colleagues. However, one should avoid excessively simple and unqualified victimism. In fact, the quotation conceals the decisive, influential and respected masculine support that she elicited from a very early stage in her career, support is a more interesting subject of analysis than the usual, predictable misogyny. Nonetheless, from the beginning too, as in the case of many other women writers and artists, the display and the ambivalent construction of her celebrity were perceived as a journey along the knife’s edge of true femininity or, more accurately, the diverse ways in which famous, or at least public, woman could negotiate that femininity. Although she never cultivated eccentricity à la Rosa Bonheur or Sarah Bernhardt (Roberts 2012: 103–16), or played at cross-­dressing like them or the enlightened Spanish thinker and social reformist Concepción Arenal, the social burden of social stereotypes demonstrated its power by creating for ­her – ­and her ­literature – a ­ semantic instability, a manly eccentricity, of which she was fully and humorously aware: Since I began to write; since Revilla [a prestigious literary critic of the era], normally ruthless with female literature, was unexpectedly kind enough to say that I was the fruit of a mistake of nature, etc.; people were convinced of ­it . . . ­but, instead of dismissing the ‘mistake’ part, interpreted the phrase as follows: I was an unbridled tomboy, who must smoke king-­sized cigars and, of course, has no idea whether to cook the stew on the stove or in the sun. (Pardo Bazán 1913)3

At the same time that she was clarifying her culinary knowledge for the readers of La Habana, she also did it, this time with regard to her relationship with her portraits and caricatures, for the Buenos Aires magazine Caras y Caretas, a text that is interesting because of her humorous reflection upon one of the critical elements of the social and personal experience of celebrity: the sensation of estrangement, of profound alienation, of the impossibility of identifying with the famous person that one is (Lilti 2017: 98). Thus, she began by remarking that, at that stage of her life, she was ‘almost indifferent to that projection


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of my personality in graphic and visual arts. Neither my portraits nor my caricatures form part of my “I”. They are something external.’4 It had not always been thus. The present indifference ‘is explained by the snows that have fallen upon my temple: but then (in my youth) my hair was the colour of ink, and I was easily upset by the slanderous attacks on my true human figure, quite different from the one that began to appear in dailies and weeklies’.5 The delicate irony that she expected of a good caricaturist had been largely derailed by an ‘excess of malice, of the desire to ­mortify . . . ­It was a question of making me horribly ugly, turning me into a kind seal or hippopotamus’ (Pardo Bazán 1907).6 She was tired of the boorish obsession with her rather bulky body (figures 11.1 and 11.2). ‘What should we do’, she wrote with derision to her lover, Benito Pérez Galdós, ‘in order that I might become an airborne sylph whose feet disturb not even the cup of the lily?’ (Penas and Sotelo 2020: 262) It particularly bothered her when people questioned the fact that she might, in spite of everything, have a great liking for dresses and women’s fashion. It is symptomatic that the only caricature she specifically referred to in that article was the cover of the satirical-­political journal La Avispa (20 November 1889; figure 11.3), on which, following one of her disputes (in this case with a group of liberal army officers), she is portrayed as dishevelled, smoking a cigar and wearing army boots while writing a supposed libel against the dignity of the Spanish army: ‘The caricaturist no doubt wished to express, with the cigar and the boots, that my literature was manly: in which case he should have put boots on my books, not on my feet’ (Pardo Bazán 1907). What is interesting about Pardo Bazán is that she designed her public persona in opposition to the dichotomy between eccentricity and respectability, discreet femininity and virilization, to which many female artists and writers felt compelled to adhere. This was evidenced by her sociability, her relationship with her chosen profession and her way of dressing the female body. She never wanted to appear to be either an eccentric star or a romantic, tormented writer. Nor did she wish to cultivate a puritan and evasive attitude towards the literary world, like other female writers of the day, who were fearful that they would be perceived as scatter-­brained and dissolute women. At a very early stage, she identified the sexist trap faced by women who developed a reputation as strict, meticulous and respectable in exchange for strict adherence to the social rules of domestic withdrawal, modesty and a (supposed) lack of ambition. She enjoyed social life (especially that of more or less aristocratic literary salons) and she liked dressing in a slightly ‘flamboyant’ style, with plenty of boas (she thought they

Laughter, Gender and the Politics of Celebrity

Figure 11.1  Caricature of Emilia Pardo Bazán, Museo del Pueblo de Asturias, Gijón.



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Figure 11.2  Luis Bagaria: Emilia Pardo Bazán (caricature), c. 1915. Biblioteca Nacional.

concealed her double chin), embellishments in her hair and ornate fabrics, which highlighted her ample bust. She lacked the slenderness and elegance of other ladies in the salons, including well-­known contemporary writers like Concepción Gimeno de Flaquer, but never hid behind ‘widow’s clothing’ or assumed a pained or rigidly austere and androgynous appearance, like Concepción Arenal. This manner of projecting herself in society as a woman who joyfully engaged with life and practised her profession as famous writer and persona is, in

Laughter, Gender and the Politics of Celebrity

Figure 11.3  La Avispa, 273, 20 November 1889. Cover.



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my opinion, one of Emilia Pardo Bazán’s most transgressive characteristics in the context of the difficult task of what Jo Burr Margadant has defined as ‘manufacturing a female self legible to the public’ (2000: 1–32), a task in which humour, irony and laughter played a crucial role. Pardo Bazán experimented with humour in the context of numerous literary and political controversies. At an early stage, she famously participated in the debate on French naturalism and the opportunity to renew the novel in Spain through a collection of articles entitled La cuestión palpitante (1883), which turned her into a literary celebrity. She also intervened in the polemic regarding the causes and consequences of the so-­called ‘disaster of 1898’, following Spain’s defeat by the United States and the independence of Spain’s last American and Asian colonies. Among her lectures and writings on the subject, a lecture delivered in Paris in 1898 had a particular impact; it was in this lecture that she coined the expression ‘Black Legend’ in reference to the self-­interested criticism voiced by other European colonial powers with regard to the Spanish Empire. It was also in this lecture that she coined the term ‘golden legend’ when discussing the Spanish Empire’s blind and inane self-­complacency, which had led to the disaster. I am going to focus on two other early controversies in which humour and gender played a decisive and strategic role in the manufacture of her celebrity by both her detractors and Pardo Bazán herself. Both took place between 1889 and 1891 and involved a strong political component, the first in the more conventional sense of partisan struggle and the second in the broader sense of feminist transgression of a framework of culture and traditions based upon the natural inequality of men and women. Despite coming from an enlightened and progressive family that actively collaborated in the liberal break with the Ancien Régime during the second third of the nineteenth century, Emilia Pardo B ­ azán – a ­s well as marrying at the young age of ­sixteen – b ­ egan to militate in the ranks of Carlism, a movement that supported the pretender to the throne Don Carlos, a defender of absolutism, of El Altar y el Trono, as opposed to his niece Isabella II, who was backed by the liberals, in the brutal Civil War (1833–40) that ended with the defeat of the Carlists and the establishment of a liberal regime in Spain. Like European legitimism, though with greater virulence and perhaps more social support, Carlism was not eradicated by that defeat and went on to provoke another deep conflict on a national scale between 1872 and 1876, the peak period of Pardo Bazán’s Carlist militancy. Its final military

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defeat signalled the beginning of a turbulent and lengthy period of decadence, with continuous internal struggles between, broadly speaking, opposed the ‘intransigents’ and the ‘mestizos’, the latter being advocates of integration within the political game of the constitutional and liberal monarchy. In 1888, following Pope Leo XIII’s support for the policy of compromise, those in the Carlist and ultra-­Catholic press were, as critic and novelist Leopoldo Alas, Clarín, wrote, busy hurling excommunications at each other’s heads. The crisis broke out in June of that year, when the most intransigent newspapers and leaders were expelled from the Comunión Carlista. During those months, Pardo Bazán travelled to Rome for Leo XIII’s jubilee and took advantage of being in the city to visit the exiled Don Carlos in his palace at Loredán. She wrote about all this, in both liberal and Catholic newspapers, especially La Fe, which had a more moderate editorial line that favoured the new Vatican diplomacy and ‘compromise’. This was the moment she chose to make public her position on Carlism, a particularly sensitive issue in a literary sphere dominated by liberals. She made it clear that she retained significant memories of and feelings about her romantic youth, but now she understood things in a different way. Like her marriage (this she did not say), Carlism had been left behind. Compromise, and modernization, were essential in order to end the rancid, decade-­long confrontation between liberals and Carlists, which no longer responded to the needs of the times. In the crossfire of the ultraconservative press, Pardo Bazán’s ­declarations – l­ater compiled in a successful book entitled Mi Romería (1888) – were used to fuel the polemic. For the most intransigent, that ‘carefree and realistic writer’ had not only publicly betrayed her old ideas; she had also violated the borders of an essentially masculine discussion forum. What she called her ‘political confession’ was nothing more than a call for the most abject, contemptible and opportunist ‘political confusion’, for an indecent conspiracy between the old and the new Spain that was akin to a union of snakes and doves, lambs and wolves (Lupercio 1888). The sarcasm of the various articles written about her reached its sexist climax on 27 May 1888 with an article whose title, ‘The Public Writer’, had lascivious, mercenary and insulting connotations, evident to readers then and now. The rather crude satire described the public female writer as an outlandish and laughable character: dressed in a light, aristocratic robe, her lustrous black hair tied with a sky blue ribbon, reclining in a brocatelle armchair in front of a


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mahogany desk, on the flat surface of which is to be seen, in the foreground, a sheet of paper, half scribbled on and half blank; then an elegant shell-­shaped china inkwell supported by a charming group of winged Cupids; a little further away, half a dozen luxuriously bound books, on the spines of which one reads in golden letters: Walter Scott . . ., George Sand . . ., H. de Saint-­Georges . . ., and others of a similar ilk; . . . and finally, at the far end, a shapeless pile, a real mishmash of newspapers; our heroine adopts the perfect academic posture: her left elbow on the desk, and the palm of her hand supporting her lower jaw; a position that enables the writer to gaze upwards at the ceiling of her office in saintly inspiration, we know not whether contemplating some thick spider webs hanging from the ceiling, or asking Helicon for a stream of her refreshing waters.7

As the allusion to spider webs suggests, that ridiculous literary heroine is surrounded by slovenliness, by dirt: on the patio of her house, there was only a consumptive orange tree and a caged canary that ‘sings sad laments to freedom’ (canta tristes endechas a la libertad), while she writes about women’s rights and the maid and her children enter to request, unsuccessfully, her attention. The coal merchant leaves without being paid and the three children cry and fight and scream, hungry, their faces unwashed, their dresses torn, with ‘bad habits that may prove fatal for their future’ (malos hábitos de configuración que pueden resultar fatales para su porvenir). The article ends with an appeal to that lady’s husband, in a direct and clearly humiliating allusion to Pardo Bazán’s husband, José Quiroga, a Carlist like her in his youth and the object then (and now) of numerous jokes about his lack of character and the conditions of their marital separation. It is that husband, ‘recently laid off’ (que acaba de ser declarado cesante), who, recovering something of his manhood, closes the profile of ‘the public writer’ with these words: ‘Dear wife: fire should be used to cook the chickpeas, inspiration to the benefit of your children; and the glory of the married woman, the sole glory, do you understand?, is darning, mending and washing the family’s clothes. I have spoken’ (V. de P. 1888).8 Emilia Pardo Bazán was a professional writer and she knew the publicity value of a good polemic. She also knew that the transparent allusions to her private life, especially her husband and their matrimonial situation, were part and parcel of the game of celebrity. In those circumstances, the only possible intelligent response was humour. She replied briefly in La Fe with her trademark irony and the touch of condescension that she had perfected over the years. She said that she would write no more on the subject and that she was going to travel to

Laughter, Gender and the Politics of Celebrity


Valencia to see the orange trees bloom since hers was consumptive. In any case, who read ultra-­Catholic newspapers like La Hormiga de Oro, El Siglo Futuro or even the more moderate La Fe? A loyal readership, no doubt, but it was increasingly fragmented and rancid. Fiction could be more uncompromising, offered other resources and had a different, more open-­ minded readership. Pardo Bazán chose La España Moderna, the most elegantly liberal and modern journal in Madrid, to publish, in January 1889, one of her best and most amusing stories, ‘Morrión y Boina’. Few things spoil a good joke more than an attempt to explain or summarize it, which is perhaps why literature that analyses humour and laughter tends not to be very amusing. I shall do my best to avoid this pitfall. In Pardo Bazán’s tale, the struggle between the two Spains, the old and the new, is embodied by the senile bitterness of an old liberal militiaman and a similarly old and ridiculous Carlist, who is the self-­proclaimed local leader of the movement in Marineda, a literary version of the Galician city of La Coruña, where Bazán had spent her passionate political youth. The author now remembered that old story with ‘with a certain gleeful and benevolent nostalgia; something like the ritornello of a healthy explosion of laughter on remembering a traditional skit’.9 What is interesting is that the liberal militiaman, Don Pedro del Morrión, acts above all as a counterpoint to the true protagonist, the pathetic Don Juan de la Boina, who, in spite of his belligerent ravings, his conspiratorial yearnings and his air of being political leader in the shadows, never fought or did anything more extraordinary than undertake a long-­awaited journey to participate in a political meeting with don Carlos, which he never attended because he confused Geneva with Genoa and arrived too late. The historical and political ­reading – ­which I cannot develop any further h ­ ere – ­ becomes particularly amusing and venomous when Pardo Bazán alludes to the wife of that Carlist Don Juan, ‘a lady from Lugo, refined, spirited, romantic and sensitive, who wrote lachrymose, sighing verses’ (una señorita de Lugo, fina, espiritada, romántica y sensible, que hacía unos versos flébiles y gemidores), which her husband forced her to conceal ‘like a violet its perfume’ (cual violeta su perfume). She then surrendered herself to ‘the practice of conjugal virtues, the cornerstone of Christian society, and devoted her life to fastening don Juan’s belt l­oops . . . u ­ ntil she entrusted her soul to God, which was soon and the result of inexplicable depression or wasting away, bearing in mind her happiness’.10 Don Juan continued to conspire in the salons, promising a hundred battles that he never


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succeeded in fighting and becoming especially annoyed upon perceiving that a lady from his city (a humorous allusion to Emilia herself) seemed to have more power in Carlist circles than he did. Surely not! ‘The government of this region of ­Spain . . . ­in female hands! ­Lord . . . ­save S ­ pain . . . s­ ave the world! . . . So we have spent this century fighting, suffering persecution, shedding our blood, covering ourselves with glory, yes with glory, to prevent the throne from being occupied by females, and now we have to put up with one of them governing us and calling the shots in the provinces’ (Pardo Bazán 2003b: 330–57).11 Laughter includes and excludes, brings near and distances, reinforces the authority of the group and violates it. Emilia Pardo Bazán’s use of laughter demonstrates, I believe, a particularly heightened awareness of its profound gender connotations and its effectiveness as a transgression (as a usurpation) of masculine authority to laugh at women capable of questioning prevailing gender rules, at eccentric women who perceived that, in the sphere of comedy and laughter, it was also the political uses of celebrity that were at stake and, with the latter, through the latter, the public status of the woman writer. Almost a year after the Carlist altercation, Madrid witnessed the start of another even more talked-­about polemic that illustrated the close relationship between celebrity, humour and gender, and their transversal political uses. This was the so-­called ‘academic question’: whether or not of women could become members of the Real Academia Española de la Lengua – the equivalent of the British Academy or the Académie française. Since the publication in 1886 of her Los Pazos de Ulloa (which was swiftly translated into English and is still published by Penguin Classics), Pardo Bazán had repeatedly been mentioned as the first woman who could and should join the academy, sometimes with genuine admiration and sometimes with malice. The latter was the motivation for the publication, in February 1889, of an article including two old letters written by Hispano-­Cuban writer Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, detailing her failed attempts to enter this institution in 1853. A vote was passed then to the effect that women could not be academy members and the author of the article warned that something similar would happen now if somebody were to try it again. Pardo Bazán knew this was about her, in part because there was talk in the press and a surprising variety of prestigious newspapers, both conservative and liberal, supported the possibility of her becoming a member. Soon there was also mention of criminal lawyer Concepción Arenal entering the Academia de Ciencias Morales y Políticas and the Duchess of Alba being entering that of history. The latter remained

Laughter, Gender and the Politics of Celebrity


silent and A ­ renal – t­hrough her s­ on – m ­ ade it clear to her friends in cultural circles that she wanted nothing to do with the matter and that she would not speak because she felt ‘an insurmountable disgust at the notion of occupying the public with personal affairs’ (Campo Alange 1973: 203). Pardo Bazán, however, was not one to bite her tongue, nor did she believe that this was a personal affair. In her private correspondence with Benito Pérez Galdós, she regretted the headaches being caused by a question that she found ‘vexatious and bitter. I hope nobody puffs and pants, or writes for or against. With my feisty temperament, they will find me if they seek me’ (Pardo Bazán 2013: 95).12 It was this temperament that led her to publish, in a humorous vein, again in La España Moderna, which was always hungry for controversy, two letters that appeared in February 1889 under the title: ‘The academic question. To Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda (In the Elysian Fields)’, the Elysian Fields being that region of heaven where truly virtuous and heroic men and women spend eternity. Avellaneda was already there, in the heaven of authentic glory, safe from the mediocrity of those who, on earth, were known as, albeit with growing derision, ‘The Immortals’. The comically pompous tone, the sarcasm, the allusions to the recent vote by the academy, which had rejected the most acclaimed novelist of the century, Pérez Galdós, served to personally distance hers from the debate while, at the same time, making her overall position clear. The only requirement to enter the academy should be literary merit. This should be true for women and, incidentally, for men, but it was not true for either. In fact, in her ironic opinion, the latest reasons for the academic rejection of women were quite comical. As some immortal secondary school teacher would have said to Santa Teresa, in the event of her candidacy ever being proposed, ‘Get thee behind me, Mrs Cepeda. We could hardly, in your presence, entertain ourselves with slightly spicy and extremely witty jokes told to us late in the day by an academic (who speaks almost as well as yourself and is a great adversary of naturalism). When men are chatting amongst themselves there is nothing more annoying than a lady, and you, Doña Teresa, would be extremely bothersome.’13 Bothersome or not, convinced of the right of women writers to achieve every literary distinction, something that was and was not personal, Pardo Bazán concluded by declaring herself a ‘perpetual candidate to the ­Academy . . . ­archiplatonic candidate, which is equivalent to eternal candidate’ (Pardo Bazán 1889: 173–84).14 To Galdós, she wrote, however, that perhaps she should have remained silent. This time, speaking out had taken an effort that left


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her in a state of nervous agitation that was affecting her health: ‘From what for you and I was a laughing matter, I now make a fabric of moodiness; and I foolishly damage my liver. In eighty years’ time, people will laugh about so many things! And our bones will be reduced to dust!’ (Pardo Bazán 2013: 95–96).15 Laughter had a price and was a challenge. Challenges are won or lost, but they are always paid for. For the time being, various newspapers were discussing the question in their pages and a considerable number of intellectuals, university professors and illustrious writers (mostly but not all of liberal and reformist leanings) issued statements in favour of women entering the academies. They generally did so with measured and convincing arguments, discussing the question point by point according to their literary, legal, philosophical or political speciality. Thus, the issue became a serious one. Anything could happen: ‘There is no opposition to the notion, which demonstrates evidence of considerable progress in prevailing ­ideas . . . t­ he establishment of differences on grounds of sex is supremely unfair and borders on the ridiculous’ (Andrenio 1891).16 It was at this point that a unique and outstanding academy member joined the debate, someone whose liberalism, merits and literary celebrity were beyond question, someone who undertook to defend the rejection by the majority of the female immortals of female membership. This was Don Juan Valera, diplomat, novelist, noted historian; in demand in every Madrid salon (including those of the Duchess of Alba and Pardo Bazán) on account of his elegant irony and his sharp sense of humour. Surviving private correspondence reveals that Valera had been singled out to employ his ability to elicit the most refined laughter with regard to the academic question. He published a leaflet entitled ‘Women and the Academies. An Innocent Social Question’, which he announced and sent to various colleagues, advising them that ‘the person that has conceived the plot and devised the ambush in order that the female sex should be immortalised is Pardo Bazán, quite the busybody, though she resembles a watermelon with ­legs . . . ­If we leave the door ajar, the Academy will turn into a witches’ coven’ (Valera 2006: 247, 336).17 Publicly, however, it was his love for all women and his awareness of their spiritual superiority over men (the pseudonym he used was Eleuterio Filogyno) that prevented him from lending his support to that nonsense of women entering the academy. The question in truth was an innocent question, not to be taken too seriously. ‘There is no doubt whatsoever regarding the value of any of the women referred to. I have nothing but words of praise for them, nor will and mind but to employ in their admiration and service’, but why on earth would a

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woman in her right mind, especially a wise woman, wish (‘unless she were victim of a hallucination’ [como no fuese víctima de una alucinación]), to alter the designs of nature and the traditions and customs of a nation like Spain ‘in which men are so courteous with women. I am delighted and proud that this is so’.18 Openly deriding the physical appearances and tough natures of Arenal and Pardo Bazán (he had previously been sure to highlight the beauty of the elegant Duchess of Alba), he assumed that the ‘learned women scholars’ were certain to be ‘charming and delightful’. In these conditions, ‘in a bisexual Academy, wouldn’t the promiscuous regular meetings be exposed to the ­risk . . . ­of love invading the souls of the academy members, to the detriment of philology and other sciences and disciplines?’ (Valera 1961: 856–68).19 The arguments and tone employed by Valera, including the ridicule of wise women and the allusions to their inevitable tackiness (the greatest sin in elegant society), were classic, having previously been employed by a range of figures, from Molière to Arthur Schopenhauer, Giacomo Leopardi, etc. More than classic, hackneyed. What was interesting was their ironic updating at that moment in time to play with institutionalized meanings, with common sense, which was perceived as being in danger of violation, not only by women writers like Pardo Bazán, but also by the men who supported them and could have disconcerted cultured opinion, including some academics. Only humour could counter that potential division, provoking laughter based on common sense directed at the hard ideological core of a culture, a class, a gender, a group. Valera avoided scandal, anger, seriousness. He knew that what mattered, more than what he said, was how he said it, how he rhetorically wrapped it in cultured and casual laughter capable of dissolving the dark cloud of a dangerous seriousness that threatened the identity of the group. The arguments he surreptitiously introduced regarding the essential differences between men and women (their celestial spirits included), the sublime destiny of true ladies, love and domesticity, salons as genuine academies for female ingenuity, were refreshed and rendered more civilized, becoming lighter, unthreatening, elegant, by means of humour. Hence their effectiveness and the fact that they were anything but inconsequential: his objective was to remind the reader of a shared logic that induced natural, innocent laughter. This mockery was, in fact, monitoring who was laughing and who was not, who was clumsy, treacherous and tacky enough to take that ‘innocent question’ seriously.


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Following Valera’s intervention, the polemic faded away. Contrary to her usual custom, Pardo Bazán did not respond directly. Thereafter, however, her fame increased considerably. Her celebrity was linked to an oeuvre and public interventions that, during the ensuing years, assumed a decidedly feminist tone, which had not been so evident previously. This tone always reflected a humorous penchant that, in my view, is fundamental in order to understand the power of her public persona and the reactions she provoked. Years later, when, in 1912, her name was again mentioned in connection with the academy, Pardo Bazán wrote with a certain indulgent distance: ‘It is curious how intelligences that in other matters are crystal ­clear . . . ­can become clouded to a degree that is hard to comprehend. Don Juan was rather a disenchanted man: his enormous erudition, his travels, his worldliness, his long stay in the United States, should have cured him of ­puerility . . . ­However, never could an obscure secondary school teacher, never could a shy mouse working in an archive, have been more alarmed than Valera’ by the prospect of women abandoning the salons and entering the academies (Pardo Bazán 2013: 165–66).20 This had much to do, as I have argued, with laughter, with gender, of course, but also with the politics of celebrity in late nineteenth-­century Spain and Europe. Isabel Burdiel is Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Valencia. She is a specialist in nineteenth-­century Western European liberalisms and is interested in the relationship between politics and literature, as well as the potential of biographical history. Her work on Queen Isabella II received the National History Prize in 2011 and her biography of the writer Emilia Pardo Bazán received the Spanish Contemporary History Association Award in 2020.

Notes The Open Access publication of this text has been financially supported by CIRGEN, a project funded by the European Research Council (Horizon 2010/ ERC-­2017-­Advanced Grant 787015).   1. ‘La mujer debe despreciar las injurias estólidas, despreciar las chanzas y burlas insípidas, despreciar las alharacas, despreciar toda malignidad, toda amenaza, toda mala fe, toda hipocresía, toda mezquindad intelectual; y para este sano y fortificante desprecio, amargo como el ajenjo y como el ajenjo medicinal, revestirse de la serenidad del estoico, o armarse de la culta risa del satírico.’

Laughter, Gender and the Politics of Celebrity


  2. ‘Es el caso que he sido, en los treinta y pico años de mi carrera literaria, el más atacado y combatido de los escritores españoles. Todo se me ha regateado con avaricia; he ido conquistando el terreno palmo a palmo. Es cierto que tuve público desde mi primera novela, pero era una caminata por las dunas; avanzaba y fuerzas invisibles me hacían retroceder. No teniendo acaso tiempo ni humor para analizar despacio mis escritos, aplicaban lentes ahumadas al estudio de mi carácter y hasta de mi físico, que nada tiene que ver, supongo yo, con las letras. Yo era así, yo era asá, yo usaba un peinado de otro modo, yo me gozaba de hacer daño a mis enemigos literarios, yo era soberbia, yo era ­vanidosa . . . ­Por reprochar, hasta se me reprochaba el disfrute de buena salud. Además, se me buscaban erratas: como solía decirse entonces, gazapos: y se afirmaba, y muchos lo creían, que yo había dicho, en un cuento, que los cuadrúpedos vuelan.’   3. ‘Desde que empecé a escribir; desde que Revilla [un prestigioso crítico literario del momento], implacable generalmente con la literatura de las mujeres, tuvo la inesperada bondad de decir que yo era fruto de una equivocación de la naturaleza, etc.; la gente se persuadió de e­ llo . . . ­pero, en vez de echar a buena parte lo de la “equivocación” interpretó la frase en el sentido siguiente: yo era un desaforado marimacho, que debía fumar puros de a cuarta y, por supuesto, ignorar si el puchero cuece a la lumbre o al sol.’   4. ‘casi indiferente a esta proyección de mi personalidad en las artes gráficas y pictóricas. Ni mis retratos ni mis caricaturas forman parte de mi “yo”. Son algo que cae por fuera.’   5. ‘la explican las nieves que me han caído sobre la sien: pero entonces (en la juventud) mi pelo era de color de tinta, y pudieron molestarme los atentados calumniosos contra mi verdadera figura humana, asaz diferente de la que empezó a rodar por diarios y semanarios.’   6. ‘el exceso de malignidad, de deseo de ­mortificar . . . ­El caso era afearme horriblemente, convertirme en una especie de foca o de hipopótamo.’   7. ‘Vestida de ligera y aristocrática bata, sujeta su negra y lustrosa cabellera por aérea cinta azul cielo, recostada en sillón de brocatel ante una mesa de caoba, en cuya plana superficie aparece, en primer término, una cuartilla de papel, mitad borroneado y mitad en blanco; á continuación un elegante tintero de porcelana en forma de concha que sostiene un grupo encantador de alados Cupidos; un poco más allá, una media docena de libros ricamente encuadernados, en cuyos lomos se leen en doradas letras: Walter Scott . . ., Jorge Sand . . ., H. de Saint-­Georges . . ., y otros de semejante calaña; . . . y finalmente, en último extremo, un montón informe, un verdadero batiburrillo de periódicos; está nuestra heroína en perfecta postura académica: el codo izquierdo apoyado sobre la mesa, y la palma de su mano en contacto con la mandíbula inferior; posición que permite á la Escritora tener los ojos elevados al cielo-­raso de su gabinete en beatífica inspiración, no sabemos si contemplando unas ricas telarañas que cuelgan del techo, ó pidiéndole á Helicona un chorro de sus refrigerantes aguas.’


Isabel Burdiel

  8. ‘Esposa mía: el fuego debe servir para los garbanzos, la inspiración para hacer a tus hijos personas de provecho; y la gloria de la mujer casada, la única gloria, ¿entiendes? Es zurcir, remendar y lavar la ropa de la familia. He dicho.’   9. ‘cierta nostalgia regocijada y benévola; algo como el ritornello de una sana explosión de risa al acordarse de un castizo sainete.’ 10. ‘a la práctica de las virtudes conyugales, fundamento de la sociedad cristiana, y vivió dedicada a abrochar a don Juan las t­rabillas . . . h ­ asta que entregó a Dios el alma, que fue pronto y de una murria o consunción inexplicable, dada su felicidad.’ 11. ‘¡El gobierno de esta región de E ­ spaña . . . e­ n manos femeniles! ¡­Señor . . . ­salva a ­España . . . s­ alva al mundo! . . . ¿Conque llevamos todo lo que va de siglo luchando, sufriendo persecuciones, derramando nuestra sangre, cubriéndonos de gloria, sí, de gloria, para evitar que ocupen el trono las hembras, y hemos de tolerar ahora que una nos rija y mande en estas provincias?’ 12. ‘enojosa y amarga. Ojalá nadie resuelle, y no escriban en pro ni en contra. Con mi temperamento batallador, me encontrarán si me buscan.’ 13. ‘Vade retro, señora Cepeda. Mal podríamos, estando usted delante, recrearnos con ciertos chascarrillos un poco picantes y muy salados que a última hora nos cuenta un académico (el cual parla casi tan bien como usted y es gran adversario del naturalismo). En las tertulias de hombres solos no hay nada más fastidiosito que una señora, y usted, doña Teresa, nos importunaría asaz.’ 14. ‘candidato perpetuo a la ­Academia . . . ­candidato archiplatónico, lo cual equivale a candidato eterno.’ 15. ‘De lo que V. y yo hacíamos asunto de risa, ahora hago yo tela de malhumor; y me echo a perder el hígado tontamente. ¡De aquí a ochenta años la gente se reirá de tantas cosas! ¡Y nuestros huesos estarán reducidos a polvo!’ 16. ‘El pensamiento no encuentra oposición, lo cual demuestra que se ha verificado un progreso considerable en las ideas ­reinantes . . . ­establecer diferencias por razón del sexo es soberanamente injusto y casi casi toca lo ridículo.’ 17. ‘quien ha inventado la tramoya y promovido la zalagarda para que el sexo femenino se inmortalice es la Pardo Bazán, muy bullebulle, aunque parece una sandía con ­patas . . . P ­ or poco que abriésemos la mano, la Academia se convertiría en un aquelarre.’ 18. ‘en el que los hombres son finísimos con las mujeres. Yo me deleito y me glorio de que así sea.’ 19. ‘en una Academia bisexual, ¿no serían expuestas las juntas ordinarias ­promiscuas . . . ­a que el amor invadiese las almas de los académicos, con gran detrimento de la filología y de otras ciencias y disciplinas?’ 20. ‘Es curioso cómo inteligencias en otras materias ­clarísimas . . . ­pueden ofuscarse hasta un grado difícil de comprender. Don Juan era un hombre más bien desengañado: su vasta erudición, sus viajes, su mucho mundo,

Laughter, Gender and the Politics of Celebrity


su residencia en Estados Unidos, deberían haberle curado de ­puerilidades . . . ­ Sin embargo, nunca un oscuro catedrático de instituto, nunca un espantadizo ratón de archivería, pudieron alarmarse más que Valera.’

References Andrenio. 1891. ‘Sobre la Cuestión Académica’, La Época, 24 June. Billig, Michael. 2005. Laughter and Ridicule. London: Sage. Bremmer, Jan, and Herman Roodenburg (eds). 1997. A Cultural History of Humour. Cambridge: Polity Press. Burdiel, Isabel. 2019. Emilia Pardo Bazán. Madrid: Taurus. Campo Alange, María de. 1973. Concepción Arenal, 1820–1893: Estudio bio­ gráfico documental. Madrid: Revista de Occidente. Cheauré, Elisabeth, and Regine Nohejl (eds). 2014. Humour and Laughter in History: Transcultural Perspectives. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag. Dickie, Simon. 2011. Cruelty and Laughter. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Kottoff, Helga. 2006. ‘Gender and Humour: The State of the Art’, Journal of Pragmatics 38: 4–25. Lilti, Antoine. 2017. The Invention of Celebrity. Cambridge: Polity Press. Lupercio. 1888. ‘Las mujeres que escriben’, La Hormiga de Oro, 13 May. Margadant, Jo Burr. 2000. The New Biography: Performing Femininity in Nineteenth-Century France. Berkeley: University of California Press. Pardo Bazán, Emilia. 1889. ‘La cuestión académica: A Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda (en los Campos Elíseos)’, La España Moderna, 11  February: 173–84. ——. 1907. ‘Caras y Caretas en Europa: Mis retratos y mis caricaturas’, Caras y Caretas, Buenos Aires, 5 October: 469. ——. 1913. ‘Mi libro de cocina’, Diario de la Marina, de La Habana, 30 June. ——. 1999. ‘Resumen de las ponencias y memoria de la sección V, leído en el Congreso Pedagógico el 19 de octubre de 1892’, in La mujer española y otros escritos, ed. Guadalupe Gómez-­Ferrer. Madrid: Cátedra, pp. 173–74. ——. 2003a. ‘Carta de 28 de abril de 1912’, in Cartas de la condesa en el Diario de La Marina de La Habana (1909–1915), ed. Cecilia Haydl-­Cortínez. Madrid: Pliegos, pp. 165–66. ——. 2003b. ‘Morrión y Boina (1889)’, Obras Completas. Vol. VII. Madrid: Fundación José Antonio de Castro, pp. 330–57. ——. 2013. ‘Miquiño mío’. Cartas a Galdós, eds Isabel Parreño and Juan Manuel Hernández. Madrid: Turner. Penas, Ermitas and Sotelo, Marisa (eds). 2020. Epistolario de Emilia Pardo Bazán a Benito Pérez Galdos. Santiago: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela. P. de V. 1888. ‘La escritora pública’, La Hormiga de Oro, 27 May. Phiddian, Robert. 2019. Satire and de Public Emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


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Roberts, Mary Louise. 2012. ‘Rethinking Female Celebrity: The Eccentric Star of Nineteenth- Century France’, in Edward Berenson and Eva Giloi (eds), Constructing Charisma. Celebrity, Fame and Power in Nineteenth-Century Europe. New York: Berghahn Books, pp. 103–16. Valera, Juan. 1961. ‘Las mujeres y las Academias: Cuestión social inocente’, Obras Completas. Madrid: Aguilar, pp. 856–68. Valera, Juan. 2006. Correspondencia. Vol. V (1888–94). Madrid: Castalia.

Chapter 12

El Gran Bvfón Illustrated Magazines, Humourism and Caricature in Spain at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Miguel Ángel Gamonal Torres

¡ In the following pages, we will study the magazine El Gran Bvfón (1912–13), which featured some of the best illustrators in Spain at the time and sought to renew caricature and humourism in accordance with European innovation at the turn of the century. Through the study of this publication, we will address two phenomena associated with the contemporary evolution of graphic humour in Spain. One is the assertion of caricature as an artistic ­ genre – ­displaying it in public exhibitions so that it is an object of critical ­attention – w ­ hich runs parallel to the dignification of the profession of cartoonist; the other is the debate about the formal renovation of humorous drawing and the intellectual refinement of humour. All this would be brought together under the general name of ‘humourism’, which, in the visual field, would encompass, somewhat controversially, both the comic and decorative image.

Illustrated Magazines and Caricature: European Models The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw the emergence of the illustrated press, a result of changes in printing legislation, the expansion of public education, technical innovations and an increased reading public. Illustrated satirical magazines, a subgenre in their own right, sought to meet a certain demand but were, in general, ephemeral enterprises that disappeared shortly after appearing. In Spain’s capital, only Madrid Cómico and Gedeón enjoyed continuity, indicative of their success, but they were tied to the anecdotal realist Costumbrism of Ramón Cilla, to festive laughter, or ‘laughter for laughter’s sake’ (Botrel 2015), to the grotesque political satire of the


Miguel Ángel Gamonal Torres

illustrators ‘Mecachis’ and ‘Demócrito’, and, worse, to macrocephalic realist caricature, although it would be unfair to deny that a desire for renewal can be detected in their contributors. The case of Catalan humourism, to which those who promoted El Gran Bvfón (henceforth, EGB) were attentive, seems distinct: Papitu (1908) and Picarol (1912), of unequal duration (Papitu was published between 1908 and 1937 and Picarol only published six issues in 1912), advocated for the renewal of graphic humourism. In Madrid, this renovation is glimpsed fleetingly in ¡Alegría! (1908), EGB (1912) and Menipo (1913) (Barros [1918?], II: 60–61, 70–72), but it would fully materialize only in Buen Humor (1921) and Gutiérrez (1927). A glance at Europe sheds light on the transformation of humourism. A real revolution had taken place. The introduction of photoengraving and significant innovations in presentation, layout and design were apparent in illustrated magazines of a satirical and humorous nature and related literary content. The cartoonists and critics who created new caricatures could choose from a wide range of publications, especially French and German publications, including Gil Blas illustré (1889), Le Rire (1894), L’Assiette au Beurre (1901), Simplicissimus (1896) and Jugend (1896). These were artistic, literary and satirical illustrated magazines, and, as a hybrid of the daily press and the illustrated book, they had both popular and elitist traits, the distribution of texts and images made them visually attractive, the print runs allowed them to reach a broader public and they promoted the expansion of images. They aroused interest because of the protagonists of the visual part: the illustrators. The journalist and art critic José Francés, specifically, seemed to be very aware of the German cartoonists Thomas Theodor Heine, Olaf Gulbransson, Leo Putz, Eduard Thöny, etc., and their magazines, which included the aforementioned German magazines, as well as Fliegende Blätter, Lustige Blätter and Der Wahre Jacob (Francés 1924). But the question is whether French illustrated publications were, in fact, better known. In any case, the cultural contacts between France and Germany (Paris and Munich) were fluid, and Albert Langen and Georg Hirth, the founders of Simplicissimus and Jugend, were inspired by French models (Gardes 2008).

Los Salones de Humoristas: Towards a Dignification of Caricature and Cartoonists Humourism overlapped with caricature, which it ended up encompassing as a subgenre (personal caricature), together with satire,

El Gran Bvfón


parody and fantasy (Barros [1918?], I: 15–23), always with rigorous criteria of artistic quality. It heralded the renovation of the prevailing style of caricature, which was associated with the tastes of the nineteenth century and was perceived as being devoid of artistic character. It was a semantic change, not at all neutral, defended in a critical petition by the aforementioned Francés, editor of EGB, and was shared by its founder Ricardo Marín, who became visible upon the foundation and consolidation of the Salones de Humoristas. Launched in 1907, in the image of the Salon des Humoristes in Paris organized by Le Rire, they continued between 1914 and 1935. Their o ­ rganizers – F ­ rancés had the leading ­role – ­sought to turn them into an alternative to the National Exhibitions of Fine Arts, which they tried to do by occupying cultural spaces as distinguished as the Círculo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Circle), the Museo de Arte Moderno (Museum of Modern Art) and the Palacio de Cristal del Buen Retiro (Crystal Palace of Retiro Park). Humourism was popularized as the basis for the aesthetic dignification of the art of caricature and the ennoblement of the profession of cartoonist (caricaturist and illustrator).1 A careful operation of aesthetic renovation of the minor practice of caricature, tied to the periodical press, of little artistic value and troubled public understanding, was reinforced by the creation of the Unión de Dibujantes Españoles. And, although it continued to be linked to the ordinariness of the press, the aim was, through humourism, to place caricature in the high spheres of art through the time-­tested means of public exhibition, subjecting it to the intellectual rigour of critical judgement based on formal criteria. Humourism was thus a field of action in which to proceed with the renovation of the art of caricature and the critical and combative praxis of sociopolitical satire (Guijarro 2016).

Humourism and Literature: Ramón María del Valle‑Inclán, the Nuevo Café de Levante and Art Nouveau Graphic Renewal EGB was advertised as an ‘Illustrated Humorous Weekly’ and subject to the subordination and dependence that made literary humourism a crucial support in the artistic dignification of caricature (Francés 1911). In addition to Francés, its editors Andrés González-­ Blanco, Ceferino R. Avecilla and Ramón Fernández Mato, (Francés 1950) were writers, journalists and critics connected to Art Nouveau circles who published in popular literary collections, from El Cuento Semanal to La


Miguel Ángel Gamonal Torres

Novela Corta, a hybrid kind of publication (recurring and illustrated) that would end up giving rise to the pocket format. The presence of the image, especially on the covers, and the text–image relationship link these publications and magazines, but the latter’s greater visual autonomy lends them their distinctive stamp as a distinguishable product. The contents of this humourism (literary and graphic) provide critics with reasons to ascertain modern literary themes in the magazines, among them the Baudelairean flâneur (saunterer) as a subjective medium of the sensations awakened by the modern city, which refract, by means of the dichotomy between casticism (an authentic expression of the national character) and cosmopolitanism, a certain inferiority complex in relation to Paris (Domínguez Carreiro 2006). This can also be perceived in well-­known German examples (Gardes 2008: 61–62). But the key to the relationship between literature and art is the symbolic aestheticism and decorativism of Madrid’s bohemian scene, where Ramón María del Valle-­Inclán, one of the great writers of the time and an advocate of a deformation of reality that he called esperpento, played an important role. Valle-­Inclán formulated a symbolist aesthetic theory replete with esoteric components (theosophy, spiritualism, the Kabbalah) in La Lámpara maravillosa (The Marvellous Lamp) (1916) and spurred the renovation of artistic illustration. He distributed his ideas at the gathering that he led in the Nuevo Café de Levante, attended by José Moya del Pino (who also attended the lessons on aesthetics that Valle-­Inclán gave at the San Fernando Academy), Ángel Cerezo Vallejo, Ricardo Marín, Exoristo Salmerón, known as ‘Tito’, and Rafael de Penagos, contributors to EGB. He relied on Moya, Ángel Vivanco, Ricardo Baroja, Anselmo Miguel Nieto and Julio Romero de Torres for the artistic editions of his work, an Art Nouveau synthesis of pre-­Raphaelite inspiration that would transform into a nationalist, neo-­Renaissance and somewhat primitivist casticism (Garlitz 1989; Domínguez Carreiro 2007; Rubio 2012, 2014). Moya portrayed Valle-­Inclán (12  January 1913) and Luis Bonafoux (9  February 1913) in EGB (figure 12.1), combining frontality, the contrast between the black stains of their suits and the rhythmic and decorative linearity of the backgrounds, the perfunctory characterization typical of caricature and the classicist motifs of the landscape setting, in order to adapt, in the modern terms like modern forms or modern models of decorative illustration, some perennial features of Spanish p ­ ortraiture – ­El Greco and ­Velázquez – ­and to contribute to a symbolist iconography of the writer as an exponent of ‘modern melancholy’ (Rubio 2009). The fact that Editorial Renacimiento placed advertisements in EGB is also perhaps

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Figure 12.1  José Moya del Pino, ‘España famosa. Don Ramón María’, EGB, 12 January 1913.

a testimony to the desire for literary renewal, the popularization of reading and the support for the modernization of graphic illustration marked by the irruption of new humourism. The Salones de Humoristas and Valle-­Inclán’s attention to illustration are correlatives of a renovation that goes beyond its connection to laughter and the comical as it is one of the faces of modern decorativism. This artistic renovation helps to overcome the old realist satirical press based on chromolithography and its comic by-­product,


Miguel Ángel Gamonal Torres

deformation and the grotesque (Fontbona 1987), in which photomechanical procedures facilitated the translation of the illustrator’s original line. Linear synthetism was combined with the application, at times impersonal and mechanical, of decorative patterns: a suggestive and striking amalgamation of Japanese, Neo-­Byzantine and orientalist resources, etc. All of this emphasized two-­dimensionality, constituting a decorativism that privileged the autonomy of formal values over representative ones. It sought to counteract an obsolete model and articulated the modernizing alternative of humourism to dignify the caricature aesthetically and to extol the profession of cartoonist. This was the intention of the so-­called ‘generation of humourists’ and the idea behind the organization of the Salones. In conclusion, humourism was a vague and ambiguous concept that was not only applied to the comic image, but also aspired to be a formal identification, in terms of style, which led to a search for amenable examples.

