Literary Tremendism: what it is, how it arises, characteristics, important works and authors


What is tremendism

It was called tremendism to a current in the literary field that took place in the forties of the twentieth century, just at the end of the Civil War. It is important to remember that it was a period marked by the harshness of this process, which allowed reflecting this same harshness and sensation in literary productions, particularly in the plot. Thus, the literary tremendism will build characters with problems and discomforts of various kinds, in addition to a forceful language for the representation of severity in the scenes.

What is tremendism

In other words, we are talking about a literary technique applied especially to narrative, particularly to the novel, which has a clear relationship between its social context after the war and the war itself, presenting a series of themes intimately related to the collective sensation and to which its authors were no strangers.

¿How does the tremendismo arise in literature?

With the end of the Civil War in Spain, a period of desolation and uncertainty began in which diverse sensations of uneasiness and even misery were experienced within the Spanish social classes. Consequently, its authors, who will live in their own flesh the rawness after the war, will reflect in their writings, particularly in novels, their perception of the reality of their time from a series of exaggerated descriptions with the intention of touching the reader.

Many experts affirm that in literary tremendismo, the authors, known as tremendistas, will not show a stance contrary to the regime of their time, but rather adopt an attitude of conformism in the face of what is happening, a kind of state submerged in the pain of the conditions. However, many of the works produced in the literary field by the tremendismo were censored in the country, although they could be published internationally.

Now, among the most determining factors that permeate the development of tremendismo, we find the silencing of the generation of 1936, the censorship of the literary production that had come before and continues to be applied, the renewal of the novel in Spain, the literature linked to the regime with a nationalist tinge, among others.

Literary development of tremendismo

Although it will be discussed in detail in the following point, it is necessary to consider that, in general, the tremendismo as a literary technique in narrative, was permeated by the social context of the time, shared by the population. In particular, it was a way of describing reality using exaggeration as the main element. From this point of view, authors wrote several novels that included a hidden purpose that allowed them to induce and manifest a criticism towards the reader.

After the Civil War, in addition to the tremendismo, other movements that developed later, will be marked by a series of aspects outside the literary that will influence their creative processes. That is why many of the following will take ideological elements, for example, which is why many of the works will be subjected to censorship.

Literary development of tremendismo

Characteristics of tremendism

It is time to look at the most important features of this type of literature in the context of an important historical moment that determined the emergence of an artistic production that will echo in posterity. Among them we find the following:

Portrait of society

One of the most distinctive features of tremendism is precisely how it represented society in its novels. However, this portrait or representation has a very important particularity and that is that it does so by insisting on the harshness of their conditions, so that we can see gloomy and harsh aspects within their narrative constructions that will account for the society of the time.

Character traits

Another aspect that should be considered when reviewing the novels of tremendism are the characters. Often the authors relate the characters to the environments they portray, thus giving them a dark and gloomy tinge that is also reflected in the personality of those who appear there. This is used to show in a direct way the result of the conflict of the Civil War, applied fundamentally to morality.

Social denunciation

It is important to emphasize that the members of the tremendismo did not belong to the regime, which even in their conformism, allows them to look critically at the social, political, cultural and economic conditions of their country and expose it in their works. This element has vital relevance if we take into consideration that in fact, the newspapers of their time did not intend to denounce injustices and decisive situations.

Relationship with the traditional and realistic

The development of the works of tremendism is related to the traditional to the extent that it presents a narrative structure that follows a certain time and space, and a touch of realism of the nineteenth century that applies especially to the approach it implements.

Most important works and authors of tremendism

One of the works, in particular, with which the movement of literary tremendism was born, was the work of Camilo José Cela called La familia de Pascual Duarte, published in 1942 and later made into a film in 1975 by Ricardo Franco. Other important works of the movement were Un millón de Muertos by Josep Gironella, Mariona Rebul written by Ignacio Agustí, among others.

Other key authors in the development of this movement were Josep Mª Gironella, Ignacio Agustí, Camilo José Cela, Miguel Delibes, Carmen Laforet, Gonzalo Torrente Ballester, Miguel Delibes, Carmen Laforet, Javier Mariño, Gonzalo Torrente Ballester, Darío Fernández Flóres, Luis Lalíndez, Rafael García Serrano, Ana María Matute, among others.

Remember that to learn more about other movements, currents, types of literature, genres and more, in our section focused on this type of art you can access a wealth of information for you to continue learning about the world of literature.