Publishing in Galicia during the Franco Era (1939-1975)

Reference number
FFI2010-16924-subprograma FILO
Funding body
Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación
Grant amount
€ 30250 (total)
Period of funding
01-01-2011 / 31-12-2014
Mª Antonia Pérez Rodríguez
Carlos F. Velasco Souto
Mª Obdulia Luis Gamallo

The main aim of this research project is to study the production of published work in Galicia during the Franco era, an activity that was strongly conditioned by the prevailing ideology of the time and the socio-economic difficulties created by the dictatorship.

Publishing in Galicia was not constrained by its circumstances, however. The period 1939-1975 saw the emergence of numerous publishing initiatives, some more lasting than others, with patronage from different sources, varying editorial and commercial proposals, distinct aesthetic and ideological outlooks, and a variety of methods of reader engagement. Until now, however, the overall importance of these publishing activities in the context of vital cultural opposition to the dictatorship and its attack on democracy, has been largely overlooked, as the relative obscurity of many of these initiatives, even the more obvious success stories, clearly demonstrates.

The publishing scene at the time was certainly more complex than it is generally believed. By and large, attention has focused on the practitioners and publishers of high literature and culture, ignoring the existence of alternative types of publishing (such as the technology publications of Valle-Collantes in Ferrol-A Coruña, or the popular literature produced by Cíes), or smaller operators, such as Monterrey. The same narrow perspective has also served to obscure the publishing activity of many public bodies of the time: academies and societies, town and provincial councils, banks, museums, etc.

The printers who acted as publishers (such as Moret and Roel) made a significant contribution to publishing in Galicia in the years following the civil war, and continued to provide important support to self-publishing authors right up to the end of the 1960s. The end of the civil war also saw the creation of Cíes in Vigo, a remarkable commercial publishing initiative, with sales throughout Spain.

By the end of the 1940s, more defined literary imprints had begun to appear, such as Benito Soto (Pontevedra) and Bibliófilos Gallegos (Santiago de Compostela). Galaxia burst onto the publishing scene at the beginning of the 1950s, transforming the cultural revival movement in Galicia; it was joined a year later by the Xistral imprint, founded in Lugo in 1952. The 1960s was another busy decade for publishers and imprints in Galicia, beginning with the creation of Salnés in 1961, and continuing with the revival of Celta (Lugo) and Porto (Santiago), the creation of Monterrey and Castrelos (Vigo), Sept (Santiago) and Ediciós do Castro (Sada), and the refoundation of Xistral (Monforte).

During the final years of the dictatorship, more new players emerged onto the scene to add a further dimension to publishing in Galicia: the appearance of Pico Sacro (Santiago) and Edicións do Rueiro (A Coruña), for example, was accompanied by other publishing initiatives, created with the backing of bookshops, private businesses and institutions such as the College of Architects of Galicia, the Lugo Arts Circle and the University of Santiago de Compostela, to name just a few. All these ventures played a critical role in the revival and regeneration of Galician cultural production within Galicia.

This brief overview illustrates the variety of publishing projects and initiatives included in our survey of this period, a study which comprises careful data analysis and the difficult but highly rewarding task (especially in the context of the present project) of recovering the many individual titles obscured under the vague, catch-all term ‘self-publishing’.

Publications and outcomes

  • Websites
  • Conferences
  • Journals