El Gran Bvfón and Its Models The Cuban writer Bernardo G. Barros called the idiosyncratic style of the new school of humourism ‘linear impressionism’, an ideal of synthesis embodied in the mastery of psychology, the ‘characteristic point’ and the ‘difficult expressive simplicity of German cartoonists’ (Barros [1918?], I). It is not surprising that EGB set its sights on the most prominent of German satirical magazines, Simplicissimus, and that it featured among its contributors two cartoonists linked to the celebrated weekly: Olaf Gulbransson and Wilhelm Gulvall. The contribution of Gulbransson, one of the most admired representatives of German linear synthesis, was a cropped reproduction of the famous caricature of his compatriot, the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.2 His example was also followed in Catalonia, where Feliu Elias, known as ‘Apa’, made a three-­dimensional caricature with great economy of resources, and compact and delineated closed forms (Fontbona 1988: 508–9), although years later he called it ‘insuportable per causa de l’afectació en què cau el seu art’ (unbearable because of the affect that befalls his art) (Elias 1931: 76). Another Catalan cartoonist with a style similar to that of the Norwegian, Luis Bagaría, had just relocated to Madrid, where his career in the magazine España and the newspaper El Sol would lead him to become one of the most influential cartoonists of the first third of the twentieth century;3 and it was him the joke of the invention of the fictional cartoonist Gulvall was directed at (Francés 1950).

El Gran Bvfón


Figure 12.2  Wilhelm Gulvall, ‘Los clásicos prestigios. Fernando Díaz de Mendoza, cómico y prócer’, EGB, 28 December 1912.

On 28 December4 1912, Gulvall, a supposed contributor to Jugend and Simplicissimus and a favourite disciple of Gulbransson, was presented as the person who introduced the ‘simplified personal caricature’ to Spain (Figure 12.2), with the characteristic and unmistakeable style of his supposed teacher: pure lines without any modelling or


Miguel Ángel Gamonal Torres

chiaroscuro, synthetic stains, and with less pertinent physiognomic features eliminated.5 Gulvall also elaborated perceptual puzzles and childish schematizations, which perhaps revealed the artifice of the character’s construction and the versatility of its true author. However, the feigned praise for the supposed German master did not stop there; in an interview (4 January 1913), he revealed some of the key elements of the ideology of the new humourism: the attack on the nineteenth-­ century tradition of Pons, Cilla and Madrid Cómico in the name of the synthetist aesthetic and the condemnation of Spain’s lack of attentive criticism of the phenomenon of humourism. Another imaginary cartoonist, Roulette or Rulette, adapted the synthetic style typical of the new school of graphic humourism, characterized by firm decorative contours, with a kind of dissolution of forms. This was a style that mimicked light humour, both in political criticism and in parodies of the artistic avant-­garde, clarified with jocular and coy comments that had sexual double meanings. These ­cartoonists – ­possible pseudonyms of Marín or ‘Tito’ – made it seem as though Spain had exponents from the most advanced schools of European caricature.

Criticism and Humourism The lack of critical attention to humourism, denounced by the fictional Gulvall, would be remedied by EGB. Francés promoted humourism through the organization of the Salones and their critical efforts. Exoristo Salmerón, known as ‘Tito’, a contributing cartoonist who understood his art as a form of political engagement, theorized his instrumental theses by trying to define the genre, outlining an introduction to the theory, practice and history of caricature, a modern activity associated with political and social freedoms (Salmerón 1918). ‘Tito’ defines caricature as a visual resource that, by exaggerating physical and moral features and expressing them in a linear synthesis, concretizes a moral idea based on the Platonic binomial of beauty and goodness. He dignifies caricature culturally by portraying humourism as a way of overcoming the grotesque vulgarity of nineteenth-­century caricature and introduces an intellectual component that connects (in a deterministic way) to the political superiority and conscience of the countries of the north, and especially the decorative theory of Art Nouveau graphic renewal, which involves appreciating formal qualities in order to overcome the iconography of burlesque realism, itself indebted to religious imagery and late Romantic history painting. He

El Gran Bvfón


also seeks to demonstrate satire’s ‘social importance’, that is, its usefulness, in contrast to the ‘artistic game’ of the altered synthesis of the subject’s characteristic traits. Thus, he contradicts the earlier emphasis on form and, based on the authority of supporters (Jacinto Octavio Picón, Jules Champfleury or José Francés) and detractors (Alphonse de Lamartine and his ‘offence of humanity’) of caricature, he proclaims it a ‘powerful political and social weapon’ (14) and attests to its transcendence and its ethical and social value. Its importance resides in its being an art of persuasion that attacks institutions, symbols and beliefs, excoriates the powerful, is at the service of the Ideal and, therefore, is a kind of moral and political plea necessary in humanity’s fight for liberation and progress: Caricature has forged revolutions; it has made the people feel the ridicule and contempt of their tyrants; it has traced in the soul of the multitudes luminous dawns of a nascent day of Equity and Progress; it has ignited the volcano of rebellion, and it has made them tear down sceptres and crowns with a crash. (26)6

By historically tracing the functions of satire, ‘Tito’, highlighting the importance of Charles Philipon, Honoré Daumier and La Caricature, but also Francisco de Goya and Paul Gavarni, demonstrates the power of laughter (satire) to ridicule and degrade the eminent: And in this work of gigantic effort, of a free and sovereign march towards the ideal future, caricature will go in the advance lines, satirizing with biting irony all that might obstruct its way, taking the ridiculous to everything, no matter how highly it is esteemed and how sacred it is considered. (54)7

His belief in the ethical, moral and political transcendence of a genre that was widely considered insignificant was confirmed in the heartfelt tribute paid to him by his brother Nicolás when he passed (Salmerón 1925), but the general tone of the criticism that sought to change the perception that caricature was a banal subgenre through a respectable ­humourism – v­ ery present in the pages of EGB – was distinguished by its attention to the formal qualities of caricature and its theoretical reflection on the keys to the artistry of caricature: a legitimizing connection with the literary, stylistic distinctions of school and authorship, access to the public by means of e­ xhibitions . . . ­Gulvall’s praise was a means of summing up innovative ideas, while the attention paid to the Círculo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Circle) poster exhibitions and the comments from its competition held for humourists served to


Miguel Ángel Gamonal Torres

clarify the defence of this artistic procedure and genre. The comic strip is valued because it ‘sharpens the wit’ by making ‘caricature almost literary’ and elevates personal caricature to the ‘aristocracy of the genre’ because, created with the model present, it unravels the expression and linear simplification while ‘training the cartoonist’s hand’ (19 January 1913). Therefore, art criticism dedicated to the genre includes analysis of exhibitions and demonstrates knowledge of foreign reference publications, which allows styles to be discerned or an ideal of refinement, even frivolity, to be praised as an antidote to the elitist dislike for the general tone of the Spanish humorous press: And, however, it is more perverse, more sensual, it is closer to pleasure with its phrases than the profane salaciousness that has been debasing our ingenuity for some time now. Do not claim that one is as immoral as the other. It is precisely the Spanish humorous weeklies that need a little immorality, as long as it is refined, elegant, aristocratic in its sensuality. Otherwise we would never move beyond the political weeklies that speak of Weyler’s rags, Sánchez Toca’s nose and Maura’s cassocks or of the weeklies that delight coachmen, tramway ticket-­ takers, seamstresses, movie-­house teenagers and old senators. And in the world, my friends, one must aspire to more exquisite joys and to conquer a more intelligent audience. (Francés 1913b)8

This is a socio-­aesthetic argument rooted in the Aristotelian tradition, in which the literary definition of humourism as a superior activity of the intellect is supplemented by frivolity and gallantry as the social epitome of an aesthetic category, and it is the Francophile counterpoint to German artistic inspiration. The critical voices of the magazine supported these arguments and it is to Emilio Carrére’s (1913) credit that he defined with clarity a distinction between laughter and a smile based on the dichotomy between the physical and the spiritual or intellectual (the antimony on which to base the new humourism), establishing a lineage of intellectual, aesthetic humourism that invokes Charles Dickens, Alphonse Daudet, Heinrich Heine or Don Quijote, and that contrasts Jacinto Benavente’s theatre with that of Carlos Arniches, that draws a line of renewal of visual humour that starts with Adolphe Willette and exemplifies Ricardo Marín (the founder of EGB); an argumentation impregnated with aestheticism that makes good taste its banner: The smile is noble and spiritual; laughter is merry and roguish . . . See how humourism is high, noble and luminous. Humourism is a superior art typical of clear, complex understanding, of hearts

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that love the ideal and beauty. A humourist is an interesting paradox whom fools slander. Irony, humourism, even sarcasm, are high spiritual forms that emerge from the contrast of life as it is and how the artist feels that it should be . . . In this moment you see how the cartoonists’ drawings have replaced those absurd caricatures of deformed heads and weak, puny bodies that were the delight ten years ago and the stupid cartoons, where everything is out of whack, the satirical comment, the sharp and elegant grace, like a damascene stiletto. The spirit in short . . . Let us cultivate the smile, which is a flower of spirituality while Cretino writhes with laughter with festive verses and indecent comedies.9

‘Pablillos de Valladolid’ (22 February 1913), the pseudonym behind which Francés likely hides, cited the assimilation of the decorative as the definitive key of the artistic value of caricature: ‘Spanish caricature becomes conscious and learns, not to forget it and to teach it, the modern sense of the decorative arts.’10

El Gran Bvfón as a Response Francés and Marín’s convergence cleared the way for the publication of the magazine, between 22 December 1912 and 3 May 1913, when it was prematurely terminated after nineteen issues. Its publication coincided with the end of Gedeón and a long interruption of Madrid Cómico. The stakeholder Francés did not spare his praise, extolling the magazine as ‘the only and most admirable humorous publication that has been produced in Spain’, a publication that ‘responds to a dignification of the wit oriented towards humourism’ and ‘the first newspaper of Spanish caricatures that has the right to present itself to Europe’ (Francés 1913a). Later, he defined it as an ‘extraordinary advance in the genre’, while at the same time blaming its short life on its independence (Francés 1915), a failure that was echoed by Barros and that is now attributed to difficulties with censorship due to its attacks on politicians of the time, such as Antonio Maura or the Count of Romanones (López Ruiz 1995: 104–5; 2006: 37). Without denying criticism from public authorities and a certain combative stance, one could allege economic problems, likely as a result of the effort that went into creating this painstaking editorial product, given the particular care that went into the choice of paper (expressly manufactured by La Papelera Madrileña), the printing press and the photoengraving company.


Miguel Ángel Gamonal Torres

Figure 12.3  Ricardo Marín, ‘El Gran Bvfón. Semanario Humorístico Ilustrado’, EGB, 28 December 1912.

As a literary and satirical magazine, it explores a hybrid type. Simplicissimus was a satirical magazine, while Jugend occupied an intermediate place between artistic and literary magazines and humorous and satirical ones (Koch 2008: 455), although it is unlikely that

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EGB reached its print runs: the first of which numbered one hundred thousand copies and the second eighty thousand. In addition to the aforementioned writers, EGB included the literary collaboration of Manuel Abril, Jacinto Benavente, Luis Bonafoux, Emilio Carrére, Enrique Gómez Carrillo, Antonio de Hoyos y Vinent, Prudencio González Hermida, Eugenio López Aydillo and Claudina Regnier (pseudonym of Álvaro Retana), almost all of whom belonged to Madrid’s bohemian milieu and were creators of decadent and symbolist literature and regular contributors to popular literary collections. Its literary holdings ­included – ­in terms of ­humour – ­short ­stories, short theatre pieces, poems, current affairs and literary, artistic and performance criticism. The design, layout and composition of its sixteen pages gave it a greater decorative and visual unity than other publications at the time. The cover illustration, which occupies the entire page, except for an unalterable masthead, has an editorial character and is, therefore, the visual introduction to each issue, typically monographic. The magazine also includes illustrations that were subordinated to the text, not always framed, and a large number of independent sketches that take up half a page or a whole page, to which other smaller drawings and decorative edging with rhythmically repeated figures are added. It therefore did not have the extent and miscellaneous character of the large illustrated magazines, nor did it incorporate photography. Marín visually embedded the jester, a symbol of the humorous tradition in Spanish art, by portraying it in his advertisement, following Velázquez’s Pablillos de Valladolid (figure 12.3). The character of the jester knocks down some bowling pins: a metaphor for satire. Just as the title Simplicissimus referred to German literature and Don Quijote was a common feature in the satirical press, the personification of the magazine and its conversion into an emblem, respond to the same spirit of the red bulldog created by Thomas Theodor Heine for the Munich magazine.

The Illustrators: Styles and Motifs It has been said that Papitu, a Catalan magazine of the period, was sponsored by ‘artists’ more than professional ‘illustrators’ (Fontbona 1988: 508–9). The cartoonists were beginning to enjoy the popularity that a distinctive personality afforded them, and they sought to be stylistically original and to produce quick and clever commentary about customs, events and ideas. Studies on caricature increased and


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established critical and historiographic lines: formal and stylistic analysis and the study of the satirical image as a historical source. In this particular, Francés and Barros were for Hispanic culture what Arsène Alexandre and Eduard Fuchs were for France and Germany. Francés was an editor of EGB, Alexandre and Fuchs were the editors of two important satirical weeklies, Le Rire and Süddeutscher Postillon, and they contributed to the critical recovery of Daumier as an artist. EGB was the representative voice of the vindication of caricature as an artistic genre. Ricardo Marín was a Catalan artist who, along with ‘Tito’, belonged to the generation that made the transition from the nineteenth-­century realism of grotesque satire to the refined and decorative ideal of the caricature of humourism. He began his career as an illustrator in 1897 and participated in the Salones de Humoristas and their Thursday gatherings (Guijarro 2016: 60–61, 67–68, 199–203). He was not, however, a typical ­caricaturist – ­despite his contribution to the daily El Liberal – rather, he was a restless and agile illustrator. As such, he cultivated three thematic plots: the quick sketch of bullfighting motifs (figure 12.4) – paired with the poster of Ruano Llopis and Roberto Domingo –, which he separated into Pepe-Hillo, a supplement of EGB that he exclusively illustrated and cultivated in ABC and Blanco y Negro; literary illustration, with special attention to the world of Don Quijote, on the basis of which Francés praised him as a worthy successor to Urrabieta Vierge, Doré and Hermann Paul (Lago 1918); and the recreation (of Goyesque lineage) of tavern brawls, gallant duels, processions and courtships set in the Golden Age, as well as scenes of contemporary frivolity. This opened a space for him in La Esfera and other illustrated magazines (Pérez Rojas 1990: 110–11; Francés 1945: 24–25). His dedication to the magazine was so intense that he sometimes was the sole contributor. On the covers, he outlined the master editorial policies of the monographic issues that covered the courtly love theme (women), modern leisure (Carnival, horse racing, hunting, the circus, bullfighting) and seasonal celebrations (fairs, Holy Week), and he made incursions into political-­symbolic caricature (which was not his area of expertise). He also produced small illustrative cartoons, decorative borders, graphic narratives or comics and artistic advertising in which he blended typography and synthetism. A gifted illustrator, his versatility and speed of execution resulted in a copious amount of work, proof, perhaps, that the profession of illustrator and cartoonist did not g ­ uarantee – w ­ ith few e­ xceptions – a ­ life of ease. Nevertheless, he vindicated the profession, as demonstrated by the Fine Arts Academy of San Fernando reserving an academic

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Figure 12.4  Ricardo Marín, ‘A pleno sol’, EGB, 12 April 1913.

position for cartoonists and caricaturists, while also defending the pictorial character of his style: ‘to draw is to paint’, ‘the line does not exist. For that reason I have never drawn complete lines’ (Milla 1927). His work encompassed a sketched style with undefined contours and touches of gouache that were ideal for frivolous and charming scenes and that identified the immediacy and haste of the rhythms of modern


Miguel Ángel Gamonal Torres

urban life, along the lines of Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-­Lautrec or Xavier Gosé. These are quick jottings with unusual edges, ink stains and white spaces, which he also used in the decorative borders. His work also included pen drawings in which the lines were made denser and tangled to the point of delimiting spatial values and an almost-­ grotesque expressiveness. Finally, Marín, through the introduction of chiaroscuro illustrations of Don Quijote in the magazine, also committed to visual understanding in the reproduction, proof that, as a good representative of this humourism, he privileged the formal over the communicative in the name of the decorative: an aesthetic choice. For ‘Tito’, son of the former president of the First Republic, Nicolás Salmerón, aesthetic rigour was an inescapable requirement of satire: the instrumental side of humour. His death cut short a career as a political-­social cartoonist in the daily satirical and illustrated press, in which his short-­lived contribution to Menipo stood out (along with that of the writer and journalist Corpus Barga). As regards his place among Madrid’s humourists, it is noted that he exhibited nine times in the Salones and was honoured posthumously in the famed Círculo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Circle) in 1932 (Guijarro 2016: 176, 309 et seq.). His orientation as a cartoonist is explained by his political career, which took him from paternal republicanism to the Socialist Party in 1915 and to the signing of allegiance to the Third International in 1921. He pursued an expressionist line, influenced by Goya and Daumier and similar to that taken by Jean-­Louis Forain, Theopile Alexandre Steinlen, Louis Raemakers and Simplicissimus cartoonists like W. Schulz, K. Arnold and O. Gulbransson. As an artist opposed to the injustices of capitalism and in favour of the working class and socialism, he cultivated the political caricature of recognizable figures (Juan de la Cierva, Raymond Poincaré, Georges Clemenceau) and the symbolic cartoon that combines national stereotypes or religious iconography to didactically condense a commentary or editorial stance; both were his most conventional contributions. He also tried modern realism of manners, describing urban environments with clear lines and meticulous detail, in multiple actions (subordinated to a main point) of great liveliness and individualization, where he created a light humour based on non-­aggressive social criticism, similar to the work of French cartoonists like M. Capy or F. Poulbout (Francés 1924: 50, 56). His most outstanding work, marked by thick lines made using grease pencil in the work of Steinlen, seems to be more in line with social criticism. It is an expressive and dramatic realism, which has its roots in Goya and connects with the vision, typical of the famous Spanish Generation of 1898, of Ricardo Baroja or Francisco Sancha. It

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Figure 12.5  ‘Tito’, ‘Fauna Nacional. El perdonavidas’, EGB, 8 March 1913.

focuses on La Fauna nacional (figure 12.5), a gallery of characters that he would exhibit at the Salón de Arte Moderno (November 1915) while participating in the second Salón de Humoristas (Francés 1916b). This work was complemented by illustrations of tragic events and social injustices. He was most at ease in this kind of realism, using the satirical bestiary (physiognomic parallelism between man and animal)


Miguel Ángel Gamonal Torres

and an expressionist and symbolic realism, characterized by a certain monumentality and pathos, which transmits an easily understood message. José Moya del Pino never participated in the Salones de Humoristas (Guijarro 2016, table 6), despite being a pillar of the aesthetic identity of EGB’s humourism. Educated in Granada, he attended the workshops of Antonio Muñoz Degraín y Joaquín Sorolla at the Academy of San Fernando and in 1912 received a scholarship to study in Italy, Paris and London, which allowed him to specialize in illustration and book arts (Forcada 2002, 2001), so he was familiar with the artistic sources of Madrid’s Art Nouveau illustrations: pre-­Raphaelism and the Viennese Secession (Moya del Pino 1910), visible in the use of ornamental models of geometric or organic patterns, linear synthesis and the iconography of orientalist exoticism. In an example of humourism’s ambiguities, Moya enjoyed the honour of being caricatured by Gulvall (9 February 1913), who parodically interpreted not only the style but also the symbolist iconography of his caricature-­portraits. A copyist of the great works of the Prado, he ­believed – ­influenced by Valle-­Inclán – ­that Velázquez allowed him to achieve the solidity and durability of the great masters and was the antidote to modern and avant-­garde conceits. The organization of an exhibition of copies of Velázquez in the United States in 1925 prompted him to settle in that country, where he began a career as an American painter in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work includes neo-­Romantic symbolist illustration with classicist motifs and a theatrical neoquattrocentism, which recall the Valle-­ Inclán style of editorial illustration. Likewise, a trend related to the grotesque explored an expressive impulse tied to the España Negra (black Spain) of Goyesque lineage (figure 12.6) and comparable to satire; through expressive lines and decorative patterns, traditional settings and human types typical of the 1898 style inspired by Ignacio Zuloaga were recreated. Jugendstil inspired Mariano Félez, who was presented as residing in Schwabing, the artists’ quarter of Munich, by Enrique Gutiérrez Roig (1913), of whom Félez drew a personal caricature in the Gulbransson style. Félez was celebrated for having one of his paintings reproduced in Jugend, working on ‘decorative things’ and exhibiting at the Nationals of Fine Arts, where he received several medals as a landscape painter. A cosmopolitan artist who made no concessions to traditional, folkloric realism or regionalist humourism (García Guatas 2004: 23), he was an illustrator between 1910 and 1920, before he began focusing on landscapes from his European travels and Aragonese towns. He was

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Figure 12.6  José Moya del Pino, ‘Las fiestas de Sevilla’, EGB, 19 April 1913.

trained as a painter with Muñoz Degraín and Martínez Cubells and it seems that in Munich he was in contact with Franz von Stuck and Franz Marc (Bentura 2004: 23). Like other Art Nouveau illustrators, Félez created an artistic signature in the form of a logo and used a two-­dimensional style characterized by flat ink, bold framing, distorted perspectives, empty spaces, nocturnal effects and an abstract impulse that links him with the


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posters of the Beggarstaffs or Julius Klinger. Within these parameters, he created an advertisement for El Gato Negro chocolates that evokes Édouard Manet and Steinlen. The magazine, attentive to this genre, reviewed the poster competition for the masquerade ball of the Círculo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Circle) (28  December 1912), disallowing the symbolism of the idea posters (‘carteles de ideas’, so called by the critics of the time). Félez’s style was flat and ornamental with subtle visual interventions and intelligent literary contributions that included political satires, erotic images, suburban scenes, decadent bohemian nights, as well as the filler cartoon, with characters conversing in the typical ‘situation-­comedy’ style, the type of journalistic sketch in which the artistic quality remained in the background, proof of the evolution of a graphic humour alien to the remaining elitism in the humorous literary magazines. The Galician nationalist writer, artist and politician Alfonso Rodríguez Castelao’s German-­inspired synthetism, his admiration for Valle-­Inclán and his friendship with Eugenio López Aydillo, director of Mi Terra (the predecessor of Nós), explain the warm welcome that he received from Cardenio11 (12 April 1913). Castelao was a renovator of humour who shared space with Bagaría in El Sol in 1918: There is an epigrammatic finesse and a force of expression in Castelao’s drawings that place him alongside our best humourists. His technique is sober and wise: the line has been masterfully dominated by his gentle pencil. Ironic and melancholy, Castelao belongs to the select breed of life’s observers who create beauty even of its harsh, grim facets.12

A participant in several Salones de Humoristas (Guijarro 2016, table 6), he was a magnificent addition. Fragments of his aesthetic theories were published, likely on the basis of his lecture Algo acerca de la caricatura (1909), which preceded Humorismo, dibuxo humorístico. Caricatura (1920). His titles show a semantic transference correlative to the passage from costumbrism to social criticism, from an evolution of a purely graphic sense to the psychological impression of the subject in what he called ‘useful humourism’ (Carballo Calero 2017: 83). His collaboration was limited: a decorative illustration and two large sketches. The first sketch was a traditional criticism of the presumptive ignorance of the nouveau riche Spanish emigrant who had made his fortune in Latin America. The second was an anticlerical print (figure 12.7) in which graphic publications from Simplicissimus and L’Assiette au Beurre (two magazines that he knew well) produce a powerful decorative image of great visual force, derived from the

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Figure 12.7  Alfonso R. Castelao, ‘Reflexión’, EGB, 19 April 1913.

contrast between the velvety black zones and the linear outline of the characterization focused on the face and hands. In his criticism of the Salón de Humoristas of 1915, Francés outlined a typology in which cartoonists (portrait caricaturists) appeared alongside satirists, painters of types and ‘decorative masters’, including ‘Tito’, Ramón Manchón, Castelao, Ángel Cerezo Vallejo and Rafael de Penagos paraded (Francés 1916a: 291–95). In addition to these artists, Antonio Barbero, Santos Sanz and Luis Huidobro created a magazine that, although it sought to capture in its pages the best of Spanish humour, could not fulfil its objective due to its being discontinued.


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Penagos, one of Francés’s ‘decorative teachers’, was then in search of a style that would make him famous at the dawn of ‘net femininity’ (Sánchez de Palacios 1935: 25–28) from his ‘little women’, equated to the Gibson Girls (Fortunio 1924), and the creation of a stereotyped iconography of the ‘Modern Eve’ (Pérez Rojas 1997), the result of the male erotic gaze and the modernization of customs. His work entered into humourism through the elaboration of his own version of decorativism: a mix of stylized realism, aristocratic elegance, calligraphic sinuosity, ornamental rhythms and patterns, orientalism, the baroque and modernity. On 26  April 1913, EGB was delighting in its successes, which it largely attributed ‘to the magnificent printing of the issue, worthy of the best foreign publication’. The fact that its 3 May issue would be its last, with a certain increase in political c­ riticism – ­typically present in the section ‘Ex-­libris’ – perhaps proves that the equilibrium between the humorous and the decorative, that stems from 1917 in the Salones de Humoristas in favour of the latter, was more difficult to maintain. For this reason, in spite of Francés’s preference for an elegant, refined and, of course, decorative humourism, the most representative feature of which was linear synthetism (Guijarro 2016: 169), it is possible that, as the French critic Robert de la Sizeranne had indicated some years earlier, synthesis and simplification were nothing more than the last stage of a historical evolution whereby caricature, which began with the linear, again became, through synthetism and the determining factors of mechanical reproduction, a sign and writing, thereby recovering the symbolic status of the hieroglyphic: Therefore, caricature is not necessarily a way to make people laugh; it is a mediocre political weapon; it is a rather poor moralizing agent. But it is a marvelous process for concretizing an abstract idea and presenting it before a multitude rebellious against abstractions. (Sizeranne 1902: 139)13

The question is whether the balance between the communicative and the formal could be maintained as the press became a means of mass communication and was increasingly governed by corporate criteria. Miguel Ángel Gamonal Torres is Professor of Art History at the University of Granada. His areas of interest include graphic illustration, graphic humour and caricature, photography and the relationship between art and politics in contemporary art. Some of his publications include La ilustración gráfica y la caricatura en la prensa granadina del

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siglo XIX (Diputación Provincial de Granada, 1983); Arte y política en la Guerra Civil española: el caso republicano (Diputación Provincial de Granada, 1987); Medio siglo de Vanguardias. Historia del Arte en Andalucía, IX (Gever, 1994); ‘Arte y propaganda en la Guerra Civil española’, in Propaganda en guerra (Consorcio Salamanca, 2002); ‘El escritor y crítico cubano Bernardo G. Barros: sintetismo y japonismo en el arte de la caricatura’, in Entre buriles y estampas (Universidad de Granada, 2021).

Notes Miguel Ángel Gamonal Torres is a member of the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’ (Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today; HAR2017-­84635-­P) financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.   1. The defence of the profession led EGB (1  February 1913) to denounce newspapers indiscriminately reproducing foreign caricatures in order to avoid paying Spanish cartoonists, a practice that it considered ‘simplicisima’ and ‘an affront to the professional honour of Spanish artists’.  2. Jugend and Simplicissimus used to publish the best covers and illustrations in the form of portfolios, posters, postcards, etc. They also produced monographic issues, a practice continued by EGB (Koch 2008, 470; 2018, 467).  3. EGB (22 February 1913) reproduced a drawing of his that had been published in the newspaper La Tribuna.   4. Day of the Holy Innocents, on which jokes are usually played in Spain, many of them in the media.   5. In those of Fernando Díaz de Mendoza (28 December 1912) and Ceferino R. Avecilla (16 February 1913).   6. ‘La caricatura ha forjado revoluciones; ha hecho sentir al pueblo el ridículo y el desprecio de sus tiranos; ha esbozado en el alma de las muchedumbres auroras luminosas de un naciente día de Equidad y Progreso; ha encendido el volcán de su rebeldía, y le ha hecho derribar con estrépito cetros y coronas’ (26).   7. ‘Y en esta obra de gigantesco esfuerzo de libre y soberana marcha hacia el ideal futuro, la caricatura irá en las avanzadas, satirizando con mordaz ironía cuanto obstruya el camino, llevando el ridículo a todo, por alto que se estime y por sagrado que se considere’ (54).   8. ‘Y, sin embargo, es más perverso, más sensual, está más cerca del placer con sus frases que las soeces salacidades que envilecen nuestro ingenio desde hace algún tiempo.   No se alegue que tan inmorales son unos como otros. Precisamente los semanarios humorísticos españoles necesitan un poquito de inmoralidad, siempre que sea fina, elegante, aristocrática en su sensualidad.


Miguel Ángel Gamonal Torres

  De lo contrario no pasaríamos nunca de los semanarios políticos que hablan de los harapos de Weyler, la nariz de Sánchez Toca y las sotanas de Maura, ni de los semanarios que causan el regocijo de cocheros, cobradores de tranvía, modistillas, tobilleras de cine y viejos senadores.   Y en el mundo, amigos míos, hay que aspirar a más exquisitos regocijos y a conquistar un público más inteligente’ (Francés 1913b).   9. ‘La sonrisa es noble y espiritual; la risa es jocunda y bellaca . . .   Ved como el humorismo es alto, es noble y es luminoso. El humorismo es un arte superior propio de entendimientos preclaros, complejos, de corazones amantes del ideal y de la belleza. Un humorista es una interesante paradoja a quien calumnian los tontos. La ironía, el humorismo, hasta el sarcasmo, son altas formas espirituales que surgen del contraste de la vida tal como es y de cómo siente el artista que debería ser . . .   En este momento ved como los dibujos de los humoristas han sustituido a aquellas absurdas caricaturas de cabeza deforme y cuerpecillo enclenque, que eran el encanto de hace diez años. A las historietas estúpidas, en que todo está fuera de quicio, el comentario satírico, la gracia aguda y elegante, como un estilete damasquinado. El espíritu en fin . . .   Cultivemos la sonrisa, que es una flor de espiritualidad mientras Cretino se revuelve de risa con los versos festivos y con las comedias indecentes.’ 10. ‘La caricatura española se hace consciente y aprende para no olvidarlo y para enseñarlo el moderno sentido de las artes decorativas.’ 11. A pseudonym taken from Don Quijote. 12. ‘Hay en los dibujos de Castelao una finura epigramática y una fuerza de expresión que lo colocan al lado de nuestros mejores humoristas. Su técnica es sobria y sabia: la línea ha sido dominada magistralmente por su lápiz gentil.   Irónico y melancólico, Castelao pertenece a la raza seleccionada de comentaristas de la vida que hacen belleza hasta sobre sus facetas torvas y ásperas.’ 13. ‘La caricature n’est donc pas nécessairement un moyen de faire rire; cést une médiocre arme politique; c’est un assez pauvre agent de moralisation. Mais c’est un merveilleux procédé pour concréter une idée abstraite et ainsi la présenter devant une foule rebelle aux abstractions’ (Sizeranne 1902: 139).

References Barros, Bernardo G. [1918?]. La caricatura contemporánea. 2 vols. Madrid: América. Bentura Remacha, Benjamín. 2004. ‘Mariano Félez Bentura, del secano al mar del mundo: Un pintor paisajista y marinero de finales del XIX y principios del XX’, in Mariano Félez Bentura, un pintor ejeano entre dos siglos (1883–1940). Zaragoza: Diputación Provincial de Zaragoza/Ayuntamiento de Ejea de los Caballeros, pp. 13–38.

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Botrel, Jean-­François. 2015. ‘La risa por la risa: El ejemplo de Madrid Cómico (1883–1897)’, I/C Revista científica de información y comunicación 12: 59–78. Carballo-­Calero, M. Victoria. 2017. ‘En torno a las imágenes del álbum Nós’, in Miguel Fernández-­Cid (ed.), Castelao grafista: Pinturas, dibujos, estampas. Madrid: Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando/Fundación MAPFRE/Fundación Gonzalo Torrente Ballester, pp. 77–86. Carrére, Emilio. 1913. ‘La risa y la sonrisa’, El Gran Bvfón, 4 January. Domínguez Carreiro, Sandra. 2006. ‘La ciudad en una revista de principios de siglo: El Gran Bufón’, Moenia. Revista Lucense de Lingüística y Literatura 12: 5–18. ——. 2007. ‘La presencia de Valle-­Inclán en El Gran Bufón, una revista literaria de principios de siglo’, Cuadrante: Revista cultural da Asociación amigos de Valle-Inclán 14: 48–59. Elias, Feliú. 1931. L’art de la caricatura. Barcelona: Barcino. Fontbona, Francesc. 1988. ‘La ilustración gráfica: Las técnicas fotomecánicas’, in El grabado en España (Siglo XIX y XX). Madrid: Espasa Calpe, pp. 427–607. Forcada Serrano, Miguel. 2002. ‘Moya del Pino: un pintor de Priego en San Francisco de California’, Legajos. Cuadernos de investigación histórica del sur de Córdoba 5: 61–74. ——. 2003. ‘Moya del Pino: Un pintor de Priego en San Francisco de California (I)’. Adarve, 15 July. Fortunio. 1924. ‘En el Salón Nancy: Mujercitas de Penagos’, La Esfera, 31 May. Francés, José. 1911. ‘Maestros de alegría: Los modernos humoristas españoles’, Por esos mundos, October: 697–712. ——. 1913a. ‘El Gran Bufón’. Mundo Gráfico, 26 February. ——. 1913b. ‘Mientras el mundo r­ueda . . . L ­ a picardía francesa’, El Gran Bvfón, 27 March. ——. 1915. La caricatura española contemporánea. Madrid: Sociedad General Española de Librería. ——. 1916a. ‘Exposición de humoristas’, El año artístico 1915, 291–295. Madrid: Mundo Latino. ——. 1916b. ‘Los caricaturistas contemporáneos: “Tito”’, La Esfera, 15 January. ——. 1924. El arte que sonríe y que castiga (Humoristas contemporáneos). Madrid: Editora Internacional. ——.1945. Los dibujantes e ilustradores españoles contemporáneos. Madrid: Escuela de Artes y Oficios Artísticos. ——. 1950. ‘Aquel Ricardo Marín . . .’, La Vanguardia Española, 15 May. García Guatas, Manuel. 2004. ‘Félez, pintor viajero y cosmopolita’, in Mariano Félez Bentura, un pintor ejeano entre dos siglos (1883–1940). Zaragoza: Diputación Provincial de Zaragoza/Ayuntamiento de Ejea de los Caballeros, pp. 41–61. Gardes, Jean-­Claude. 2008. ‘L’influence de la culture française sur les revues munichoises de la Belle Époque’, Les Temps des médias 2(11): 57–71.


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Garlitz, Virginia Milner. 1989. ‘Moya del Pino, ilustrador y colaborador de Valle-­Inclán’, in Félix Menchacatorre (ed.), Ensayos de literatura europea e hispanoamericana. San Sebastián: Universidad del País Vasco, pp. 179–85. Guijarro Alonso, José Luis. 2016. ‘Los humoristas y la caricatura nueva: Metamorfosis locales de un arte global. Madrid: 1898–1936’, PhD dissertation. Universidad Complutense. Gutiérrez Roig, Enrique. 1913. ‘Mi primer día en München’, El Gran Bvfón, 26 April. Koch, Ursula E. 2008. ‘Jugend, revue artistique, litteraire et satirique: Un monstre sacré de la Belle Époque munichoise’, in Évanghélia Stead and Hélène Védrine (eds), L’Europe des revues (1880–1920): Estampes, photographies, illustrations, 453–77. Paris: PUPS. ——. 2018. ‘Munich-­Paris. ‘L’hebdomadaire satirique illustré Simplicissimus et ses relations avec la France (1896–1914)’, in Évanghélia Stead and Hélène Védrine (eds), L’Europe des revues II (1860–1930): Réseaux et circulation des modèles. Paris: PUPS, pp. 455–85. Lago, Silvio [José Francés]. 1918. ‘La obra de un gran dibujante. Los dibujos del “Quijote”’, La Esfera, 29 June. López Ruiz, José María. 1995. La vida alegre: Historia de las revistas humorísticas, festivas y satíricas publicadas en la Villa y Corte. Madrid: Compañía Literaria. ——. 2006. Un siglo de risas: 100 años de prensa de humor en España (1901– 2000). Madrid: Libris. Milla, Fernando de la. 1927. ‘Nuestros dibujantes. Ricardo Marín’, La Esfera, 22 October. Moya del Pino, José. 1910. ‘La ilustración del libro’. La Alhambra. Revista Quincenal de Artes y Letras, XIII (288): 99–101. Pérez Rojas, Javier. 1990. Art déco en España. Madrid: Cátedra. ——. 1997. La Eva Moderna: Ilustración gráfica española 1914–1935. Madrid: Fundación Cultural Mapfre Vida. Rubio Jiménez, Jesús. 2009. ‘Valle-­Inclán retratado por José Moya del Pino: la melancolía moderna’, Morelia. Revista de Estudios Modernistas 8: 24–36. ——. 2012. ‘Valle Inclán y Moya del Pino: buscando el fiel de la balanza (I)’, Anales de la literatura española contemporánea. ALEC 37(3): 845–86. ——. 2014. ‘Valle Inclán y Moya del Pino: buscando el fiel de la balanza (II)’, Anales de la literatura española contemporánea. ALEC 39(3): 581–620. Salmerón y García, Exoristo. 1918. La caricatura y su importancia social. Tortosa: Monclús. Salmerón y García, Nicolás. 1925. ‘Del arte de “Tito”: El humorismo y la caricatura’, La Libertad, 18 June. Sánchez de Palacios, Mariano. 1933. Los dibujantes de España: Impresiones sentimentales de un viaje en torno del dibujo. Madrid: Nuestra Raza. Sizeranne, Robert de la. 1902. ‘La caricature’, in Le miroir de la vie: Essais sur l’évolution esthétique. Paris: Hachette.

Chapter 13

Artistic Parody, Political Criticism and Spanish Humour (c. 1900) Carlos Reyero

¡ On 10 March 1914, Punch of London published a cartoon (figure 13.1) containing a parody of Diego Velázquez’s La Venus del espejo (Venus of the Mirror), known as the Rokeby Venus. In it, the goddess, holding a lyre, personifies Ireland; she gazes at herself in a mirror held by the Irish nationalist John Redmond, in Cupid’s place, on the surface of which can be read ‘IRELAND UNITED 1920’. Entitled ‘THE LATEST VELASQUITH’, the illustration alludes to the confrontation over the issue of Ireland and women’s suffrage between the prime minister, the liberal Herbert Henry Asquith, and the leader of the Conservative Party, Andrew Bonar Law, represented as being on the verge of attacking the parodied Velázquez, as the suffragette Mary Richardson had attacked the original painting a few days earlier. Mr Punch, the personification of the magazine, stops him and reminds him that he will have two chances in the next six years (Punch, or The London Charivari, 18 March 1914: 211). Although this parody draws on a painting by one of the best-­known Spanish painters, it is evident that its frame of reference is British, inseparable from a specific political circumstance that, without an adequate explanation, would today be virtually unintelligible. But the means employed by artistic humour to create a persuasive message are as simple as they are universal: a mocking re-­creation of a famous work is sufficient (Janson 1946; Décimo 2014; Moncelot 2001; Ronge 1996). In the media worldwide, there have been many similar cases. Through the substitution of characters, the introduction or modification of certain visual elements and, in general, the help of an explanation, the original composition is altered, while remaining recognizable, in order to draw attention to current conflicts. This practice actually dates from the eighteenth century, when three phenomena gained momentum and eventually became intertwined: the polysemy derived from the autonomy of art, progress in


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Figure 13.1  ‘The Latest Velasquith’, Punch, 1914.

the reproduction of images and the custom of mocking political adversaries through caricature. In England, one of the first to turn to artistic parody to attack the government was Thomas Rowlandson, who transformed Johann Heinrich Fuseli’s famous painting The Nightmare (1781) into The Covent Garden Nightmare (1784), in which he ridiculed the manoeuvring labour minister Charles James Fox, portraying him as effeminate (Godfrey 2001: 32). James Gillray did the same thing with Benjamin West’s popular painting, The Death of General Wolfe (1770), which was parodied as The Death of the Great Wolf (1795).

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In this parody, he makes fun of the government’s disproportionate reaction to the weakness of its political enemies on the occasion of the enactment of the Treason and Sedition Bills; in the image, the dying Pitt is depicted, attended by members of his government (Godfrey 2001: 142).1 In France, where political caricature had been growing in popularity since the French Revolution, images from the art world were immediately used to discredit the opponent. For example, Oath of the Horatii (1784), by Jacques-­Louis David, was used to challenge Jean-­Jacques Régis de Cambacères, the former second consul of the republic, in The Oath of the Voracious.2 During the time of King Louis-­Philippe, too, parodic use was made of famous paintings, whether from the nineteenth century, such as Pierre-­Paul Prud’hon’s Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime (1808), or from old masters, such as Titian’s The Crowning with Thorns (1542), among others (Hannoosh 1992: 121–27). The custom was not interrupted in the second half of the century (Tillier 1997: 111–12, 2005: 99). In Spain, the matter has interested those who have studied art caricature (Guijarro Alonso 2016; Vázquez 2002; Caparrós Masegosa and Gamonal Torres 2010), although there is no systematic study of the period between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, during which artistic parodies proliferated. The objective of this work is, on one hand, to understand why images from the art world were useful for making fun of politicians and, on the other hand, to examine how the modification procedures resulted in these images provoking laughter. The visual material comes from illustrated satirical magazines published in Madrid and Barcelona in those years.3 The method of analysis takes into account the formal resources and communicative functions of parody, its relationship with certain political and aesthetic circumstances and comparison with what was happening elsewhere. The aim is discover to what extent the Spanish production and reception of these parodies conveys a particular type of humour.

