The history of the Spanish republican literary exile of 1939 has built, throughout these almost eighty years, a discourse with prominent protagonists, with characters in the background, and with other more hidden figures. Women have been placed, predominantly, in this third space, practically invisibility. However, the feminist critique has proposed to rescue the role of this collective with a series of tools taken from other critical currents, such as the Sociology of Literature. María Dolores Arana published her first book of poems, Canciones en azul, in 1935, had a job as an assistant customs officer, a promising intellectual career and a life project in which she believed. The civil war led her to acquire a commitment to the Republic, which would result in her participation as secretary in the Second International Conference of Writers for the Defense of Culture, and to meet her colleague, José Ramón Arana (José Ruiz Borau). However, the victory of Franco in 1939 meant exile for the Arana, first a few months in the Dominican Republic and then in Mexico, where they would definitely settle. The difficulties of exile were exacerbated in the case of Arana. The difficulties to get a decently paid job and the care of his family delayed the continuation of a career cut short by the military coup of 1936. However, in 1953 he managed to publish his second book of poetry, Árbol de sueños, before he had collaborated in magazines of exile, such as Aragón or Las Españas, and from 1961 he wrote for the Spanish magazine founded by Camilo José Cela, Papeles de Son Armadans. Despite the complexity of everyday life, aggravated by the separation of José Ramón Arana, the intellectual yearning did not diminish at all. On the contrary, Arana persecuted always to be able to resume her career as a writer, and for this reason she remained in constant contact with both Mexican and Spanish intellectuals like her, among whom, due to the strong bond established, Guadalupe Dueñas and Fausto Vega, and Luis Cernuda and Concha Méndez. All of this culminated, finally, in his appearance as a literary critic of various Mexican newspapers and magazines, in the publication of two informative books —Arrio y su querella (1966) and Zombies. El misterio de los muertos vivientes (1987)—, and in a job in the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of the United Mexican States. María Dolores Arana, for her personal and literary career, is a paradigmatic example of Spanish women who have taken refuge in Mexico since 1939, and more specifically, intellectuals. Poets, playwrights, writers had to invest a much greater effort than their male colleagues to resume their professional careers, although they would not always be recognized and their works valued in their proper measure. However, the recovery of these women and their literary production is fundamental to a better understanding of the complex and rich history of the Spanish Republican literary exile of 1939.
- María Dolores Arana