Martín-Santos, Luis

Martín-Santos, Luis
b. 1924, Larache (Morocco); d. 1964, Vitoria
   Psychiatrist and novelist
   Luis Martín-Santos (not to be confused with a less well-known novelist of the same name, without the hyphen, born in 1921) was born in a Spanish outpost in Morocco, where his father was a medical officer in the army. In 1929, the family moved to San Sebastián. Luis studied medicine at the University of Salamanca, graduating in 1946. Postgraduate studies in Madrid, from 1946 to 1949, were followed by a period as a researcher in the CSIC, where he collaborated with Juan José López Ibor and Pedro Laín Entralgo. After a period as a surgeon, Martín-Santos decided to specialize in psychiatry, and secured a post as director of a mental hospital in Ciudad Real. After further research in Germany, he returned to Spain in 1951 to head the psychiatric hospital in San Sebastián.
   Martín-Santos" professional career developed in parallel with his involvement in the cultural and political ferment of the 1950s. Despite the restrictions imposed by censorship, the first half of the decade saw the foundation of the Madrid literary review, La Revista de España and the Barcelona periodical Laye, as well as increasing demands among young intellectuals for reform of the university system and of political structures in general. Martín-Santos was drawn into the literary café society of Madrid, where he met novelists such as Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, Juan Benet, Ignacio Aldecoa, and the dramatist Alfonso Sastre. Inevitably, however, this intellectual ferment led to renewed repression by the Franco regime, especially after the student disturbances in Madrid in 1956, and the dismissal of the relatively liberal Minister of Education, Joaquín Ruiz Giménez. As an active member of the clandestine socialist PSOE, Martín-Santos was arrested several times between 1957 and 1962, and in 1958 was imprisoned for four months.
   These events, and his earlier experience as a medical researcher, flowed together into his only finished novel, Time of Silence (Tiempo de silencio, 1962). Whereas other writers, such as Aldecoa, Jesus Fernández Santos and Juan Goytisolo in his early novels, criticized the regime indirectly through starkly realistic portrayals of life under the dictatorship, Martín-Santos adopted a boldly innovative style, akin to the "stream-of consciousness" writing associated with James Joyce. The nightmarish and partly nocturnal perambulations of the protagonist, Pedro, echo those of Leopold Bloom in Ulysses. Although the scenes through which he passes depict various representative aspects of Spanish society (Pedro's under-resourced laboratory, the indifferent and self-indulgent bourgeoisie, the miserable inhabitants of the shanty-towns), they do so in a grotesque and exaggerated way. Rather than criticize the regime through an objective portrayal of its failures, as his neo-realist contemporaries did, Martín-Santos uses symbolism and parallels with ancient myths to undermine the myths which sustained the dictatorship. The subject of Pedro's research, cancer, comes to stand for the moral disease at the core of society, which, as the deeply pessimistic ending of the novel implies, is incurable. His ambition of winning the Nobel Prize is seen to be absurdly unrealistic, and to stem as much from his own lack of energy and initiative as from the social and moral context. Between 1962 and his early death in a car accident in 1964, Martín-Santos worked on a second novel, edited and published posthumously in 1975 by José-Carlos Mainer as Tiempo de destruction (Time of Destruction). As with Time of Silence, the attack on the myths of Francoism is built around the trajectory of a single protagonist, Agustín. Mainer skilfully reconstructed most of the novel from a partly-finished typscript, with the aid of an outline provided by Martín-Santos" brother Leandro. A collection of shorter writings was published, also posthumously, in 1970 under the title Apólogos y otras prosas inéditas (Fables and Other Unpublished Prose Writings). In addition to his literary work, Martín-Santos also published sixteen scientific papers and a book on mental illness.
   The fact that Martín-Santos left only one finished novel before his untimely death at the age of forty belies his importance. Time of Silence had reached its twentieth edition by 1983, and had a profound influence on the subsequent development of prose fiction in Spain. The neorealism of the mid-1950s gave way to a more evocative, less directly referential style, emphasizing the role of memory and subjective perception in the creation of reality, represented typically by Juan and Luis Goytisolo, Juan Marsé and Juan Benet.
   See also: Francoist culture; novel
   Major works
   - Martín-Santos, L. (1962) Tiempo de silencio, Barcelona: Seix Barral; trans. G.Leeson, Time of Silence, New
   - York: Harcourt, Brace & World (1964).
   —— (1975) Tiempo de destrucción, Barcelona: Seix Barral.
   Further reading
   - Labanyi, J. (1989) Myth and History in the Contemporary Spanish Novel, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (chapter 3, "Fiction as Mask: Tiempo de silencio" is a very perceptive analysis of the use of myth in this novel).
   - Mainer, J.C. (1975) "Introduction" to Tiempo de destrucción, Barcelona: Seix Barral (the most useful general overview of Martín-Santos" work, as well as a very interesting account of the reconstruction of Tiempo de destruction).
   - Palley, J. (1971), "The Periplus of Don Pedro: Tiempo de silencio", Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 48: 239–54 (a detailed analysis of the structure of the novel).
   EAMONN RODGERS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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  • Martín-Santos, Luis — ▪ Spanish author and physician born Nov. 11, 1924, Larache, Morocco died Jan. 21, 1964, San Sebastian, Spain       Spanish psychiatrist and novelist.       Martín Santos received a medical degree from the University of Salamanca and, in 1947, a… …   Universalium

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  • MARTÍN SANTOS (L.) — MARTÍN SANTOS LUIS (1924 1964) L’écrivain espagnol Luis Martín Santos, mort prématurément, a peu publié. Mais son œuvre tranche sur la production assez terne de l’Espagne d’après guerre. Esprit curieux et original, doté d’une très grande culture …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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  • Luis Martín-Santos — Ribera (Larache, Marruecos, 11 de noviembre de 1924 – Vitoria, España, 21 de febrero de 1964) fue un escritor y psiquiatra español, autor de Tiempo de silencio, considerada una de las mejores novelas españolas del siglo XX. Contenido 1 Biografía …   Wikipedia Español

  • Luis Martín-Santos — Ribera (* 11. November 1924 in Larache, Marokko; † 21. Januar 1964 in Vitoria, Spanien) war ein spanischer Schriftsteller und Psychiater. Sein Roman Tiempo de silencio (1961) leitete die Erneuerung der spanischen Literatur in den 1960er Jahren… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Luis Martín Santos — Ribera (Larache, Maroc, 11 novembre 1924 Vitoria, Espagne, 21 février 1964), est un écrivain et psychiatre espagnol, auteur de Tiempo de silencio, considéré comme l un des plus importants romans espagnols du XXe siècle. Biographie Fils du… …   Wikipédia en Français

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