Laughing at Politicians with Art: Complaints and Contradictions An inherent feature of political caricature is mockery. By making a fool of himself, the character, or the decision he has made, loses legitimacy. Visual parody is used as an instrument to achieve this end. It presents, in figurative terms, a different scene from the one we think we know by virtue of our visual culture.4 It is, therefore, a deception:


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what seems to be one thing is, in reality, another, much less sublime. In that sense, like any other parodic game, it is a part of political language and its persuasive strategies. If in elegant conversation, between intelligent persons, parody constitutes a language resource that permits, in a subtle way, to put the adversary in his place (Minois 2000: 426); its application to visuality also demands a double reading, which is possible only when there are shared cultural values. This substitutive dimension of the parodic image, which hides a message behind the visible form, has led to analysis of the procedure through the application of an iconological methodology. It has been noted that pictures work as ‘iconographic frameworks for political satire’ (Caparrós and Gamonal 2010: 252). The parodies of works of art do not constitute, therefore, autonomous reflections about what they mean as works of art (although the parodies are not independent of their critical success and, secondarily, that point of view can also be taken into account), but rather a kind of visual restraint through which, by way of an unexpected surprise, another story is discovered. The degree of simplification of the message, however, is such that the result is distanced from the sophistication that emblematic language possesses. But it is, above all, the trivialization of an aesthetic canon that places visual parody in another interpretative register, that of humour (Fibichier 2011: 126). We laugh at art because it loses the seriousness that it is supposed to have according to that canon. Thus, it is demystified, as is the case with other aspects of modern culture (Hannoosh 1992: 251; Betron 2014: 78). It assumes, therefore, the contradictions of a humanized use, away from the temple where the muses reside. There is no room for laughter in the museum (Grojnowski and Riou 2015: 13–14). But leaving Olympus has its risks. Laughter always possesses a disquieting side that hides fear. In political satire, it found fertile ground (Minois 2000: 441): the most effective way of diluting the imaginary of p ­ ower – ­envied and, at the same time, ­feared – ­is to laugh at it. Insofar as art had historically served to represent power, its parody constitutes the perfect means of questioning it. What goes around comes around. The causes or circumstances that made the artistic image laughable, susceptible of being used in political satire, must be sought in the growing relevance of a c­ ircumstantial – p ­ erformative, we might ­say – ­visuality in every type of public communication. Laughter slips into the moment. To the extent that it is assumed that the transience of time is a feature of modernity, the permanent, which is the serious, tends to seem old-­fashioned. Like beauty and power. In that sense, the parodic utilization of something as sacred as art, conceived to

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perpetuate itself, in combination with politics, which is in itself circumstantial, enhances the possibilities of laughter, which is always linked to contradiction and absurdity. The success of parody is inseparable from its hybrid character: it combines word and image, disrupts academic genres, connects popular and cultured codes and allows conflicting messages that seem innocuous (Roeder 2008). In short, as Margaret A. Rose has pointed out, it goes where satire itself does not: on the one hand, by relocating characters to another subject, it modifies the structure of the political message, its content and the way it is received; on the other hand, it turns ambiguity into an empathetic resource, which facilitates the achievement of the objective pursued; and, finally, by resorting to an artistic model as a support, it forces us to reconsider the modes and objectives of visual communication (Rose 2011: 70–78). Along with the capacity of the visual joke to denounce a situation, its contribution to a dual conception of existence has to be considered. Artistic parody is a double image. In that sense, it is contradictory. The matter can be appreciated from at least four points of view. First, parody reaffirms the identity of the one who laughs, as opposed to the one who is mocked (Taouichet 2014), but it aims to persuade him: the caricature of art is an instrument of propaganda; second, it serves as a counterpoint to the violence of serious politics in the media (Martin 1998; Thérenty 2016), but the forms it uses are even more aggressive; third, like any masquerade,5 it always moves in an ambiguous terrain between seriousness and frivolity; fourth and finally, as happens with the moral tradition of the world upside down (Tristan and Lever 1980; Coupe 1984–85), what is presented as illogical may seem more logical in a world that is not always so. The enshrinement of a ­ rt – ­the reason it is used in parody (Stullu 2004) – leads to the questioning of its biased use. The evidence of its lie ends up reinforcing its autonomy, its authentic truth.

Procedures of Image Modification When analysing the way cartoonists used image-­altering procedures for sarcastic purposes, different possible combinations are observed (Behrens 1977). The simplest consists of the compositional reproduction, with reasonable fidelity, of a work of art that is well known to its intended public, either in its entirety or partially, with only the protagonists being different. There are numerous examples, including both paintings by the old masters and nineteenth-­century history


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Figure 13.2  Parody of Velázquez’s La Fragua de Vulcano (Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan), El Buñuelo, 1880.

paintings. The figures and the significant elements of the original work are mirrored in the parody, while the characters are replaced by contemporary politicians, who only repeat the actions of the original characters in gestural terms. The negativity of the new protagonists is underscored by showing them performing an undignified action, lacking the greatness of that which is represented in the work of art. The cartoonists turned to works by Velázquez on several occasions (Reyero 2018). In a parody (figure 13.2) of La Fragua de Vulcano (Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan), the characters are replaced by politicians from the newly founded Liberal Fusionist Party, under the gaze of Democracy, who takes the place of Apollo (El Buñuelo, 17 June 1880). The characters referenced are Manuel Alonso Martínez, the blacksmith of the gods who is working a piece that is inscribed with ‘Coalition’ on the anvil; Antonio Aguilar y Correa, Marquis of Vega Armijo, in the background; Práxedes Mateo Sagasta, whose features are recognizable in the cyclops with his back turned to the viewer; Antonio Romero Ortiz, at his side, and Arsenio Martínez Campos, at the end, working the armour. Apollo (as Democracy), covered with the Spanish flag

Artistic Parody, Political Criticism and Spanish Humour


and wearing the Phrygian cap, invokes the people’s sanity and warns them: ‘Imbeciles, do you not see that you are pounding on cold iron?’, an expression that refers to wasting time. The satirical approach to referential artistic models also occurs in parodies of contemporary paintings. Since social themes depicting criminals were then in vogue, the replacement of criminals with politicians is especially degrading.6 Famous sculptures and urban monuments were used for this same procedure and purpose. In figure 13.3, Antonio Cánovas and Práxedes Mateo Sagasta, leaders of the conservative and liberal parties respectively, assume the roles of Luis Daoiz and Pedro Velarde, heroes of the war against Napoleon in 1808, according to the Madrid monument, who parodically take an oath to defend their own interests (Don Quijote, 3 May 1895). The mayor of Barcelona, Rius i Taulet, characterized as a frivolous rake, is evoked as a counter-­figure to the Catalan martyr Rafael Casanova, who was wounded during the defence of the city against the troops of Philip of Anjou in 1714 (L’Esquella de la Torratxa, 27 October 1888). In a few exceptional cases, the replacement of a historical character with a contemporary one conveys an uplifting message without losing its humour; for example, in one instance, the playwright Ángel Guimerà replaces Columbus at the top of Barcelona’s monument to the navigator as a way of claiming a comparable honour (L’Esquella de la Torratxa, 19 March 1909: 182). The Republican politician Nicolás Salmerón, very politically active in Catalonia in 1907, and the anarchist Francesc Ferrer i Guardia, condemned to death for his participation in the events of Barcelona’s Semana Trágica (Tragic Week) in 1909, are characterized as Joan Fiveller, the fifteenth-­century chief counsellor whose statue adorns Barcelona City Hall and symbolizes local power (L’Esquella de la Torratxa, 23 July 1914; 8 March 1907). A particular means of modification is transvestism. It was considered degrading for the female characters in paintings to be represented by males. This is true of all genres. The situation is more amusing when there are nudes in the original, as in Peter Paul Rubens’ Marriage of Peleus and Thetis, interpreted as La manzana de la Discordia (The Apple of Discord), in which the liberal leader Práxedes Mateo Sagasta has a woman’s body and not merely a woman’s outfit (El Buñuelo, 3  June 1880). Despite dealing with archetypes of femininity, transvestism has to be perceived, in general, as a carnivalesque farce, parodic by definition: the joke does not imply a questioning of sexuality (Mornat 2014). Nevertheless, the fixation on cross-­dressing Emilio Castelar to fill women’s roles may perhaps be based on other allusions. It is known that this republican politician was a ‘man little attracted to feminine


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Figure 13.3  ‘Daoiz y Velarde’, Don Quijote, 1895.

charms’ (Ucelay 2009: 208). Although he is not the only reina loca (crazy queen) of Spanish politics, some of his parodic cross-­dressing keeps the intensity that Queen Juana of Castile, described as mentally ill, has in Francisco Pradilla’s painting, which he takes as a model. One such example is in a caricature re-­entitled La cerda loca (The Crazy Sow) (Don Quijote, 16 March 1894). In the parody (figure 13.4) of La peña de los enamorados, a painting by Serafín Martínez del Rincón,

Artistic Parody, Political Criticism and Spanish Humour


Figure 13.4  Parody of Martínez del Rincón’s La peña de los enamorados, El Motín, 1888.


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Castelar plays the role of the Muslim woman Zaida, while Sagasta plays the Christian gentleman in love with her; both are on the verge of falling out of favour with the monarchy (El Motín, 17 June 1888). The radical effeminacy of these parodies is evident in the fact that, on other occasions, transvestism is diluted, whether because the man who takes the woman’s place does not lose his status7 or because the titles of the paintings are reformulated into masculine ones.8 While men’s transvestism is presented as degrading, that of women is heroic, to the extent that, in visual terms, it cannot be spoken of as such transvestism. The substitution is made, in this case, without ambiguities: women do not disguise themselves as men but rather take their place as ideal feminine figures that embody elevated values. For example, in Antonio Gisbert’s painting El fusilamiento de Torrijos y sus compañeros en las playas de Málaga (Execution of Torrijos and His Companions on the Beach at Málaga), which evokes absolutism’s repression of liberalism, the liberals have been replaced by personifications of women who represent Law, Authority, Shame, Public Credit, Morality, Opinion, Liberty (in the place of Torrijos) or Justice, resigned to dying at the hands of an ineffective government (Don Quijote, 28 January 1898). When, as in this case, the characters of the work of art are replaced with great ideas, political values or positive allegories, its meaning is enhanced through their victimization. In general, the tragic plots of the painting are prone to being readapted in that way; for example, Liberty commits suicide like Lucretia (Gedeón, 18 June 1902). On the other hand, when the figures in the painting embody matters relating to governmental actions, they become a burden. In a parody of Titian’s Danae, the mythological figure represents Foreign Debt, while the elderly woman who collects the rain of gold embodies the old politics (Gedeón, 19 March 1911). Another procedure consists in introducing invented elements into the new image or altering existing elements, always based on a known work, with the purpose of making the epic distance from the original subjects more apparent. This is a common manipulation in caricature. The most common form is substitution, like that performed with the characters. For example, the exchange of a graceful steed for a clumsy donkey as a means of discrediting the rider is frequent; it is in this way that Ulpiano Checa’s La invasion de los bárbaros (The Invasion of the Barbarians) is parodied: the politicians, on the backs of donkeys, throw themselves into the electoral race (Gedeón, 10 April 1910). Any object whatsoever is liable to be replaced: in the aforementioned re-­creation of the Monumento a Daoiz y Velarde (Monument

Artistic Parody, Political Criticism and Spanish Humour


Figure 13.5  Parody of Velázquez’s La rendición de Breda, El Buñuelo, 6 May 1880. BNE. Hemeroteca Municipal de Madrid.

to Daoiz and Velarde), swords are exchanged for two blood sausages (Don Quijote, 3  May 1895). Elements that are not in the original are also incorporated. Such is the case in a parody (figure 13.5) of Velázquez’s La rendición de Breda (The Surrender of Breda), in which the eighth Count of Toreno takes the place of the defeated Justino de Nassau in order represent his submission to the government and the Marquis of Fuentefiel, minister of war, takes that of the victorious and paternalistic Ambrosio de Spínola. Among the inclusions in the composition, we might draw attention to the little bell, used by Toreno in his capacity as president of the Congress of Deputies, or the Buenavista Palace, seat of the Ministry of War and object of the parliamentary controversy that inspired the parody (El Buñuelo, 6 May 1880).9 In other cases, on the contrary, elements of the image are eliminated in order to avoid drawing attention to motifs that are not significant in the new script. Methods of debasement are also employed, such as the exaggeration of gestures10 or the juxtaposition of contradictory elements: Rafael Casanova, a symbol of political Catalanism, is represented in a bullfighter’s costume, a quintessential Spanish icon. One chap warns that


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if he does not change his outfit, he will not gain the sympathy of the majority (L’Esquella de la Torratxa, 13 September 1912).

Physiognomic and Plot Parallels If there is always a visual relationship between the caricatured figure and the person on whom it is based, one might ask whether there is a similar correspondence between the protagonist of a work of art and the person who substitutes him/her in the parody or if, on the contrary, there is none or any correspondence is a random coincidence. This is a problem of physiognomy, to which the success of modern caricature is linked (Baridon and Guédron 2015: 123–28). Physiognomists believe that there is a correspondence between people’s way of being and their physical appearance: the expression, rictus of the mouth, shape of the nose, colour of the eyes or gesture of a hand do not speak only of circumstantial emotions (Patten 1992, I: 51), but of character (Wechsler 1982). In fact, certain facial traits acquire meaning: thus, an elongated face shape and fine features are related to the upper class, while a narrow forehead, hard features and a pronounced jaw are indicative of a lower class (Bills 2006: 193). The debate is inseparable from two circumstances that go beyond the parody: the need to give visibility to the politician (it has to be known what he looks like; Miller 2015), and the success achieved by allegorical personifications, which have to respond to the personality of the collective body that they embody. The caricature is not only alien to this process but also makes a decisive contribution to it. The three most significant elements on which a caricaturist focuses to define a character, real or allegorical, are a distinctive trait of the head or face, physical build and body language. When any of these traits is recognized in an individual who is part of an artistic parody, it is not justified by that individual’s resemblance to the character to whom it refers. On the contrary, it is that distinctive feature that makes identifying the intrusion possible, as in the case of the lock of hair that identifies Sagasta or the bushy moustache that identifies Castelar. Likewise, the physical build of an artistic model cannot be considered determinant for an individual or an idea to take his place. But in some cases, the coincidence is used to advantage. The symbolic importance that the body has in the field of caricature is well known, both to allow certain ideas to come to life, sometimes in a frivolous way, for example, the nation through its allegory, or, more commonly, to denigrate specific body types, contrasting, for example, the cult of

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personality with smallness of stature (Tillier 1997: 9, 43, 115; Salles 2006). Obesity, specifically, is one of the recurrent means of ridiculing people (Patten 1992, I: 137–57).11 Gestures, on the other hand, unlike physiognomy and physical build, which refer to more or less objective external realities (or ones that were previously codified, in the case of ideas), belong exclusively to the parodied artistic model: the character assumes the gesture of another. The relationship between reality and image is established here in metaphorical terms. In the same way that it is fitting to ask about the correspondence between parodied contemporary characters and the types represented in works of art, it is also possible to ask to what extent the original plots of the paintings and sculptures are used for their adaptation to the present time of the parody. It is true that the gaze is always ambiguous. Things end up resembling what the viewer knows rather than what the person who conceived them desired.12 This duality puts the focus on the relationships between text and visual representation. In principle, everything seems to indicate that, in relation to the parodying of the plots of the works of art, the cartoonist takes into account the artistic ­image – ­without being able to speak of choice, since it is an interiorized ­icon – ­and projects the contemporary reading onto it. Therefore, there is a more or less conscious association between the image and the real event, with the latter adapting to the former. It is the artistic image, therefore, that illuminates reality. Even when we consider that the parodied event preceded a concrete artistic image, it is this this image that ends up conditioning how the event is presented in visual terms. The problem, however, is more complex than it seems at first glance. There are different ways of forcing the coincidence that explain the relationship between what is being communicated and its stereotyped visualization. The most common way derives from the habit of interpreting current political events in terms of a p ­ lot – ­theatrical, one could say, and, generally speaking, ­dramatic – ­whereby those depicted act according to a predetermined personality, on the basis of a plotted script and with a particular purpose. This facilitates the discovery of parallel situations insofar as the painting of the subject always contains a moral around which the metaphor is woven. Its frivolous construction means that a special explanation is not needed: a superficial way of seeing is sufficient. It is relatively easy to associate certain artistic motifs with specific situations. One example of this is the merging of the Catalan hymn Els segadors (The Reapers) and Jean-­François Millet’s Las espigadores (The


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Gleaners): the Catalan politicians Albert Rusiñol and Bartomeu Robert gather the seed planted by Cardinal Casañas in a parody re-­entitled ‘Siembran vientos y recogerán tempestades’ (They Sow Winds and Will Gather Storms), which criticizes the Catalanism of the Catholic Church (Don Quijote, 13 December 1901). When an oppressive action, siege, martyrdom or punishment, exercised in an unjust manner, is represented, it serves, as it does in the original, to denigrate the person who makes a decision: a parody of José Aparicio’s El hambre en Madrid personifies Spain, among other figures embodying the people, who reject the politicians’ gifts, as the common class of Madrid rejected what Napoleon offered (El Buñuelo, 15  July 1880). Sometimes the victim is a politician: in a parody of Goya’s eponymous tapestry board (El pelele), the Marquis of Romanones, then president of the Congress of Deputies, is represented as a puppet that is mocked by the Republicans (Gedeón, 15  May 1910). In another, the one mocked is José Canalejas, president of the Council of Ministers, in a parody of La gallina ciega (The Blind Hen) (Gedeón, 22 May 1910). The interpretation of politics as a great farce has a long tradition in caricature (Tillier 1997: 118). This perception of politics allows the theatricality of artistic tradition to be intuitively related to parody drawing. In the same way that metafiction shows how the artistic work and its references to reality or an imagined world are constructed (Rose 2011: 51), in parodic caricature the deception of political action is emphasized. Such action is presented, for example, as a great mess; thus, Juan Luna y Novicio’s Expoliarium (Spoliarium), which depicts a scene at a Roman circus, becomes El expoliarium barcelonés (The Barcelona Spoliarium) (Metralla, 2 December 1910). The polysemy of the paintings’ titles usually facilitates presenting the parodies in this way. In any case, the parodic image configures a story of its own, though perhaps not always an evident one, as shown by the need to use written language to describe it (Fibichier 2011: 126). This is a much-­ debated argument in parody and, in general, in caricature as a form of hybrid communication, as word and image form an inseparable whole (Grojnowski and Riou 2015: 40). Words become indispensable in different ways: through explanatory text, a clarification within the image and the insertion of the name of the figure. The fact that this is often done with politicians reveals a lack of visual familiarity: politicians were talked about, but the viewer of the parody did not necessarily know what they looked like (Patten 1983).

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From Common Practice to Spanish Specificity If laughter is a mechanism of sociability that strengthens a certain identity in the face of another, it seems to make sense to ask if there is a Spanish humour that can be identified in the use of parody, just as it is common to speak of an English or French humour (Minois 2000: 453; Koch and Gardes 2000). The observation that visual parodies would not function in the same way in another place or time would not be sufficient to confirm this. It is clear that parodied characters and situations are unique. The national or regional particularities must be sought in the topics, not in the methods. It is the what and not the how that gives humour its identity. The uniqueness of Spanish parodies lies in the use of specific artistic images. Its success must be sought in the means of communication. The choice of a specific painting is based not on direct knowledge but on the reproduction of the painting. In the case of contemporary paintings, presented at exhibitions and still not widely reproduced, one can also speak of a timeliness to which periodicals and illustrated catalogues refer. When sculptures are used in parodies, they are representations of monuments in public spaces that are widely reproduced and commented upon. Therefore, there is not a previous deep quest for the motif; rather, the satire is constructed on the basis of images with which viewers would be familiar, including some from a relatively restricted repertoire. In any case, these are popular images, not because of the original works, but because of the use made of them, with the historical functions having been deactivated. To a certain extent, one could speak of a visual illiteracy, which facilitates the resignification of these images.13 These uses of the artistic image are accentuated because the figures are characterized and perform gestures that suggest an action. Caricature requires a lasting reference with well-­defined personalities, which derive from the artistic model, although they are freely reinterpreted. For that reason, every painting or sculpture that has a narrative sense, from which another story can be shaped, facilitates the cartoonist’s task. The work of art, therefore, is never the laughable object, but rather is conceived as an effective means of provoking laughter. In that sense, it does not question the power of art in the society that uses it in a parodic way. To the extent that the author of the parody makes use of the artistic-­ cultural memory of a collective, he contributes to the reaffirmation of an identity. Therefore, references to works of art in political caricature must be understood in the aesthetic-­political context in which those


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works are known; the understanding and legitimization of the message behind these works are inseparable from them. Like all identities bolstered by visuality, their reach depends on the value that senders and receivers accord to the images. In that sense, the particularities that are observed in the Spanish context are very significant. Even the place of publication of the medium in which the parodies are d ­ isseminated – w ­ hich, of course, has a particular ideology and a specific target r­ eadership – i­s associated with different types of artistic images chosen to be parodied. Through the material considered here, from publications based in Madrid and Barcelona, it is possible to detect those differences with the respect to the type of images used. Whereas in the capital paintings caricaturing national politicians, from an imaginary museum of Spanish art, tend to be used, in Barcelona it is common to make use of urban sculptures that address the city’s problems or relationships with the government of Madrid. The paintings parodied in Madrid are a part of a Spanish nationalist imaginary supported by the cultural elite, who are very aware of the visual politics represented by the Prado Museum and the national exhibitions of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts; in Barcelona, urban sculpture embodies a local (and Catalanist) identity and politics, which aspire to identify with the working classes, who do not feel they share in the power of the state. It is fitting to reflect on the origin of the works used for artistic parodies in the Spanish press. This allows us to discover the scope of the model (the referential piece of art) for the cartoonist and the period in which he lived, as well as the roots of the humour. Regarding the pieces on which the caricature is based, the range of possibilities is relatively small, which means that it is not the novelty of the image that enhances its parodic effect but rather its familiarity. There does not seem to be a need for understanding (parody is often explained) so much as subversion: the greater the knowledge, the greater the sacredness. In this respect, there is no doubt that the reproduction of ­works – ­whether they be ancient or ­modern – ­and all the critical success associated with them constitute the visual and semantic reference of the cartoonist and the public. Parody does not seem to be linked to an unbiased contemplation of the original. Sometimes this renown of the referential piece of art is the result of the timeliness of certain paintings, as in the case of those that are displayed in national exhibitions, or the result of monumental sculptures, which are new in the imaginary museum experienced by the person viewing the parody but already canonized in a serious context.

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As for the periods to which these works belong, some date from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries (there are paintings by national artists, such as Velázquez or Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, but also foreign ones such as Titian or Rubens), considered the period of the great masters consecrated by museums, especially the Prado. Another group of parodies is inspired by paintings and sculptures of the nineteenth century, as these were indispensable benchmarks of a cultural socialization anchored in the present of national politics, although they were no longer modern at the time of their use. A third group uses recent works. The rarity of foreign nineteenth-­century models and contemporary ones proves that the images need to connote national identity and popularity. In short, the coexistence of a serious ­message – t­ hat of the original ­work – ­with a message in ­jest – ­with which there is a mimetic ­dialogue – ­constitutes an essential element of the political satire employed by artistic parody. Depth and distance combine with banality and immediacy to produce a disquieting contradiction, despite the superficiality of the medium in which it is disseminated. Carlos Reyero is Professor of Art History at the Autonomous University of Madrid, specializing in nineteenth-­century art. He has conducted research on cultural, national and gender identities and the use of images in the construction of political discourses. He is the author of more than twenty books, including La pintura de historia en España (Cátedra, 1989); La escultura conmemorativa en España (Cátedra, 1999); Desvestidas. El cuerpo y la forma real (Alianza Editorial, 2009); Alegoría, nación y libertad (Siglo XXI, 2010); Fortuny o el arte como distinción de clase (Cátedra, 2017); and La alegoría de Barcelona. Historia de una personificación capital (Base, 2020).

Notes Carlos Reyero is a member of the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’ (Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today; HAR2017-­ 84635-­ P) financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.   1. This was not the only political criticism conceived by Gillray on the basis of compositions devised by the Swiss-­British artist: in 1791, he turned to The Weird Sisters (1785) and, in 1792, he parodied a scene from Paradise Lost (Haywood 2013: 12–16).


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 2. National Library of France:​ 553v.  3. Approximately 150 parodies appeared in the following publications in Madrid: La Broma, El Buñuelo, Don Quijote, El Fusil, Gedeón, La Madeja Política, Madrid Cómico, El Mentidero and El Motín; and in Barcelona: L’Avi, Be Negre, La Campana de Gràcia, Cucafera and L’Esquella de la Torratxa. Only a few representative examples are included here.   4. In some ways, it is similar to other plastic methods, such as the visual citation or pastiche (Forero-­Mendoza 2004; Meloni 2013; Hoesterey 2001: 105).   5. A reflection on this ritual is found in Minois (2000: 434).   6. For example, in Joaquín Xaudaró’s interpretation of El Sátiro (The Satyr) by Antoni Fillol, in which the heroes of the Liberal Party, accused of having raped the girl ‘Democracy’, are part of a line-­up (Gedeón, 13 May 1906).  7. For example, the Minister of Finance, Ángel Urzáiz, characterized as Danae according to Titian’s painting, who receives the profits of the customs office dressed in undergarments, without being deprived of his masculinity (Gedeón, 4 December 1901).   8. Among others, Julio Romero de Torres’s Vividoras del Amor (Gold Diggers) becomes Vividores (Freeloaders); and Marceliano Santamaría’s Las hijas del Cid (The Cid’s Daughters) becomes Los hijos del Cid (The Cid’s Sons) (Gedeón, 13 May 1906; 10 May 1908).   9. Apparently, during the discussion of the budget of the Ministry of War, Toreno called to order several deputies of the opposition, who demanded that the regulations be complied with, while the minister, the Marquis of Fuentefiel, intervened. Next to Toreno are several references to him, such as his work, Cartas de Indias, and a banner alluding to the controversial construction of the hippodrome when he was mayor of Madrid. In Spínola’s group, in which Fuentefiel is characterized, there are distinct banners alluding to the Canovist factions, in addition to the president Cánovas himself. All these elements are indispensable for the readaptation. 10. The imitation of gestures is considered laughable (Bergson 2002: 22). 11. There are distinct examples of British, French and even Spanish monarchs, like Isabel II, who were ridiculed because of their obesity. 12. The word bricoler has been used to refer to the process of adaptation of objects to functions for which they were not conceived (Gruau 2005: 45–46). In a way, the parodist is a bricoleur. 13. Georges Didi-­Huberman reflects on the ‘not knowing’ before the image. This is important because caricature functions on the basis of not understanding art sufficiently or exploring incomprehension (Didi-­Huberman 1990: 15).

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References Baridon, Laurent, and Martial Guédron. 2015. L’Art et l’histoire de la caricature. Paris: Citadelles & Mazenod. Behrens, Roy R. 1977. ‘Beyond Caricature: On Types of Humor in Art’, The Journal of Creative Behavior 11(3): 165–75. Bergson, Henri. 2002. Le rire: Essai sur la signification du comique. Paris: PUF. Betron, Juliette. 2014. De la parodie dans l’art des années 1960 à nos jours: Art et histoire de l’art. Dijon: Université de Bourgogne [https://tel.archives-­ou​­01291149]. Bills, Mark. 2006. The Art of Satire: London in Caricature. London: Museum of London-­Philip Wilson Publishers. El buñuelo. Sainete político. 1880–1881. Madrid: Imprenta de Fortanet. Caparrós Masegosa, María Dolores, and Miguel Ángel Gamonal Torres. 2010. ‘Gedeón en las Exposiciones Nacionales de Bellas Artes (1897–1912)’, Cuadernos de Arte de la Universidad de Granada 41: 249–68. Coupe, William A. 1984–1985. Le monde renversé. Amsterdam: Goethe Institut. Décimo, Marc. 2014. Les Jocondes à moustaches. Paris: Les presses du réel. Didi-­Huberman, Georges. 1990. Devant l’image: Question posée aux fins d’une histoire de l’art. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit. Don Quijote [revista]. 1892–1903. Madrid. El Motín. Periódico Satírico Semanal. 1881–1926. Madrid. Fibichier, Bernard (ed.). 2011. Quand l’art fait rire. Lausanne: Musée Cantonal des Beaux-­Arts. Forero-­Mendoza, Sabine. 2004. ‘De la citation dans l’art et dans la peinture en particulier. Éléments pour unie études phénoménologique et historique’, in Pierre Beylot (ed.), Emprunts et citations dans le champ artistique. Paris: L’Harmattan, pp. 19–31. Gedeón. Semanario crítico. 1895–1912. Madrid: Imp. de los Gremios. Godfrey, Richard (ed.). 2001. James Gillray: The Art of Caricature. London: Tate Publishing. Grojnowski, Daniel, and Denis Riou. 2015. Les arts incohérents et le rire dans les arts plastiques. Paris: Éditions Corti. Gruau, Maurice. 2005. ‘Valeur d’usage des oevres d’art’, in Emmanuël Souchier, ed., L’Image Sosie. L’original et son double. Actes du 1er. Colloque Internationale Icône-Image, Musées de Sens, 8–10 Juillet, 2004. Chevillon: Les trois P., pp. 45–46. Guijarro Alonso, José Luis. 2016. Los humoristas y la caricatura nueva: Metamorfosis locales de un arte global: Madrid, 1898–1936. Madrid: UCM []. Hannoosh, Michele. 1992. Baudelaire and Caricature: From the Comic to an Art of Modernity. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press. Haywood, Ian. 2013. Romanticism and Caricature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hoesterey, Ingeborg. 2001. Pastiche: Cultural Memory in Art, Film, Literature. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.


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Janson, Horst Waldemar. 1946. ‘Titian’s Laocoon Caricature and the Vesalian-­ Galenist Controversy’, Art Bulletin 28: 49–53. Koch, Ursula E., and Jean-­Claude Gardes (eds). 2000. Le rire des nations, Ridiculosa 7. L’Esquella de la Torratxa. 1872–1939. Barcelona. Martin, Roda A. 1998. ‘Approaches to the Sense of Humor: A Historical Review’, in Willibald Ruch (ed.), Humor Research: 3. The Sense of Humor: Explorations of a Personality Characteristic. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co., pp. 15–60. []. Meloni, Lucilla. 2013. Arte guarda arte: Pratiche della citazione nell’arte contemporanea. Milan: Postmedia books. Metralla. 1910–1911. Barcelona: Impr. Abadal. Miller, Henry. 2015. Politics Personified: Portraiture, Caricature and Visual Culture in Britain, c.  1830–1880. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Minois, Georges. 2000. Histoire du rire et de la dérision. Paris: Fayard. Moncelet, Christian. 2001. ‘Les parodies d’images célèbres’, Ridiculosa 8: 194–95. Mornat, Isabelle. 2014. ‘Masculino/femenino: estereotipos e inversiones en la caricatura española (siglo XIX)’ [https://hal.archives-­­0134​ 6438]. Patten, Robert L. 1983. ‘Conventions of Georgian Caricature’, in Judith Wechsler (ed.), The Issue of Caricature, Art Journal 43(4): 331–38. –––––. 1992. George Cruikshank’s Life, Times, and Art. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Punch, or The London Charivari. 1841–1992; 1996–2002. London. Reyero, Carlos. 2018. ‘Velázquez en el humor gráfico (circa 1880–1930)’, in Alejandro Cañestro Donoso (ed.), Scripta Artium in Honorem. Prof. José Manuel Cruz Valdovinos. Alicante: Universidad, pp. 690–705. Roeder, Katherine. 2008. ‘Looking High and Low at Comic Art’, American Art 22(1): 2–9. Ronge, Peter (ed.). 1996. Pastiches et parodies de tableaux de maîtres, Ridiculosa 3: 5–174. Rose, Margaret A. 2011. Pictorial Irony, Parody, and Pastiche: Comic Interpictoriality in the Arts of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Bielefeld: Aisthesis Verlag. Salles, Daniel. 2006. ‘Des Pygmées antiques aux nains de jardin, sur les traces du nain dans la tradition satirique’, in Alain Deligne y Solange Vernois (eds), Caricature et sculpture, Ridiculosa 13: 95–108. Strullu, Valérie. 2004. ‘Caricature et désacralisation de l’art’, in Alain Deligne and Jean-­Claude Gardes (eds), Peinture et caricature: Actes du colloque de Brest 13–15 mai 2004, Ridiculosa 11: 43–50. Taouichet, Sofianne. 2014. ‘Caricaturer l’autre: Rôles et fonctionnement de l’autre dans la presse satirique illustré’, Histoire de l’Art 75: 77–85. Thérenty, Marie-­Ève. 2016. ‘Parodies de journaux ou journaux pour rire’, in Alain Vaillan and Roselynde de Villeneuve (eds), Le rire moderne. Paris:

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Presses universitaires de Paris Nanterre, pp. 265–79 [​ 00/books.pupo.3611]. Tillier, Bertrand. 1997. La Républicature: La caricature politique en France, 1870–1914. Paris: CNRS éditions. ——. 2005. À la charge! La caricature en France de 1789 à 2000. Paris: Éditions de l’Amateur. Tristan, Fréderick, and Maurice Lever. 1980. Le monde à l’envers. Paris: Atelier Hachette/Massin. Ucelay da Cal, Eric. 2009. ‘Agustina, la dama del cañón: el topos de la heroína fálica y el invento del patriotismo’, in Irene Castells, Gloria Espigado and María Cruz Romeo (eds), Heroínas y patriotas. Mujeres de 1808. Madrid: Cátedra. Vázquez, Oscar E. 2002. ‘Apropiación, anti-­apropiación y parodia en la pintura española a finales del siglo diecinueve’, in Olga Sáenz (ed.), Apropiarse del arte: impulsos y pasiones. México: Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, pp. 259–69. Wechsler, Judith. 1982. A Human Comedy: Physiognomy and Caricature in 19th Century Paris. London: Thames and Hudson.

Chapter 14

The ‘Moor’, the ‘Russian’ and Other Invaders Some Notes on Humour and National Otherness in the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) Xosé M. Núñez Seixas

¡ Military conflicts create socio-­psychological borders among ethnic and national groups, and contribute to the delineation of sharp contrasts between ‘us’ and ‘them’ by stereotyping the other (Bourke 1999: 141–70). As such, war has two mutually reinforcing effects on nationalism. First, the wartime social environment and the cult of the nation at arms create internal cohesion, minimize dissent and reinforce a deeper sense of community based on strong emotional ties, such as blood and sacrifice, common suffering and shared destiny.1 Second, military action conclusively formulates a stereotyped image of the other, which is just as necessary for consolidating the national identity as the task of nation-­building previously carried out by institutions, intellectual elites or social movements. Patriotic wars strongly contributed to the consolidation of the variegated nation-­ building processes that were under way in nineteenth- and twentieth-­century Europe. The Spanish Civil War was no exception to this European trend. It is paradoxical that this civil conflict was perceived as a patriotic war by most of the political elites on the two sides. Both ­sides – ­the supporters of the Second Spanish Republic proclaimed in 1931, backed by the workers’ movement, sub-­state nationalists and other factions, and the enemies of the Republic, including a significant proportion of the military, Catholics, monarchist and pro-­fascist ­factions – e­ xcluded the other from being considered true Spaniards, an exclusion that persisted to some extent for the following forty years. The Spanish war was not only a clash between fascism and antifascism, or anticommunism and communism. It also had the character of a national conflict, where two opposing views of the Spanish political community, and of the nation

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that served as an imagined community that sustained the feeling of belonging to it, confronted each other. From the first weeks of the war, the ‘other’ was portrayed by the two sides as a fascist, a communist, an atheist, a freemason or a dangerous revolutionary, appealing to stereotypes and pejorative images that had been circulating in all of Europe since the early 1920s. Soon after the outbreak of the war, in the summer of 1936, the ‘other’ was also increasingly depicted as someone who was alien to the national community, a foreign invader who was supposed to have entered the homeland aided by traitors. By the end of 1936, the discourse of national otherness took the lead and was overwhelmingly used in propaganda by the two sides. Both Republicans and Francoists appealed to the defence of the Spanish nation and the preservation of its territorial integrity and freedom as a main war aim. This ran parallel to the propagandistic degradation of the enemy, whose national otherness was emphasized by a number of metanarratives, textual recourses and iconic strategies.2 War propaganda on both sides was also endorsed by a common repertoire of historic myths and icons, which had previously been shared in liberal and traditionalist narratives of the Spanish past since the mid-­nineteenth century. This array included a number of pre-­Roman heroes, battles and sites of memory, from the Lusitanian Viriathus who fought against Roman conquerors to the sieges of Numancia and Sagunto (second and third centuries bc), as well as the diverse myths of Christian resistance to the Muslim invasion in the eighth century. The repertoire also included the more recent Spanish resistance to the Napoleonic invaders during the Peninsular War (1808–13), which had been consecrated during subsequent decades of the nineteenth century as a war of independence against the French, disregarding its character as a Spanish civil war between pro-­Napoleonic liberals and anti-­Napoleonic liberals and traditionalists (Álvarez Junco 2001; Moreno Luzón and Núñez Seixas 2017). Thus, the sieges of Zaragoza and Girona during that war, as well as the Spanish victory at the Battle of Bailén (1808), and, above all, Madrid’s popular uprising against French troops on the Second of May, 1808, were re-­appropriated in order to stress the parallels between those nineteenth-­century representatives of the Spanish ‘nation’, ‘people’ or simply the popular classes and the twentieth-­century fighters. Myths of resistance were mostly associated with the new resistance against a foreign invader, who, as had happened in the past, was aided by collaborationists. Now, these traitors were pro-­German and Italian fascists, or ‘Russianized’ (arrusados) Spaniards who had become Russians through their conversion to the communist faith. Both sides maintained that an internal invasion


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had preceded the foreign invasion set in motion by the foreign occupier in July 1936. In this respect, the propaganda dynamics of the Spanish conflict were not exceptional in the European and American context from the mid-­nineteenth century onwards. In the turmoil of previous civil wars, from the Russian (1917–20) to the Finnish (1918) and the Irish (1923–24) civil confrontations, a similar pattern can be identified: the contending sides consistently denied that the war was a civil conflict. Instead, both sides always insisted that they incarnated the nation’s efforts to counteract a foreign invasion, thus preventing the opponent from being considered worthy of civilized treatment (Rodrigo and Alegre 2019). Moreover, lessons were learnt from the cultural mobilization that had accompanied the Great War of 1914–18, which saw the mass deployment of new propaganda techniques on the home front, the rear and the trenches, with posters, cartoons and satirical images being extensively used as weapons to endorse the legitimacy of the war, building consensus in the rear and dehumanizing the enemy (Demm 1988, 2016, 2019; Hewitson 2012; Kessel and Merziger 2012).3 War propaganda during the 1930s and 1940s also involved the widespread use of radio broadcasts, as well as war photography, cinema and newsreels. Last but not least, both Republicans and Francoists could rely on the iconic descriptions of their political opponents that had been developed during the short but propagandistically intensive period of the Spanish Second Republic (Martín Sánchez 2010; Contreras Ruiz 2012). All these precedents were carefully taken into account by Francoist and Republican war propaganda. Both sides adapted to the new propaganda techniques and took over icons and models from their partners’ experiences in past civil wars. Thus, Republican ­propaganda – ­which was by far the most original and variegated because Republicans had on their side the most talented and avantgarde artists, painters, designers and w ­ riters – ­reutilized some icons previously used by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War. Francoist war ­propaganda – ­which was in part controlled by the Falangist-­dominated Press and Propaganda ­bureau – ­reproduced many images disseminated by German, French and Italian satirical journals when depicting communism and freemasonry, on some occasions also employing antisemitic icons. During the war, both sides chose nationalism as a tool for mobilization as part of a rational strategy to rally their respective supporters on the basis of a highly emotional appeal and to efficiently cover up and dilute their internal divisions and political (or national) contradictions. The fact that there were Spaniards fighting in the trenches on both

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sides was obscured by the presentation of the conflict as a national one against a foreign invasion. This allowed both sides to reinvent the basis for their legitimacy, permitting them to opt for a discourse and a mythical repertoire that, as in all forms of nationalist mobilization, offered a high degree of short-­term efficiency at a low political cost. Thus, nationalist appeals were instrumental in motivating collective action and defining the appropriate objectives of the common struggle (Levinger and Lytle 2001). In this sense, both opponents used similar discursive patterns to some extent. This phenomenon was especially evident as the opposing sides made use of common repertoires of historical myths and icons that had already been present in Spanish nationalism since the mid-­nineteenth century. However, this efficient discourse of national defence against the intruder was subsequently employed by Catalan, Basque and Galician nationalists. Presenting the war as a foreign invasion of their homelands allowed the substate nationalists to undermine the number of their alleged compatriots fighting on the opposing Francoist side. Nevertheless, the outbreak of civil war reinforced two opposing trends. On the one hand, moderate nationalists were involved in the defence of the ‘Republic’ on the understanding that the Republic would allow them to achieve their home-­rule objectives. Thus, a purely civic and not explicitly ethno-national identification with the Republican regime emerged. But this depended on Republican responsiveness to peripheral claims and promises to treat substate governments generously after the final victory over the fascists. There were no clear limits to this concession. At this point, a long-­lasting contradiction emerged: the opponent was ‘Castilian Spain’, as represented by the Francoist troops, but this could be confused with ‘Republican Castilian Spain’, which would, at times, also be highlighted by the Republican government in its attempts to centralize power. On the other hand, there was also a constant temptation to consider the war not as a Basque, Catalan or Galician matter, but as external to the peripheral nationalities, brought about by Spanish intransigence. Therefore, as stated above, the enemy was portrayed by almost everyone as a foreigner. This was made possible through the extensive use of visual propaganda. Posters and cartoons, as well as humour and satirical tales, undoubtedly played a crucial role in this strategy (Díaz-­Plaja 1980; Propaganda 2002). Humour is particularly relevant in wartime as it helps individuals to endure daily suffering and shortages, maintains morale and alleviates the stress of life in the trenches. Jokes, puns and satirical songs were a part of the soldiers’ oral culture. Combatants used humour to exorcize their fear, to endure boredom


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in the trenches and in the rearguard, to counteract solitude and to make the extraordinary circumstances of their lives seem ‘normal’ in some ways (Robertshaw 2001). Moreover, humour could depict everyday situations and interactions on the front and the rearguard, spread messages against defeatism and a lack of solidarity, and identify the possible enemies of the war effort, from spies to ‘slackers’ and people who refuse to participate in the common fight (Rieber and Kelly 1991; Willis 2002). Cartoons are crucial in this respect, as they condense all these meanings into visual images with a strong impact, particularly on troops who had little experience of reading (a good percentage of combatants until the Second World War being illiterate, particularly in Southern Europe). The term ‘caricature’ is derived from the Italian word caricare (which means both ‘to exaggerate’ and ‘to attack vehemently’). While the normal task of caricaturists is to attack and ridicule society and government, usually in a distorted way, they do so more acutely in wartime. The press and propaganda agencies of all sides deployed caricatures as a weapon to emphasize the enemies’ contradictions, as well as to dehumanize (and, in the case of civil wars, denationalize) the enemy. Nevertheless, this was not a one-­sided phenomenon: abstract and prefabricated images of the enemy often rely on pre-­existing icons and stereotypes of otherness. In this respect, humour also facilitates exploration of cultural representations in wartime and the modalities adopted by war culture and war experience.4 However, humour in war is a double-­ edged sword. Everyday interaction on the front leads to some degree of coexistence with the enemy, particularly on quiet fronts, where exchanges of tobacco, food, press and other goods for consumption became quite usual (Seidman and Ferrandis Garayto 1997; Matthews 2012). Witnessing prisoners of war, the dead bodies of the enemy and their real human faces may make caricatures appear ridiculous, as the confrontation with reality demonstrates that enemies are ‘men like us’. Moreover, the General Staff, political leaders, officers and non-­commissioned officers may be objects of derision among their subordinate soldiers. Discontented civilians also make jokes about their sacrifices, which may imply some degree of criticism of their own leaders. Thus, humour is not only generated by propaganda services and trench journal cartoonists, who also produce joke books. Ordinary people, and not just ordinary humourists, invent spontaneous witticisms and set-­piece jokes, through which they may attack their officers and the goals of their own governments and ridicule the war propaganda of their own side, focusing on their daily experiences and sufferings. In this respect, war

The ‘Moor’, the ‘Russian’ and Other Invaders


humour may also become corrosive and dangerous for war propaganda (Davies 2001). In this chapter, trench humour and caricature are addressed from a specific angle, in order to analyse cultural representations of the enemy, by focusing on one specific feature: the enemy’s nationality and national allegiance. This mostly refers to the use of stereotypes. During the Civil War, certain archetypes, rooted in images created during the Spanish colonial wars and anti-­ communist propaganda since 1918, soon emerged. Among them, two archetypes of the other stand out. On the one hand, there is the ‘Moor’, an icon inherited from the early modern period and re-­enacted since the African wars of 1859–60 and 1907–27. This cliché was cultivated as a synecdoche by the Republicans to justify attacking the coup plotters, whose army was in part composed of colonial troops from North Africa (Martín Corrales 2002; Iglesias Amorín 2022). Rebels were also represented by two other stereotypes: the Italian fascist and the German Nazi. On the other hand, the insurgents depicted Republicans as the ‘Russian’, which partially relied on literary icons from the nineteenth century, but was essentially a by-­product of intense anti-­Bolshevik propaganda in Western Europe during the 1920s and 1930s (Klug 1987; García 2005). This included some depictions of the Republican militiamen as ‘Russianized’ fighters, who also were supposed to be rude and illiterate. Moreover, some counter-­images emerged in response to these derogatory images. The coup plotters imagined the ‘good Moor’, while Republicans created the ‘Hispanicized’ international brigaders. The evolution of the image of the ‘other’ and its main traits on both the Republican and the Francoist sides was intrinsically related to the changes and continuities in the propaganda slogans and particularly the national rhetoric propounded by Francoists and Republicans. The main channels for this were posters, propaganda movies and cartoons that were extensively reproduced in political journals, daily newspapers and trench journals, of which the Republican army had considerably more than the Francoist army (Tranche and Sánchez Biosca 2011; Sánchez Biosca 2006). Children were also targeted by war propaganda, cartoons and humour being a privileged means of indoctrinating them. Thus, a number of children’s magazines were published by the two sides; some of these were politically aligned, while others were oriented towards a broader audience and paid less attention to the war. The Falangist Flecha, which merged with the Carlist Pelayos in December 1938 to become Flechas y Pelayos, was one of the most popular magazines among children from the Francoist rearguard. Satirical journals were


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also published in the Republican zone, particularly in Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona. Some of these, such as Pocholo, Mirbal, Camaradas and El Pionero Rojo, were directly inspired by Soviet and North American models, and adapted characters like Popeye the Sailor and Tintin (by Hergé), who became Pedrochu in the Basque magazine El Pionero. They were widely disseminated and contributed to spreading, in more or less pervasive ways, some of the slogans and images of the other produced by both sides (Barrero 2006: 33–60; Lorente Aragón 2000; Vázquez de Parga 1980; Corderot 2020; Martín 2020). Nevertheless, it should also be noted that humour and self-­irony were not only used to other the enemy. They were frequently used as a weapon of indoctrination targeted at one’s own side. Republican magazines and trench journals created ironic self-­portraits, using caricaturesque stereotypes to teach soldiers how to behave properly on the front and in the rear, including in relation to their sexual behaviour (in order to prevent the spread of venereal diseases). One good example of this was Tomás Porto’s character the Soldier Canuto, whose cartoons were regularly published by the trench journal Los Combatientes.5

Germans, Italians . . . and Moors in Republican Propaganda For Republicans, defining the war as a struggle for national independence required a negative image of the foreigners fighting on the other side of the trenches. Republican propaganda made use of pre-­existing icons that were widely known by the Spanish public, as well as images of the opponents that had been used by Allied propaganda during the First World War. Thus, Italians were always presented as effeminate, cowardly and presumptuous, frequently characterized by the flamboyant crests of their helmets as they tried to parade in ridiculous poses. The peak of this satirical image was marked by the Italian expeditionary corps’ defeat at the Battle of Guadalajara in March 1937. Benito Mussolini was often portrayed as a caricaturized re-­incarnation of Napoleon, who had also been defeated on Spanish soil and presaged the purported destiny that awaited all those who followed his steps. Thus, the Italian dictator was often depicted as a big-­faced boy with thin legs and a prominent stomach, in a burlesque position that epitomized his ambition to become the new emperor of Europe (figure 14.1). The Germans were usually shown as militaristic, rude, and authoritarian. However, the fact that very few German soldiers were to be seen

The ‘Moor’, the ‘Russian’ and Other Invaders

Figure 14.1  Oliver, España será la Santa Elena del Fascio (Spain Will Be the Saint Helena of Fascism), Madrid: Junta Delegada de Defensa de Madrid, 1937.



