Spain’s most famous children’s author Elena Fortún and companion Matilde Ras, a fellow feminist writer, are the subject of a new anthology which uncovers previously hidden diaries, a series of unpublished literature and evocative letters between the two whilst in exile.
Exeter.ac.uk–Professor Nuria Capdevila-Argüelles, an expert in Hispanic and Gender Studies at the University of Exeter, has written the extensive introduction to ‘Elena Fortún y Matilde Ras. El camino es nuestro’ and selected the texts with collaborator Dr MJ Fraga (Universidad Complutense, Madrid). The anthology is written in Spanish and highlights Fortún and Ras as major 20th century avant garde writers. As female intellectuals active during the Spanish Second Republic, Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship their contributions to literature, journalism and feminist thought were largely forgotten on becoming political exiles.
However, Fortún’s bestselling books about the famous character ‘Celia’ remain a staple across the Spanish speaking world. The 20 volume saga of her life with her family from age 7 to 18 years spans the period from the years before the Second Republic to dictatorship. Celia is nearly 100 years old since first published.
The stories are still taught in schools, widely read and became a popular TV series, ensuring that generations of children continue to read or watch ‘Celia’ and enjoy other characters in the saga such as her brother Cuchifritín, little sister Mila, who travels in Spain dressed as a boy or her naughty cousin Matonkikí. The great popularity of Celia with generations of Spaniards and Latin Americans stems from Fortún’s ability to continue publishing during the dictatorship without aligning herself with the educational principles of the regime, unlike other children’s authors in Spain.
Read more on Exeter.ac.uk: Unpublished Works of Spanish Feminist Writers Uncover Spain’s Hidden Past