Jiménez Lozano, José

Jiménez Lozano, José
b. 1930, Luaga (Avila)
   Writer
   This journalist, novelist and historian specializing in ecclesiastical topics possesses a uniquely personal accent, a voice of tolerant, dispassionate equili-brium in treating Spain's spiritual schism (fanaticism versus anticlericalism). As editor of the venerable Valladolid daily, El Norte de Castilla, he followed novelist Miguel Delibes, whom he cites as a significant antecedent and model. He accepted the challenge of writing objectively on highly emotional, controversial matters—from religious freedom to the crisis of church authority, conflicts between church and state, satanic cults and inquisitorial persecutions—in response to Vatican II's aspirations towards social justice which divided the Spanish church between its traditional, conservative hierarchy and liberal younger priests, alienating official Spanish Catholicism from Rome and providing the conflictive context of his writings. The essay, Meditación española sobre la libertad religiosa (Spanish Meditation on Religious Freedom) (1966), and historical fiction including Historic de un otoño (Autumnal History) (1971), dramatizing the eighteenth century struggle of Jansenists and Jesuits plus many articles collected in La ronquera de Fray Luis y otras inquisiciones (Friar Luis" Hoarseness and Other Inquisitions) (1973) reflect these themes, as does his protracted series of columns in the Barcelona weekly Destino. These examine the fortunes of Erasmus in Spain, analyse ideas of Pascal, pay tribute to Cardinal Newman, discuss Galdós" thesis novels with understanding, and meditate upon the singular nature of Spanish Catholicism. Witchcraft and superstition, sexuality and challenges to faith, implications of space travel for Christianity, similarities between St Francis and the hippies inspire other essays. Among his most fascinating writings are those on the history of "civil" burial in Spain, reflecting the profound intolerance that segregated the unorthodox from "true believers" even in death: Los cementerios civiles y la heterodoxia española (Civil Cemeteries and Spanish Heterodoxy) and Sobre judíos, moriscos y conversos (Concerning Jews, Moors and Converts) (second expanded edition 1982). The historical novel El sambenito (The Saffron Tunic) (1972) examines the Inquisition's last years from perspectives of friends and relatives of the condemned Pablo de Olavide, whose guilt is doubtful but whom no one dares defend. In La salamandra (The Salamander) (1973) two geriatric villagers, thrown together in an asylum, reminisce about their past, recalling six decades of events significantly marked by ideological conflict. Religious themes also appear in the novel Duelo en la casa grande (Mourning in the Big House) (1982) and Parábolas y circunloquios de Rabí Isaac Ben Yehuda (Rabbi Isaac Ben Yehuda's Parables and Circum-locutions) (1985). Further orientalism and still more ancient settings appear in Sara de Ur (Sarah of Ur) (1989) recounting the Egyptian travels of a spoiled young Chaldean noblewoman. Short story collections include El santo de mayo (May's Saint) (1976), tales of varied themes and techniques set in earlier times which establish parallels between remote events and present problems, and El grow de maíz rojo (The Grain of Red Corn) (1989), some thirty stories varying in language and setting but united by their peculiar outlook, which won the 1989 National Critics Prize for Narrative in Spanish.
   Further reading
   - Higuero, F.J. (1993) "Los códigos metanarrativos en Los grandes relatos de José Jiménez Lozano", Ojáncano 8: 52–68 (studies narrative and metatexts in Jiménez Lozano's so-called episodios nacionales).
   - Sherzer, W.M. (1992). "José Jiménez Lozano: Tale Telling in Old Castile", Revista Hispánica Moderna 45, 2: 310–17 (draws parallels with social history, emphasizing archaism, nostalgia).
   JANET PÉREZ

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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