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on the battlefields led to them being imagined or suggested rather than portrayed. Only Adolf Hitler was the object of permanent derision, the burlesque images of him accentuating his histrionic gestures, as well as his characteristic moustache. In some satirical representations, no real distinction was made between Germans and Moors. They were both simply examples of barbarian invaders from the north and the south. The Catalan cartoonist Kalder depicted Germans as an orangutan (with the face of Hitler), while the Moorish soldier was a strange blend of icons that resulted in a Sioux-­like African.6 Moreover, the foreign legionaries were simply portrayed as an international mob of criminals and thieves. The Spaniards who had helped the invaders were consistently depicted as the laughable puppets of foreign dictators, and the internal contradictions of the Francoist side were highlighted in a similar fashion, with attention being drawn to the discrepancies between Falangists, Carlists and the military after March 1937. Republican propaganda was particularly focused on one basic contradiction of the enemy. How could an army composed of foreigners call itself ‘national’ when the red-­and-­yellow flag was first unfurled by the ‘foreigners of the Moroccan Foreign Legion’, who ‘stink of brandy and hell’ (Herrera 1936: 6–7)? Many cartoons published in the Republican press during the war highlighted that contradiction by depicting the rebel army as a multinational gang of foreign mercenaries with horrifying faces and an inglorious appearance. This image became particularly bizarre when it was confronted with the self-­ proclaimed objective of the ‘national’ side, that of achieving Spanish unity by incorporating the separatist periphery. This contradiction was underscored by Catalan cartoonists, who ridiculed the purported ‘hispanicization’ of Catalonia and other rebel regions to be performed by the rebels, as expressed, for example, by a cartoon published by L’Esquella de la Torratxa in March 1937 (figure 14.2). The presence of Moorish troops on Spanish soil was consistently exploited by Republican propaganda from the very beginning of the conflict. The ‘Moors’ became the main object of caricatures, jokes and tales. This certainly masked the reality that the Moroccan mercenaries were particularly dreaded enemies. Negative stereotypes, which dated back to the Middle Ages and had flourished during the Moroccan War, were now reawakened. In iconographic propaganda, the Moorish troops were depicted as black-­ faced, barefoot and hungry soldiers eager to steal and kill (Carulla and Carulla 1997: I, 162). The ‘Moors’ were supposedly wild, vengeful, and cowardly, uncivilized and anxious to rape white women and even children, plunder Spanish homes, and torture and mutilate prisoners and the dead bodies

The ‘Moor’, the ‘Russian’ and Other Invaders


Figure 14.2  Goñi, ‘Vamos a españolizar Cataluña’ (Let’s Make Catalonia Spanish!), L’Esquella de la Torratxa, 5 March 1937.

of their victims. Many jokes and tales about them pointed out these supposedly innate features of the Moroccans’ conduct. These attributes made them unworthy of being considered honourable combatants, as a poster issued by the committee of Catalan militia units for the defence of Madrid expressed: in the poster, a black-­skinned Moorish soldier about to rape a Spanish woman and her daughter is stabbed in the back by two Republican soldiers. The killing of an enemy soldier in this shameful way signifies that the Moorish combatants were not regarded as opponents worthy of any respect (figure 14.3). Moreover, the iconic attributes of Moroccan soldiers included bones worn in their noses and tongues, but sometimes this wildness was combined with a suggested lack of virility. It was visually insinuated that the Moors not only dominated and humiliated Francoist soldiers and officers, and even insurgent generals; they also sodomized them and were held responsible for Franco’s high-­pitched voice. Therefore, it was suggested that masculinity on the rebel side was in doubt because of the presence of uncivilized foreigners. Fighting the other also meant the recovery of Spanish manhood (Martín Corrales 2002: 151–79). The combination of ‘African’ cruelty, suggested homosexuality and endless greed for plunder peaked in a selection of cartoons depicting African mercenaries dealing with purported Red Cross foreign mediators. A good example is the cartoon by Alloza in the Catalan satirical


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Figure 14.3  Margallo, Alistaos milicias catalanas de Madrid para defender la civilización contra el fascismo (1936).

journal L’Esquella de la Torratxa (14 January 1938). To the mediators’ question about the possibility of exchanging Republican prisoners for Francoist ones, the two Moorish soldiers reply: no tenim canvi (we have no change). The landscape behind them is full of tombs, which clearly suggests that all prisoners have been killed; moreover, the two Moroccans bear Christian symbols (a bishop’s biretta and a cross), emphasizing the contradiction between the insurgents’ proclaimed defence of Catholicism and the armed upholders of Catholicism in the trenches. Thus, as we can observe in several cartoons published by Republican trench journals, the black African moors acted as humble butlers to the real bosses of the ‘national’ rearguard (Italians, Germans and sometimes even Portuguese), while Francoist officers, beginning with ‘little Franko’, were treated as if they were spoilt little children who dared to disturb the adults when they were engaged in planning military operations aimed at killing Spaniards. The difference in size between Generalísimo Franco and his allies is highlighted and subtle suggestions are made regarding his lack of masculinity. The foreign dictators seem to gamble around a table, the destiny of Spain being the object of the game. Black-­ skinned Moroccan soldiers painted as servants

The ‘Moor’, the ‘Russian’ and Other Invaders


hold aloft an umbrella in the form of the swastika (Hernanz, ‘Entre “nacionalistas” españoles’ (Among Spanish ‘Nationalists’), La Voz del Combatiente, 24  April 1938). On other occasions, Franco and some of his generals (the tall, frequently drunk general Gonzalo Queipo de Llano, a charismatic leader of the rebellion in the southern city of Seville, and the very old Miguel Cabanellas, who had been in command of the insurgent side until October 1936) simply inclined their heads to the parade of strong, presumptuous Italian and German bosses.7 This became all the more ludicrous as the insurgent side claimed to be the re-­incarnation of authentic patriotic feeling in the face of foreign ideologies. Consequently, this contradiction became the main target of several posters and cartoons, which underlined the presence of foreigners in the service of the supposedly ‘true’ Spain, as well as the fact that Muslim mercenaries were upholding the war effort of a ‘Crusade’, which invoked the defence of Christian faith as its overarching principle. The well-­known propaganda poster Los Nacionales, created in 1938 (figure 14.4), depicted the rebel side as a boat full of Moorish soldiers, presided over by a German Nazi plutocrat, an Italian general and a bishop in a red robe. This also reflected the Republican framing of the Catholic Church as anti-­national, as Catholic hierarchs were under the authority of a ­foreign – t­hat is, non-­Spanish – ­power, the Vatican. The cartoon, undoubtedly inspired by a similar design used by the Bolsheviks in 1919, in which the Whites were depicted as a mob of capitalists and foreigners, sought to accurately sum up the two basic contradictions of the rebel side. Historical parallels went much further back. Like during the Arab invasion of 711, the barbarian Moors would run up against the true Spanish people. Only a few appeals during the first months of the war were aimed at convincing the ‘Moorish proletarian brother’ to desert (Caudet 1978: 146–50). Some authors, like the Galician writer Rafael Dieste, wrote screenplays for the so-­called front puppetry, short stories to be staged for the troops in the trenches, where the Moor was the main object of criticism and derision. Moorish mercenaries were presented as naïve, greedy and fanatical people, ignorant of everything other than their hamlets in Africa. Yet, they were also described as victims of their own Spanish officers, who scorned and mistreated them. The only way of redeeming themselves would be to join the side of the international proletariat and democracy.8 In fact, some cartoons also portrayed the Moors as victims of enforced conscription by Falangists and the Spanish military in Northern Morocco.9 Foreign antifascist volunteers fighting on the Republican side were presented in a different light. They were simply international allies,


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Figure 14.4  Los nacionales (The Nationals), Madrid: Ministerio de Propaganda, 1938.

The ‘Moor’, the ‘Russian’ and Other Invaders


friends that fought side by side with the Spanish people against the foreign invaders. And they did so in the name of international antifascist solidarity with the Spanish people. In this way, the foreign volunteers became a species of honorary Spaniards. Spain’s independence would find its best friend in the Soviet Union, which had suffered in 1918–22 what the Spanish people were now experiencing, that is, a war of national liberation, as suggested by a handful of posters and cartoons that became very popular in the Republican rearguard (Carulla and Carulla 1997: I, 256–57).

Russians and Mercenaries in Insurgent Propaganda Unlike Republican propaganda, insurgent propaganda’s emphasis was not predominantly on the people, but on the nation. This also included the traditional values upheld by the Spaniards who took up arms against the Republic. According to the rebels’ narrative, the concept of a Spanish people, the authentic patriots, did not include the ‘illiterate and rough masses of Marxists and Communists’ manipulated by Russians, freemasons, Jews and separatists. True Spaniards did not have foreign-­oriented ideologies.10 The opponents, including the mobs of illiterate communist militiamen, were simply not Spanish. This also led to the social and cultural degradation of the enemy: militiamen were always portrayed as rough, unshaven, badly dressed people, with animalesque factions and orangutan-­like faces. The ‘red’ militiamen were constantly represented thus in the Francoist media, including cinema (e.g. the very successful Hispano-­Italian film The Siege of the Alcazar, 1940). The ignorance of the Republican soldiers, which was depicted as an urban trait associated with the working class and the lumpenproletariat (and not the positive icon of the peasant soldiers, which was purportedly represented by Carlist and Falangist volunteers), as well as their lack of scruples, their cowardice and especially their close dependence on the orders of foreign bosses, was underlined at every moment. They were certainly Spanish, but they did not deserve that label and were serving external interests, particularly those of the Soviet Union. However, Francoist war propaganda was used to emphasize the foreign and exotic character of the enemy. Thus, the ‘Reds’ were mostly presented as an invading army, full of Soviet and communist mercenaries from all over the world, as well as being depicted as puppets of foreign powers. Republican leaders were always portrayed as Stalin’s puppets or people who turned a blind eye to the atrocities committed


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by ‘Red’ foreigners on Spanish soil. Moreover, it was suggested that Moscow did not really appreciate its Spanish minions and treated them with disdain, humiliating them and enslaving them. To a great extent, as can be appreciated in the cartoons published by the main Francoist trench journal, La Ametralladora, the icons of Stalin and the ‘Russian’ communists were based on current stereotypes from the French fascist press, as well as images taken from Nazi journals. On the cover of number 37 (10  October 1937), a toothless Mongolian Soviet soldier whips Spanish republican soldiers, who are portrayed as a suffering gang. Dehumanized faces and Asian factions clearly indicated that communist ‘beasts’ were to be classified as Asiatic hordes. Such depictions could also be found in some Falangist and Carlist youth magazines, which were full of stories preaching the heroism of young Francoist soldiers, but also simplified images of scary militiamen and deformed Russian soldiers. The cartoons in these magazines depicted how clever young soldiers on the Francoist side attempted to trick and make fun of adult Republican combatants, thus emphasizing the inferiority of the enemy. All Republican soldiers were seen as mentally insane, overwhelmingly naïve and often asinine. However, this did not prevent them from committing horrendous crimes. In fact, most ‘Russians’ had no faces in Francoist depictions of them, not even in the cartoons designed by the well-­known cartoonist Tono (later to become famous for his cartoons in the post-­war magazine La Codorniz) for the trench journal La Ametralladora. Instead, they had blank skulls as faces or simply monstrous jaws. On some (very rare) occasions, otherness was overemphasized by ascribing the physical attributes of Soviet leaders to Republican combatants. The most usual strategy was to use Stalin’s face, with his iconic moustache, as the symbol of all ‘Reds’. However, Vladimir I. Lenin’s facial attributes (which called to mind his Kalmyk ancestry) were sometimes also exploited, as they conveniently suggested the Soviets’ proximity to the stereotype of the Asiatic hordes. For example, a cover of the journal Flecha (25  July 1937) reproduced a cartoon by Avelino de Aróztegui in which a Russian Red prisoner who has arrived from the ‘Orient’, with a face clearly resembling that of Lenin, is accompanied by a strong, juvenile and healthy Falangist volunteer. The text beneath the image underlines that Spaniards must defeat the ‘hordes’ arriving from the Far East. Moreover, the military relevance of the International Brigades was constantly overemphasized and members of these brigades were presented as instruments of Russian expansionism that sought to control

The ‘Moor’, the ‘Russian’ and Other Invaders


all loyalist soldiers (Intervención del marxismo internacional en la Guerra de España. Testimonio de combatientes rojos, 1939). Moreover, the rebels’ press depicted the international volunteers as war criminals, a foreign horde composed of ‘dirty, smelly foreigners with monstrous faces’ (Martín Villapecellín 1939: 13–14). The loyalist militiamen were usually depicted wearing a typical Soviet military hat, while all members of the military that were loyal to the Republic were considered, in one way or another, masked Russians. Simply having spent time in the Soviet Union was enough for Spanish communist leaders to be considered mentally and physically ‘Russianized’ (Díaz-­Plaja 1980: 55–57). Similarly, the very popular broadcast speeches of the former Republican deputy Joaquín Pérez Madrigal, who devoted himself to Francoist agitprop during the war, exhaustively focused on portraying the Republican militiamen, epitomized in the invented militiaman character of Remigio, as ignorant, simple-­minded men whose language was full of linguistic mistakes. Remigio was not an expression of popular, peasant common sense, but rather a degenerate version of the mob, typically from the urban working class. The Republican militiamen were also manipulated by a privileged group of foreign communists. The latter were even alleged to discriminate against Spanish rank-­and-­file soldiers, particularly young recruits from the countryside who were still unaware that they were fighting on the wrong side. Spanish patriotism, if sincere, should lead militiamen to abandon their leaders and join the other side, as evidenced by the conversion of Remigio to the cause of the so-­called ‘nationals’ (Pérez Madrigal 1937: 223–26): Speaker. — What about foreigners? Remigio. — They have become the bosses! The Spanish militiaman is treated like a ­dog . . . ­In contrast, those coming from beyond the Iberian border, whatever the tribe they belong to, are given all they want. . . . Speaker. — Remigio, you are talking like a patriot! Remigio. — Should I talk otherwise, like a stateless person? Speaker. — All right, man. I congratulate you. You have recovered the homeland and honour. You are now convinced that our broadcast propaganda is the truth, justice, and honour of Spain.11

Similar stereotypes were also employed by the popular cartoonist Castillo Canedo in the journal Nuevo Ejército. He described the adventures of the soldier Restituto, soldado más tonto que bruto (the soldier who was rather more silly than rough). The Falangist-­oriented children’s magazines also reproduced similar narratives. Characters


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such as Paco el tuerto, el odioso natural de Tomelloso (the one-­eyed hateful guy from Tomelloso), became popular among the infants of the insurgent rearguard during the war years and beyond. Memoirs written by former prisoners of the ‘Reds’, as well as supporters of the Francoist side who survived the Republican repression, also portrayed their persecutors in the same manner as the cartoons did (Núñez Seixas 2006: 258–59). Nevertheless, a problem remained for Francoist war propaganda. How could one’s own national heterogeneity be justified? The involvement of Moorish troops in a Catholic crusade was justified by invoking their status as defenders of religion in the face of the godless, the unfaithful, the anticlerical, the anti-­Islamic and a common religious rival (the Jews). At the same time, this necessitated ignoring previous Moroccan war propaganda that had presented Moors as brutal, uncouth and savage. Paradoxically, the pre-­ existing icons used to dehumanize the northern Moroccans in the 1910s and 1920s could be transplanted and applied to the ‘Red’ Spaniards, who were thus stripped of their status as fellow countrymen. The rivals were often depicted as ‘Asiatic hordes’, a typical label for Russian communists, or ‘Abyssinians’, which allowed for the possibility of ascribing to the new enemy the same attributes that had previously been associated with Moroccans. Therefore, Francoist propaganda elaborated a new icon of the ‘friendly Moor’. That image included some paternalistic aspects: Morocco was considered a backward ‘extension of Spain’, where civilization was now being established. To some extent, the Moorish soldiers were viewed as somewhat (second-­ class) Spanish, though they were generally regarded with disdain (Madariaga 2002: 345–64; Arques 1948: 10–11; MacKee 1938: 18–20). The Moroccan combatants were presented as pseudo-­Spanish soldiers who enlisted in the Francoist army to fight a common enemy, the Bolshevik unbelievers and atheists, who were purportedly supported by Jews and freemasons. The cartoonist Serra Massana created a particular character, Ben Ali, whose adventures as a soldier in Spain helping his father emphasized his antisemitism. Other sketches portrayed the friendly Moors as naïve but brave comrades. The good Moor reached the peak of this process of transformation into a Spaniard either when he had killed many ‘Russians’ or when he was among those who had fallen heroically (Montán 1937: 25–27; Escalante y Huidobro 1940: 53–57). Finally, anti-­separatism was another important issue. Many rank-­ and-­ file volunteers in the Francoist army came from overwhelmingly conservative peasant and middle-­class milieux. For them, the

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defence of Spain’s unity was a reason for political militancy. Even for Navarrese and Basque Carlist militiamen, who were supposed to preserve a certain regionalist commitment based on a traditionalist concept of Spain as embodying ‘unity in diversity’, Basque nationalists became the most hated enemy, as they were considered traitors both patriotically and religiously. They were usually the object of derision and were portrayed as typically illiterate Basque peasants who spoke broken Castilian, although this was also quite common among Basque-­ speaking Carlist militiamen. Moreover, the president of the Basque regional government, José Antonio Aguirre, was repeatedly labelled as Napoleontxu (little Napoleon), a puppet of foreign bosses who made him believe that the dream of a Basque republic would be possible amidst the turmoil of the war.

Some Conclusions Wartime nationalist discourses had certain mirror-­like dimensions, particularly the Spanish ‘patriotic’ appeals developed on both sides of the conflict. But this does not mean that messages on both sides were identical. Certain common symbols and historical myths that were used served different purposes. Much depended on the value ascribed to those myths, images and symbols (Hosking and Schöpflin 1997). This was much the same in the case of caricatures, humour and political satire. On the Republican side, nationalism constituted just one legitimizing argument among others. Class solidarity and revolutionary goals were constantly promoted by the left-­wing organizations as alternative or complementary slogans. In fact, it is possible to differentiate several discursive levels, each targeting specific social segments. Appeals to the workers’ and peasants’ worldwide revolution or to a defence of liberty were themes that were just as prominent as appeals to nationalism. Nevertheless, one must highlight the nuances associated with this general statement. As the war went on, the patriotic appeal was increasingly used by Republicans in order to attain higher emotional commitment from the masses, particularly when addressing segments of the population and conscripted soldiers that were not deeply influenced by Republican and left-­ wing ideas. In contrast, propaganda directed at highly politicized units clearly emphasized revolutionary and working-­class slogans, and cartoons targeting ideologically and socially defined opponents, for example, clergymen and capitalists in the case of communist and anarchist trench journals.


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Nationalism played a much more important role on the rebel side from the beginning. Its crucial function as a mobilization tool was only matched by the call to defend Catholicism. But since wartime National Catholicism considered the Catholic faith to be the core of Spain’s historical essence, both mobilizing arguments could easily be merged. Preserving Spain’s unity in the face of regional separatism was also a key element of the wartime discourse of the insurgents. Neo-­patriotism steadily grew out of the constant disputes with the substate nationalists, even among the Republicans. The discursive and iconic emphasis on nationalism and othering also served to undermine and dilute internal contradictions on both sides. Cartoons and caricaturesque depictions of the other helped spread the national othering of the enemy. Sometimes a discourse exalting Spanish ‘bravery’ emerged on both sides when a comparison was being made with foreign troops: the others, whether they were Reds or fascists, were considered Spanish as long as they exhibited masculinity during the fight. However, after victory, it was common to exclude from the national community any Spaniards that had supported the Anti-Spain. Both Francoists and Republicans appealed to history as a basis for legitimizing their rhetoric. Since the nineteenth century, a repertoire of myths and icons had been made available by Spanish nationalist historiography. Some common myths like the pre-­Roman Viriathus and the uprising of the Second of May, 1808, were used by both sides, each of which gave the myths a different meaning. However, there was some continuity with the pre-­war dichotomous interpretation of Spain’s past among the traditionalist-­ conservative and Republican nationalists. This also affected the most common humoristic icons, jokes and satirical depictions of the other. A question remains regarding how much wartime patriotic discourse was socially absorbed. The main core values propagated by the rebels (defence of Spain’s unity, Catholicism, a return to ‘order’ and tradition) had an effective impact, motivating many volunteers to take up arms against the Republic. It is, however, more challenging to determine the extent to which patriotism constituted an effective motivation for Republican soldiers and militiamen to enlist and fight on until the end. The fact that nationalism was soon incorporated into the wartime discourse of most loyalist parties indicates that political leaders were convinced of its short-­term efficiency. In this respect, the rapid appeal to patriotic slogans may also constitute indirect proof of the existence of an expanded sentiment of belongingness to the Spanish nation among the lower classes. This may suggest that by

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1936 Spanish nation-­building was not as weak as has been supposed. Appealing to wartime patriotism presupposes the widespread diffusion of a pre-­existing sentiment of national identity, of a banal nationalism, shared more or less openly even by those who were considered less enthusiastic patriots (urban workers, peasants) (Billig 1995; Smith 1981). However, it can also be suggested that both Republican and insurgent political elites took advantage of the new opportunity that the war presented to reinforce the sense of national community by constructing a stereotyped and overemphasized other (the foreign invaders), which became more real than prior foreign others. The image of this other was partially built upon pre-­existing icons of otherness. In this sense, humour contributed to spreading ideas of otherness and self-­ definitions of national homogeneity. The depiction of the enemy as a foreigner in cartoons, caricatures and pejorative representations was an efficient way of denationalizing the opponent, just a preceding stage to the further dehumanization of the enemy. Yet, many Republican and Francoist soldiers experienced the opposite in the course of the confrontation. As a war correspondent recorded, some soldiers taken prisoners by a Republican unit on the island of Mallorca in the summer of 1936 expressed their surprise upon hearing that their enemies also spoke Catalan: ‘We were told that you were Russians!’, they affirmed (Torriente-­Brau 1980: 113–23). Xosé M. Núñez Seixas earned his PhD from the European University Institute in Florence and is Professor of Modern History at the University of Santiago de Compostela. Between 2012 and 2017, he taught at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He has published on nationalist movements and territorial identities, as well as overseas migrations, the cultural history of modern warfare, and European dictatorships. His latest books include Die bewegte Nation. Der spanische Nationalgedanke (Hamburger Edition, 2019); The First World War and the Nationality Question in Europe (as editor; Brill, 2020); Sites of the Dictators. Memories of Authoritarian Europe (Routledge, 2020) and The Spanish Blue Division at the Eastern Front (University of Toronto Press, 2022).

Notes Xosé M. Núñez Seixas is a member of the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’


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(Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today; HAR2017-­84635-­P) financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.   1. A good example is the role of the Franco–German confrontation in the shaping of images and motives in French and German nationalisms before 1914. See Vogel (1997), as well as Jeismann (1991).   2. For further details on the nationalist dimension of the Spanish Civil War, see Núñez Seixas (2005, 2006).   3. A complete collection of examples, mostly from the British press, can be found in Bryant (2014). For the Second World War, see also Bryant (2005).   4. See Holman and Kelly (2001). More generally, Becker (2005). For more on the case of the Spanish Civil War, see Matthews (2019), as well as Hernández Burgos (2020).   5. See the jokes booklet Hay que evitar ser tan bruto como el soldado Canuto (peripecias y desdichas de un mal soldado), 1937. Similar models were used by the Francoist trench press, as well as by the trench journal of the Spanish ‘Blue Division’ on the Eastern Front later (1941–44).   6. Kalder, ‘La casa de fieras s’enriqueix’, Diari de Barcelona, 23  December 1936.   7. Hernanz, ‘El Estado Mayor “nacionalista” se r­ eúne . . . ­y acuerda tomar nuevas órdenes de sus amos extranjeros para transmitírselas a sus “españolísimos” soldados rifeños’ (The ‘nationalist’ General Staff ­gathers . . . ­and decides to take new orders from its foreign masters to pass on to its ‘very Spanish’ Moroccan soldiers), La Voz del Combatiente, 27 April 1938.   8. See R. Dieste, ‘El moro leal’, Nova Galiza, 10, 20  September 1937. See some more examples in Núñez Seixas 2006: 138–39.   9. See, for example, L’Esquella de la Torratxa, 14 January 1938. A Moroccan is assaulted by a Falangist and a collaborationist: Do you want to come to Spain? The ‘volunteer’ answers, Now I’m dead. 10. For instance, [n.a.], Por la Fe y por la Patria. Jornadas del movimiento nacional en España. Julio–Agosto de 1936, s.l. [Zaragoza]: n.ed., n.d. [1936], 2–8. For more examples, see Sevillano (2007). 11. ‘Sargento.— ¿Tú quieres venir voluntario a España? . . . El Moro.— ¿Voluntario? Sargento.— Sí, con máuser contra comunista. El Moro.— ¿Y qué estar un comunista? Sargento.— Comunista estar fiera. Comer mujeres, comer niños, injuriar a Dios bendito. El Moro.— ¿Al Dios español? Sargento.— Al Dios español y al Dios moro. Son enemigos de Alah. . . . Si tú no vienes te quemaremos jaima, te comeremos niño y muera y después te cortaremos pescuezo y otra cosa. Moro puede venir o no venir, pero la suerta cambia. . . . El Moro.— Óyeme, paisa. Si moro va, ¿qué dar tú a cambio? Sargento.— Dinero, mucho dinero. . . . El Moro.— Moro comprender muy bien. ¿Qué más decir a cábila?

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Sargento.— En España hay joyas y sedas y buenos vinos y mujeres hermosas como las huríes . . . El Moro.— No decirme más. Moro comprender todo muy bien.’

References Alvarez Junco, José. 2012. Spanish Identity in the Age of Nations. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Arques, Enrique. 1948. 17 de Julio: La Epopeya de África. Crónica de un testigo. Madrid: Reus. Barrero, Manuel. 2006. Tebeoesfera. Bilbao: Astiberri. Becker, Jacques (ed.). 2005. Histoire culturelle de la Grande Guerre. Paris: Armand Colin. Billig, Michael. 1995. Banal Nationalism. London: Sage. Bourke, Joanna. 1999. An Intimate History of Killing: Face-to-Face Killing in Twentieth-Century Warfare. London: Granta Books. Bryant, Mark. 2005. World War II in Cartoons. London: Grub Street. ——. 2014. World War II in Cartoons. London: Grub Street. Carulla, Jordi, and Arnau Carulla. 1997. La guerra civil en 2000 carteles. 2 vols. S.l.: Postermil. Caudet, Francisco (ed.). 1978. Romancero de la Guerra Civil. Madrid: Ediciones de la Torre. Contreras Ruiz, Josep. 2012. ‘El somriure de la política: Ninotaires al voltant de la Segona República’, PhD dissertation. Barcelona: Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Corderot, D. 2020. ‘La guerra civil española en el corazón de los tebeos falangistas y carlistas (1936–1938)’, in V. Alaryand and M. Matly (eds), Narrativa gráfica de la Guerra Civil: Perspectivas globales y particulares. León: Universidad de León/Eolas ediciones. Davies, Catherine. 2001. ‘Humour Is Not a Strategy in War’, Journal of European Studies 123: 395–412. Demm, Eberhard. 1988. Der Erste Weltkrieg in der internationalen Karikatur. Hanover: Fackelträger. ——. 2016. ‘Caricatures’, in U. Daniel et al. (eds), 1914–1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin (19 December). ——. 2019. Censorship and Propaganda in World War I: A Comprehensive History. London: Bloomsbury. Díaz-­Plaja, Fernando. 1980. La caricatura española en la Guerra Civil, special issue of Tiempo de Historia VII: 73. Escalante y Huidobro, P. de. 1940. ‘Romance de Jamido’ [1937], in En campaña (poesías). Santander: Aldis. García, Hugo. 2005. ‘Historia de un mito político: el peligro comunsita en el discurso de las derechas españolas, 1918–1936’, Historia Social 51: 3– 20.


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Hay que evitar ser tan bruto como el soldado Canuto (peripecias y desdichas de un mal soldado). 1937. Madrid: Comisariado General de Guerra. Hernández Burgos, Claudio (ed.). 2020. Ruptura: The Impact of Nationalism and Extremism on Daily Life in the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). Brighton: Sussex Academic Press. Herrera, J. ¡España en armas!, Buenos Aires: Edición del Plata, 1936. Hewitson, Mark. 2012. ‘Black Humor: Caricature in Wartime’, Oxford German Studies 41(2): 213–35. Holman, Valerie, and Debra Kelly. 2001. ‘Introduction. War in the Twentieth Century: The Functioning of Humour in Cultural Representation’, Journal of European Studies 123: 247–63. Hosking, Geoffrey, and György Schöpflin (eds). 1997. Myths and Nationhood. London: Hurst. Iglesias Amorín, Afonso. 2022. Marruecos, panteón del imperio español. Madrid: Marcial Pons. Intervención del marxismo internacional en la Guerra de España. Testimonio de combatientes rojos. 1939. Bilbao: Editora Nacional. Jeismann, Michael. 1991. Das Vaterland der Feinde: Studien zum nationalen Feindbegriff und Selbstverständnis in Deutschland und Frankreich 1792– 1918. Frankfurt am Main: Campus. Kessel, Martina, and P. Merziger (eds). 2012. The Politics of Humour: Laughter, Inclusion, and Exclusion in the Twentieth Century. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Klug, Eberhard. 1987. ‘Das “asiatische” Russland: Über die Entstehung eines europäischen Stereotyps’, Historische Zeitschrift 245: 265–89. Levinger, Paul, and P. Franklin Lytle. 2001. ‘Myth and Mobilisation: The Triadic Structure of Nationalist Rhetoric’, Nations and Nationalism 7(2): 175–94. Lorente Aragón, Juan Carlos. 2000. Los tebeos que leía Franco en la Guerra Civil (1936–1939). Madrid: IMPHET. MacKee, Seumas. 1938. I Was a Franco Soldier. London: United Editorial Ltd. Madariaga, María Rosa de. 2002. Los moros que trajo Franco . . . La intervención de tropas coloniales en la Guerra Civil española. Barcelona: Martínez Roca. Martín, A. 2020. ‘Las revistas infantiles antifascistas en la guerra de papel de la propaganda. España, 1936–1939’, in V. Alary and M. Matly (eds), Narrativa gráfica de la Guerra civil: perspectivas globales y particulares. León: Universidad de León/Eolas, pp. 153–99. Martín Corrales, Eloy. 2002. La imagen del magrebí en España: una perspectiva histórica, siglos XVI–XX. Barcelona: Bellaterra. Martín Sánchez, I.M. 2010. ‘La caricatura política durante la II República: El Debate, El Siglo Futuro y Gracia y Justicia’, Brocar 34: 203–42. Martín Villapecellín, J. 1939. Estampas de un nuevo estilo. Ha pasado el soviet. S.l. [Barcelona]: Martí, Marí y Comp. Matthews, James. 2012. Reluctant Warriors: Republican Popular Army and Nationalist Army Conscripts in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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—— (ed.). 2019. Spain at War: Society, Culture and Mobilization (1936–1944). London: Bloomsbury. Montán, Luis. N.d. [1937]. La conquista de Retamares por la columna de Castejón. Valladolid: Santarén. Moreno Luzón, Javier, and Xosé M. Núñez Seixas (eds). 2017. Metaphors of Spain: Representations of Spanish National Identity in the Twentieth Century. New York: Berghahn. Núñez Seixas, Xosé M. 2005. ‘Nations in Arms against the Invader: On Nationalist Discourses during the Spanish Civil War’, in Chris Ealham and Michael Richards (eds), The Splintering of Spain. Cultural History and the Spanish Civil War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ——. 2006. ¡Fuera el invasor! Nacionalismos y movilización bélica durante la guerra civil española (1935–1939). Madrid: Marcial Pons. Pérez Madrigal, Joaquín. 1937. El miliciano Remigio ‘pa’ la guerra es un prodigio. Ávila: Imprenta Católica Sigirano Díaz. Propaganda en guerra. 2002. Salamanca: Consorcio Salamanca. Rieber, Robert W., and Robert J. Kelly. 1991. ‘Substance and Shadow: Images of the Enemy’, in Robert W. Rieber (ed.), The Psychology of War and Peace: The Image of the Enemy. London: Plenum Press. Robertshaw, A. 2001. ‘“Irrepressible Chirpy Cockney Chappies”? Humour as an Aid to Survival’, Journal of European Studies 123: 277–87. Rodrigo, Javier, and David Alegre. 2019. Comunidades rotas. Una historia global de las guerras civiles 1917–2017. Barcelona: Galaxia Gutenberg. Sánchez Biosca, Vicente. 2006. Cine y Guerra Civil española: del mito a la memoria. Madrid: Alianza. Seidman, Michael, and M.L. Ferrandis Garayto. 1997. ‘Frentes en calma de la guerra civil’, Historia Social 27: 37–59. Sevillano, Francisco. 2007. Rojos. La representación del enemigo en la guerra civil. Madrid: Alianza. Smith, Anthony D. 1981. ‘War and Ethnicity: The Role of Warfare in the Formation, Self-­Images and Cohesion of Ethnic Communities’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 4(4): 375–97. Torriente-­Brau, Pablo de la. 1980. Peleando con los milicianos. Barcelona: Laia. Tranche, Rafael R., and Vicente Sánchez Biosca. 2011. El pasado es el destino. Propaganda y cine del bando nacional en la Guerra Civil. Madrid: Filmoteca Española. Vázquez de Parga, Salvador. 1980. Los comics del franquismo. Barcelona: Planeta. Vogel, Jacob. 1997. Nationen im Gleichschritt: Der Kult der ‘Nation in Waffen’ in Deutschland und Frankreich 1871–1914. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Willis, Liz. 2002. ‘Humour as a Strategy in War’, Medicine, Conflict and Survival 19(1): 81–83.

Chapter 15

Smiling for the Homeland Humour and Gender Representations in Radio Programmes during the First Franco Regime (1939–59) Sergio Blanco Fajardo

¡ Introduction After the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), the self-­proclaimed Francoist ‘New State’ legitimized its position through a long repressive process. From a gender perspective, both men and women participated in the recuperation of a ‘convalescent’ country in distinct ways. Housewives pledged to collaborate with state policies by ‘serving’ from home. The radio, as a household appliance, became a daily companion that livened up the long hours of household chores. However, beneath this superficial layer of entertainment, the main mission of the women’s broadcasts was to strengthen the ideological and political substrate of the ‘Spanish woman’, who was supposed to fulfil the mandate of being a good mother and wife, a role that implied, in order to break with the republic’s model of femininity, the intervention of a series of mechanisms closely tied to dictatorial politics. The Francoist regime made use of a wide variety of elements to consolidate the new status quo. The strict interventionism that the power apparatus exerted on Spanish culture engaged with the field of humour, transforming the paradigm of the Republican period. From work characterized by irony, criticism and the sardonic, humour was transformed into a kind of pedagogical instrument that softened and camouflaged indoctrination. In this sense, it served as a cultural vehicle to transmit new nationalist policies and the ideology of the regime. The satire built around the ‘Reds’ demonized in graphic and oral representations was a constant, to which was added the ‘pedantic’ woman whom the Sección Femenina (Women’s Section)1 attacked, openly alluding to Republican women.

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Framing the Franco dictatorship within the context of the rise of fascism and totalitarianism that devastated twentieth-­century Europe makes sense not only because of the regime’s political nature but also because of the cultural structure it established. The close relationship that Franco maintained with Italian fascism and German National Socialism is well known, and was such that the hierarchical composition of Spanish organizations and institutions was based on the example of Spain’s European neighbours. In the complex web that makes up culture, humour as a mechanism has two general aspects: first, it can serve as a form of protest and resistance, or, in contrast, it can be used as a political instrument of official power (Ritter 1940; Preisendanz and Warning 1976; Mikhailovich 1984). The humour developed by the National Socialist authorities employed satire as a mechanism of propagandistic expression to make their tenets more attractive and to harmonize the propagandistic tone (Merziger 2007). Francoist censorship manipulated graphic expression in order to convert satire, the main form of permitted humour, into an instrument of cultural repression (Rodríguez 2005). Although satire highlights similarities between both regimes, the particularity and different circumstances of each regime reveal nuances. Within the ideological apparatus of the regime, the radio became a broad-­spectrum cultural device. The purification carried out in the stations and the creation of a censorship arm shaped the broadcasts, which became the victors’ mouthpiece. As a mass medium, radio had a broad diffusive capacity and its discourse could target the majority of the audience, which transformed it into the principal medium of communication during this period. Radio’s communicative role superseded other humorous formats, such as graphic humour and the magazine La Codorniz, which were characterized by a more complex and intelligent humour. The perceived difficulty of this type of joke in comparison with folk and traditional humour on the radio, as well as the construction of the radio as an official agent of the regime, led the general public to turn away from the graphic humour. Thinking about the people listening to the radio, we are invited reflect on the audience and its relationship to class and gender categories. During the early post-­war years, the radio continued to have an elitist character, as in the previous period. By the beginning of the 1950s, scheduling based on operettas, classical music, cultural programmes and the presence of religious broadcastings was fading. This was apparent in the broadcasts aimed at female audiences, from the introduction of the radio soap opera, which employed a manichean narrative and dramatic aggrandizement as mechanisms to foster


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housewives loyalty. Humorous programmes adapted their discourse to the middle classes, then later to the lower-­middle and lower classes that comprised the majority of the audience in the 1960s (Ayuso 2013: 175–81). It was at this juncture that the programme Matilde, Perico y Periquín was released, with a ‘light humour’ that was suitable for a mass audience. Likewise, in the period that this chapter addresses, women comprised the majority of the listening audience (Franquet 1987: 397) and the programming, to a certain extent, was aimed at female radio listeners. Comedy programmes had a place in the stations schedules, from general humour to programmes defined by clear gender content. For example, on the Radio Madrid programme Cuéntenos su complejo (Tell Us Your Hang-Up), supposed letters in which women shared their insecurities were broadcast, with the two hosts ridiculing them as they attempted to find a solution. Mercedes y Eduardo, on the other hand, displayed the characteristic manners of these programmes by representing a comic dialogue between a man and woman, which was characteristic of such programmes. The present chapter analyses the scripts of comedy programmes from the private radio station Radio Madrid, specifically taking the programme Matilde, Perico y Periquín as an example. It seeks to elucidate the kinds of symbolic representations that were broadcast and the roles and gender models that were advocated. Incidentally, it must not be forgotten that humour, as a communicative mechanism, allows for an open and personal interpretation on the part of the receiver. Thus, there is the possibility of subjective re-­appropriations and, through these, the appearance of contradictions and fissures. Humorous discourse’s ability to confound and to create double meanings is a good starting point to determine whether radio humour contributed to generating resistant stances or rebellious positions.

