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Children’s Classics under Franco

Censorship of the «William» Books and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer</I>

Ian Craig

This monograph reveals the surprising fate of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Richmal Crompton’s «William» books under Franco. The «William» books began to be persecuted by the censors in late 1942, precisely the moment when the regime was seeking a rapprochement with the Allied powers. This prohibition cannot be understood without exploring the factors that differentiate children’s literature from adult literature in the context of Francoism. The books’ peculiarly English character also had a vital bearing on how they were censored. Early in the regime, the censors generally considered Tom Sawyer to be a classic for adults. From the mid-1950s, however, children’s literature was defined as a special category in censorship legislation, and the censors began to view editions of the work as specifically intended for children. Tom Sawyer thus encountered censorship problems in the later years of the regime, supposedly more liberal than the earlier period. The fate of both Twain and Crompton’s work, and that of other authors discussed, would be inexplicable without examining the evolution of the publishing industry and Francoist attitudes to literature and the child. A detailed analysis of the type of allusions that motivated censorship – religious, sexual, political or violent – is also included.
Contents: Francoist Censorship, its Character and Evolution – Children's Literature in an Authoritarian Context – The Censorship of Translated Literature – Types of Suppression Imposed by the Francoist Censors – Religion, Sexuality, National Identity, Crime and Violence under Franco.