Hamletism in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–39

in Critical Survey
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Within the historical context of the Spanish Civil War, 1936–39, ineffectuality, vacillation and irresolution in social and political commitment came under scrutiny as a kind of ‘Hamletism’. Catalan journalist and writer Paulino Masip (1899–1963) cites Hamlet as a type in his article ‘Carta a un español escéptico’ [‘Letter to a sceptical Spaniard’] in the Barcelona-based newspaper La Vanguardia on 16 September 1937, as does José Bergamín (1895–1983) in his contribution to the 2nd International Congress of Writers in Defence of Culture, published in the monthly review Hora de España in August 1937. A theatre production of Hamlet in Valencia in December 1937 reveals similar conflicts and anxieties. In the novel El diario de Hamlet García [The Diary of Hamlet García], written during his exile in Mexico, Masip criticizes wartime Hamletism and reflects upon the dilemmas the civil war imposed on him, contemporary intellectuals and the civilian population of Madrid.