Radio and Humour Humour was a typical resource used, either tangentially or exclusively, in radio programmes and ended up assuming a cultural and ideological character. The ideological schemes that were used in other types of programmes connected with a kind of insubstantial folk comedy that, under the apparent label of amusement and entertainment, kept a specific political causality underground. In this way, despite the fact that comedy programmes took different forms, such as a comic dialogue between a couple (such an example is Mi mujer y yo [My wife and I]),

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episodes in the life of a family (La familia Valdés [The Valdés Family]) or male comedians talking about women (Cuéntenos su complejo [Tell Us Your Hang-Up]), all of them introduced a pattern of conduct, ways of thinking and mechanisms of hegemonic socialization that shaped gender archetypes. From the earliest post-­war years, humour was a consistent presence on the airwaves; however, it should be noted that in the first years of the Franco regime (1939–59), it went through two distinct stages that, as we shall see, influenced the programme that concerns us here, Matilde, Perico y Periquín. The first stage took place between 1939 and 1947. In this stage, comedy was introduced through radio theatre, specifically theatrical comedies. On the Radio Madrid schedule, programmes such as Muchachas rivales (Rival Girls) by Antonio Farré de Calzadilla, El burlador fracasa (The Trickster Fails) by Enrique Llovet or adaptations of classic comedies were broadcast. The iron curtain created by the censorship apparatus promoted a kind of classic, dramatic, folk humour based on stereotyped characters and predictable situations that minimized any trace of innovation or spontaneity. In 1947, Luis Sánchez Polack and Joaquín Portillo, better known as Tip and Top, appeared on the Cadena SER station for the first time. Although the comedic pair had been on the station’s staff since 1945, it was not until 1947 that they formed a comic duo and began to perform humorous dialogues. This marked the beginning of a second stage, which lasted from 1947 to 1959, characterized by the development of a type of humour that was radically opposed to the one to which the radio audience was accustomed. Tip and Top introduced the fundamentals of the comedy of this stage, which resulted in the birth of ‘a new, original, modern humour. An improvised humour, filled with surrealism and nonsense’ (Díaz 1992: 298). This new form of comedy coincided in large part with the ‘new humour’ that had emerged in parallel with the avant-­garde of the 1920s.2 The continuity of certain elements is evident, but no less evident are the changes in humour during this second stage: the juxtaposition of costumbrismo (the portrayal of everyday life, manners and customs), warmth, stereotypes and classism, present in programmes such as Burbujas de buen humor (Bubbles of Good Humour), La pareja feliz (The Happy Pair) and Cuéntenos su chiste (Tell Us a Joke), and the mad and absurd humour created by the new comedians. At the beginning of the 1950s, Miguel Gila Cuesta (1921–2001) became part of the new comedic phenomenon being forged at the Radio Madrid station. In 1952, he hosted an exclusive show on Tuesdays at 11pm (Balsebre 2002: 261), on which he unleashed absurd, disoriented


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monologues in which he employed archetypical Spanish figures from that time. The use of this mechanism allowed him to introduce, as a novelty, critical aspects about a society contained in a dictatorship that would later be represented in the cinema of paleto.3 One last name that cannot be omitted from the comedy of the 1950s is that of the Argentine comedian Pepe Iglesias ‘El zorro’, who, despite producing less sharp and acidic humour than that produced by Gila, developed comic characters, including the ‘Finado Fernández’, with which he achieved high levels of popularity (Munsó 1980: 127–28). The new type of radio humour not only resulted in discursive changes, the implementation of novel mechanisms and comparisons with the ‘comedians of ’27’; it also introduced new elements. In this second stage, the comedy programme was born as a radio genre unto itself. Exclusively comedic programmes multiplied as the pre-­development4 decade advanced, with more than a dozen broadcasts dedicated to provoking laughter. In this sense, the 1950s was the golden age of radio comedy. The microphone witnessed the rise of such significant figures as Gila, Mary Santpere, Tip and Top, and José Luis Coll; this would not have been possible without humour and the audience’s desire for laughter in their daily lives. Ultimately, we must contextualize and integrate this new way of producing humour within the framework of the sociopolitical changes that were occurring in those years. If we briefly leave our period of study (1939–59) in order to delve into the last two decades (1960–77) of the long dictatorship, we will see that it gave rise to an evolution of humorous production that could not have occurred in the German context. The satirical publication La Codorniz, allied to the regime, clearly shows how, at the beginning of the 1960s, comic representations began to have satirical overtones; that is, there was a transition from manipulative humour towards a form of veiled resistance. This occurred as the dictatorship was becoming more open and its cracks were widening as a result of social pressure.5 The present chapter does not intend to address protest humour; it is mentioned here only to contrast it with propagandistic and ideological humour that we will study.

Radio Humour and Gender On Tuesday, 26 May 1946, on the women’s programme Emisión para la mujer6 (Broadcast for Ladies), the host Julita Calleja read an open letter from a listener, Goyita López, who not only requested a comedy show but also included with her letter a list of jokes to be broadcast. This

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request was followed by many others that likewise demanded humorous shows for women. This illustrates that the female audience was interested in such content, demanded that it be created and became generators of comic material. The relationship between women and humour, apparent early on in Radio Madrid’s women’s programmes, demonstrates the biased and patriarchal vision of the first studies of humour and gender.7 Similarly, the presence of female broadcasters merits mention. Although the production of humour during the early years of the Franco regime was dominated by men, women did make their presence known in the world of comedic entertainment. From the women’s programmes, the following stand out: the radio actress Maribel Alonso, an expert in the comedy genre; the comic actress María Bru, who, although she developed her career between the cinema and theatre, occasionally did radio work; and the humourist Mary Santpere, who, in 1958, received the Ondas award for best comic actress for her work on Radio Revista, a humorous programme (Ondas 1958: 21). In any case, in radio, as in other areas of public life, women were perceived more as receivers than transmitters. The apparatus of dictatorial power took away the communicative functions of the radio medium, transforming it into a propagandistic and pedagogical instrument and, consequently, programmes became cultural products aimed at transmitting Francoist ideology. From a gender perspective, women’s broadcasts included in their discourse formulas for achieving the ideal of hegemonic femininity, based on the perfect housewife and self-­sacrificing mother. Men, meanwhile, were targeted by sports, cultural and pseudoscientific programmes. Even in the children’s sector, broadcasts sought to challenge audiences in order to indoctrinate them into the prevailing gender roles. Verbal humour contains an interactional function that serves to reinforce personal and social bonds. Within this framework, laughter and jokes are cultural codes that strengthen social relationships and, therefore, affect gender relationships. Masculine use of comedy not only had a social purpose, but was also associated with strategies of subordination. Men ‘use humour to make their status prevail over other interlocutors and on many occasions over women’ (Romero 2014: 47–48). This is apparent in the following fragment of the comedy programme Mi mujer y yo (My Wife and I), broadcast on Wednesday, 4 October 1957: Carlos: How common! To be sad because a daughter gets married just like every other daughter in the world!


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Elena: But every other daughter in the world isn’t ours. Carlos: Fortunately! Wouldn’t it be great if I had to pay for everyone’s trousseau! Elena: She paid for a large part of her trousseau with the gift from her godfather. Carlos: Come on, shut up, just yesterday you spent 3,000 pesetas on pots and pans! Elena: But we also bought towels to dry the dishes, chamois cloths, a brush to polish the floor . . . Carlos: Will you please just shut up? Elena: I’m explaining the expense of 3,000 pesetas! Carlos: (in a strong tone) I don’t want to talk about the wedding! Do you understand that?8

Humorous interactions between a couple were a common motif on Radio Madrid’s programmes, which portrayed male–female relationships in a traditional and clichéd manner. An analysis of this extract confirms the previous notion that humour was used as an instrument of power. In this case, Elena’s husband Carlos uses verbal violence to dominate his wife, who yields to her husband’s forcefulness. This was common in such programmes, which represented gender relationships based on the submission, subordination or domination of women.

Representations and Constructions of Gender: The Programme Matilde, Perico y Periquín Private radio generated economic benefits through its advertising sponsors. The typical methodology consisted in presenting the interested company with a radio script for a new show of a specific genre that would match the product to be advertised. Eduardo Vázquez, in collaboration with Basilio Gassent, both scriptwriters at Radio Madrid,9 devised a project in response to the request sent by the Cola Cao brand to the Cadena SER radio station; the title of the script became a classic in the radio-­comedy world: Matilde, Perico y Periquín. The comedy, which portrayed the life of a middle-­class family in pre-­development Madrid, premiered on 30 March 1955. The voices of the programme’s cast of characters became the most recognizable of those of Radio Madrid’s group of actors and actresses: Matilde was played by Matilde Conesa, Perico by Pedro Pablo Ayuso, Periquín by Matilde Vilariño and, finally, Juana Ginzo lent her voice to Doña Asun. The spectacular success of Matilde, Perico y Periquín led to it becoming emblematic of classic Spanish radio; in parallel to the critical acclaim

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and its millions of listeners, its success was evidenced by the later publication of Matilde, Perico y Periquín (1958), Nuevas aventuras de Matilde, Perico y Periquín (1959), Periquín y sus amigos (1960) and Periquín y Gustavín (1961).10 The series only came to an end upon the death of Pedro Pablo Ayuso in 1971, an event that led Eduardo Vázquez to conclude the production of the comedy, which remained engraved in the memory of thousands of radio listeners (Faus 2007: 848). The programme, which lasted between ten and fifteen minutes, was broadcast every Wednesday at 9.30pm. Summer holidays, trips to the countryside, village fairs, life at home and family Christmases were narrated, interspersed with such varied and stereotyped characters as ‘gossiping’ neighbours, doormen, shopkeepers and plumbers, among many others (Vázquez 2000: vi–vii). The family formed by Matilde, Perico and Periquín represented the middle class that reappeared in Spain following the harsh post-­war period. Perico, a commercial worker in a metallurgical company, dedicated himself to his work in order to improve the family’s economic position. Matilde, a fervent housewife, devoted herself to caring for her husband and son and managing the family’s finances. Periquín embodied the figure of a mischievous and restless child; he preferred not to go to school, but he was kind-­hearted. The programme sought to attract a wide array of middle-­class families with similar ambitions. Periquín’s stories quickly established an audience from a cultural and political structure in which the family nucleus constituted a body of power. Of the two kinds of humour mentioned above, which did this comedy articulate? On the one hand, it has the comic aspect of the first stage of the 1940s, highlighting the character of manners, stereotyped and classist characters, drama and clichés. On the other hand, it took elements of the humour that erupted in the last years of the 1940s and endured through the 1950s, for example, the inclusion of humorous intention and the final punchline, which sought to provoke the listener’s laughter (Alvarado 2014: 21). In conclusion, we can define the comedy’s humour as a light humour adapted to the family environment. It is complex to undertake a study about humour and gender in which the construction of gender models is not represented exclusively in the joke. Humour, as a cultural code and interactive mechanism, was one of the most significant tools within the ideological narrative, but what was the space in which it was created? To address this question, in addition to focusing on the comic formula, we must emphasise the


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discourse registered between jokes. It is in this part of the script that we can identify many of the ideological mechanisms that theoretically constructed gender models. For the audience, the legitimacy of the programme’s discourse was closely linked to its reproduction of the hegemonic ideology based on National Catholicism (Espigado 2018: 206–7). Accordingly, the programme did not create comedy in an autonomous way; the ideological and normative framework that the programme shared with its listeners was necessary for the assessment of the humour and the receiver’s acceptance and understanding of the joke. Thus, the relationship between humour and ideology generated a mechanism of censorship that repressed any kind of joke that was not authorized by the regime. From this perspective, humorous programmes represented gender models according to the premises established above. The description of women in the episodes matched perfectly with the model propagated by the regime. The construction of this ideal woman was based on principles of abnegation and submission; the ideal woman was a perfect housewife who was entirely dedicated to the home, attentive to her husband and a fervent caregiver to her sons and daughters. Failure to fulfil these functions constituted turning away from the normative model and creating an anti-­model, that is, the kind of woman who puts her morality and the essence of the ‘Spanish woman’ at risk. In the series, Perico criticized women who were educated and cultured. This repudiation generated mechanisms of social control and symbolic violence deployed to ‘correct’ female listeners: Perico: Oh! This is too much to take! I’ve always despised a woman who’s excessively cultured with intellectual edges, but this, what you are . . . Matilde: Are you implying that I’m stupid? Perico: I’m not implying it! I’m saying it!11 Matilde: Look, my love, when a woman turns forty, she has to spend more time taking care of herself and giving herself a new coat of paint. Perico: Well, darling, you are Agroman [construction company]. Matilde: (Laughs). Perico: Apart from the fact that I don’t understand the need for all this plastering, what’s the point of it? Matilde: To please, to attract one’s husband. Perico: Look, Matilde. I think that by the time a woman turns forty, her husband doesn’t like her anymore even if she paints herself in oil (laughs).12

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For her part, Doña Asun acts as a voice of authority on the basis of her experience of marriage and takes on the role of disciplining and reprimanding Matilde for her oversights (‘Doña Asun: This is also your job. A woman in her house should know how to make knitted vests’).13 This character reinforces the role of subordination that was stipulated in gender relations through her advice regarding submission and understanding in relation to the husband who suffers his wife’s attacks. Matilde: Yes, I think I’ve been unfair. Doña Asun: Many times, we women are. If you could see how much trouble I caused my poor husband, may he be in glory, because of jealousy! . . . Matilde: You’re getting my heart tied up in a knot. I can’t wait for Perico to get home so I can ask him to forgive me. Doña Asun: Yes, child, yes; do it as soon as he arrives. Be understanding, take an interest in his affairs, encourage him to go out. Then, one fine day, they get sick, they crack [they die] a ­ nd . . . y ­ our conscience won’t let you live.14

The main role of women in the regime was to be mothers. Natalist policies sought to energize demographics with the objective of creating a Spain with forty million inhabitants. Franco’s ambitions were evident in the nationalist project that identified women as indispensable subjects, not only increasing the birth rate, but also regenerating the ‘Hispanic race’ that had been ‘contaminated’ during the Republic. What is re-­ Christianizing and educating in the values of National Catholicism was a second role entrusted to women. In this context, the indiscriminate attack on spinsterhood created a social stigma, that of the ‘solterona’ (spinster), a woman who had not fulfilled her vital mission, motherhood, and was condemned to a subordinate femininity. Dña. Asun.: It’s just ­that . . . ­Why don’t you have a girl? M: Get out of here, Doña Asun! What a problem! Dña. Asun.: However, in the future, you’d feel more accompanied. M: Which is precisely what I don’t want. My being accompanied would mean that she’d be single, and I wouldn’t want the same thing that happened to my sister Rosita to happen to h ­ er . . . O ­ h! It’s unbearable. Dña. Asun.: She didn’t marry? M: No. Dña. Asun.: And that boy, the lieutenant? M: He left.


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Dña. Just like that other sailor? M: My sister Rosita’s boyfriends last until they are transferred. And she really has a thing for uniforms! Dña. Asun.: So, no, you don’t want to have a girl.15

The man, on the other hand, was considered a ‘complete’ citizen (Vincent 2018: 139); that is, masculinity bestowed a sense of what was right and harmonious, unlike the imperfect feminine. This social and gender order corresponds to the biblical models of Adam and Eve, two archetypes that were represented during Francoism, the man in the Joseantonian model16 of the warrior monk and the woman in the mysticism of the saints and the Virgin Mary. The representative asymmetry of this system of relationships promoted a pattern of behaviour according to the gender roles. On the programme Matilde, Perico y Periquín, Matilde is most often located in the family home; on occasion, she leaves the house to visit a neighbour or friend, but her actions remain situated in the private sphere. Perico, the head of the family, is the breadwinner who spends much of the day away from the family premises. In scenes that take place in public, Perico accompanies their son Periquín, while the perfect housewife does her housekeeping and impatiently awaits their return. Inside the home, a second division of spaces determined by gender emerges. Matilde is mostly portrayed in the kitchen, not only preparing lunch or dinner, but also talking with Doña Asun; thus, the kitchen symbolically represents an eminently feminine space. In contrast, Perico takes refuge in a private corner of the house, his office. This division of spaces is informed by a hierarchy of gender, power and wealth. Comedy programmes were also marked by gender relations. The main formula of the radio comedy consisted firstly in the preparation of the humorous effect, that is, the hook, made by Perico, and secondly in the punchline, delivered by Periquín, both male characters. Thus, it was Periquín who learnt about the misadventures of his father and hid them from Matilde; she, in turn, played a secondary role in the comedy by expressing monumental anger at her husband’s blunders. During the early years of Francoism, radio media did not include children as primary targets in their programming. That aspect, putting childhood on the radio agenda, was produced in the 1960s. However, in the previous decades, some children’s programmes were broadcast on a weekly basis. In the case that concerns us here, Periquín represented the audience of children. In the following excerpt, we notice the kinds of relationships that were established between our protagonist and his friend Sarita:

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Periquín: No, no, Mum. Do you think it’s a good idea if I get my shotgun out? Matilde: No; girls don’t like those games. . . . Periquín: I’m getting bored, Sarita. Why don’t we play something else? Sarita: But this game is very nice! Haven’t you played shopkeeper much? Periquín: But I’m sick of selling you beans! Sarita: Well, sell me something else then! Periquín: Bah! This is a pain. Look, let’s do it a different way. You’re the owner of the store, and then I come from the inspector’s office and give you a fine. . . . Periquín: Let’s play house. You’re my wife. Sarita: Ok! I would ask you for money. Periquín: Why are you going to ask me for money? Sarita: Because that’s what my mum does. Periquín: Ok, but I wouldn’t give it to you. Sarita: And why wouldn’t you give it to me? Periquín: Silly, because my Dad does. . . . Periquín: How is it possible that the soup isn’t ready yet? For a lousy bowl of soup I have to wait another half hour? Damn soup! Sarita: Why are you shouting so much, Periquín? Periquín: Because I’m the husband! Sarita: And what happens? Periquín: I’m in charge here! Sarita: Husbands are in charge at home? Periquín: Yes. Sarita: Oh, ok. . . . Sarita: How is it possible that there’s another cigarette butt in the hallway? Armando! You either quit smoking or you don’t know what’s coming! Come on, Armando! . . . Give me that tobacco so I can throw it in the trash. Periquín: Listen, Sarita. Sarita: What? Periquín: Why are you calling me Armando? Sarita: I made a mistake. Armando is my dad’s name.17

The construction of models and ideals was directed not only at adults but also children. The different gender roles are clearly indicated in the preferences of Sarita, who introduces a game meant for girls, shopkeeper, and in the later rejection of this game by Perico, who senses that the activity is inappropriate for boys. This model of representations perpetuated the stereotypes and gender roles that were reinforced vertically, from childhood to adulthood; the marriage game


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involves the imitation of adult roles and, consequently, the assimilation of the patriarchal system anointed by the regime. The traits of the shows and their use of humour, as we have indicated above, developed disparate patterns. Men had hegemonized the use of humour in an exercise of power, assuming an active and leading role in social relationships. On the other hand, women, from a subordinate position, used humour involving other symbols and meanings. This relationship led to the creation of a divergent humour, called support humour, which elicited the interlocutors’ empathy, reinforced social ties and even served a subversive function (Acuña 2014: 70). Matilde: Yes, I think I’ve been unfair. Doña Asun: Many times, we women are. If you could see how much trouble I caused my poor husband, may he be in glory, because of jealousy! . . . Matilde: You’re getting my heart tied up in a knot. I can’t wait for Perico to get home so I can ask him to forgive me.18 Doña Sara (madre de Sarita): Nonsense! Men call anything nonsense! What do they know? (Vázquez 1959: 26)19

The scenes involving Matilde and Doña Asun, set in domestic spaces like the kitchen or living room, supported a large part of the ideological weight of the programme. This leads us to reflect in the impartial construction of symbols and gender ideals and the special emphasis on shaping the feminine. However, another significant question that underlies the framework of this radio comedy is the following: are these conversations the result of a comedy show? And second, can we define them as feminine humour? In light of all that we have tried to point out and the discourse in these kinds of scenes, we can argue that Matilde and Doña Asun were incorporating humorous elements into their conversations. Women’s interactions were not bereft of the comedic and the laughable; rather, we must think in terms of a different kind of humour. Women’s humour not only had the objective of provoking laughter but also served to strengthen relationships between one another. Furthermore, it sometimes insinuated, albeit superficially, a kind of criticism of women’s subordinate place in gender relations, focused mostly on invoking the complicity of female listeners without altering the domestic status quo.

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Conclusion The relationship between radio, humour and gender was translated into an ideological mechanism that served to construct the normative ideals that operated in the regime. The radio as a broad-­spectrum cultural device, with a markedly propagandistic and ideological character, used the humour as a tool that imprinted prescribed gender archetypes on the listening public. The humour of resistance occurred above all in the second Francoist period; thus, we have not found any elements of this humour in the radio humour that manifested it later. Likewise, in the letters sent to the programmes, we have not sensed a divergent perception or a subjective re-­appropriation of humorous discourse; indeed, the radio listeners sent jokes that reinforced Francoist ideology. The programme Matilde, Perico y Periquín added a generational dimension to those of gender, power and class in order to reinforce, in a vertical way, the imposition of traditional archetypes. Finally, it is interesting to reflect on the existence of humour in terms of ­gender – t­he humour produced by men, shaped by such attributes as power, privilege and authority, and, in contrast, feminine humour, developed and codified to be understood by women. Feminine humour bore a greater ideological burden and also served other functions, including strengthening social ties and timidly denouncing the male’s role and his dominant position in patriarchal society, which suggested a desire for relief from the yoke but without an aspiration to put an end to it, since we observe women attacking other women in various scenes, perpetuating stereotypes and patriarchal attitudes. As we have seen, humour is not only subversion and rebellious satire; if it is the sender’s intention, it can also be strongly conservative, something that the Francoist regime understood very well. Sergio Blanco Fajardo holds a PhD from the University of Malaga, where he is currently on a postdoctoral contract. His research focuses on the history of women and gender during Franco’s regime, radio studies and cultural history. He has attended numerous conferences and is the author of several publications, including ‘Broadcasting the “Spanish Woman”. Nationalism and Female Radio Programmes during the Franco’s Dictature’, Journal for Media History 22(2), 2020, pp.  61–72, and ‘Voices and Dialogues. Gender Representations in Women’s Radio Programmes during Franco’s Dictatorship (1939– 1959)’, La Aljaba 24, pp. 25–43.


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Notes Sergio Blanco Fajardo is a member of the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’ (Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today; HAR2017-­84635-­P) financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. This work has been made possible thanks to help from the Formación del Profesorado Universitario (University Faculty Training) (FPU) granted by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, FPU 12/00874.  1. The Sección Femenina (Women’s Section) was a branch of the single party FET of the JONS (Falange Española Tradicionalista de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista [Traditionalist Spanish Falange of the Councils of the Nationalist Syndicalist Offensive]), founded in 1937. Its main work focused on the elaboration of a feminine normativity based on the postulates of National Catholicism, a sociopolitical doctrine advocated by the Francoist regime. It defended and disseminated the model of the ‘perfect housewife’, submissive, self-­sacrificing and devoted to her home and family. Pilar Primo de Rivera (1907–91) headed the organization until its dissolution in 1977.   2. Influenced by this movement, the so-­called ‘new humour’ or ‘the humourists of ’27’, whose intellectual father was Ramón Gómez de la Serna, emerged (Weis 2012: 57). The original nucleus of this group was formed by José López Rubio, Miguel Mihura, Antonio de Lara (Tono), Enrique Jardiel Porcela and Edgar Neville. E. González-­Grano de Oro defines (2004: 31) this new humour as ‘absurd, nonsensical, abstract’; it had broken with the previous model, the ‘old humour’, abandoning the use of traditional satire, folk tones and political attacks.  3. Paleto is a derogatory term used to refer to a peasant who migrated to the city. Beginning in the 1950s but especially in the 1960s, there was a significant migratory flow from the country to the urban centres in Spain as a result of economic and industrial development during those years. See the work of María Dolores Ramos in this volume.  4. This concept alludes to the previous stage of the approval of the Stabilization Plan of 1959, initiated in 1953 under the agreement signed with the United States. This measure abandoned an autarchic economy in order to move towards a consumerist model. This later stage of industrial and economic expansion was called ‘developmentalism’.   5. Let us add to the satirical genre the popular joke, which reproduced from the beginning a strong tone of mockery and derision directed at Francoist leaders, including Franco himself (Vigara 2006). In relation to this facet of resistance humour and protest, we cannot ignore the production carried out in exile, which develop a marked political character (Sarría 2006).   6. Archivo General de la Administración, Radio Madrid, ‘Cuadernillo de programación de Radio Madrid’, (3), 49.01, Caja 21/1301.

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  7. Robin Lakoff (1975) tried to show that women suffered from an inability to understand comedy and a lack of a sense of humour. It was evident that these theories could not have been sustained for long, although in relation to the subject of this chapter, they fit the ideological and gender schemes of Francoism. These theories were refuted by research carried out in the 1980s (Jenkins 1985), which demonstrated that women did not have this inability, but rather produced a different kind of humour to that of men. The issue is that masculine humour was canonized, thereby creating a clear disinterest in humour produced by women. These new theories have rendered the idea of gender subordination obsolete, in terms of the interpretation and creation of women’s humour, and have served as a basis for promoting more recent work.   8. AGA, Radio Madrid, ‘Cuadernillo de programación de Radio Madrid’, (3), 49.01, Caja 21/5444. ‘Carlos: ¡Qué vulgaridad! ¡Ponerse triste porque se casa una hija como se casan todas las hijas del mundo! Elena: Pero todas las hijas del mundo no son la nuestra. Carlos: ¡Afortunadamente! ¡Pues iba a estar bueno si tuviera que pagar los equipos a todas! Elena: Gran parte del equipo se lo ha pagado ella con el regalo del padrino. Carlos: ¡Vamos, calla, que solo en la batería de cocina te gastaste ayer tres mil pesetas! Elena: Pero compramos también paños para secar los cacharros, gamuzas, un cepillo para sacar brillo al suelo . . . Carlos: ¿Quieres hacer el favor de callarte? Elena: ¡Te estoy justificando el gasto de las tres mil pesetas! Carlos: (en tono fuerte) ¡Que no quiero oír hablar de la boda! ¿Te has enterado?’   9. Madrid branch of Cadena SER, which is still the private radio station with the largest audience in the country. 10. This is a series of literary publications that portrayed the vicissitudes in the lives of the main characters. Sometimes these were a compilation of the best episodes broadcast on the radio and, in other cases, such as the publications that focused exclusively on Periquín, new content was introduced. This type of publication was common in 1950s radio and in line with the great success of radio soap operas that, at the audience’s request, published the booklets of each episode. Later, the authors themselves, and I quote the case of Guillermo Sautier or Luisa Alberca, would condense the novella in the form of a monograph. 11. AGA, Radio Madrid, ‘Cuadernillo de programación de Radio Madrid’, (3), 49.01, Caja 21/5469. ‘Perico: ¡Oh! ¡Esto es superior a mis fuerzas! . . . Siempre he odiado a la mujer excesivamente culta y con ribetes intelectuales, pero esto, lo que tú eres . . . Matilde: ¿Insinúas que soy bruta? Perico: ¡No lo insinúo! ¡Lo afirmo!’


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12. AGA, Radio Madrid, ‘Cuadernillo de programación de Radio Madrid’, (3), 49.01, Caja 21/5494. ‘Matilde: Mira, cielo, cuando una mujer llega a la cuarentena, tiene que dedicarle más tiempo al cuidado y revoco de su persona. Perico: Pues, rica, tú eres Agroman [empresa constructora]. Matilde: (ríe). Perico: Aparte de que no me explico la necesidad de ese revoco. ¿Qué finalidad tiene? Matilde: Gustar, atraer al marido. Perico: Mira, Matilde. Yo creo que cuando una mujer llega a la cuarentena, ya no le gusta al marido, aunque se pinte al óleo (ríe).’ 13. AGA, Radio Madrid, ‘Cuadernillo de programación de Radio Madrid’, (3), 49.01, Caja 21/5464. ‘Doña Asun.: Esto también es cosa tuya. Una mujer de su casa debe saber hacer chalecos de punto.’ 14. AGA, Radio Madrid, ‘Cuadernillo de programación de Radio Madrid’, (3), 49.01, Caja 21/5469. ‘Matilde: Sí, creo que he sido injusta. Doña Asun: Las mujeres lo somos muchas veces. ¡Si vieras cuantos disgustos le di yo a mi pobre marido, que en gloria esté, por culpa de los celos! . . . Matilde: Me está usted metiendo el corazón en un puño. Estoy deseando que llegue Perico para pedirle perdón. Doña Asun: Sí, hija, sí; hazlo en cuanto llegue. Muéstrate comprensiva, interésate por sus asuntos, anímale a que se vaya. Luego, un buen día, se ponen malos, cascan[mueren] y ­ . . . ­no te dejará vivir la conciencia.’ 15. AGA, Radio Madrid, ‘Cuadernillo de programación de Radio Madrid’, (3), 49.01, Caja 21/5495. ‘Dña. Asun.: Es que también solo . . . ¿Por qué no tenéis una niña? M: ¡Quite de ahí, Doña Asun! ¡Menuda problema! Dña. Asun.: Sin embargo, el día de mañana, te sentirías más acompañada. M: Que es precisamente lo que no quiero. Estar yo acompañada, supone que ella esté soltera, y no quiero que le ocurra lo que a mi hermana Rosita . . . ¡oh! Está inaguantable. Dña. Asun.: ¿No se casa? M: Nada. Dña. Asun.: ¿Y aquel chico teniente? M: Se fue. Dña. Asun. ¿Igual que aquel otro marino? M: Lo mismo. A mi hermana Rosita le duran los novios hasta que los trasladan. ¡Y cómo le ha dado por los uniformes! Dña. Asun.: Total, que no quieres tener una niña.’ 16. The term refers to José Antonio Primo de Rivera (1903–36), founder of the Spanish Falange political party in 1933. After his death, he became a martyr to Falangism and his writings became the theoretical base of Spanish fascism.

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17. AGA, Radio Madrid, ‘Cuadernillo de programación de Radio Madrid’, (3), 49.01, Caja 21/5492. ‘. . . Periquín: No, no, mamá. ¿Te parece bien que me baje la escopeta? Matilde: No; a las niñas no les gustan esos juegos. . . . Periquín: Me estoy aburriendo, Sarita. ¿Por qué no jugamos a otra cosa? Sarita: ¡Pero si este juego es muy bonito! ¿Tú no has jugado mucho a las tiendas? Periquín: ¡Pero ya estoy negro de venderte judías! Sarita: ¡Pues véndeme otra cosa! Periquín: ¡Bah! Esto es una pesadez. Mira, vamos a hacerlo de otra manera. Tú eres la dueña de la tienda, y entonces llegaba yo que era de la Fiscalía y te ponía una multa. . . . Periquín: Vamos a jugar a los matrimonios. Tú eras mi mujer. Sarita: ¡Eso! Y te pedía dinero. Periquín: ¿Por qué me vas a pedir dinero? Sarita: Porque mi mamá lo hace. Periquín: Bueno, pero yo no te lo daba. Sarita: ¿Y por qué no me lo ibas a dar? Periquín: Tonta, porque mi papá lo hace. . . . Periquín: ¿Pero es posible que no esté todavía la sopa? ¿Pero es que para una miserable sopa voy a tener que esperar media hora más? ¡Maldita sopa! Sarita: ¿Por qué gritas tanto, Periquín? Periquín: ¡Porque soy el marido! Sarita: ¿Y qué pasa? Periquín: ¡Que aquí mando yo! Sarita: ¿En las casas mandan los maridos? Periquín: Sí. Sarita: ¡Ah, bueno! . . . Sarita: ¿Pero es posible que haya otra colilla en el pasillo? ¡Armando! ¡O dejas de fumar o no sabes la que se va [a] armar aquí! ¡Vamos, Armando! . . . ¡Dame el tabaco que lo voy a tirar a la basura! Periquín: Oye, Sarita. Sarita: ¿Qué? Periquín: ¿Por qué me llamas Armando? Sarita: Es que me he equivoca[d]o. Armando es el nombre de mi papá.’ 18. AGA, Radio Madrid, ‘Cuadernillo de programación de Radio Madrid’, (3), 49.01, Caja 21/5469. ‘Matilde: Sí, creo que he sido injusta. Doña Asun: Las mujeres lo somos muchas veces. ¡Si vieras cuantos disgustos le di yo a mi pobre marido, que en gloria esté, por culpa de los celos! . . . Matilde: Me está usted metiendo el corazón en un puño. Estoy deseando que llegue Perico para pedirle perdón.’ 19. ‘Doña Sara (madre de Sarita): ¡Tontería! ¡A cualquier cosa llaman los hombres tontería! ¡Que sabrán ellos!’


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References Acuña, V. 2014. ‘Las Funciones Competitivas del Humor en los Cotilleos de Jóvenes Veinteañeras’, Feminismo/s 24(2): 67–94. Alvarado, M.B. 2014. ‘Humor y Género: Análisis de Conversaciones entre Mujeres’, Feminismo/s 24(2): 17–39. Ayuso, E. 2013. ‘La recepción de la radio dramática en España (desde la posguerra a 1971)’, Index comunicación 3: 167–85. Balsebre, A. 2002. Historia de la Radio en España: Volumen II (1939–1985). Madrid: Cátedra. Díaz, L. 1992. La Radio en España, 1923–1993. Madrid: Alianza. Espigado, G. 2018. ‘“El Ángel del Hogar”: Uso y Abuso Historiográfico de un Arquetipo de Feminidad’, in H. Gallego (ed.), Feminidades y Masculinidades en la Historiografía de Género. Granada: Comares, pp. 195–212. Faus, A. 2007. La Radio en España (1896–1977): Una historia Documental. Madrid: Taurus. Franquet, R. 1987. ‘Evolución de la Programación Femenina en la Radiodifusión: Los Medios Electrónicos en la Configuración del Estereotipo de la Mujer’, in M.A. Durán and J.A. Rey (eds), Literatura y Vida Cotidiana: Actas de las IV Jornadas de Investigación Interdisciplinaria, Madrid/Zaragoza, Seminario de Estudios de la Mujer. Madrid: Secretariado de Publicaciones (UNIZAR), pp. 395–402. González-­Grano de Oro, E. 2004. La Otra Generación del 27: el Humor Nuevo Español y la Codorniz. Madrid: Polifemo. Jenkins, M. 1985. ‘What´s so Funny? Joking Among Women’, in N. Caskey et al. (eds), Proceedings of the First Berkeley Women and Language Conference. Berkeley: University of California, pp. 131–51. Khottoff, H. 2006. ‘Gender and Humor: The State of the Art’, Journal of Pragmatics 38: 4–25. Lakoff, R. 1975. Language and Woman’s Place: Text and Commentaries. New York: Harper Colophon Books. Merziger, P. 2007. ‘Humour in Nazi Germany: Resistance and Propaganda? The Popular Desire for an All-­Embracing Laughter’, International Review of Social History 52: 275–90. Mikhailovich, M. 1984. Rabelais and His World. Indiana: Bloomington. Munsó, J. 1980. Cuarenta Años de Radio. 1940–1980. Badalona: Ediciones Picazo. Revista Ondas. 15 May 1958, 131(2). Preisendanz, W., and R. Warning (eds). 1976. Das Komische. Munich: Fink. Ritter, J. 1940. ‘Uber das Lachen’, Blätter Für Deutsche Philosophie 14: 1–21. Rodríguez, S. 2005. ‘Mujeres Perversas. La Caricaturización Femenina Como Expresión de Poder Entre la Guerra Civil y el Franquismo’, Asparkía 16: 177–98. Sarría, A. 2006. ‘Sátira y Caricatura Desde el Exilio: en Torno a la Figura del General Franco’, in M.C. Chaput and M. Peleoille (eds), Humor y política en el mundo hispánico contemporáneo, pp. 77–98.

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Vázquez, E. 1959. Nuevas aventuras de Matilde, Perico y Periquín. Madrid: Ediciones Cid. ——. 2000. Matilde, Perico y Periquín. Madrid: Edaf. Vigara, A.M. 2006. ‘Sexo, Política y Subversión: El Chiste Popular en la Época Franquista’, Círculo de Lingüística Aplicada a la Comunicación (CLAC) 27: 7–25. Vincent, M. 2018. ‘La Masculinidad en la Construcción del Nacionalcatolicismo Después de la Guerra Civil’, in H. Gallego (ed.), Feminidades y Masculinidades en la Historiografía de Género. Granada: Comares, pp. 127–60. Weis, S.M. 2012. Cincuenta Años de Humor Nuevo: la Obra de Antonio de Lara Gavilán (1921–1971). Tesis doctoral: Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona.

Chapter 16

The Developmentalist Cinema of the Sixties and Seventies Archetypes of Gender and Social Change in the Paleto and Destape Phenomena María Dolores Ramos

¡ Discredited in certain periods, rescued and vindicated in others, humour occupies a privileged place in the interlinear scene that goes from graphic to text and from text to complicity where an ineffable synthesis is brought together that culminates in laughter. —Diana Raznovich, ‘El humor de las humoristas’

Francoism at the Crossroads: Tradition versus Modernization Even in dark times, humour can break down conventions, unmask hypocrisies and contribute to the formation of critical thought, creating a parallel universe located in the margins that is resistant and at times clandestine. Using graphic humour as a political strategy was an escape valve during Francoism (1939–75). Censorship and repression led to words and images acquiring different meanings according to people’s ability to decipher them (Ramos 1994: 735–36). The press legitimized the victors in the Spanish Civil War (1936–39): ‘Malaga, you are now free!, blue, the blue of the sky, the blue of the sea, the blue of our triumphant shirts!, blue forever.’1 Different covers, with phrases such as ‘God Save You, Caudillo!’ or ‘What Cannot Come Back’ (Arriba, 10 February 1937), alluding to the values of the losing side, reinforced the position adopted by the press. This informational stage had a double purpose: the rejection of the old politics and the construction of a new ideological and moral order. Although in the post-­war period there was little cause for laughter, irony would play an important role in the graphic press. The magazine La Codorniz (1941–78) is an example of a publication that engaged in the systematic

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mockery of established censorship (Prieto and Moreiro 1998). Perhaps it did so because, as Meri Torras indicates, although this mockery does not invite laughter, it internalizes it, bringing forth ‘on the exterior a round or outlined smile and a certain malicious shine in the eyes’ (2005: 62). The contrasts, the inversions, the complicities, the act of saying and not saying, and the presence of double and triple meanings in their cartoons bolstered the humorous magazines that questioned the opinions and life practices established by the regime. Hermano Lobo (1972–76), Por favor (1974–78), Barrabás (1972–77) and El Papus (1973–86) were, from the last years of Francoism, according to Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, ‘a critical vanguard equivalent to the one formed by Diderot, Voltaire, Rousseau or d’Alembert to take down the Old Regime’ (1985: 32). The arrival of Manuel Fraga Iribarne at the Ministry of Information and Tourism led to a limited process of liberalization brought about by the Press and Printing Law of 1966, which replaced the one enacted in 1938,2 and by other texts such as the Statute of Publicity (1964), the Statute for the Regulation of Publications for Children and Juvenile Readers (1967) and the Statute of the Journalistic Profession. The new law of 1966 abolished prior censorship, opened the way for private enterprise in the media and allowed the dissemination of certain news items that had previously been banned, but it entailed other drawbacks, such as advance deposit payments, the obligation to insert information from the General Press Office, the seizure of some publications and the imposition of economic sanctions. In the 1960s, news about development plans occupied a prominent place in the press, in which the international crisis was highlighted (‘France, Heading for Chaos’, SUR, 19 May 1968; ‘President Kennedy Thinks It Would Be a Mistake to Withdraw North American Troops in Vietnam’, La Vanguardia, 4  September 1963), in contrast to an ordered image of Spain: ‘University Unrest Failed’ (SUR, 1 April 1964), ‘XXV Years of Peace’ (SUR, 2  March 1965), ‘Today, Fundamental Laws Referendum. Yes to Franco’ (SUR, 14 December 1966), among other reports. Autarchy had given way to other economic, social and cultural realities. The departure of emigrants to ­Europe – e­ ighteen thousand Spaniards were working in Germany in 1 ­961 – a ­nd the arrival of tourists to the Mediterranean coasts were simultaneous processes (SUR, 28  February 1961). Fairs, parades, charity raffles and patriotic films coexisted with advertising cartoons, characters and situations associated with the comfort that should dominate daily life as a consequence of social change. Light furniture characterized by simple l­ines – ­the so-­called colonial s­ tyle – ­and household appliances


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purchased in instalments spoke to a functional home commensurate with the modern consumer society.3 Praise of modernity was expanded in the NO-DO,4 the press and advertising pages. Previously, the Law of Political, Professional and Labour Rights of Women (1961) had begun to feminize some workspaces, allowing single women to sign employment contracts, but not married women, who needed their husbands’ permission to access the workforce or to freely access their salary. Women’s remunerated work was legislated according to the needs of industrial capitalism, the criteria of consumer society, the high indices of emigration and the rise in tourism, but the prevailing ideology held that the  primary task of women was to care for the family and tend to the home. The magazine Ama (Housewife) (1959–89), sponsored by the Supermarkets Organization CAT,5 highlighted this objective: ‘To drive a car you need permission!, ­but . . . ­listen up! To run your house?’ (Ama, 1961, 37: 60).6 In its pages, readers found domestic schedules, economics lessons, weekly cleaning plans and questionnaires called ‘Ladies’ Examinations’ aimed at evaluating their domestic work and their abilities as mothers and wives (Álvarez Lacarta 2016: 117 and  124). The message could not be clearer: ‘without undervaluing future female architects and engineers, is it not more important to dedicate oneself to forming the men and women of the future?’ (Ama, 1961, 40: 20–21).7 The ‘philosophy of wellbeing’ was incorporated into advertising directed at mothers and wives, especially the new heroines balancing family and work life,8 thus the domestic new wave went hand in hand with the arrival of the first household appliances. The acquisition of an automatic Laundromat would give mothers time to make their little ones happier and to devote ‘that affectionate attention to their problems and their games’ (SUR, 2 November 1961). The gastronomic cravings of the most demanding husband could be satisfied with the Laster pressure cooker, essential for restoring ‘conjugal happiness’ (SUR, 5  November 1961). Little girls could dream of growing up to have a butane Far kitchen (Ama, 1960 21: 6). Having a small flat with a shower, living room and kitchen was considered a ‘luxury’ among the salaried middle classes and working population. In that ­space – ­one advertisement assured ­readers – ­one could place a Flex folding bed: ‘light and equipped with wheels for easy ­ movement . . . ­ Minimum space, but maximum comfort’ (SUR, 11 October 1961).9 The television, along with the refrigerator, sink and sub-­compact Seat 600 car, was one of the best examples of the growing consumer capacity of the Spanish population (Rincón 2014: 148).

