Generation of ’36: what it is, how it originated, characteristics, authors and more


What was the Generation of ’36?

The Generation of ’36 was a literary movement that represents the first post-war generation in Spain. This movement will be formed by a great variety of authors of different literary genres, including playwrights, novelists and poets, whose works are characterized by the attempt to transmit the feelings and emotions before the object or person that becomes the source of inspiration.

What was the Generation of '36

In this sense, we speak of a movement that produces a spontaneous, natural literature, whose main interest is the human being and his reality, while seeking experimentation to reach new forms. This movement was also known as the promotion of 1936 or the first post-war generation due to the moment in which it arose.

How did the generation of 1936 originate in literature?

The movement, known as the generation of 1936, arose between 1936 and 1941 in Spain. At this time, it began to develop thanks to writers of different formats, including novelists, playwrights and poets who had lived through the Civil War in their country. However, it was precisely during the first years of Franco’s dictatorship that the movement’s literary production began.

The generation of 1936 includes authors born between 1905 and 1920, which is why they lived in their own flesh the consequences of the Civil War in terms of economic, political and social conditions that afflicted the Spanish territory at that time. In this way, the artistic production will be focused on the portrait of the situations that society lived, as well as the censorship and the discomforts experienced by the population.

That is why the works of the generation of 1936 are marked by the representation of gray environments that express the mood of the population with the desolation and misery of the post-war period, as well as the resignation and conformism experienced by their authors.

At the end of the conflict, many of the authors, especially of the publications, found a place outside the Spanish territory, a place where many of the artists of the generation found refuge. Thus, from exile, they began to produce works, especially those who were not on the regime’s side, since those who wrote and whose interests coincided with the dictatorship did not run the same danger of exile.

Literary development of the Generation of 1936

The framework in which this generation develops will be decisive for the forms of writing adopted by the authors, their interests and recurring elements. That is why it is convenient to take a look at the new forms that the movement experimented.

In particular, poetry was one of the genres with the most growth in this generation, marked by the intention of the authors of the awakening of consciousness, in addition to the creation of propaganda poetry that generated the emergence of two trends in this field. These were:

Rooted poetry

On this side we have a poetic production that was directed according to the interests of the Franco regime, reason why their creations were related to the regime. We have a poetry with much more positive dyes that evidenced nationalism as a central axis, as well as the promotion of patriotic sentiment. In this line, the authors included themes such as the importance of family, love and religion.

Uprooted poetry

And on this other side we have another type of poetry that was developed to a greater extent by poets absent from the regime, many of them considered themselves anti-Franco poets, so that their themes no longer advocated the feeling inspired by the homeland, but questioned and expressed their concern about the arrival of Franco’s dictatorship. This poetry, in particular, will have a much more critical tinge and will be built in poetic environments that will reveal the pessimism of its authors.

The poetry with the greatest weight was the poetry uprooted from the regime, thus highlighting a much more committed literature that allowed to distinguish the generation of 36 under this qualification. Its authors built a literature that was committed to society, had a critical spirit and exposed their concerns.

Main characteristics of the Generation of 1936

It is time to look at the most important characteristics of this movement, which consolidated the bases for the development of an important number of texts that emerged from different genres, which is one of the most important characteristics of this generation. Among them we find the following:

Simple style

The authors of the generation of 1936 were characterized by using a very simple style in their works, which was based on a much more spontaneous and natural language. This resource allowed the authors to bring to their works humble themes or aspects of what they wanted to express and that would be understood by the reader.

Thus, the generation of 1936 is seen as a movement in which the literary style was much more realistic, since the authors moved away from styles cultivated during the avant-garde in which they stick to literary reveries, to go for a much more humanized style that allows a much closer portrait to their social, political and economic conditions.

Poetry as a tool

This is an aspect that we cannot leave aside of this movement, because the Civil War causes poets to be active in one of the two sides, so that begins a great production of ideological propaganda of those who were part of the national side, as well as those who belonged to the Republican.

Transmission of feelings

One of the flagship features of this generation was marked by the main intention of its artists: the transmission of their feelings. The authors wanted their works to reflect their own emotions and sensations about the person who inspired the work, or about the object that became the subject of their writing.

Search for innovation

Another characteristic that we cannot fail to mention is that although the authors sought to reflect their own feelings, the search for experimentation and the use of resources that lead them to implement new forms in their writings, will be another of their most constant searches.

Preference for prose

The use of prose will be a frequent element within the authors of this movement, applied not only to narrative, in particular, but also to the other genres being developed by playwrights and poets. That is to say, we are talking about works that although they may be written in verse, they will not have a harmony. This responds to the use of a natural and spontaneous language that leaves aside the measure.

Concern for the human being

The human being will be an element of concern in the works of the authors of the generation of 1936. In this sense, besides being his main instrument, he is also inclined to the reality that surrounds him, so that these two elements will be recurrent within the artistic production.

Delicacy of the texts

The exposition of feelings will be associated with an extremely delicate and subtle type of language that enriches this expression, which is why the authors of this movement take very good care of aspects such as delicacy, order and neatness in their works.

works of the generation of 36

Authors and most important works of the generation of 36

Among the main authors of the generation of 36, we find poets such as Gabriel Celaya, Blas de Otero, José Hierro, Luis Rosales, Leopoldo Panero, Miguel Hernandez, Juan Gil Albert, Guillermo Díaz Plaja, Juan Panero, Luis Felipe Vivanco, Germán Bleiberg, José María Fonollosa, José Antonio Muñoz Rojas, José María Luelmo, Pedro Pérez Clotet, Rafael Duyos, Celso Amieva, Gabriel Celaya, Arturo Serrano Plaja, José Herrera Petere, Juan Vazquez, Blas de Otero, Carlos Rodríguez-Spiteri, among others.

In the field of narrative and playwriting, authors such as Antonio Buero Vallejo, Miguel Delibes, Camilo José Cela, Carmen Laforet, Gonzalo Torrente Ballester, as well as other authors who joined during and after the Civil War, such as Juan Rof Carballo, stood out, Segundo Serrano Poncela, Juan Antonio Gaya Nuño, José Suárez Carreño, Jorge Campos, Fernando Allué y Morer, José Manuel Blecua, Dionisio Ridruejo, José Luis Cano, Ramón de Garciasol, Pedro Laín Entralgo, Juan López Morillas, José Luis Aranguren and Julián Marías.

To learn more about other literary movements, as well as currents, genres, styles and more, do not forget that in our section dedicated to this artistic field you can find much more information and continue learning.