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The humourist Miguel Gila popularized on radio and television the parody ‘Un piso tranquilo’ (A Tranquil Flat), in which he addressed the housing problem of the 1960s.10 In the sketch, the new owner of a small flat is overjoyed as he talks on the telephone with his friend Federico. Located in a remote suburb without public transportation, the neighbours have to travel there in their own cars or by taxi, or ‘board a train and jump off’, with the complicity of the engineer, who, forewarned of the problem, slows down as he passes through the neighbourhood. All kinds of noises can be heard in the ‘tranquil flat’ day and night because of its ‘paper walls’ (the bangs of a bowling alley, the inconsolable crying of a baby, domestic quarrels and the impassioned rehearsals of an opera singer and a trumpeter). Financed by a deposit of one hundred thousand pesetas and a payment plan of eight hundred ­instalments – ­that is, almost a century’s worth of p ­ ayments – ­its size is meagre: it has only a modern washbasin and no bath, a small ­kitchen – ­with the capacity to fry an ­egg – ­and a bedroom in which the bed has to be moved in order to close the door. Leaning out the window over the inner courtyard carries the danger of bumping heads with the neighbour opposite. Everything is miniscule, esperpéntico.11 Suddenly, the noise of the bowling alley, the baby’s crying, the domestic row and the musicians’ rehearsal get louder, all at once, leading to an outrageous situation: ‘Federico, I’m going to a hotel to sleep. I’ll call you from there.’12

Spanish Cinema in the Sixties and Seventies: Paletos, Chachas and Destape In this Spain, immersed in the mystique of social change and economic development, the arrival of José María García Escudero at the General Directorate of Cinematography in 1962 helped to usher in a new era in the history of Spanish celluloid. Under the protection of legislation, subsidies and the opening of the Escuela Oficial de Cinematografía de Madrid (Official School of Cinematography of Madrid) and the Escuela de Cine de Barcelona (School of Cinema of Barcelona), this new era was characterized by the production of important films dealing with significant contemporary themes: Los felices 60 (The Happy Sixties) (Jaime Camino, 1963), Nunca pasa nada (Nothing Ever Happens) (Juan Antonio Bardem, 1963), La niña de luto (The Girl in Mourning) (Manuel Summers, 1964) and El verdugo (The Executioner) (Luis García Berlanga, 1963). These films are good examples of the black humour that had already triumphed in the films of the duo Marco


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Ferreri and Rafael Azcona: El pisito (The Little Apartment), a critical look at the housing problem, and El cochecito (The Little Coach), the story of an old man willing to do anything, including poisoning his relatives, in order to get his longed-­for wheelchair.13 At the same time, more commercial cinema triumphed, achieving great public and box-­ office success. Emigration and the adoption of new customs were reflected in the celluloid ‘dream factory’, making way for modern feminine archetypes. This can be seen, for example, in Detective con faldas (The Detective in a Skirt) (Ricardo Núñez, 1961), Escuela de seductoras (School of Seductresses) (León Klimovsky, 1962), Los derechos de la mujer (Women’s Rights) (Saénz de Heredia, 1962), ¡Arriba las mujeres! (Up with Women!) (Julio Salvador, 1965) and Julieta engaña a Romeo (Juliet Cheats on Romeo) (José María Zabalza, 1965). These films and the more serious ones mentioned above coexisted during those years with propagandistic cinema, the best example of which is the documentary feature film Franco, ese hombre (Franco, That Man) (Saénz de Heredia 1964), shot to commemorate the twenty-­five years of peace under the dictatorship. Because of its propagandistic nature, the film showed, among other aspects of the Caudillo, his kindly grandfatherly side and his great hunting and fishing skills. The so-­called ‘cine de paletos’ (paleto cinema) (1960–75) focused on the mishaps of people of rural, coarse and displaced origins (‘paletos’ in Spanish), who arrived in the cities and, through their language, gestures and conspicuous manners, highlighted contradictions between the rhetoric of what was old and the symbols, myths and miracles of a new collective imaginary that was under construction. This tension made the public laugh in the screening rooms. One such film, La gran familia (The Great Family) (Fernando Palacios 1962), recounts the adventures of a married couple, their fifteen c­ hildren – a ­ n indication of the regime’s n ­ atalism – a ­ nd the grandfather (played by the actor Pepe Isbert), who are determined to continue the family consumption patterns of the 1960s based on the father’s moonlighting and the meagre pension of the grandfather, which was used to buy comics, sweets and movie tickets. But it is the film La ciudad no es para mí (City Life Is Not for Me) (Pedro Lazaga 1966; figure 16.1) that consecrates the cinematographic subgenre relating to paletismo and development. It tells the story of an elderly Aragonese man, Agustín Valverde, who leaves behind his village of Calacierva to settle in Madrid with his doctor son, his daughter-­ in-­law and his granddaughter. In the opening moments, a voiceover describes the great city while stills and figures relating to its population (over two and a half million), number of vehicles, births, weddings,

Developmentalist Cinema


Figure 16.1  La ciudad no es para mí (City Life Is Not for Me), dir. Pedro Lazaga (1966). Movie poster.

deaths and other information are shown: ‘Many banks! Mountains of homes under construction! Tons of pharmacies! Kilometres of blue zone!’ and thousands of fines, ‘too many fines!’ (Rincón 2014: 149).14 Calacierva, in contrast, is a village of scarcely a thousand inhabitants, lost on the map, ignored by tourism and attached to traditional values, a place where it seems that nothing ever happens, but where things like the arrival of the television and prospecting for oil do occur (Rincón 2014: 169 and 173; Romo 2017: 9). The paleto, played by Paco Martínez Soria, a cinema and theatre actor who specialized in such roles, arrives in Madrid wearing a beret and carrying a wooden suitcase and a basket containing a pair of live chickens, several sausages and a large framed portrait of his late wife


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(Gracia 2002). As if this mise en scène were not enough, the peasant spirit is made evident again when Agustín tries to run a red light and is given a warning by the traffic policeman. The attire, the gestures, the words imbued with double meanings and the grimaces of both characters help to identify underdevelopment and clumsiness:15 Policeman: ‘Get out of the way, you fool! Can’t you see it [the traffic light] is red?’ Grandfather: ‘My mother! (touching his face) Red? Well, isn’t it because you startled me?’ Policeman: ‘Go back to your seat and don’t move until it turns green!’ Grandfather: ‘Green. Who?’ Policeman: ‘The green disk, the little green disk! These chicken tourists . . .’ Grandfather: ‘Ok, ok, o ­ k . . . ­Listen, officer sir, those from my village, when do we go, then?’ Policeman: ‘When it turns green!’ Grandfather: ‘Green? Black [from being burnt out and fed up] is what I’m about to see.’ Policeman: ‘Now, man, right now, come here!’ Grandfather: ‘Now what?’ Policeman: ‘Come here!’ Grandfather: ‘This one’s got it in for me/had it with me!’ Policeman: ‘Hurry up, man, here!’ Grandfather: ‘I’m coming, I’m coming, I’m coming . . .’16

Having overcome this first obstacle, the old man will have to face other problems that arise because of his difficulties finding his way in the supermarket, steering the shopping trolley without hitting anyone and operating the telephone. These experiences are presented as representative of the interior, agricultural Spain, trapped in slow-­moving time and knowledge that does not apply to the rush, mobility and changes of the big city. But nothing is linear. ‘Signifieds and signifiers break their traditional correspondence by linking objects, values and norms, as in the case of the Arenosillo rocket, which requires the blessing of the relevant bishop, or the official beginning of television broadcasts, [preceded] by the well-­known Mass before the image of Santa Clara, patron saint of Spanish Television’ (Romo 2017: 91). In this cultural context, the radio (with its agony aunt and its song dedications) and the television are mixed as manifestations of the new popular culture. Without breaking ties with the past, Operación Sonrisa (Operation Smile) sought to be ‘cheerful to make others happy’ (SUR, 19 August 1966), which corresponds to the role of self-­sacrificing Spanish women.

Developmentalist Cinema


The female archetypes in the film La ciudad no es para mí (City Life Is Not for Me) are a reflection of that which is new. Luchy, Agustín’s daughter-­in-­law, had been a seamstress before she married the bumpkin’s son, a famous doctor (played by the actor Eduardo Fajardo) practising his profession in Madrid. Luchy is very well connected, attentive to her image and fashion, and a compulsive consumer of products that she considers indispensable for highlighting her beauty, reinforcing her femininity and seducing: jewellery, creams, perfumes, dresses and other accessories. Addicted to visibility, her life revolves around card games (bridge or canasta), visits to boutiques and hairdressers, and the organization of clothing drives and lotteries for the poor (Rincón 2014: 229). Her standards of conduct are justified, as Betty Friedan affirms in The Feminine Mystique (1963), by the professional and social success of her husband. Her role is that of women from wealthy classes who live in comfortable homes with landscaped gardens in residential neighbourhoods, but who lack their own purpose in life. That existential void gave rise to the ‘problem that has no name’, a set of depressive and other pathologies that resulted in physicians’ offices being filled with female patients. Luchy, whose marriage is in crisis and who has a physician suitor (played by the actor Sancho Gracia) younger than her husband, believes that the arrival of her father-­in-­law will only cause her problems. Indeed, although her friends are amused by the old man’s ­manners – ­he is ‘like a character from an old farce’ – he soon reveals his daughter-­in-­law’s humble origins: ‘She was a seamstress in the village, and she worked so hard! She was the prettiest, but her family went h ­ ungry . . . ­Her father was not an engineer but a cobbler who repaired shoes’ (AISGE, 24 February 2015; Rincón 2014: 170 and 176).17 Luchy’s lifestyle is emulated by her daughter Sara (played by the actress Cristina Galbó), a lovely carefree young girl who only wants to go to parties, flirt with boys, follow fashion trends, listen to music, dance and have fun, in keeping with the upper-­middle-­class ye-ye girl archetype. Her life passes from one frivolity to the next, in accordance with that of the señorita estupenda (wonderful young lady) who is seen at cafés, discos, swimming pools, beaches and other places of leisure (La Codorniz, 1 March 1964). The maid, Filo, is a woman with a strong personality and a shrill voice who immediately empathizes with the bumpkin grandfather. She tells him about his son’s excessive dedication to work, his meetings and trips, Luchy’s comings and goings, her young suitor and his granddaughter’s idleness. She is played by Gracita Morales, an expert in this type of supporting role and in leading roles in films such as Chica para todo (A Girl for Everything) (Mariano Ozores 1963; figure


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16.2) and Hoy como ayer (Today as Yesterday) (Mariano Ozores 1966). In the latter, she plays Basilisa, a domestic employee whose work requirements turn the world upside down: she will not work in a house if there is no television on which she can keep up with the series she follows.18 In La ciudad no es para mí (City Life is Not for Me), Filo, pregnant by her boyfriend Genaro, experiences many ups and downs related to her pregnancy until, through the mediation of the elderly Agustín, the couple marries, thus restoring the sexual and moral order that were supposedly in jeopardy. The cinematographic portrayal of domestic service during the years 1939–59 is a faithful reflection of the paternalistic and classist point of view whereby every maid was a labourer without a fixed schedule, working in exchange for a roof over her head, food and a small monetary allowance. However, this way of understanding the work done by the chachas19 was destined to change in the sixties (De Dios 2018). The comic-­strip series ‘Petra, criada para todo’ (Petra, Maid for Everything), published by Escobar in the magazine Pulgarcito from 1954, dealt with the problems experienced by such employees. In the comic strip, Petra is dressed in a black uniform that contrasts with the white colour of her cap and apron. Her most striking traits are her nose, her short boyish hair and her stutter, which surfaces in moments of nervousness. She works as a maid for Doña Patro, a large, blonde spinster who is bossy, irascible and demanding. The two have a tense relationship because of Petra’s absent-­mindedness and Doña Patro’s exaggerated pretensions (Guiral and Soldevilla 2008), which served to humorously communicate to the public the need to introduce changes in this labour sector. And this was indeed what happened. Maids, hosted at the Montepío Doméstico (Domestic Assistance Fund), developed their first collective demands in 1959. In short, La ciudad no es para mí (City Life Is Not for Me) represents the contradictions between modern and traditional ways of life, revealing moral fissures that are ultimately resolved in alignment with the traditional ways. The grandfather Agustín prepares to restore family order in Madrid, retraining his son and daughter-­in-­law, who resolve their marital problems; the conduct of his granddaughter, who adopts a more serious and constructive attitude; and the situation of Filo, who marries Genaro. The grandfather returns to his village, where he receives a warm welcome from his countrymen. The folk song that they sing in his honour says it all: ‘The city’s for those who like it, but is it like the village? No way!’ (Rincón 2014: 171).20 One of the most striking features of the cinematic narrative of the 1960s and 1970s is the onscreen presence of the female body as an

Developmentalist Cinema

Figure 16.2  Chica para todo (A Girl for Everything), dir. Mariano Ozores (1963). Movie poster.



María Dolores Ramos

object that is available to male heterosexual desire. This fact sparked the phenomenon of destape (‘uncovering’ or ‘nudity’) in Spanish society, in which sexual appetite had been repressed, at best through chaste, brotherly kisses, as per the paso doble,21 masses, prayers, penances, and, at worst, through punishments, flagellations and terrible warnings about eternal hellish condemnations. All of this, as well as other things, like tight corsets, girdles and slips, prevented men, including husbands, from contemplating even the navels of Spanish women (Torras 2005: 77). Tourism broke this trend through the arrival on the Mediterranean coast of a new female archetype, the Swedish woman, a term that was applied generically to all foreign women, whether they were Swedish, German, British or Dutch. These women were, in general, tall, blonde, clear-­eyed, independent and addicted to bikinis and flings. Clothing did not much matter to them: ‘They walked around half naked, and although they might dress up to go to a nightclub, they would immediately shed their clothes as soon as they returned’ (Millán 2002: 5 and 12).22 Dancing in the discos until dawn and sexual encounters became the new social rites of the developmentalist period. In that context, the macho ibérico (Iberian male) was to become a representative of genuine Spanish masculinity, as opposed to other softer conceptions of virility, labelled as ‘effeminate’ or ‘homosexual’ and ascribed to ye-yes, hippies, beatniks and pacifists, despite the fact that these groups advocated the practice of free love. The figure of the Latin lover gained prominence in destape cinema, the narratives of which were typically based on an erotic triangle formed by the Rodríguez, frequently a husband separated by circumstances from his family, the Swedish woman or foreigner and the sacrificed wife. These stereotyped characters gave rise to landismo, a term applied to comedies of entanglement based on a light-­hearted, Spanish-­ style sexuality. Featuring actors such as Alfredo Landa, José Luis López Vázquez, Andrés Pajares, Antonio Ozores and José Sacristán during the last years of Francoism and the transition to democracy, such comedies were produced on a low budget and were enormously popular, selling millions of tickets. Seeing repressed sexual braggarts on screen who were focused on hunting down foreign tourists in Torremolinos, Benidorm, Cadaqués, Ibiza and other coastal towns provoked laughter in audiences. Usually ugly, short, chubby and clumsier than expected in bed, such men were the stereotype of the average Spaniard who aroused Swedish women’s interest with lewd looks and compliments, while taller and stronger men went unnoticed on the beaches. The new national epic had sexual overtones. Actresses such as Nadiuska and Mirta Miller played the roles of

Developmentalist Cinema


curvaceous and half-­naked women, becoming erotic myths of destape cinema. One of the first landismo productions was 40 grados a la sombra (100 Degrees in the Shade) (Mariano Ozores 1967), a film that inaugurated the plot and visual pattern of these cinematographic comedies. The film tells three stories centred on the erotic adventures of three vacationing men, played by Alfredo Landa, José Luis López Vázquez and Antonio Ozores, who escape the marital routine during summer break by seeking sexual thrills with foreign women. However, once their adventures are over, fearful of the potential cost of their donjuanismo (a ‘Don Juan’ is a womanizer),23 the three skirt-­chasers return to the conjugal order (Fotogramas, 29  May 2008). The film No desearás al vecino del Quinto (Thou Shalt Not Want the Fifth Floor Neighbour) (Ramón Fernández 1970; figure 16.3), also starring Landa, set a box-­ office record of over four million viewers and one hundred million pesetas, surpassing the record set by La ciudad no es para mí (City Life Is Not for Me), which had premiered four years earlier. In spite of the problems caused by Franco’s censorship, this film pioneered a cinematographic subgenre based on adultery, sexual misunderstandings involving supposedly effeminate men who were not so, solid women in undergarments or bikinis and an abundance of clichés: bulls, flamenco parties and gallantry not without racial coarseness (Fotogramas 29 May 2008). The intention of all of this was to imprint Spain Is Different on the imagination. No desearás al vecino del Quinto (Thou Shalt Not Want the Fifth Floor Neighbour), the highest-­earning film of Hispanic cinema until Torrente 2. Misión en Marbella (Torrent 2: Mission in Marbella) (Santiago Segura 2001), delves into the phenomena of nudism and voyeurism. The installation of a telescope allows two womanizers on call, the gynaecologist Pedro Andreu (played by Jean Sorel), stripped of his white coat, of course, and the seemingly effeminate dressmaker Antón Gutiérrez (Alfredo Landa), to gauge the value of European flight attendants like game. The humour takes on homosexual overtones in a scene in which things are not as they seem, since Antón has an extensive heterosexual erotic résumé (Rincón 2014: 269). In short, the film depicts the obsessions of the Spanish population in the 1960s and ­1970s – m ­ oney, sex, freedom and ­modernity – ­bringing to light the limits of permissiveness at the time. Una vez al año ser hippy no hace daño (Being a Hippy Once a Year Isn’t Harmful) (Aguirre Fernández, 1969), Aunque la hormona se vista de seda (Even if Hormones Wear Silk) (Vicente Escrivá, 1971), Vente a ligar al Oeste (Get a Girl Out West) (Pedro Lazaga, 1972) and Lo verde empieza en los Pirineos (Smut Starts at the Pyrenees) (Vicente Escrivá,


María Dolores Ramos

Figure 16.3  No desearás al vecino del Quinto (Thou Shalt Not Want the Fifth Floor Neighbour), dir. Ramón Fernández (1970). Movie poster.

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1973) were other films that succeeded by caricaturing the new. Typical components include sexual repression, the macho and homophobic gaze of the male characters and the patience and persuasiveness of female characters who redirect the deviant conduct of the Iberian male. In general terms, the cinematographic construction of femininity reflected the mechanisms of oppression and objectification that women suffered during the last years of Francoism. The gaze centred on the female body as an object of desire was intended to cater to the visual pleasure of the heterosexual man. In this sense, the filmic discourse helped to model social and cultural realities, influencing public opinions, values and experiences, which assumed that adultery and womanizing, whether occasional or systematic, were a constant of male sexual behaviour (Castro García 2009: 17; Rincón 2014: 288). In the years between Franco’s death (1975) and 1982, about a thousand films were shot in Spain (Castro García 2009: 13). Although their narrative structure and cinematographic language are related to those of films produced in previous years, their novelty lies in the fact that the destape carried out in the 1960s by foreign tourists now extends to Spanish women within the context of the feminist movement’s demands, which included sexual freedom and the decriminalization of adultery, contraceptives and abortion. Undoubtedly, social changes affected the representation of women as sexual beings, without questioning their honour or decency. The first completely nude depiction of a Spanish actress was of María José Cantudo in the film La trastienda (The Back Room) (Jorge Grau 1975). The brief stills of her reflection in the mirror showed that Spanish women were as capable as Europeans of displaying their entire body, marking a before and after in the history of national cinema. Nevertheless, and despite the fact that these were times when many rules were broken, the scandal affected the actress: ‘Después de rodar la escena, pasé tres días llorando’ (After shooting the scene, I spent three days crying) (Barna 2009: 341). But the path was already laid out. This film was followed by Adulterio a la Española (Adultery Spanish Style) (Arturo Marcos 1976), which recounts several male and female marital infidelities, thereby addressing the sexualization of women as lovers. In the first frames, a voiceover comments on the realities of the bullfighting world, warning the audience: ‘Outside the ring there are also many confrontations with these protrusions. Horns are well-­known by men and women everywhere’ (Rincón 2014: 287).24 The remark relies on a very common style of humour centred on sexual performance that is employed in conversations, jokes, comic strips, literary works and film productions. Another film, Cambio de sexo (Sex Change) (Vicente Aranda 1977), enters into territories that


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were previously unexplored on Spanish screens. It tells the story of José María, a young man trapped in a male body who fights to assert his true identity. Having become a ballerina, on the day of his debut, he addresses the audience: ‘Don’t say or comment about what I am; not even I know.’25 However, after an unpleasant experience, he returns to his father’s home, accepting the condition that his family imposes: ‘no more double life’ (nada de dobles vidas) (Rincón 2014: 310). Destape, premarital sex, adultery, homosexuality and sex changes are signs that Spain had left the dictatorship behind and that the winds of freedom and democracy were blowing not only in public and private spaces but also in relation to one’s own body. Speaking of destapes, from another perspective, Ocaña. Retrato intermitente (Ocaña: A Flickering Portrait) (Ventura Pons 1978) is a film about the Andalusian painter José Pérez Ocaña, who was based in Barcelona. He was a transvestite and an irreverent lover of freedom who was determined to undress himself, materially and symbolically, and to denounce before the camera the stigmatization suffered by ‘different’ bodies (Rincón 2014: 312). The plot, based on his own life, and the plots of many other films, including those commented on in this chapter, speak to the sociocultural changes experienced in Spain during the sixties and seventies.

By Way of Reflection Humour is present in all societies, including in the most critical moments of their history, and has nuances associated with social class, age, race, gender and political regimes. In the m ­ edia – ­radio, newspapers, graphic magazines, television and c­ inema – ­it is present in advertisements, opinion pieces, jokes, comic strips and films. Thus, the comic, at times ridiculous, side of reality was reflected in the publicity of the developmentalist period, paleto cinema and destape cinema, expressing the contradictions of the time, the tensions between the old and the new, and inviting the complicity of the audience. The play on words in the opening scenes of La ciudad no es para mí (The City Is Not for Me), the stereotyping of the characters, the situations, which are stretched at times to their limits, and the satire typical of destape cinema – Rodríguez, Swedish women, long-­suffering wives and maids for e­ verything – ­show that humorous comedies serve as a pedagogical tool for understanding the disparate realities of the developmentalist model and the transformations of Spanish society in the 1960s and 1970s. Such comedies disseminate archetypes, discourses

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and experiences, provoke laughter, and supplement individual and collective humour with social and political overtones, keeping pace with the progress of developmentalist change. Let us remember that, although the radio, press, television and cinema are part of a cultural industry that privileged ideological indoctrination from the top down under the Francoist regime, numerous cracks appeared in the spaces inhabited by a plurality of forces that moved between complicity and resistance. María Dolores Ramos is Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Malaga and a specialist in gender history. She currently researches the relationship between feminisms and political cultures. Her latest published books include Mujeres iberoamericanas y derechos humanos. Experiencias feministas, acción política y exilios (Athenaica, 2016), Biografías, identidades y representaciones femeninas. Una cita con la historia (Libros Pórtico, 2019) and Anselmo Lorenzo. Justo Vives. Una novela para el pueblo. Primer testimonio de la literatura obrerista en España (Comares, 2021). She has been awarded the Díaz del Moral Social History Prize, the Emilia Pardo Bazán National Prize and the Meridiana Prize of the Junta de Andalucía.

Notes María Dolores Ramos is a member of the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’ (Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today; HAR2017-­84635-­P) financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.  1. The metaphor refers to the distinctive colour of the shirt worn by the Falangists, the militants of the single party. Blue was the colour of victory in the rigid division of the world that emerged from the struggle and that was exacerbated peace. The other shirt, the wrong one, was dyed red and represented the defeated. For a long time, the colour red could be used to silence, repress, arrest, judge and shoot, in the name of a blue god and a blue nation (Ramos and Pereira 1996: 124–26).   ‘¡Málaga, ya eres libre!, azul, azul de cielo, azul de mar, azul de nuestras camisas triunfales!, azul para siempre . . .’   2. The Press Law of 1938, the brainchild of Ramón Serrano Suñer, Franco’s brother-­in-­law, turned journalism into an institution that was at the service of the state. It imposed prior censorship, the appointment of newspaper directors from the Ministry of the Interior and sanctions for deviating from established norms.


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  3. The Development Plans (1964–75) were characterized by a high level of state control, promoted migratory flow to the cities, created industrial centres, liberalized exports and encouraged foreign investment in Spain.  4. NO-DO was a weekly news broadcast in Spanish cinemas prior to film screenings during the years 1942–81.   5. CAT: General Station of Supply and Transport. Within the development framework, supermarkets took off, as in other European states. Their number exceeded two hundred in 1960.   6. ‘¡Para conducir un coche Ud. necesita un permiso!, pero . . . ¡Atención! ¿Y para conducir su casa?’   7. ‘Sin menospreciar a las futuras arquitectas e ingenieras, ¿no es más importante dedicarse a formar a los hombres y mujeres del futuro?’   8. According to the FOESSA report (1970), the active female labour force in Spain increased from 18.2 per cent in 1960 to 24.4 per cent in 1970. The hotel industry was one of the most feminized sectors as a result of the tourism boom.   9. ‘ligero y dotado de ruedas para su fácil ­traslado . . . ­Mínimo espacio, pero máximo confort.’ 10. The Instituto Nacional de la Vivienda (National Institute of Housing) was created with the aim of providing ‘hygienic and happy housing for the humble classes’ (BOE [Boletín Oficial del Estado], 20  April 1939). The houses, made identifiable by the Falangist symbol of the yoke and arrows on their doors, were covered by different regimens of official protection. But only 7.7 per cent of them were considered ‘comfortable’ (Instituto Nacional de la Vivienda 1969). 11. Ramón del Valle Inclán conceived of esperpento, a new way of looking at ‘all the miserable life in Spain’, in the Callejón del Gato, a narrow pedestrian street located in the centre of Madrid, famous for the flat, spherical, concave and convex mirrors of a commercial establishment where people used to go to look and laugh at themselves (El País, 26 February 2008). 12. There are several versions of the sketch on YouTube, for example: https://​ 13. Previous censorship gave way to foreign films, film clubs screened forbidden films and subsidies served to promote films that promoted ‘relevant moral, social, educational or political values’ and facilitated the incorporation of graduates of the Escuela Oficial de Cinematografía (Official School of Cinematography) into professional life (Torres 1973: 32). 14. ‘¡Muchos bancos!, ¡montañas de casas en construcción!, ¡toneladas de farmacias!, ¡kilómetros de zona azul!’/‘¡demasiadas multas!’. 15. La ciudad no es para mí (City Life Is Not for Me) (1966). The scene on YouTube: 16. Guardia: ‘¡Quítese de ahí, chalao!, ¿no ve que [el semáforo] está colorao?’/ Abuelo: ‘¡Mi madre! (tocándose la cara) ¿Colorao? ¿Pues no será del susto?’/ Guardia: ‘¡Vuelva a su sitio y no se mueva hasta que se ponga verde!’/ Abuelo: Verde, ‘¿Quién?’/Guardia: ‘¡El disco verde, el disquito verde! Estos turistas de pollo . . .’/Abuelo: ‘Ya, ya, y ­ a . . . ­Oiga, señor guardia, los de mi

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pueblo, cuándo pasamos, pues?’/Guardia: ‘¡Cuando esté verde!’/Abuelo: ¿Verde? Negro es lo que estoy de verlo a usted’/Guardia: ‘¡Ahora, hombre, ahora, venga aquí!’/Abuelo: ‘Ahora, ¿qué?’/Guardia: ‘¡Venga aquí!’/Abuelo: ‘¡Este la tiene tomá conmigo!’/Guardia: ‘¡De prisa, hombre, aquí!’/Abuelo: ‘Ya voy, ya voy, ya voy . . .’ 17. ‘Fue modista en el pueblo, ¡cuánto trabajaba! Era la más guapa, pero en su familia pasaban más h ­ ambre . . . ­Su padre no era ingeniero, sino zapatero remendón.’ 18. ‘Bonanza, on Sundays before going out, on Saturdays the evening program, if there’s some football yours truly watches the entire match, and the newscast, which I’m nuts about . . . [As for salary] two thousand five hundred a month, and good will’ (Bonanza, los domingos antes de salir, los sábados el programa de noche, si hay algo de fútbol servidora lo ve entero, y el telediario, que me chifla . . . [De salario] dos mil quinientas al mes, y la voluntad); ‘[free access to the family car on Sundays] because I, like everyone, have a driver’s licence. Waxing the floor, no way! Oh, and all the coffee I want to drink, since this humble servant has low blood pressure and if I don’t drink coffee every two hours, I can’t lift a finger!’ ([disponibilidad del coche familiar los domingos] porque yo, como todo el mundo, tengo carné de conducir. De cera en el piso ¡ni pum! ¡Ay, y todo el café que quiera tomar, que servidora es baja de tensión y si no tomo café cada dos horitas, ¡no doy golpe!) (Rincón 2014: 204). 19. Colloquial derivation of the word ‘girl’, synonymous with domestic servant. 20. ‘¡Baturrico, baturrico! La ciudad para quien le guste, que como el pueblo ¡ni hablar!’ ‘Baturrico’: ‘Affectionate diminutive applied to the rustic Aragonese man.’ 21. El beso (The Kiss), paso doble performed by Manolo Escobar and other singers, from Paquita Rico to, quite recently, Chenoa. 22. ‘Andaban medio desnudas y aunque se vistieran para irse de sarao nocturno enseguida volvían a desnudarse.’ 23. The term derives from Don Juan Tenorio, the character of the famous play of the same name written by José Zorrilla (1844). 24. ‘Fuera de los ruedos también hay muchos enfrentamientos con estas prominencias. Los cuernos son muy conocidos por hombres y mujeres de todo el mundo.’ 25. ‘no digáis, ni comentéis lo que yo soy, ni yo misma lo sé.’

References Álvarez Lacarta, María Carmen. 2015. ‘Evolución del papel de la mujer en la sociedad española a través de Ama (1959–1989): Del franquismo a la Transición Democrática’, PhD dissertation. Zaragoza: Universidad de Zaragoza.


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Álvarez Uría, Amaia, Raquel Platero Méndez and María Rosón Villena. 2014. ‘El estilo de la carne en Maikrux y Falete: feminidad, humor y agencia’, in G. Ángela Mura and Leonor Ruiz Gurillo (eds), Género y humor en discursos de mujeres y hombres. Alicante: Instituto Universitario de Investigación de Estudios de Género, pp. 143–62. Barba, David. 2009. 100 españoles y el sexo. Barcelona: Random House. Caparrós, José María. 1992. El cine español de la democracia: De la muerte de Franco al “cambio” socialista (1975–1982). Barcelona: Anthropos. Castro García, Amanda. 2009. La representación de la mujer en el cine español de la Transición (1973–1982). Oviedo: KRK Ediciones. De Dios Fernández, Eider. 2019. Sirvienta, empleada, trabajadora de hogar: Género, clase e identidad en el franquismo (1939–1995). Malaga: UMA Editorial, Colección Atenea-­Estudios de Género. De Simone, Simone. 2005. El segundo sexo. Madrid: Cátedra. Díaz, Lorenzo. 1999. La España alegre: Ocio y diversión en el siglo XX. Madrid: Espasa-­Calpe. Escobar, Luis. 2009. Petra, criada para todo. Barcelona: RBA. Edición Especial para Coleccionista. Friedan, Betty. 2009. La mística de la feminidad. Madrid: Cátedra. Gracia, Julio (ed.). 2002. Paco Martínez Soria: actor con mayúsculas. Tarazona: Ayuntamiento de Tarazona. Gracia García, Jordi, and Miguel Ángel Ruiz Carnicer. 2001. La España de Franco (1939–1975). Cultura y vida cotidiana. Madrid: Síntesis. Gubern, Román, et al. 1995. Historia del cine español. Madrid: Cátedra. Instituto Nacional de la Vivienda. 1969. Criterios de política de vivienda. Madrid: Ministerio de la Vivienda. Kaplan, E. Ann. 1983. Las mujeres y el cine: A ambos lados de la cámara. Madrid: Cátedra. Mura, G. Ángela, and Leonor Ruiz Gurillo (eds). 2014. Género y humor en discursos de mujeres y hombres. Alicante: Instituto Universitario de Investigación de Estudios de Género. Prieto, Melquiades, and Julián Moreiro (ed.). 1998. La Codorniz. Antología, 1941–1978. Madrid: Edaf. Ramos, María Dolores. 1994. ‘La prensa como espejo: De la beligerancia primera al discurso del desarrollo y la modernidad. SUR (1937–1961)’, in María Teresa Aubach (ed.), Comunicación y pluralismo. Salamanca: Universidad Pontificia, pp. 735–42. Ramos, María Dolores, and Francisco Javier Pereira. 1996. ‘El matrimonio del cielo y el infierno: Una alegoría de la vida cotidiana en el franquismo (1937–1952)’, in Concha Campos Luque and María José González Castillejo (eds), Mujeres y Dictaduras en Europa y América: el largo camino. Malaga: Universidad de Málaga, Colección Atenea-­ Estudios sobre la Mujer, pp. 123–47. Raznovich, Diana. 2005. ‘El humor de las humoristas’, in Juncal Caballero, Begoña García and Ana Giménez (eds), Humor y mujeres: ¿lo pillas? Castelló: Publicacions de la Universitat Jaume I, pp. 15–22.

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Rey-­Reguillo, Antonia del. 2007. Cine, imaginario y turismo: Estrategias de seducción. Valencia: Tirant lo Blanch. Rincón, Aintzane. 2014. Representaciones de género en el cine español (1939– 1982): figuras y fisuras. Madrid: Centro de Estudios Constitucionales y Universidade de Santiago de Compostela. Riviére, Margarita. 1992. Lo cursi y el poder de la moda. Madrid: Espasa-­Calpe. Romo Parra, Carmen. 2017. El extraño viaje hacia el progresso: Discurso sobre la cotidianeidad e identidades femeninas durante el desarrollismo franquista. Seville: Athenaica. Ruiz Franco, Rosario. 2007. ¿Eternas menores? Las mujeres en el franquismo. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva Sopeña Monsalve, Andrés. 1996. La morena de la copla: La condición de la mujer en el reciente pasado. Barcelona: Crítica, Grijalbo-­Mondadori. Torras, Meri. 2005. ‘Sonrisas que no son risas: El humor particular de la ironía y la parodia’, in Juncal Caballero, Begoña García and Ana Giménez (eds), Humor y mujeres: ¿lo pillas? Castelló: Publicacions de la Universitat Jaume I, pp. 61–73. Torres, Augusto M. 1973. Cine español: Años sesenta. Barcelona: Anagrama, Vázquez Montalbán, Manuel. 1985. Crónica sentimental de la Transición. Barcelona: Planeta. Villán, Javier. 2002. Y vinieron las suecas: Tránsitos y lujurias en los años sesenta. Madrid: Akal.

Chapter 17

Sex, Truths and Viral Tapes The Transformation of Spanish Female Humour in the Digital Age Natalia Meléndez Malavé

¡ Introduction Spain is one of the countries in which the vindication of women’s role in society in recent years has been experienced in a more significant way, as evidenced by the effect of the 8M celebrations and especially the follow-­ up of the feminist strikes in 2018 and 2019. However, despite Spanish women’s increasingly widespread conquest of the public sphere, their participation in the communicative field of comedy still lags somewhat behind their participation in other environments. While professional women humourists such as writers of comedy for film and television in the United States have attained genuine celebrity status, taking the reins of their careers and leading their own projects, it is only very recently that Spanish female comedians’ voices have started to be recogn ized. Moreover, these voices have been characterized in recent times by their ability to create, as we will see, ground-­breaking discourses through humour, which have remained unpublished until now. To a large extent, this is due not only to the demand for equality in Spain, but also to the advent of new digital media that facilitate direct broadcasting, giving creators the freedom of not having to depend on large investment and therefore allowing for a relationship with the public without intermediaries, a relationship that no longer has to be in the mainstream and on mass media for the initiatives to be successful. Thus, this work does not intend to discuss the existence of ‘women’s humour’ in opposition to that produced by men. From the moment this identification is made, the experience of comedy and our relationship with it is coloured by our adoption and experiencing of the role of woman or man, with certain behaviours being expected as a result of this role. According to Delia Chiaro and Raffaella Baccolini (2014),

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‘Gender conditions the most minute details of our lives, possibly more than our age, our social background, and our ethnicity, and, thus, it stands to reason that the way we “do” humor, the way we receive humor, and perhaps even our sense of humor may also, in some way, be accordingly gendered’ (15). Nor do we intend to exclusively discuss feminist humour solely based on it being the work of women, although we will discuss it briefly. As the cartoonist Flavita Banana rightly claims: ‘I am a cartoonist and I am a f­ eminist . . . ­but I am quite convinced that the greengrocer whose shop is below my house is also a feminist. And the sign on her shop does not say “the feminist fruit stand”. Feminism, when it is taken as product, is looking at the finger and not the moon’ (Alpañés 2019).1 In any case, although originally applied to feminist cartoons, we will employ the categorization proposed by Mara González (2018): classic humour (based on the usual topics such as the war of the sexes, marital scenarios or confessions between friends) and transgressive humour (in which ‘satire pierces the canon with its sharp arrows and approaches queer theory and the vindication of alternative sexuality’).2 We maintain that the humorous production of women can be historically analysed using this classification, with the great past representatives of the gender undoubtedly being more inclined to fall into the first of these categories, identified as ‘classic humour’. But this propensity for classic humour seems, as we will try to show, more motivated by a ‘survival mechanism’ helping them to fit in with the predominant comic current that was reserved for them as women in an environment that could be described as hostile. Recently, however, humour produced by women has been undergoing a transformation because of the diversity of new authors, as well as the diversity of topics, how the work is shown and attitudes. This is partly explained, as Gabriela Borges et al. (2018) state, by the fact that ‘[a] lthough women authors do not yet occupy an equal space in institutionalized areas, such as bookstores and awards, they nevertheless continue creating their own means of self-­publication and winning over loyal audiences in blogs, websites, social networks and publications made possible through collective financing’. This interesting space, which, since its appearance, has provided alternative formats such as social networks to showcase humour penned by women, seems to promote greater visibility for the most transgressive humour, as shown by the Instagram or Twitter profiles (sometimes reinforced by other media, such as literary works, TV and radio programmes or YouTube channels) of some of the most significant representatives of Spain’s recent humour scene. These authors are inserting themselves


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in a movement that draws from the most shameless and scatological underground, normalizing situations that were previously discussed mostly by male authors or proposing others that relate to the experience of being a woman and thus can be told only from their own ­female – a ­ nd therefore perhaps novel and f­ resh – ­perspective. This chapter aims, then, to investigate the transformations that this direct means of communicating humorous content entails in what is considered ‘women’s humour’ or ‘feminine humour’, within which, without neglecting the cultivation of more classic humour, an interesting evolution in the consideration of which aspects are the object of creation of humorous messages made by women is being experienced.

Fewer Female Comedians, Yet No Less Funny A recurrent question in debates about women and humour is why women’s visibility is still limited, which even leads to disputes about their ability to create, understand and enjoy humour. According to Elena Méndez (2015: 75): the data also show that the professions linked to humorous discourse are dominated by men: clowns, comedians, monologists, columnists, cartoonists, comic book creators, sitcom writers, etc. Women have not yet finished establishing a foothold for themselves in this world of men, and when they do, they usually owe it to them: men who, in principle, are free of prejudices, trust women and make it possible for their creative contributions to humorous discourse to move from the private to the public sphere, through their media presence.

Hence, if we name the first comedians that come to mind, it is very possible that no women, or very few, will appear on the resulting list. Numerical inequality is a fact we can easily verify. One illustrative example will suffice: in the eighty-­three episodes of the programme Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, in which the comedian Jerry Seinfeld interviews the great masters of contemporary English-­speaking audiovisual humour, broadcast between 2012 and 2019, there are only fourteen women.3 Likewise, in the specific case of the United Kingdom, there is a website specializing in comedy that contains a database of comedians, with 269 women compared to 1,279 men (Humphries 2014). In the case of Spain, the limited presence of women in comedy is demonstrated by ‘Humourists of Spain’ the category on Spanish Wikipedia, which includes both comedians and cartoonists and which, of a total of 129 entries, contains only thirteen women humourists.4

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Besides the scant presence of women in the arena, the salaries of the comedy stars referred to above are also telling. In 2013, Jerry Seinfeld headed the Forbes list of the ten best-paid comedians in the world, all of whom were men (Le 2013). It was not until 2016 that a woman, actress, screenwriter and producer Amy Schumer, appeared on the list, in the number-­two position, although she was still the only female comedian in that top ten (Berg 2016). Further evidence of the extent to which humour produced by women is still in the minority is its recognition in the form of awards: in the thirty-­nine years that the prestigious Edinburgh Comedy Awards have been held, only four individual women have won it.5 In her autobiography My Life on the Road, renowned women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem recalls working on the TV show That Was the Week That Was:6 ‘I was the only “script girl”, probably because the ability to make people laugh is a form of power, and therefore women were denied access to comedy’ (Steinem 2016: 256). It is interesting to follow this line of reasoning, which may be one of the reasons for the lower number of female comedians. As various authors have argued, including the comedian and academic expert in humour, gender and power, Regina Barreca, traditionally women have not adopted the social role of ‘clown’ because humour, like other socially stigmatized behaviours (some specifically related to sexuality), is something that ‘a good girl’ should not practise (Barreca 1991). Thus, the passive role assigned to women implies that they should be consumers, rather than producers, of humour and should even, in particular situations, laugh at a joke or a prank despite not finding it funny, so as not to appear rude. In certain circumstances, the same mechanism serves to repress one’s own humour, that is to say, ‘holding in the laughter’ or at least not laughing openly with sonorous laughter (more habitual in men), instead covering the mouth (a more ‘feminine’ gesture), or not voicing the joke that comes to mind for fear that it might seem inappropriate or out of place and could jeopardize our social acceptance and be considered ‘anti-­feminine’. This phenomenon is, in our view, at the root of the myth of women’s lack of humour, which Ángela Mura and Leonor Ruiz-­Gurillo (2014: 9–11) dismantle using exhaustive examples taken from more than a dozen empirical investigations carried out since the 1990s that contradict investigations of previous decades that determined that women were not capable of using or interpreting humour on the basis of the ‘inherited stereotypes or the preconceived ideas of the researchers’. All of the aforementioned allows us to glimpse a mechanism that casts the existence of comical women as a true surmounting of the


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obstacles that a whole series of conventions pose when it comes to containing a nature that tends towards humour. And yet, once those obstacles are overcome, new obstacles appear in the context of the professionalization of these women.

Pioneers: Survival Manoeuvres to Secure a Place in Comedy Several contributions in this volume brilliantly highlight authors who cultivated humour at different historical moments (see the chapters by Sally-­Ann Kitts, Catherine M. Jaffe, Elizabeth Franklin Lewis and Isabel Burdiel). It is not, therefore, our desire to list all such authors, although we will point out some common features. In the book Las humoristas. Ensayo poco serio sobre mujeres y humor (The Comedians. A Light-H earted Essay on Women and Humour) (2017), Teresa Castrejón dedicates a chapter to humour in poetry, in which she highlights how Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, aware that by devoting herself to writing she is treading a path ‘that does not correspond to her’, employs the technique of underestimating her own work, using humour in the words prefacing her verses to comment ironically on the quality of her writing in order to protect herself from possible attacks: ‘laughing at herself and her own literature in order to penetrate a barrier, which otherwise would have been impossible’ (Franc 2017: 155). Three centuries later, one of the first women to devote herself to stand-­up comedy, Phyllis Diller, managed to carve out a niche for herself amongst the most popular comedians of the time by resorting to self-­deprecating humour and emphasizing ugliness as a comic lure. Spanish pioneers similarly based the comedy of many of their routines in theatre, cinema and television on presenting themselves as unattractive women who had difficulties finding love, for example, Mary Santpere, emphas izing her uncommon physique and ungainly figure, and Lina Morgan, gesticulating and clumsy, two authentic pioneers who would today fall into the category of show-­ woman, exploited the role of ugly old maids. This stereotype was consummated, in a very Spanish way, by the servants and maids magnificently embodied by Gracita Morales, Rafaela Aparicio and Florinda Chico. Hence, as Karen Stoddard (1977) highlights in relation to Diller by confining her comedy to her inability to fulfil her traditional role, she reinforced female stereotypes rather than dismissing them (12). On the other hand, comedians such as Mae West, always cunning and fond of double entendres, or Helen Kane, who inspired the

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character of Betty Boop, used their sex appeal to attract male audiences. In Spain, there are similar examples, especially from the destape period in the 1970s,7 with actresses combining naivety and eroticism, the culmination of which could be considered Fedra Lorente and her character ‘La Bombi’, who popular ized the tagline ‘why is that?’ on the TV programme Un, dos, tres (TVE), always after having candidly told a story involving men who wanted to go too far with her. Likewise, cabarets, revues or nightclubs are breeding grounds for a mixture of these two stereotypes, the crafty and the clown, for example, professionals from the variétés such as Loles León, La Maña, the ventriloquist Mari Carmen y sus muñecos (Mari Carmen and her puppets) and, more recently, La Terremoto de Alcorcón. In short, in one way or another, these female comedians have, for years, only been allowed access under the terms of male-­dominated comedy and have had to conform to what male audiences find amusing. This mentality has only gradually begun to change. Outside of the performing ­arts – ­for instance, in cartoons and ­comics – ­a similar typecasting mechanism has been in place, largely influenced by the spaces reserved for the cartoonists in their newspaper section. Thus, it is not easy to highlight women authors who write for the major media outlets: until Flavita Banana’s arrival at El País in 2019, there had been no Spanish women among the press cartoonists who publish about current affairs in the opinion sections. There have been some, albeit few, in the special ized satirical media and there are hardly any in the international press.8 Moreover, in Spain, during the long period of the ­dictatorship – a ­ nd even a few years before and ­after – ­the great cartoonists had been relegated to children’s and young people’s comic books, with the unforgettable Purita Campos leading the way. Even those who began their careers in such political satirical publications as Cu-Cut, like Lola Anglada, whose published humorous work is the earliest by a woman that has been found in the Spanish context, became known for work that was far from humorous. There is no space here to discuss in greater detail the circumstances of these cartoonists, so we recommend consulting the catalogue of the exhibition Presentes: autoras de tebeo de ayer y hoy (Presentes: Women Comic Book Authors of Yesterday and Today) (2016). Finally, it is worth mentioning La Codorniz9 because of its importance and longevity: of the many authors published in the magazine, very few were women; those women who did contribute wrote advice columns or word games, as in the case of the Damero Maldito game by the famous actress and scriptwriter Conchita Montes. Elena Méndez (2015) highlights the persistence of the phenomenon in more recent times in her work on one of the most influential


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graphic humourists, the Argentinian Maitena Burundarena and her series Mujeres alteradas, which was an irrefutable spearhead for those who came later, but which still focused on traditional female topics: ‘ the topics they usually dealt with and that become targets of humour are limited to the feminine world and its circumstances, so the topic assigned to women’s humour continues to persist although in a different way. This, at first, could have been conditioned by the locus where this humour was initially inserted, and by the media spaces that traditionally had been assigned to women to create their humorous discourses’ (76). The author refers to women’s and fashion magazines and, in the general press, sections dedicated to women, such as Mujeres alteradas, both in Argentina and Spain. Thus, the public at which this humour was traditionally directed ‘could well mark the thematic drift’ (Méndez 2015: 76). Furthermore, the issue is not only adapting to the audience of the allocated programme, but, even more so, fitting in amongst managers and superiors, the vast majority of whom were men, to whom the projects are presented, and even amongst one’s own colleagues. The comic actress Jane Curtin (known for the charming 1980s series Kate and Allie) was part of the cast of the legendary Saturday Night Live in the 1970s, a monument of television humour worldwide,10 and years later recounted the extremely difficult battle that the programme’s women writers’ had to face, especially with team members like the late John Belushi, who sabotaged the texts written by them, because he believed that women were not funny (Robinson 2014). Similarly, in the 1990s, comedian Sarah Silverman was dismissed from the same programme; she blamed the fact that hardly any sketches she proposed were broadcast, in disregard for female comedians. More recently, Gloria Steinem related similar experiences even nowadays, making an interesting point: ‘Surveys show that what women fear most from men is violence, and what men fear most from women is ridicule. Years later, when Tina Fey was head writer and star of Saturday Night Live, she would still declare: “Only in comedy does a well-­mannered white girl from the suburbs count as diversity”’ (Steinem 2016: 256–57). Having experienced inequality in the face of masculine power, women seem more inclined to produce humour that laughs at the privileged, as opposed to the weak. This could be considered one of the characteristics, in very general terms, of the humour that women began to practise in the late twentieth century. Barreca observed that in television series like Murphy Brown or Roseanne, female characters are especially irreverent with their bosses, dehumanizing them and highlighting their incompetence in that subversion involving the

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figure who holds the power that is so fundamental in humour (Barreca 1991: 13). Once again, the comedic demonstrates its ability to disrupt the hierarchy of rigid social structures. In fact, although the humour practised by women mostly falls into the category of ‘classic’ humour, the very existence of women at the head of comedy projects is in itself a transgression, whether it be Lucille Ball, Joan Rivers or Carol Burnett captaining their own television shows, or their Spanish equivalent, the lamented Rosa María Sardá, making history in the 1980s with her programme Ahí te quiero ver (TVE), or, in more recent times, Eva Hache, who has the unquestionable distinction of having been the first woman host of the monologue format El Club de la Comedia, a TV show based on stand-­up performances that was aired between 2011 and 2014. However, Hache’s contributions can be considered adaptations of canons that are still not particularly ground-­breaking in terms of subject matter, as can be deduced from the analysis of her texts in Ruiz-­Gurillo (2015): ‘The observation of gender stereotypes has led us to the conceptualization of a woman who is mostly located in family or domestic settings.’ Later, the same author writes, in relation to the representation of men and women in Hache’s monologues and the ways in which she parodies men: ‘This parody of the male identity is also observed in the monologues that exploit the war of the sexes. The identity of the monologist is always on the women’s side, and men are the target of ridicule. In the monologues women have an advantageous, amusing position and, instead, men are identified with monotony and boredom’ (Ruiz-­Gurillo 2015). While there are examples in the past of people who stood out on account of their inventiveness in breaking away from the prevailing clichés, the reinforcement of certain stereotypes is sometimes very subtle. For example, the fact that the humourist is a woman should not mean, as has often been the case, that her work should focus on her as a figure in relation to men, which means accepting that the male is the model or standard and that women acquire an entity only when they are compared or related to men (it would be interesting in this sense to apply Bechdel’s test to monologues or graphic humour). That is why we understand comedy based on the war of the sexes as ‘classic humour’, even though it continues to flourish well into the twenty-­first century; an extreme example of this could be the television ­show – ­excellently interpreted by its ­cast – k ­ nown as Matrimoniadas, Escenas de matrimonio and all its other variants,11 which, incidentally, has successful equivalents in other countries such as France (Scènes de ménages, M6 Studio), where Un gars, une fille (France 2), a series


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of sketches starring Alexandra Lamy and Jean Dujardin and marked by the usual bunch of clichés, also triumphed for years: the bad relationship with the mother-­in-­law, the man’s rejection of paternity in the face of the woman’s insistence, etc. As we can see, in the last decades of the twentieth century, the presence of women comedians continued to be an exception and women remained in the minority, with an intermediate generation acting as a hinge, coexisting with the pioneers and opening doors for the next cohort and, unlike the latter, as we will see, reaching the general public almost exclusively through television, above all as part of the cast of various programmes and almost never in the context of their own projects: consider, for example, the case of the comedians of the aforementioned Un, dos, tres (The Hurtado Sisters, Beatriz Carvajal) or Paz Padilla, one of the few women who began her career as a joke teller, which is a quintessentially Spanish role. Others came from the stage, such as Las Virtudes, Anabel Alonso, Llum Barrera, Yolanda Ramos and Sílvia Abril (who reached the peak of ugliness with her character ‘La niña de Shrek’), and, later, from stand-­up contests, as in the cases of Ana Morgade, Sara Escudero and Virginia Riezu, without forgetting the radio, for which Raquel Martos has been a leading scriptwriter for a long time. Over time, the participation of women who write and/or perform comedy stopped being exceptional, as evidenced by shows led by women like Ellen DeGeneres or Samantha Bee or series like Amy Sherman-­Palladino’s The Gilmore Girls and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Tina Fey’s 30 Rock, Tracey Wigfield’s Great News and Lisa McGee’s Derry Girls. Even in Spain a woman, Carmen Aguilera, currently directs the main infotainment programme, El intermedio (La Sexta), and, in fiction, other women are co-­creators of series such as Vida perfecta or Señoras del (h)AMPA, among others. In addition, the most popular television and radio shows (Zapeando, La Sexta; Yu: no te pierdas nada, Los 40 Principales/Europa FM) include women producing humour in their cast. But let us not forget that the increase in women on scriptwriting teams and as programme presenters sometimes still functions to fulfil a quota. The idea of introducing women’s perspective is laudable and desirable, but if, due to some sort of variant of the ‘Smurfette Principle’, only one team member is a woman, she may experience problems getting her ideas taken into account in the face of the majority. This recalls a recent incident in Spain with the pay TV platform Movistar. In September 2018, during the presentation at the Vitoria Television Festival of the new season of its channel #­0 – ­the flagship

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of this television station, on which its hit programmes, mostly based on humorous content, are b ­ roadcast – t­he promotional photography proved controversial for the special ized press and social networks: it featured seventeen male comedians and only two female comedians, Patricia Conde (the host of Wifileaks, with an extensive career in television humour) and Valeria Ros (contributor to Locomundo and also a well-­known scriptwriter, announcer, presenter and monologist). To compensate, the network announced in March 2019, and launched in December of that year, Las que faltaban, a comedy programme created, written, directed and hosted by women. Thais Villas was at the helm of the show and, during its two seasons, Susi Caramelo, Nerea Pérez de las Heras, Eva Soriano, Adriana Torrebejano, Anabel Mua, Victoria Martín de la Cova, Silvia Sparks, Anni Frost and Henar Álvarez were all contributors, as well as Carlos Librado ‘El Nene’ ‘to cover the quota of men’. The intent was to satisfy the public demand for greater female visibility, but nevertheless it was short-lived and was not renewed after twenty-­four episodes. Instead, Movistar opted for one of the programme’s stand-­out comedians, Susi Caramelo, to headline a programme of her own.

The Recent Outlook: New Themes and a Direct Relationship with the Public – The Web That Unravels the Spider Web We agree with Elena Méndez’s (2015) assessment of the typecasting of female comedians: ‘perhaps because they are still rare in the profession, they are usually pigeonholed and considered female comedians and not simply comedians like their own professional colleagues (Juszko, 2000). They are marked by gender without the exact extent of meaning that label entails made clear’ (75).12 Even so, and although the current panorama of voices is extremely broad, we will try to identify some common features, perhaps not shared by all contemporary Spanish female comedians, but shared by many of them, especially those who practise the kind of humour that we have described as transgressive, some of whom were part of the cast of that unique (and brief) experience that was Las que faltaban. If we are going to talk about humour as transgression and subversion, we should also address the recent concept of post-­humour. Do women comedians practise this variant, which was so named by Jordi Costa in 2010? The fact is that it is usually men who are involved in this type of comedy, which can be defined as ‘comedy’ where the


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achievement of laughter is no longer the first priority. It is a kind of humour that prioritizes discomfort and uneasiness over anything else. It can be used to make social, political or purely philosophical comments’ (Costa 2010). Women are seldom included on lists of post-­humourists. Perhaps the female spearhead of this uncomfortable, sometimes embarrassing and disconcerting style of comedy is the British actress Phoebe Waller-­ Bridge, who created, wrote and starred in the successful Fleabag, the first episode of which opens with a scene about anal sex in which the actress breaks the fourth wall and shares her thoughts with the audience. Other authors, such as Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer, explore this territory between naturalness and distaste in their treatment of what has hitherto been considered intimate or taboo, above all in relation to sexuality and one’s own body, as we will discuss a little later. At this point, we are interested in addressing the diversity of topics raised by current authors and how these can go beyond the margins of traditionally ‘feminine’ topics. Let us consider, for example, the issues addressed in the latest monologue by the acclaimed Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby, entitled Douglas, which premiered on Netflix in 2020. In it, Gadsby ridicules the anti-­vaccine movement, talks about her own experience as an autistic person and denounces medical violence, while also dealing with issues such as heteropatriarchy and machismo in art, as she did in her previous work, the exceptional Nanette. Thus, she demonstrates that although she sometimes deals with issues that mainly affect women, she can also seamlessly incorporate other i­ ssues – ­issues that draw on minority perspectives and are thus a novelty in comedy. Perhaps the aforementioned sensitivity to understanding ­marginalized groups influences the originality of these contributions. However, we are talking not only about the choice of new themes, but also about the perspective from which traditional topics in the repertoire of women comedians are treated, which has also been renewed in recent times. According to Andrea Greenbaum (1997): ‘Like a fugue, two themes played polyphonically into the comedians’ comic narrative: 1) the feminine body as discourse, and 2) the establishment of “voice” and “identity”’ (137). Examples of the first theme are very numerous given that the (re) cognition of one’s own body provides the comedians’ with content only they can contribute because of their personal experience: menstruation, contraception, pregnancy, sexual pleasure, street harassment, pressure to shave or wax or to fit into normative body patterns or ageist stereotypes about the female population. As Greenbaum writes in her analysis of the discourse of the comedians Margaret Smith,

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Diane Ford and Etta May: ‘In the former, Smith subtly employed this convention by discussing images of women’s bodies (shaved legs, a woman’s right to control her body in the case of abortion) into her narrative. Diane Ford more forcefully used the feminine form as a structure for her act, and entwined the feminine body to feminist political and social concerns like spousal abuse and sexism. Etta May uses the stereotype of the fat, unattractive woman as a subversive device to not only gain acceptance by the audience (in her words, making yourself “less them”), but by inverting the image of an unattractive woman and making her sexually aggressive and appealing’ (Greenbaum 1997: 119). Currently, we can cite as a constant the relationship with the corporeal, which sometimes shifts to the scatological, in the humorous content offered by Perra de Satán (Beatriz Cepeda) and Soy una pringada (Esty Quesada). Both emerged from the i nternet, the former demystifying the sexuality of people with non-­normative ­bodies – a ­s well as creating quite a lot of content focused on her obsession with the virile m ­ ember – ­and writing about it in different media and even in novels such as Kilo arriba, kilo abajo (2016) and ¡Es un escandalo! (2018). The second has built a career as an actress and comedy writer based on her success on YouTube, where, as a direct heir to John Waters, her discourse and image are as uncompliant as possible for an audience whom she greets by saying, ‘Hello, pieces of shit’. Language is, therefore, another of her distinctive features, involving the use of the tabooed word and a colloquial vocabulary that sometimes moves towards the vulgar. Moving on to illustrated humour, Elena Méndez (2015) connects that first recurring theme of the body with the second theme highlighted by Greenbaum, that of identity: ‘In the last quarter of the twentieth century an alternative comic made by women appears on the market, whose c­ ontent – a ­ utobiographical or not –, when treated in a humorous tone is capable of activating familiar feminine references with which women recognize and identify themselves’ (75). Méndez also points out that, since they are generated by the collective itself, they create bonds of group solidarity and function as signs of identity. She further adds, ‘This is, perhaps, what that label of female comedians alludes to, since, at least, amongst cartoonists and graphic humourists, the dominant themes are those in which women more easily recognize themselves’ (Méndez 2015: 75). We find this in the work of current Spanish cartoonists, such as Ana Belén Rivero (illustrator of the novels of Perra de Satán and author of the vignettes about thirty-­something women compiled in 2018 in Señora); Mamen


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Moreu (who publishes, in El Jueves, the series Dolores y Lolo, about an old-­fashioned widow who lives with her bisexual, polyamorous, vegan granddaughter); Raquel Gu (who is known for her portraits of female characters after they turn forty in her comic strips for El Jueves and collected in 2018 in ¡Estoy estupenda!); Lyona and her Sex ¡oh! (2019), about, among other things, masturbation; and, in a kinder vein, Laura Santolaya (P8ladas), Raquel Córcoles (Moderna de Pueblo), Estefi Martínez (Pedrita Parker), Agustina Guerrero (La Volátil) and Ana Oncina (Empanadilla y Croqueta), huge successes both on networks and through their editorial publications and even merchandise. In these and other cases, it has been the internet, with its affordable production costs and almost total absence of external controls, that has made it possible for many of these creators not only to reach the general public, but also to stand out by opting for more innovative formats, for example, the video animators Rocío Quillahuaman (@ rocionoseque) and Anabel Lorente (@Catana3l), both of whom recently and almost simultaneously experienced success as viral phenomena, or Dolors Boatella, a true queen of memes on the net. There have even been very recent cases of the viralization of sarcastic TikTok videos by the comedian LalaChus (@lalachus3) and the amateur Hanan Midan, a young Moroccan TikToker living in Spain who ‘trolls’ xenophobia with her montages. Likewise, popularity on social networks catapults many content creators to fame who were already combining their work in the communications field with humour, such as the journalists Lucía Taboada or Paula Cantó, or the scriptwriter Henar Álvarez. A few months ago, Álvarez achieved a major milestone with her success on the programme Late Motiv (#0 of Movistar), hosted by Andreu Buenafuente, with its open-­minded m ­ onologue – d ­ ealing with taboos and the re-­appropriation of vocabulary – La puta de la clase (which was played more than twenty thousand times in the hours after it was posted), while maintaining a feature on the radio programme that can be downloaded as a podcast or YouTube, Buenismo Bien (Cadena SER), among other collaborations. Thus, versatility is another of the characteristics of these comedians, who can have their own YouT ube channel and create or participate in web series while also featuring on other more conventional formats in the press, radio, cinema or television. This is true of the multifaceted Carolina Iglesias (Percebes y Grelos) and Victoria Martín de la Cova (Living Postureo), both creators of the web series Válidas and the podcast Estirando el chicle, as well as television scriptwriters who can move between fiction and non-­fiction or transmedia (Alba Cordero, Jelen Morales) and those who can be

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either in front of or behind the cameras, like Marta González de Vega or Pilar de Francisco. But along with the novelty of direct intermediation of the networks, let us not forget that a traditional springboard like stand up continues to launch interesting names like Raquel Sastre (famous for her penchant for black humour), Patricia Espejo, Patricia Sornosa and the Riot Comedy open- mic initiative for women, organized by Penny Jay. The last of these is characterized by its clear feminist commitment, a topic that deserves a brief separate note.

Humour as an Instrument of Feminist Activism If we focus on the field of drawing, the great forerunner is undoubtedly Núria Pompeia, who broke with traditional stereotypes of women in her book Maternasis (1967) and in publications during the Transition, such as Triunfo or Por Favor (Jareño and Sanz-­Gavillon 2018). Later, Nani Mosquera, a Colombian living in Spain, introduced audiences to her demanding ­character – w ­ ith hairy legs and recurrent thoughts about gender inequality – Magola. More recently, we can name Rocío Vidal’s compilation of comic strips Machistadas (2019) and, in the audiovisual field, examples of humour being used as a powerful vehicle for dealing with issues on the feminist agenda include programmes such as Deforme Semanal by Lucía Lijtmaer and Isa Calderón and viral videos on YouTube such as Barbie feminista by Living Postureo or La mediadora feminista on the Los Prieto Flores YouTube channel, in which Nerea Pérez appears in an advertisement as a butler who uses a correcting spray every time she detects a chauvinistic micro-­ aggression or a hackneyed anti-­feminist cliché. All of these women are part of a school of thought that could be linked to the literary work of the British Caitlin Moran, who reflects on the ethics and aesthetics of being a woman, and the French cartoonist Emma Clit, famous for her drawings depicting the double workday and the mental burden of women. They also refer to the combatively feminist comedy shows of the Argentinians Charo López and Malena Pichot. In the synopsis of one of the videos on her YouYube channel, Eres una caca, in which, using the stop-­motion technique, she denounces gender clichés, Lula Gómez states: ‘There are more and more of us who, thanks to great companions who have opened their doors to us when the terrain was even more hostile, are appropriating humour as a tool for thinking, meeting and fighting. And since there is nothing more revolutionary than feminism, our humour is pure transgression,


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because in addition to laughing at ourselves, we are laughing at the oppressor.’13 Thus, although the classic humour that takes as its object a caricatured femininity involving make-­up and heels is still widely acclaimed (as evidenced by the ‘mainstream’ twitterer La vecina rubia), the door is opening to women who, because they belong to other groups and minorities, were until now on the margins of humour, for example, the Spanish woman of Chinese origin Quan Zhou and her cartoons Gazpacho agridulce, Asaari Bibang and her monologues on topics relating to Black people, Elsa Ruiz and her visibilization of trans women, and Lidia García (@thequeercanibot) and Cristina Domenech (@firecrackerx) representing lesbian women, both in their academic work and with a light-­hearted attitude in their contributions in various media, including podcasts or Twitter threads. It is refreshing that such women are producers of humour at last and not, as they had been for so long, the object of humour. We close this exploration with these women, who take up the baton in relation to an observation made back in the 1980s by Emily Toth, who remains little known, despite being the author of one of the most famous quotations regarding humour. In an article in a special issue on comedy in The Massachusetts Review, Toth explained what is called the first Rule of Human Humour: ‘Never target a quality that a person can’t change’ (Toth 1981), that is, the object of our joke should not be something that the person cannot change, such as their physical appearance, membership to a group or any other condition. And in line with this is the renewed humour of which we have tried to offer a panorama, surely incomplete, and our recognition of these women who, regardless of their time, felt safe enough in the public sphere to express themselves in a humorous way. Natalia Meléndez Malavé is Associate Professor of Journalism at the School of Communication Sciences of the University of Malaga, where she has worked since 2001, when she joined as a research fellow. She holds a PhD in Journalism (2005) and wrote her thesis on graphic humour in the newspaper El País during the Spanish Transition. She is also the author of other works on satirical communication, a field in which she is a specialist, focusing on humour in various media, periods and territories. She is a member of the board of directors of the Quevedo Institute for Arts of Humour at the University of Alcala, for which she has been a jury member of their International Graphic Humor Award on two occasions. Her commitment to teaching was recognized by the conferral of the Award for Innovation, Quality and

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Good Teaching Practices of the University of Malaga in its first year (2019).

Notes Natalia Meléndez Malavé is a member of the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’ (Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today; HAR2017-­84635-­P) financed by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.   1. ‘Soy viñetista y soy ­feminista . . . ­pero estoy bastante convencida de que el frutero de debajo de mi casa también es feminista. Y el cartel de su tienda no pone “el frutero feminista”. El feminismo, cuando se lleva a producto, es mirar el dedo y no la luna’ (Alpañés 2019).   2. González mentions a third type of transgressive humour, the Bechdelian style of humour (so called because of the comic-­ book author Alison Bechdel), which constitutes a separate category in her view because of its high degree of combativeness and its critical attitude (González 2018).  3. See Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee on the Internet Movie Database.  4. See​ %C3%B1a.   5. See­comedy-­show.  6. The US version of a programme broadcast on British television and a precursor of what we know today as infotainment, “a genre that involves collecting apparently serious information (politics, economics) and treating it in a dramatic, parodic or humorous way” (Berrocal et al. 2014; italics are ours).   7. A term coined by the journalist Ángel Casas to designate the flood of films that took advantage of the increasing openness during the last years of the dictatorship and the first years of the Transition to show erotic scenes, primarily involving female nudes.   8. There are precedents in illustrated magazines from the beginning of the twentieth century, for example, some cartoonists in the British magazine Punch, but none in the leading publications, and later we can cite authors like Liza Donnelly and her work for The New Yorker, Claire Bretécher in France and the exceptional Venezuelan case of Rayma Suprani, a cartoonist at El Universal from the age of nineteen until her dismissal in 2014.   9. Founded in 1941 at the height of Franco’s regime, famous for its audacious evasion of censorship and defunct upon the dawn of democracy in 1978, it is one of the most remarkable, influential and remembered satirical publications of the Spanish press. 10. On air since the 1970s. Many of the best-­known comedians of recent


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decades have emerged from the programme, including Julia Louis-­ Dreyfus, Amy Poehler, Kate McKinnon, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig. 11. The list of seasons and show titles based on the relationships of several couples from different generations is very extensive: from Matrimoniadas on TVE’s La 1 (2002–4), to La sopa boba on Antena 3 (2004), with the same production company and concept, and, on Telecinco, Escenas de matrimonio (2007–9); Escenas de matrimonio 2 (2009–10); Aquí me las den todas (2011); Parejología 3x2 (2011). 12. ‘Quizá porque todavía son rarae aves en la profesión, suelen estar encasilladas y son consideradas humoristas femeninas y no simplemente humoristas a secas, como sus propios colegas de profesión (Juszko, 2000). Están marcadas por el género sin que se haya precisado exactamente en qué consiste la extensión significativa de dicha etiqueta.’ 13. See ‘Eres una Caca’, episode 24, in collaboration with Natalia Flores. 25 August 2018.­0nNIGck.

References Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID). 2016. Presentes: autoras de tebeo de ayer y hoy. Retrieved from https://issuu​ .com/publicacionesaecid/docs/presentes._autoras_de_tebeo_de_ayer. Alpañés, Enrique. 2019. ‘Flavita Banana no tiene pelos en la lengua, los tiene en los sobacos: Entrevista’, Yorokobu Magazine, 5 March. Retrieved from Barreca, Regina. 1991. They Used to Call Me Snow White . . . But I Drifted: Women’s Strategic Use of Humor. New York: Viking. Berg, Madeline. 2016. ‘The Highest-­ Paid Comedians 2016: Kevin Hart Dethrones Jerry Seinfeld as Cash King of Comedy with $87.5 Million Payday’, Forbes website, 27  September. Retrieved from https://www.for​­highest-­paid-­comedians-­2016​ -­kevin-­hart-­out-­jokes-­jerry-­seinfeld-­with-­87-­5-million-­payday/#326f3ee9​ 320e. Berrocal-­Gonzalo, Salomé, et al. 2014. ‘La presencia del infoentretenimiento en los canales generalistas de la TDT española’, Revista Latina de Comunicación Social 69: 85–103. Retrieved from http://www.revistalatina​ Borges, Gabriela, et al. 2018. ‘Historieta feminista en América latina: autoras de Argentina, Chile, Brasil y México’, Revista Tebeosfera. Tercera Época, 6. 14  June. Retrieved from​ eta_feminista_en_america_latina_autoras_de_argentina_chile_brasil_y_m​ exico.html. Chiaro, Delia, and Raffaella Baccolini (eds). 2014. Gender and Humor: Interdisciplinary and International Perspectives. London: Routledge. Costa, Jordi (ed.). 2010. Una risa nueva. Posthumor, parodias y otras mutaciones de la comedia. Murcia: Nausicaä.

Sex, Truths and Viral Tapes


Franc, Isabel (ed.). 2017. Las humoristas. Ensayo poco serio sobre mujeres y humor. Barcelona: Icaria. González, Mara. 2018. ‘Autoras feministas que están cambiando el humor gráfico’, Revista Tebeosfera. Tercera Época, 6. 14  June. Retrieved from​ _cambiando_el_humor_grafico.html. Greenbaum, Andrea. 1997. ‘Women’s Comic Voices: The Art and Craft of Female Humor’, American Studies 38(1), Spring: 117–38. Humphries, Will. 2014. ‘It’s Really No Joke’, OZY, 6 January. Retrieved from­and-­politics/its-­really-­no-­joke/4661/. Jareño, Claudia, and Anne-­Claire Sanz-­Gavillon. 2018. ‘Dibujar el feminismo: la obra temprana de Núria Pompeia’, Filanderas. Revista Interdisciplinar de Estudios Feministas 3: 59–76. Le, Vanna. 2013. ‘Jerry Seinfeld Tops Highest-­Earning Comedians of 2013 List’, Forbes website, 11  June. Retrieved from​ /sites/vannale/2013/07/11/jerry-­seinfeld-­tops-­list-­of-­the-­highest-­earning-­co​ medians/#4698ecc647f0. Méndez-­García de Paredes, Elena. 2015. ‘“Mujeres alteradas”: La autoironía de grupo como liberación de tabúes femeninos’, Discurso & Sociedad 9(1–2): 71–95. Mura, Ángela, and Leonor Ruiz-­Gurillo. 2014. ‘Introducción’, Feminismo/s 24, December: 9–14. Robinson, Melia. 2014. ‘23 Times Women Made History on Saturday Night Live’, Business Insider, 17 January. Retrieved from https://www.businessin​­of-­women-­on-­saturday-­night-­live-. Ruiz-­Gurillo, Leonor. 2015. ‘Sobre humor, identidad y estilos discursivos: los monólogos de Eva Hache’, Tonos Digital. Revista de Estudios Filológicos, 28. Retrieved from​ le/viewFile/1241/770. Steinem, Gloria. 2016. Mi vida en la carretera. Barcelona: Alpha Decay. Stoddard, Karen. 1977. ‘“Women Have No Sense of Humor” and Other Myths: A Consideration of Female Stand-­ up Comics, 1960–1976’, American Humor Newsletter 4(2), Fall: 11–14. Toth, Emily. 1981. ‘Female Wits’, The Massachusetts Review 22(4): 783–93.

Conclusions Antonio Calvo Maturana

¡ To announce, as the subtitle of this book does, the study of ‘humour and its meaning in contemporary Spain’ is not without audacity. Even if we limit ourselves to the present, the knowledge of something as volatile and ambiguous as humour is subject to multiple interpretations, which would seem to distance it from the scientific method. There is an enormous variety of social and cultural factors that affect humorous discourse. The person who tries to provoke laughter may be met with serious faces and the one who tries to evoke sad thoughts risks generating guffaws. The specific moment chosen (what English speakers call timing) is fundamental, but there are many more contextual factors that must be taken into account; the code is difficult to decipher even for the best humourists, true anthropologists of the everyday. It was a challenge, but one we believed it would be possible to overcome. Throughout the seventeen chapters that comprise this book, we have presented an interdisciplinary mosaic that represents more than two centuries of humorous testimony. In studying the older periods, we have consulted correspondence, plays, novels, poems, essays of all kinds (political, historical and literary), the press, prints and engravings. After all, we are talking about a discourse that can be used in each and every one of the media available to human beings. Until that Ministry of Time envisioned by the popular Spanish television series of the same name is created and we can travel to the past to interact with our ancestors, written culture and the fine arts are the sources we have at our disposal to bring the humorous capsules that were bequeathed to us back to life. In studying more recent decades, we have access to valuable sources such as photography, radio and cinema, in which the image, the tone of voice and even the movement (in addition to greater proximity in time) make the joke more vivid to us. And, of course, with the advent of digital world and the World Wide Web, social networks like Twitter and platforms like YouTube were created, demonstrating the enormous significance that the humorous



has acquired when it comes to communicating, even (and above all) to express very serious ideas. Here, Communication Sciences (discussed by Natalia Meléndez Malavé in chapter 17) provide us with lively, current and abundant sources, making an eighteenth-­centuryist like me look like an archaeologist of the palaeohumorous. Of course, one has to be able to study that world of screens in the almost vintage realm of paper (may it endure for many years to come) and look at the present with a sense of perspective. As we announced at the beginning of the volume, one of the main objectives of the authors has been to emphasize context. We believed that it was fundamental to place humour in its space-­time coordinates, while making every effort to include introductions, parentheses and footnotes that would allow readers to understand the cause and effect of the joke. In the end, humour is a constantly changing code. As we have seen in Carlos Reyero’s work (chapter 13), icons of the history of art created by artists such as Titian, Diego Velázquez, Benjamin West or Jacques-­ Louis David were reinterpreted and reformulated as parodies to satirize nineteenth-­century figures, bringing timeless masterpieces into conversation with specific political situations that occurred several centuries after the works were painted. These types of drawings were aimed at a community familiar with the original painting as well as the characters and the parodied political episode. But those jokes have aged because the political circumstances are no longer the same, so the prints must be analysed in order for us to fully understand them and glean all the information they offer. This gap does not require centuries of distance; nowadays, it can be created in a matter of hours. A Twitter joke that we do not understand impels us to catch up (which still requires a bit of research) on whatever new fashion meme or political anecdote from that very morning has escaped us. We see, therefore, that the humorous source gives rise to questions before it provides us with answers. Explaining the joke, either directly or indirectly, helps us to understand the Spain (and Europe) of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries a little better. E.B. White wrote in A Subtreasury of American Humor that ‘[h]umor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the purely scientific mind’ (White 1941: XVII). On the contrary, we believe that explaining the joke does not kill ­it – ­quite the opposite. We intend to enlarge the frog’s pond so its area is increased, to clean the frog’s water so we can see it better, to tempt it with the juiciest insects so we can view it up close and to bring it closer to other animals so that it can interact with them.


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The ­pond – o ­ r, to put it more seriously, the framework in which we have studied the ­humorous – i­s public opinion. In recent centuries, humour has expanded its domains in a Napoleonic way. It has raised from its stronghold in the private world to conquer the public domain. Smiles, laughter and well-­worn jokes have become fundamental means of connecting with people in once-­earnest fields such as politics and academia, and satire is constantly used both to attack those in power and to ridicule the opposition and reinforce the status quo. At the level of customs, norms of behaviour have changed, with a sense of humour being given a fundamental role. Like the most meticulous biologists, we have focused on one end of the pond, an unstable peninsula of water lilies that we can call Spain. But we have done so in the knowledge that the work is meaningless if the rest of the ecosystem is not taken into account. The consolidation of public opinion was a shared process in the Western world, which was transformed by the Enlightenment and the liberal revolutions. What, consequently, does Spanish laughter provide us with, and what conclusions can be drawn from using humour as a ‘contrast agent’ – the medical term is useful ­here – a ­ pplied to contemporary public opinion? More specifically, how can we interpret a contemporary Spain that has so often been excluded from the global vision of Europe in recent centuries? Is it worth studying the periphery of the pond? To answer these questions, this conclusion considers three main themes: identity, power and gender. We have demonstrated, first of all, the extent to which humour can be related to identity, both individual and collective. Today, we like to think that we have our own sense of humour and types of joke that we like and dislike. In the same way, humour can contribute to nationalism. The British pride themselves on having a particular sense of humour, the Spanish boast a carefree disposition and the Germans have a reputation for not laughing at anything. These are obviously clichés. So are French jokes about Belgians. In the eighteenth century, the desire to be accepted by Europeans as part of the modern and civilized world was forged in the Spanish collective imagination. However, as we have seen (in chapter 1 by Antonio Calvo), the image of Spain was anchored to a traditionalism that was ridiculed by the countries on the other side of the Pyrenees. Humour and naturalness were part of the new sociability, that of a refined world in which Spain was considered a second-­class guest. At first, the enlightened Spaniards tried to cast off the stigma of seriousness, but the unwillingness of foreigners to revise their prejudice



ended up provoking a reaction among Spaniards that entailed an appreciation in Spanish gravity and traditions and a disdain for the frivolity of the modern. From then on, it became customary in Spain to suspend self-­criticism (complexes are not compatible with laughing at oneself) in relation to attacks that came from outside. It could be said that foreign mocking of Spain was counterproductive inside the country. After all, we are not talking about constructive satire or a foreign attempt to reform this allegedly barbarian nation. Spain did not interest British and French intellectuals much; it was a useful dialectical resource, a counter-­model of decadence, superstition and backwardness that served as a foil that allowed them to feel that they represented the opposite. But the reality is that the Pyrenees were not an impassable wall and the Mediterranean and the Atlantic were not full of monsters that prevented the exchange of ideas between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of the European continent. As much as Francoist propaganda exported the idea that ‘Spain is different’, the world was, in reality, already interconnected before the globalization we are now experiencing. Proof of this is the dissemination of the fascinating theme of the swing, studied by Javier Moscoso in its representations throughout the world and history, and analysed here in relation to Goya (chapter 4). This brilliant artist, whose work has transcended all frontiers, wanted his Caprichos to be expressed through a ‘universal language’ that would reflect, through the image, both the terrible and the mocking (as discussed by Álvarez Junco in chapter 5). In his study of parodies of works of art, Carlos Reyero (chapter 13) asks if there is a typical Spanish, French and English humour, concluding that humorous procedures are common and that it is the subjects that change. Thus, we discover an interesting process of convergence and divergence. British, French and Spanish public opinion (materialized in the press) coincide in the use of the same medium for political satire, but, at the same time, in such satire, they consolidate a national iconographic canon that reaffirms their individual ­identities. In any case, the fact that European political, social and cultural movements made themselves felt in Spain does not mean that their impact was always as significant as the advocates of change wanted it to be. During the nineteenth century, when nationalism became a true religion, the Spanish intelligentsia continued to feel self-­ conscious about the slow modernization of the country and to feel hurt by harsh foreign criticism. In the years following the loss of the last colonies in 1898, the so-­called ‘Generation of ’98’ reflected on the ‘ser de España’ (Spanish


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being). In the midst of this debate about the regeneration of the country and yet another attempt to place Spain on par with Europe, there was also an effort to renew Spanish humour. Thus, the work of Miguel Ángel Gamonal (chapter 12) takes us into an original battle within that same struggle to catch up with modernity. The magazine El Gran Bvfón constituted a sophisticated attempt to connect with European graphic humour of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in an effort to elevate this undervalued genre to the category of art. There are international echoes (of the Bohéme and that philo-­Germanism that characterized several Spanish intellectuals of the period) in the work of Gran Bvfón’s writers and illustrators, but also the important influence of Hispanic themes, such as bullfighting and a reverential respect for Ramón María del Valle Inclán, master of the esperpento. The result of this attempt at renewal had to be the commercial failure and closure of the magazine. More traditional magazines proved to have a more loyal reading public than daring and innovative magazines such as El Gran Bvfón. With clerical fascism’s rise to power, Spanish official nationalism abandoned any modernizing and foreign-­ centred aspirations and reaffirmed its a recalcitrant traditionalism. During the Civil War, the coup plotters developed an entire propaganda programme based on identifying true Spaniards and communist traitors, employing resources such as satire and caricature, in which they Russified Spanish enemies while Spanish-­izing the Maghrebi who were fighting alongside the rebels (as studied by Xosé M. Núñez Seixas in chapter 14). However, because its own survival required it, Francoism would end up moving (within limits) towards openness and modernization. In her chapter, María Dolores Ramos analysed, through the character of the paleto or bumpkin, a new historical episode within that long-­ running dispute between tradition and modernity (chapter 16). When Agustín, the protagonist of the film La ciudad no es para mí, arrives in the great city that is Madrid, he is figuratively and almost literally run over by modernity. The audience is invited to laugh at this villager, from whom they want to distance themselves, but deep down they empathize with him as he represents, in an extreme way, the bewilderment of the entire country in the face of the accelerated pace of change. When modernity provokes what Ramos calls ‘moral fissures’, the traditionalist discourse, that of ‘España de toda la vida’ (lifelong Spain), is the one that imposes itself, now with a certain solemnity and without humour. Agustín’s words sound like those of a patriarch, a guardian of old values.



Humour is, as has been said, a community identifier, but also an individual one. Today, to lack a ‘sense of humour’ is considered truly negative. We even pride ­ourselves o ­ n having a particular sense of humour, which defines us as producers and consumers of the comical. The inclusion of humour and laughter as defining elements of our character (in a positive sense) is decidedly contemporary, since the civility manuals of the Ancien Régime traditionally called for composure. In 1874, an obituary for the Chilean politician Santiago Arcos highlighted, above all, his sense of humour, which is even more striking when we consider that Arcos had committed suicide. In this volume, we have seen how the writer Emilia Pardo Bazán (chapter 11) openly used humour in the late nineteenth century as a means of self-­fashioning her image in public opinion. Aware of her (troubled) celebrity status, which was built on polemics in which she was the target of strongly derisive humour, she did not hesitate to respond openly (and in the same tone) to every bitter attack she suffered because of her political ideas and her position as a woman writer. With none of the humility expected of women writers (for being supposedly ‘intruders’ in a male world), she courageously resorted to satire and mockery, but was also lambasted using these same means. We will return to this last aspect very soon. The second major cross-­sectional theme of the book is the relationship between humour and power. In liberal and democratic regimes, the contemporary consolidation of public opinion involved the struggle between multiple factions to win over the population. In totalitarian systems, where such public opinion is a fiction because it is hijacked, the government monitors the media and uses it to control consciences, while the opposition tries to make itself known through the limited resources of the underground. In both cases, there is a scramble to convince and influence people. As we know, humour does not necessarily have to be transgressive. On the contrary, it has been commonly used for conservative, if not reactionary, purposes. It is true that, traditionally, power has not been a great supporter of laughter. The French liberals suspended that mocking smile with which they had satirized the absolutist regime as soon as they took control of the government. Revolution is very serious, even ‘terrifying’. But the newly defeated decided, for the first time, to use the weapon of satire to wage the counter-­revolution. This recalls Karl Popper’s paradox of tolerance, since the enemies of freedom of expression use it with the ultimate aim of abolishing it.


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Gonzalo Butrón Prida’s chapter (chapter 6) brought us closer to the humour practised by those nostalgic for absolutism during the constitutional experiment of Cadiz around 1812. Tired of suffering liberal scorn, the so-­called Serviles counter-­attacked with publications in which they dehumanized their rivals through animalization and eschatology; nothing could be further from the dense and voluminous treatises with which they had responded to the philosophes under the comfortable umbrella of absolutism. The situation was now very different: Cadiz was a bubble militarily besieged by Napoleon’s troops, but within it there was, for the first time in the country, a public sphere that could be won by arguments as opposed to inquisitorial violence. Satire and short works proved to be the best means of doing this and the absolutists exploited these resources intensively. Once the constitution was abolished, the absolutists again became suspicious of that dangerous satire, the power of which they had experienced both as promoters and sufferers. The modernizing spirit was again subject to censorship and, even more importantly, to self-­ censorship by all those who feared repression. In the final years of the life of the last absolutist Spanish monarch, Fernando VII, the journalist Mariano José de Larra advocated for the opening of the country through the enormous possibilities offered by the encrypted and ambiguous humorous code, with which he was able to criticize sensitive aspects such as the country’s educational backwardness or administrative incompetence (see chapter 8 by José María Ferri Coll). With absolutism definitively defeated, liberal public opinion welcomed humorous discourse, which grew rapidly. Parties and factions multiplied. In Alejandro Llinares Planells’s study of the periodical El Mole (chapter 9), one can appreciate the complexity of this new scenario. Written in Valencian, El Mole was suspicious of Spanish centralism but opposed to Carlist foralism; it was a creation of the elites, but it was written in a tone that we could consider ‘popular’; it was a product of the liberal laws of the printing press that was nevertheless critical of governmental censorship. The barbs tossed by its editors situate this publication in that complex network of a political panorama in which the unifying veil of absolutism has fallen. In a country so deeply marked by religion, it seemed inevitable that a strong anticlerical substrate would eventually be forged. Since the establishment of the liberal regime, through the republican experiences, until the democratic system of today, priests, friars and nuns (and even the Pope himself) have been the object of mockery, accused of not complying with the precepts they impose and of supporting conservative forces and, therefore, enemies of freedom (see chapter 10 by



Gregorio Alonso). In spite of what has been said about the exceptional context of the Cortes of Cadiz (chapter 6), satire has been used much more frequently by the anticlerical than by the clergy, perhaps due to the impact of the seriousness of the power on the latter. With contemporaneity, mass media such as radio, television and film arrived. In Spain, their expansion coincided with the Francoist dictatorship, which used them to its benefit to transmit monolithic thinking. Sergio Blanco Fajardo’s chapter (15) brought us closer to the first decades of the dictatorship. In addition to those antiquated black-­and-­white newsreels, in which nasal voices sang the glories of the regime, there was in miserable post-­war Spain, as there always has been, humour. And we are not referring only to blank verses like those of the elite formed by Miguel Mihura, Edgar Neville and Enrique Jardiel Poncela (so well studied by Ríos Carratalá), but also to a message addressed to the entire population through the radio, on which a kind, folksy approach justified an oppressive hierarchy in both the public and domestic spheres. Like Mary Poppins’s ‘medicine’, the political message goes down much better with a ‘spoonful of sugar’ – and that is the role of humour as a propaganda weapon. Today, humour has become especially tricky and slippery through social networks. We cannot deny that a prank is sometimes a light-­ hearted wrapping that hides real, profound burdens able to hurt individual honour and collective sensibility. The question of what political and judicial authorities should do about offensive humour gives rise to a debate that, for me, must be resolved at the level of public opinion. A society educated in respect will laugh only at ethical humour (Juan Carlos Siurana has written about this). Without laughter to feed it, misconceived humour dies alone. It is towards an awareness of citizenship that governmental efforts must be directed, not towards persecutions that call into question the principle of freedom of expression. Closely related to both power and identity is, in third place, the question of gender. Humour has been regularly used by the patriarchy to reinforce the status quo. I am referring to that laughter of common sense (mentioned by Isabel Burdiel in chapter 11) with which a privileged group activates the cultural resources that keep it in power and ridicules any attempt to subvert the established order. We see here again that humour can be transgressive, but also deeply reactionary. When it has been threatened, the patriarchy has usually resorted to the mockery of individual transgressive women or movements such as feminism.


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In the eighteenth century, the press and the theatre were vehicles for enlightened reformism. A group of ­intellectuals – ­comprised almost entirely of ­men – ­wrote for a mostly male audience, devising specified models of masculinity and femininity that conformed with the morality they wanted to impose on society. The use of ‘disciplinary’ satire by José Clavijo y Fajardo (chapter 2) and other journalists in that century highlights, as Sally-­Ann Kitts has shown, a deformed morality in need of restoration, as if there were a natural order of the sexes. The intention was to punish the so-­called petimetras, as well as the parents who neglected their daughters’ upbringing and the complacent husbands who were incapable of commanding respect from their wives. In the words of Catherine M. Jaffe, since ‘no one wants to identify with the object of ridicule and censure’, satires targeting women play an important instructive role (chapter 7). The mockery of the female fop constitutes a patriarchal response to the agency of the women of the Spanish (and European) elite who created a space for themselves (as in the case of salon gatherings) in the public sphere and a romantic alternative (the cortejo) to their arranged marriage. A century later, the realist pens of Gustave Flaubert, Leo Tolstoy and Leopoldo Alas, Clarín, would take the infidelity of their protagonists (Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina and Ana Ozores ‘la Regenta’) very seriously, giving them a moralizing ending without any sense of humour whatsoever. Before Bovary, there were other women who were parodied for their sentimental and romantic reading, such as Arabella, the protagonist of Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote (1752). A scholar of female quixotism, Jaffe has reflected in chapter 7 on La Quijotita y su prima by the Mexican author José Joaquín Fernández Lizardi (1818–19). This satirical work allows for various interpretations, including the importance of the design of gender hierarchies in the configuration of nation states and, more so, in that of an emerging nation state like Mexico. Again, humour, gender, identity and power converge. Perhaps the greatest defects of enlightened satire were its elitist character and its overly evident pedagogical tone, both elements that caused it to lose effectiveness in reinforcing social hierarchies and reforming customs. In the twentieth century, radio, television and movies, aimed at vaster audiences, cultivated a much more effective portrayal of everyday life with which to seduce the public. During Franco’s regime, radio advice shows and soap operas (chapter 15) represented women who complied with their husbands’ authority. As for the cinema, the old female archetypes and stereotypes were disguised



as seemingly modern figures such as ‘the Swede’ (chapter 16), in contrast to the traditional ‘decent’ Spanish women. But women have not limited themselves to being a passive element of the humorous; rather, they have also used irony and sarcasm to fight their individual or collective battles. At times, they have tried to improve the situation of women without departing from the existing order, as in the case of the baroque writer Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (a pioneering female humourist) who argued with those (like the Bishop of Puebla) who believed that writing was not a woman’s endeavour. The work of the neoclassical playwright María Rosa de Gálvez (1768–1806) moved along the same lines (in that it was critical, but remained within the limits). In chapter 3, Elizabeth Franklin Lewis presented us with Gálvez’s plays promoting women’s autonomy in choosing their husbands. Thus, Gálvez deals with a common theme of Enlightenment reformism (the disastrous moral consequences of imposed marriages). She does so by using the humorous resources and social clichés typical of enlightened comedy, but approaching the plot from the female point of view. It is worth mentioning the character of Isabel in Los figurones literarios, who laughs at the marriage plans that the men who surround her have for her. That a middle- or upper-­class woman would laugh on stage and do so on the basis reason and not frivolity is, in the context of the eighteenth century, a small, surreptitious revolution. But female laughter made its way, very slowly, as a practical cause and consequence of the egalitarian demands of feminism. Women continued to be criticized for breaking out of the mould. In chapter 11, Burdiel described the attempts to publicly humiliate Emilia Pardo Bazán because of her physical appearance or because of her status as a woman writer. But some women responded in the same way, with increasing boldness and growing empowerment in the public sphere. It is possible that the culmination of this process is now beginning to be experienced. Men are losing their monopoly on humour and having to share the stage (real and figurative) with women and other groups that are moving away from the traditional duality of the war of the sexes, as in the case of those who identify or stand in solidarity with the LGTBIQ acronym. If we return to the specific case of women, we can take as an example two YouTube videos. In the first one, from the programme Inside Amy Schumer, the comedian is in the park with Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Julia Louis-­Dreyfus, who are celebrating Louis-­Dreyfus’s


Antonio Calvo Maturana

‘Last F**kable Day’. All three resignedly assume that, when she reaches middle age, cinema and television will stop offering Louis-­Dreyfus leading roles, casting her in secondary roles, usually maternal, while men can continue to play attractive and credible characters into old age. The second video, the sketch She’s Asking for It, broadcast on BBC III, went viral in September 2020. In the video, which targets that typical macho expression regarding female attire (which is still a social justification for sexual violence), three women fantasize about a world in which, since clothes justify action, dressing up in a swimsuit and hat would mean automatically getting a vacation, wearing a napkin around one’s neck and holding a fork would be reason enough to steal food from anyone and dressing up as a sports car driver would allow one to demand a Ferrari. Humour acquires here its critical face and expands because it finds in public opinion a sufficient base of complicit and supportive laughter that oxygenates it. The joke is an agent of social transformation, but it also lives on laughter. Both require a cultural substrate that is prepared for the message sent and received. There is no doubt that movements such as #MeToo and 8M have shaken up the patriarchal culture; however, anyone who puts on the (feminist) purple-­ tinted glasses clearly sees that this culture has not yet been brought down. One might then ask whether the general public is prepared to laugh at itself to the point of admitting someone who turns traditional social and sexual conventions upside down. And the answer may be ‘no’. With the advent of the internet, both digital content platforms and social networks have become increasingly popular in Spain, and women’s access to the production and consumption of humour in the rest of the world has also expanded. The work of Natalia Meléndez Malavé (chapter 17) introduces us to the vibrant world of female comedians who have found their space (and their audience) on the margins of television media and an institutionalized cultural panorama that is slowly opening up. With much ingenuity and little means, these alternative channels facilitate the production of transgressive humour. At the same time, big media have observed that women are beginning to demand products in which they can see themselves, so these media are starting to satisfy the new market demands of this group that represents half of the population, which is in the process of taking on what we could call ‘gender consciousness’. Along with femininity, the concept of masculinity also deserves some reflection. Sally-­Ann Kitts (chapter 2) provided us with a list of adjectives (‘effeminate’, ‘frivolous’, ‘scandalous’) with which the eighteenth-­century press criticized all those who deviated from the



model of the virile man. The closer a man came to what was considered womanly, the worse a man he was. In the artistic parodies of the nineteenth century, men are cross-­dressed in order to ridicule them and to question their manhood (chapter 13). Even today, children are still ridiculed for crying or dancing ‘like a girl’ and adults are called ‘calzonazos’ (wimp, wuss) for not imposing themselves on their girlfriend or wife, reaffirming that toxic male model whereby men are forced to contain their feelings and defend their domestic authority even if they must do so using violence. Identity, power and gender are three of the many lenses through which this volume has viewed humour. These themes confirm that the study of joking and laughing, far from being anecdotal, offers a wide range of possibilities for the past and present knowledge of the human being. This is, paraphrasing Forrest Gump, ‘all I have to say’ about Spanish laughter. Or, at least, it is for the time being, because we threaten to return. We hope that we have been able to get to know the frog better without killing it. There is always the question of whether, as in Aesop’s fable, we academics are the scorpion whose nature leads it to kill the batrachian in the middle of the journey only to sink and perish with it, in a kind of ‘fatal battraction’. Antonio Calvo Maturana is Associate Professor of History at the University of Malaga and principal investigator of the international research team ‘Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today’. His area of expertise is European cultural history during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly in Spain. He is the author of four books: Impostores: sombras en la España de las luces (Cátedra, 2015); ‘Cuando manden los que obedecen’: la clase política e intelectual de la España preliberal, 1780–1808 (Marcial Pons historia, 2013); ‘Aquel que manda las conciencias’: Iglesia y adoctrinamiento político en la Monarquía Hispánica preconstitucional, 1780–1808 (Ayuntamiento de Cádiz, 2012); and María Luisa de Parma: reina de España, esclava del mito (Universidad de Granada, 2007, 2nd edn 2020).

Reference White, Elwyn.1941. A Subtreasury of American Humor New York: Random House.


Antonio Calvo Maturana

Note Antonio Calvo Maturana is the main researcher for the research project ‘El humor y su sentido: discursos e imágenes de lo risible desde la Ilustración hasta hoy’ (Humour and Its Meaning: Discourses and Images of the Laughable from the Enlightenment to Today; HAR2017-­84635-­P) financed by the Ministry of Economy and competitiveness.


¡ #0 (TV channel), 346, 350 #MeToo, 367 30 Rock, 346 40 Principales, Los, 346 8M, 338, 368 Abrantes, Angel María Carvajal, Duke of, 149 Abril, Silvia, 346 Academia de Ciencias Morales y Políticas, 218 Académie française, 218 A Coruña, 193, 217 Addison, Joseph, 46–47 Aesop, 99 Afrancesados, 113, 116 Aguilera, Carmen, 346 Aguirre, José Antonio, 291 Ahí te quiero ver (TV programme), 345 Alas, Leopoldo. See Clarín Alba, María Teresa de Silva, Duchess of, 37, 95–96, 109 Alba, María del Rosario Falcó y Osorio, Duchess of, 218, 220, 221 Alonso, Anabel, 346 Alonso, Maribel, 303 Alonso Martínez, Manuel, 258 Alvarado, Fray Francisco (aka El Filósofo Rancio), 38, 116–17 Álvarez, Henar, 347, 350 Álvarez Mendizábal, Juan, 174–75, 182 Ama (magazine), 320 Amar y Borbón, Josefa, 71

Anglada, Lola, 343 Antena, 3, 354 Anticlericalism, 185–201 Aparicio, José, 266 Aparicio, Rafaela, 342 Apollo, 258 Apuleius, 84 Aquí me las den todas (TV series), 354 Aragon, 169, 186, 322 Aranda, Vicente, 331 Arco Agüero, Felipe, 193 Arcos, Santiago, 361 Arenal, Concepción, 209, 212, 218, 219, 221 Aretino, Pietro, 85 Argentina, 344 Aristophanes, 84 Aristotle, 108, 130 Armijo, Aguilar y Correa, Antonio, Marquis of, 258 Aróztegui, Avelino de, 287 Arquette, Patricia, 365–66 Asclepiades of Samos, 85 Asia, Christian evangelization of, 4 Asquith, Herber Henry, 253 Audience, 299–303, 305–6, 308 Audiencia Nacional (Spanish National Court), 2 Augustinne of Hippo, 186 Austen, Jane, 129 Ayuso, Pedro Pablo, 304–5 Azcona, Rafael, 322 Bagaria, Luis, 212 Bailén, 275



Bakhtin, Mikhail, 4, 9, 20, 180–81 Balaguer, Víctor, 193 Baldwin, Alec, 5 Ball, Lucille, 345 Ballesteros, Francisco, 116 Banana, Flavita, 339, 343 Barcelona, 47, 170, 179, 196, 255, 259, 266, 268, 270, 280, 321, 332 Bardem, Juan Antonio, 321 Baroja, Pío, 19 Baroque, 6 Barrabás (magazine), 319 Barrera, Llum, 346 Barros, Bernardo G., 228, 229, 232, 237, 240, 249, 250 Basque Country, 169 Basque nationalists, 277, 291 Baudelaire, Charles, 108 Beaumarchais, Pierre-Augustin de, 46 Bebel, August, 208 Bechdel, Alison, 345, 353 Bee, Samantha, 346 Belgium, 18 Belushi, John, 344 Benidorm, 328 Bernhardt, Sarah, 209 Bergson, Henri, 78, 108, 130 Bernat i Baldoví, Joan, 172 Bibang, Asaari, 352 Black Legend, 190, 214 Boatella, Dolors, 350 Boletín Oficial del Estado, 334 Bonheur, Rosa, 209 Bonilla i Martínez, José María, 170, 172, 178, 179 Boop, Betty, 343 Borbón, Carlos María Isidro de. See Carlos María Isidro Bosnia, 18 Bretécher, Claire, 353 British Academy, 218 Bru, María, 303 Brunswick, Duke of, 120 Buenafuente, Andreu, 350 Buenismo Bien (radio programme), 350

Buenos Aires, 209 Burbujas de buen humor (radio programme), 301 Burke, Edmund, 189 Burnett, Carol, 345 Burundarena, Maitena, 344 Cabañas, Mariana, 74 Cadalso, José, 107 on austerity and levity, 35 Eruditos a la violeta, 115 on gravity, 27, 34 mocks French prejudices, 25–26 on nobility, 6–7 replies to Montesquieu, 31–34, 40–41, 164 Cadaqués, 328 Cadena SER, 301, 304, 350 Cádiz, 13, 111–27, 193 Calderón de la Barca, Pedro, 63 Calderón, Isa, 351 Calomarde, Tadeo María, 150, 152, 153, 161 Calvo Asensio, Gonzalo, 192–93 Calleja, Julita, 302 Calzada, Bernardo María de la, 129–42 Cambronero, Manuel María, 149 Camino, Jaime, 321 Campos, Purita, 343 Canalejas, José, 266 Cánovas del Castillo, Antonio, 259, 270 Cantó, Paula, 350 Cañizares, José de, 67 Capmany, Antonio, 37 Caramelo, Susi, 347 Caras y Caretas, 209 Carceller, Vicent Miquel, 19 caricature, 227–32, 234–37, 239–40, 242, 244, 248–50, 252 Carlism. See Spain (history of) Carlos I of Spain and V of the Holy Roman Empire, 5 Carlos II of Spain, 25 Carlos III of Spain, 92, 187 Carlos IV of Spain, 36, 92, 123, 130

Index 371

Carlos María Isidro, 169, 175, 176, 178, 214, 215 Carnerero, José María, 150, 158 carnival, 86–87 Caron, Marie-Louise, 46 Carpio, Rita Barrenechea, Countess of, 74 Cartagena, 25 Carrero Blanco, Luis, 2 Carvajal, Beatriz, 346 Casanova, Rafael, 259, 263–64 Casañas y Pagés, Salvador, 266 Casas, Ángel, 353 Castelao, Alfonso Rodríguez, 246, 247, 250–51 Castelar, Emilio, 259–60, 262, 264 Castillo y Mayone, Joaquín del, 193–94 Catalonia, 169, 193–95, 197, 266 Catalan nationalists, 277 Catalan process, 2–3, 17 Catholic Church, 6, 112, 173, 175, 185–201, 266, 285, 287 Catholicism, 12, 14, 32, 92, 112, 113, 122, 169, 185–201, 208, 215, 217, 265, 267, 284, 285, 292, 306, 307, 312 Cea Bermúdez, Francisco, 150, 158 Cepeda, Teresa de, 219, 224n13 censorship. See freedom of the press (and censorship) Chacha, 321, 326 Checa, Ulpiano, 262 Chico, Florinda, 342 Clit, Emma, 351 Cilla, Ramón, 227, 234 Cinema, 318–37, 364–65, 366 Clarín, Leopoldo Alas, 207, 215, 364 Clavijero, Francisco, 34–35 Clavijo y Fajardo, José, 45–59, 364 biography, 46–48 on the cortejo, 30 his satirical view, 51, 53–54 Cervantes, Miguel de, 6, 30, 39, 132 Charlie Hebdo (magazine), 2

Chateaubriand, François-René de, 161 Chesterfield, Lord, 18 China, 11, 86 Chúmez, Chumy, 106 Clement VII (Pope), 85 Coll, José Luis, 302 Columbism Christopher, 259 Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (TV programme), 340, 353 Comella, Joaquina, 74 comic, 343, 350 Comunión Carlista, 215 Conde, Patricia, 347 Conesa, Matilde, 304 Córcoles, Raquel (Moderna de Pueblo), 350 Cordero, Alba, 350 Cortina, José Justo Gómez, Count of la, 149 Correo de las damas (journal), 147, 160 Correo Literario y Mercantil (journal), 150, 151 Costumbrismo, 301 Crónicas Marcianas (TV programme), 16 Cruz, Ramón de la, 64 Cu-Cut (magazine), 343 Cuéntenos su chiste (radio programme), 301 Cuéntenos su complejo (radio programme), 300–1 culture of celebrity, 206 Curtin, Jane, 344 D’Alembert, Jean le Ron, 319 Daoiz, Luis, 259, 260, 262, 263 Daumier, Honoré, 106 David, Jacques-Louis, 255, 357 Decorativism, 230, 231, 232, 248 Deforme Semanal (online programme), 351 DeGeneres, Ellen, 346 Delgado, Manuel, 147 Democritus, 6 Derry Girls, 346



Destape, 318, 321, 328–32 Diario de avisos de Madrid (journal), 150 Diario de Madrid (journal), 37, 92–93 Diario Constitucional de Barcelona (journal), 162 Diario Mercantil (journal), 124 Diarrea de las imprentas, 114, 118, 119, 120–22 Diccionario crítico-burlesco, 191–92 Diccionario de autoridades, 29 Diccionario razonado, 117, 119, 120, 192 Diderot, Denis, 319 Didier, Charles, 161 Dieste, Rafael, 285 Diller, Phyllis, 342 Dolores y Lolo, 350 Domenech, Cristina (@firecrackerx), 352 Don Carlos. See Carlos María Isidro Donnelly, Liza, 353 Don Quijote (book), 6, 26, 30, 131–32 Don Quijote (magazine), 259, 260, 262, 263, 266, 270 Doré, Gustave, 106 Dostoyevsky, Fyodor, 208 Douglas, 348 Dujardin, Jean, 346 Dunham, Lena, 348 Dupin, Aurore, 208, 216, 223 Edinburgh Comedy Awards, 341 El Altar y el Trono, 214 El Buñuelo (magazine), 258, 259, 263, 266, 270 El Burlador fracasa, 301 El Censor (journal), 161 El Club de la Comedia, 345 El Conciso (journal), 123, 124 (digital journal), 19 El Duende (journal), 124 El Duende Satírico del día (journal), 147, 149–50, 153, 154, 158, 163 El Empecinado, Juan Martín Díez, 116

El Filósofo de Antaño, 117–18, 119, 120, 123, 124, 126 El Gran Bvfón (magazine), 14, 227, 228, 232, 237, 238, 251, 252, 360 El Gran Wyoming, 1–2 El Impacial (journal), 162 El Intermedio (TV programme), 1–3, 346 El Jueves (magazine), 2, 16, 350 El Mole (journal), 14, 167–83, 362 The New Yorker, 353 El País (journal), 2, 16, 334, 353 El Papus (magazine), 319 El Pensador (journal), 13, 45–59 El Periódico de las damas (journal), 162 El Pobrecito Hablador (journal), 147, 149, 150, 151, 152, 154, 155, 157, 161 El Redactor General (journal), 123 El Robespierre Español (journal), 124 El Roto, Andrés Rábago, 106 El Siglo Futuro, 217 El Universal (journal, nineteenth century), 162 El Universal (journal, twenty-first century), 353 El Zurriago (journal), 162 England, 11, 12, 111, 149, 190, 340 English intellectuals and authors (Addison, Austen, Burke, Chesterfield, Gillray, Hobbes, Lennox, Locke, Rowlandson, Shaftesbury, West), 6, 7, 9, 18, 46–47, 48, 82, 129–42, 189, 254, 357, 364 Hobbesian theory of degradation, 6 comedies written by women in eighteenth-century England, 62 participation in the Peninsular War, 111 issues of Ireland and women’s suffrage at the beginning of the twentieth century, 253 Enlightenment, 5–7, 12–13, 25–42, 45–59, 61–75

Index 373

Erasmus, 185 Eres una caca, 351, 354 Errejón, Íñigo, 1–2 Escenas de matrimonio (TV series), 345, 354 Escrivá, Vicente, 329 Escudero, Sara, 346 Escuela de Cine de Barcelona, 321 Escuela Oficial de Cinematografía (Madrid), 321, 334 Espejo, Patricia, 351 Esquella de la Torratxa, L’ (journal), 259, 264, 270, 282, 284 Esquilache, Leopoldo de Greogrio y Masnata, Marquis of, 187 Estirando el chicle (podcast), 350 Europa FM, 346 Fajardo, Eduardo, 325 Falangists, 282, 287 Fascism, 274, 299, 314 Farré de Calzadilla, Antonio, 301 Feijoo, Benito Jerónimo, 12–13, 28–29, 30, 31, 34, 35, 39, 40, 157 Félez, Mariano, 244, 245, 246, 250, 251 female humour. See humour (and gender) feminism, 14, 16, 63, 208, 214, 222, 331, 338, 339, 349, 351, 352, 353, 365, 366 Felipe V of Spain, 25, 259 female broadcasters, 303 feminity model, 298, 303–4, 306–8, 310. See also ‘Spanish woman’ Fernández, Aguirre, 329 Fernández, Ramón, 329–30 Fernández de Lizardi, José Joaquín, 129–42, 364 Fernández de Moratín, Leandro, 48, 61–62, 63, 67, 73, 93, 188 Fernández de Moratín, Nicolás, 48 Fernández de Navarrete, Francisco, 30 Fernández de Santa Cruz, Manuel, 365 Fernández, Finado, 302

Fernando VI of Spain, 92 Fernando VII of Spain, 13, 19, 37, 38, 111, 122, 123, 147–60, 169, 192, 362 Ferrer i Guardia, Francesc, 259 Ferreri, Marco, 322 Fey, Tina, 344, 346, 365–66 Finnish Civil War, 276 Fiveller, Joan, 259 Flaubert, Gustave, 13, 364 Fleabag (TV series), 348 Flores, Natalia, 354 Foralism, 362 Ford, Diane, 349 Fortnightly Review, 208 Fox, Charles Henry, 254 Fraga Iribarne, Manuel, 15, 319 Fragonard, Jean-Honoré, 80 France, 12, 345, 353 Charlie Hebdo shooting, 2 Comédie larmoyante, 6 French intellectuals and artists (Baudelaire, Chateaubriand, D’Alembert, David, Diderot, Didier, Flaubert, Fragonard, Jouy, La Martinière, Lerminier, Masson de Morvilliers, Millet, Montesquieu, Moréri, Panckoucke, Philipon, Rabelais, Valéry, Vigée Le Brun, Voltaire, Watteau), 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 25–28, 31–34, 36, 40, 80, 108, 161, 164, 255, 265, 319, 357, 364 French people satirized by Cadalso, 25–26 Francophobia and francophilia in eighteenth-century Spain, 25–42 French levity, 35–42 humour in eighteenth-century France, 10 humour during the French Revolution, 7, 8, 13, 113, 115–16, 119, 255, 361 humour during July Monarchy, 7, 255 Smiling Angel at Reims Cathedral, 6



Francés, José, 228, 229, 232, 234, 235, 236, 237, 240, 242, 243, 247, 248, 250, 251, 252 France 2 (TV station), 345 Franco, Francisco, 15, 285, 299, 307, 323, 328, 329, 331, 333, 353, 359, 365 Francoist side (Spanish Civil War), 275, 276–78, 282–91 Francisco, Pilar de, 351 Fray Gerundio (book), 30, 31, 39, 187–88, 198 Fray Gerundio (journal), 169, 173 freedom of the press (and censorship), 7, 12, 14, 15, 16, 61, 70, 72, 92, 94, 112, 122, 147, 148, 150–59, 167–70, 172–73, 175, 177–79, 299, 301, 306, 318–19, 329, 333, 334, 353, 362 Freiburg, 18 Freud, Sigmund, 78, 101, 105, 130 Frois, Luis, 4 Frost, Anni, 347 Fuentefiel, José Ignacio de Echevarría y del Castillo, Marquis of, 263 Fuentes, Manel, 16 Fuerte-Híjar, María Lorenza de los Ríos, Marchioness of, 37, 74 Fuseli, Johan Heinrich, 254 Filogyno, Eleuterio. See Valera, Juan Gaceta de Bayona (journal), 152 Gaceta de Madrid (journal), 150, 151, 152 Gadsby, Hannah, 348 Galician nationalists, 277 Gallardo, Bartolomé José, 191–92 Gálvez, María Rosa de, 13, 61–75, 365 her comic style, 62–64 Familia a la moda, 69–71 Un loco hace ciento, 64–66 Los figurones literarios, 66–69 profile, 61 García Berlanga, Luis, 321 García Escudero, José María, 321

García, Lidia (@thequeercanibot), 352 García Lorca, Federico, 19 Garrido, Fernando, 195–96 Gassent, Basilio, 304 Gazpacho agridulce, 352 Gedeón (magazine), 262, 266, 270 gender. See humour (and gender) generation of 98, 14, 19, 359–60 generation of 27, 19 generation of 27 (comedians), 15, 299–300, 311 Geneva, 217 Genoa, 217 Germany (and Germans), 12, 15, 299, 302, 328, 358 Diet of Worms (1521), 5 during the Spanish Civil War, 280, 282, 284–85 during the Third Reich, 4, 7 Gila, Miguel, 301–2, 321 Gillray, James, 7, 9, 254–55 Gimeno de Flaquer, Concepción, 212 Ginzo, Juana, 304 Girona, 111, 197 Gisbert, Antonio, 262 Godoy, Manuel, 108, 123, 188 Gómez de Avellaneda, Gertrudis, 218, 219 Gómez de la Serna, Ramón, 15 Gómez, Lula, 351 González de Vega, Marta, 351 Goya, Francisco de, 13, 64, 266 the swing in, 78–89 the terrible and the ridiculous in, 91–110 Gracia, Sancho, 325 Grau, Jorge, 331 Gravity, 25–42 Great News (TV series), 34 Gregory XVI (Pope), 178 Greece, 11 Greece (Ancient), 6 Guadalajara, 280 Guerrero, Agustina (La Volátil), 350 Guimerá, Ángel, 259

Index 375

Gulbransson, Olaf, 228, 232, 233, 242, 244 Gu, Raquel, 350 Hache, Eva, 345 Harry, Prince, 5 Heartfield, John, 105 Heraclitus, 6 Hermano Lobo (magazine), 319 Hernández, Miguel, 19 Hispano-Portuguese and American Pedagogical Congress, 207 Hita, Archpriest of, 6, 186 Hitler, Adolf, 7, 282 Hobbes, Thomas, 6, 130 humour definition of, 3 cartoon, 343, 349, 351, 352, 353 and gender, 7–8, 10–11, 13, 14, 16, 45–59, 61–75, 129–42, 310–11, 363–67 graphic humour, 298–99 and humanities, 8 light humour, 300, 305 its limits, 1–3, 15–16 modern humour, 301 a national specific humour?, 267–69 oral Humour, 298, 303 on parody, 255–57 post-humour, 347, 348 protest humour, 302 and public sphere, 5–6 sociocultural reading of, 9–10 new humour, 301 resistance humour, 311 support humour, 310 theories of, 130 trench humour, 279 as a universal phenomenon, 3 as a variable code, 3 as a vehicle for the expression of ideas and emotions, 4 humourism, 227, 228, 229, 231, 232, 234, 235, 236, 237, 240, 242, 244, 246, 248 Hurtado Sisters, The, 346

Ibiza, 328 Iceland, 11 Iglesias, Carolina (Percebes y Grelos), 350 Iglesias, Pepe, ‘El zorro’, 302 illustrated magazines, 227, 228, 230, 239, 240 Inquisition (in Spain), 13, 19, 30, 38, 94, 107, 161, 190–91, 194–95 Instagram, 339 internet, 349, 350 Iriarte, Tomás de, 39, 107 Isabel II of Spain, 152, 158, 169, 214 Isla, Francisco de, 30–31, 35, 39, 187–88 International Brigades, 285 Italy and Italians, 15, 299 during the Spanish Civil War, 280, 284–85 Jansen, Cornelius, 113 Jansenists, 113, 117, 123 Japan, 4, 105 Jardiel Poncela, Enrique, 15, 363 Jay, Penny, 351 Jesuits, 4, 176, 187 Jesus Christ, 9 Jesús, Santa Teresa de. See Cepeda, Teresa Joseph I of Spain, 37, 111, 116 Jouy, Étienne de, 161 Jovellanos, Gaspar Melchor, 107, 188 Juana Inés de la Cruz, Sor, 342, 365 Jugend, 228, 233, 238, 244, 249, 252 Jung, Carl, 105 Juvenal, 45, 84 Kamasutra, 86 Kane, Helen, 342 Kate and Allie (TV series), 344 Klimovsky, León, 322 Korea, 86 Krahe, Javier, 2 La Avispa (magazine), 210, 213 La Ametralladora (magazine), 288 La Biblioteca de la Mujer, 208

376 La Codorniz (magazine), 299, 302, 318–19, 325, 343 La Colmena (magazine), 162 La España Moderna (magazine), 217 La Familia Valdés (radio programme), 301 La Fe, 216, 217 La Fontana de Oro, 149 Lafuente, Modesto, 170 La Habana, 209 La Hormiga de Oro, 217 Laín Entralgo, Pedro, 15 LalaChus (@lalachus3), 350 La Maña, 343 La Martinière, Antoine-Agustin Bruzen de, 28, 30, 40 Lamb, Federico, 149 Lamy, Alexandra, 346 Landa, Alfredo, 328–30 Landismo, 328 La Pareja feliz, 301 La Periódico-manía (journal), 162 Larra, Mariano José, 13, 147–64, 169, 362 and censorship, 150–52 ‘De la sátira y de los satíricos’, 153 ‘El café’, 149–50 against El Correo Literario y Mercantil, 151–52 ‘¿Quién es el público y dónde se le encuentra?’, 154–55 satire and irony in, 152–60 on violence against friars, 195 and the Voluntarios realistas, 148–49, 161 ‘Vuelva usted mañana’, 157–58 Las que faltaban (TV programme), 347 La Sopa boba (TV series), 354 Late Motiv (TV programme), 350 La Terremoto de Alcorcón, 343 Latin America, 11 La Sexta (TV station), 346 La Traca (journal), 14 La Revista Española (journal), 147, 149, 150, 158, 161 La Vecina rubia, 352


Las Virtudes, 346 Lazaga, Pedro, 322, 323, 329 Law, Andrew Bonar, 253 Lennox, Charlotte, 129–42, 364 Leo XIII, 215 León, Loles, 343 Leonor, Princess, 16 Leopardi, Giacomo, 221 Lerminier, Eugène, 161 Liberalism, 12 Librado, Carlos (‘El Nene’), 347 Lijtmaer, Lucía, 351 limits of humour, 1–3 Lista, Alberto, 152 Llovet, Enrique, 301 Locke, John, 48 Locomundo (TV programme), 347 López, Charo, 351 López, Tomás, 156 López Ballesteros, Luis, 152 López Baños, Miguel, 193 López Vázquez, José Luis, 327, 328, 329 Lorente, Anabel (@Catana3l), 350 Lorente, Fedra (‘La Bombi’), 343 Louis-Dreyfus, Julia, 354, 365–66 Louis-Philippe I of France, 7, 255 Louis XIV, 25 Louis XVI, 190 Lucretia, 262 Lugo, 217 Luna y Novicia, Juan, 266 Luther, Martin, 5 Luzán, Ignacio, 29–30, 63 Lyona, 350 M6 Studio, 345 Machado, Antonio, 19 Machistadas, 351 Madrid, 46–47, 48, 57, 80, 123, 124, 148, 149–150, 155, 156, 158, 160, 161, 187, 207, 218, 220, 255, 259, 266, 268, 270, 280, 321, 322, 323, 325, 326 Madrid Cómico, 227, 234, 237, 251 Magola, 351 Marbella, 329

Index 377

Marcos, Arturo, 331 María Cristina de Borbón-Dos Sicilias, Regent Queen of Spain, 169 María Luisa of Parma, Queen of Spain, 37, 123, 124 Mari Carmen y sus muñecos, 343 Marín, Ricardo, 229, 231, 234, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240, 241, 242, 251, 252 Martín de la Cova, Victoria (Living Postureo), 347, 350, 351 masculinity (Joseantonian) model, 307–8, 310 Matilde, Perico y Periquín, 300–1, 304–5, 307, 311 Martial, 84–85 Martínez Campos, Arsenio, 258 Martínez Soria, Paco, 324–25 Martín Gaite, Carmen, 75 Martínez Colomer, Vicente, 194 Martínez de la Rosa, Francisco, 150, 160, 161, 195 Martínez del Rincón, Serafín, 260–61 Martos, Raquel, 346 Masdeu, Juan Francisco de, 30 Masson de Morvilliers, Nicolas, 36 Mateo, Dani, 1–3 Mateo, Rosa María, 16 Maternasis, 351 Matrimoniadas, 345, 354 Meléndez Valdés, Juan, 36–37, 107, 188 Memes, 350 Mercedes y Eduardo, 300 Mesonero Romanos, Ramón, 169 May, Etta, 349 McGee, Lisa, 346 McKinnon, Kate, 354 Mexico, 13, 129–42, 364 Meme, 350, 357 Mida, Hanan, 350 Middle Ages, 6, 87 Mihura, Miguel, 15, 363 Militamen (Republican), 287, 289 Miller, Mira, 328–29

Mi mujer y yo (radio programme), 300 Miscelánea de Comercio, Artes y Literatura (journal), 162 Miscelánea de Comercio, Política y Literatura (journal), 162 Moctezuma, 34–35 Moderna de Pueblo. See Córcoles, Raquel Molière. See Poquelin Jean-Baptiste Montes, Conchita, 343 ‘Moors’, 279, 282–86, 290 Montepío Doméstico (Domestic Asistance Fund), 326 Montesquieu, 12–13, 31–34, 161 on Spanish gravity, 25–28 Montijo, María Francisca Sales de Portocarrero, Countess of, 188 Morales, Gracita, 325–26, 327, 342 Morales, Jelen, 350 Moran, Caitlin, 351 Moréri, Louis, 27–28, 40 Moreto, Agustín, 63 Moreu, Mamen, 349, 350 Morgade, Ana, 346 Morgan, Lina, 342 Morón, Isabel, 74 Mosquera, Nani, 351 Movistar, 346, 347, 350 Moya del Pino, José, 230, 231, 244, 245, 251, 252 Mua, Anabel, 347 Muchachas rivales (radio programme), 301 Mujeres alteradas, 344 Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban, 269 Murphy Brown (TV series), 344 Nadiuska, 328–29 Nanette, 348 Napoleon, 13, 111, 116, 117, 120, 121, 122, 185, 259, 281, 358, 362 Natalist policies, 307 National Catholicism, 306–7 national socialism, 299 Nassau, Justino de, 263 Necker, Anne-Louise Germaine, 208



Nero, 84 Netflix, 348 Neville, Edgar, 363 New Spain, 5 Nifo, Mariano de, 41 No-Do. Noticiario Cinematográfico Español, 320, 334 Numancia, 275 Núñez, Ricardo, 322 Obama, Barack, 5, 16 Oncina, Ana, 350 Osuna, María Josefa Pimentel y Télez-Girón, Duchess of, 95–96, 104, 105 Ottoman Empire, 11 Ozores, Antonio, 328, 329 Ozores, Mariano, 325–26, 327, 329 Padilla, Paz, 346 Pajares, Andrés, 329 Palacios, Fernando, 322 Paleto, 302, 312, 322, 323, 332, 360 Panckoucke, Charles-Joseph, 80 Pardo Bazán, Emilia, 14, 206–26, 361, 365 as a feminist, 208 literary relevance, 207–9 Parejología 3x2, 354 Parker, Pedrita, 350 Pastor Pérez, Justo, 192 Pastrana, Alcántara, Pedro de, Duke of, 149 Patriotas, 111–12 Penagos, Rafael de, 230, 247, 248, 251 Peninsular War. See Spain (history of) Pérez de las Heras, Nerea, 347, 351 Pérez Galdós, Benito, 149, 161, 207, 210, 219 Perra de Satán (Beatriz Cepeda), 349 Petimetres and petimetras, 34, 35, 37, 50, 53, 64–65, 70–71, 364 Petronius, 84, 85 Pérez, Pasqual, 172 Pérez Madrigal, Ramón, 289

Pérez Ocaña, José, 332 Pichot, Malena, 351 Philipon, Charles, 7 Plato, 130 podcast, 350, 352 Poehler, Amy, 354 Poquelin, Jean-Baptiste, 221 Pompeia, Núria, 351 Pons, Ventura, 332 Popper, Karl, 361 Por favor (magazine), 319, 351 Portillo, Joaquín, 301 Portugal, 25, 111 Pradilla, Francisco, 260 Prado Museum, 79, 81, 88, 95, 98, 126, 152, 268–69 press, 45–60, 167–84, 206–26, 253–97 Priapus, 84 Prieto Flores, Los, 351 Propaganda, 299, 302–3, 305, 311 Prud’hon, Pierre-Paul, 255 Public Opinion, 1, 7, 9, 14, 15, 111–18, 168, 169, 193, 196, 358–63, 366 Punch (magazine), 253–54, 353 Queipo de Llano, Gonzalo, 285 Querelle des femmes, 13 Quevedo, Francisco de, 6, 9 Quillahuaman, Rocío (@ rocionoseque), 350 Quintana, Manuel José, 119, 126 Quiroga, Antonio, 193 Quiroga, José, 216 Rabelais, François, 9 radio, 298–317, 339, 346, 350, 364–65 radio comedy programmes, 300, 304, 307 radio soap opera, 299 radio theatre, 301 Radio Madrid, 300–4 Radio Revista, 303 Ramos, Yolanda, 346 Raüll, Francisco, 195 Real Academia Española de la Lengua, 218

Index 379

Redmon, John, 253 Régis de Cambacères, Jean-Jacques, 255 Reims, 6 religious broadcastings, 299 Remigio the militiaman, 289 Republicanism, 12 Republican side, 276 Revilla, Manuel de la, 209, 223 Ribera, José, 94 Richardson, Mary, 253 Riego, Manuel de, 193 Riezu, Virginia, 346 Riot Comedy, 351 Ripoll, Cayetano, 13, 19 Rius i Taulet, Francico de Paula, 259 Rivero, Ana Belén, 349 Rivers, Joan, 345 Robert, Bartomeu, 266 Rodrigo, José, 196–97 Rodríguez, The (twentieth-century Spanish masculine cliché), 328 Romano, Giulio, 85 Romanones, Álvaro Figueroa y Torres, Count of, 266 Romanticism, 12 Rome, 215 Rome (Ancient), 3, 10, 84, 266 Romero Ortiz, Antonio, 258 Ros, Valeria, 347 Roseanne (TV series), 344 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 48, 123, 319 Royal Academy of Fine Arts, 268 Rowlandson, Thomas, 82, 254 Rubens, 259, 269 Rubio, Carlos, 197 Rudolph, Maya, 354 Ruiz, Elsa, 352 Rusiñol, Albert, 266 Russia, 116, 120, 149 Russian Civil War, 276 Russians, 279, 288–90, 293 Sáenz de Heredia, José Luis, 322 Saint-Georges, H., 216, 223 Sagasta, Práxedes Mateo, 258, 259, 260–62, 264

Sagunto, 275 Salinas, Pedro, 19 Salmerón, Nicolás, 259 Salones de Humoristas, 228, 229, 231, 240, 244, 246, 248 Salvador, Julio, 322 Samaniego, Félix María de, 39 San Bartolomé, Fray José, 38, 42 Sánchez Polack, Luis, 301 Sand, George. See Dupin, Aurore Santolaya, Laura (P8ladas), 350 Santpere, Mary, 302–3, 342.Sardá, Rosa María, 345 Sarmiento, Fray Martín, 31 Sastre, Raquel, 351 Satire, 298–99, 302, 311 Saturday Night Live (TV programme), 5, 344 Schumer, Amy, 341, 348, 365–66 Sección Femenina, 298 Scènes de ménages (TV series), 345 Schopenhauer, Arthur, 221 Scott, Walter, 216, 223n7 Second of May (1808), 275, 292 Second World War, 15 Scriptwritting?, 346, 350 Segura, Santiago, 329 Seinfeld, Jerry, 340, 341 Semanario Patriótico (journal), 124 Señora, 349 Señoras del (h)AMPA (series), 346 Ser de España (Spanish being), 36, 359 Serrano Suñer, Ramón, 323 Serviles, 111–27 Sex ¡oh!, 350 Shaftesbury, Earl of, 6 Sherman-Palladino, Amy, 346 Silverman, Sarah, 344 Simplicissimus, 228, 232, 233, 238, 239, 242, 246, 249, 252 Sorel, Jean, 329 Soriano, Eva, 347 Smith, Margaret, 348, 349 Spain (history of) African wars, 279, 290



Spain (history of) (cont.) Cadiz Cortes, 13, 19, 111–27, 168, 362, 363 Carlist Wars, 14, 158, 167, 169–73, 175–77, 178, 179, 193, 195, 197, 214, 282, 287, 290–91, 362 current Spain, 1–3, 338–55 eighteenth- and early nineteenthcenturies Absolutism and Enlightenment, 12–13, 25–110 Francoist Regime, 15, 298–337 Golden Age, 6, 9, 192, 253, 258, 263, 269 liberal regime (nineteenth century), 14, 167–273 Ominous decade, 13, 147–64, 193 Peninsular War, 37, 111–27, 130, 190, 259, 275, 292 Trienio liberal, 19, 193 Second Spanish Republic, 12, 14, 274, 276, 287, 289, 298, 307 Spanish Civil War, 12, 14–15, 19, 274–97, 360 Spanish transition to democracy, 3, 351, 353 Spanish Civil War. See Spain (history of) Spanish nationalism, 275–6, 292–93 Spínola, Ambrosio de, 263 Solís, Antonio de, 63, 65 Sornosa, Patricia, 351 Soviet Union, 7 Soy una pringada (Esty Quesada), 349 Sparks, Silvia, 347 Staël, Madame de. See Necker, AnneLouise Germaine Stalin, Josef, 287–88 stand-up comedy, 342, 345, 346, 351 Steadman, Ralph, 106 Steinem, Gloria, 341, 344 Stuart Mill, John, 208 Summers, Manuel, 321 Suprani, Rayma, 353 Supreme Central Junta (Cádiz), 111

Sweden, 11, 328 Swede, The (twentieth-century Spanish feminine cliché), 328, 365 Taboada, Lucía, 350 Tatischev, Dmitry Pavlovich, 149 Telecinco (TV station), 354 Tertulias (and salones and cafés), 48, 56, 67, 112, 127, 126, 137, 149, 151 That Was the Week That Was (TV programme), 341 The Gilmore Girls, 346 The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (TV series), 346 Thomas Aquinas, 187 TikTok, 350 Tip y Top, 301–2 Titian, 262, 269, 357 ‘Tito’ (Exoristo Salmerón), 230, 234, 235, 240, 242, 243, 247, 251, 252 Tolstoy, Leo, 208, 364 Topor, Roland, 106 Toreno, Francisco de Borja Queipo de Llano, Count of, 263 Torrebejano, Adriana, 347 Torremolinos, 328 Torrijos, José María de, 262 Transmedia, 350 Tribunal Supremo (Spanish Supreme Court), 2 Triunfo (magazine), 351 Trudeau, Justin, 5 Trump, Donald, 5 Turgenev, Ivan, 208 TV, 339, 345, 346, 347, 350 TVE (TV station), 343, 345, 354 Twitter, 2, 16, 339, 352, 356, 357 Ulloa, bernardo, 30 Unamuno, Miguel de, 19 Un, dos, tres (TV programme), 343, 346 Un gars, une fille (TV programme), 345

Index 381

United States of America, 11, 338 President’s monologue at the annual foreign correspondents’ dinner, 5 TV satires in the, 5 Urbino, Raphael, 85 Valencia, 169–72, 179–80, 280 Valera, Juan, 220, 221, 222, 224 Valéry, Paul, 108 Válidas (web series), 350 Valle de los Caídos, 2 Valle Inclán, Ramón María del, 19, 229, 230, 231, 244, 246, 251, 252, 334 Vázquez, Eduardo, 304–5 Velarde, Pedro, 259, 260, 262, 263 Velázquez, Diego, 253, 258, 263, 269, 357 Vélez, Rafafel, 117 Vera, Cassandra, 2 Vida perfecta (TV series), 346 Vidal, Rocío, 351 Vigée Le Brun, Élisabeth-Louise, 8 Vilariño, Matilde, 304 Villas, Thais, 347 Viriathus, 275, 292 Vitoria Television Festival, 346 Voltaire, 6, 41, 192

wartime nationalism, 274–75, 291–92 war propaganda, 275–77, 290–91 Waller-Bridge, Phoebe, 348 Waters, John, 349 Watteau, Antoine, 80 Weber, Max, 16 West, Benjamin, 254, 357 West, Mae, 342 White, Elwyn B., 357 Wifileaks, 347 Wigfield, Tracey, 346 Wiig, Kristen, 354 Women’s broadcasts, 298, 302–3 Worms, 5 World War I, 276 World War II, 278 Xianz, Tang, 86 Yokai art, 105 YouTube, 334, 339, 349, 350, 351, 354, 356, 365 Yu: no te pierdas nada (radio programme), 346 Zabalza, José María, 323 Zapeando (TV programme), 346 Zaragoza, 111, 193, 275 Zhou, Quan, 352 Zorrilla, José, 334