Anne Frank in the ultra-Catholic Franco period: Challenge and exploitation of the American mythification of Het Achterhuis
María Jesús Fernández-Gil
Universidad de Alcalá
This paper examines Spaniards’ responses to the Americanised construction of Anne Frank and her diary. In addition
to analysing the context in which the first translation into Castilian Spanish was published, consideration is given to the
transformative moves that the original text and the Broadway and Hollywood rewritings of the diary underwent when they were made
available in Spain in the second half of the 1950s. Special attention is paid to the discursive reconfiguration of the mythicised
view built around the figure of Anne Frank in the United States and to its challenge and exploitation in the ultra-Catholic years
of Franco’s regime. In that sense, one of the major driving forces behind this paper is answering the question of whether or not
the reception of this text in Francoist Spain was affected by the fact that its author was an adolescent, a Jew, and a woman.
Given that Anne Frank’s Het Achterhuis
(1947) is currently available in more than 65 different languages, it comes as no surprise to learn that it was translated into Spanish, the second-most widely spoken home language in the world, as early as 1952 (Frank 1952b, tr. Blaya Lozano). The Spanish translation thus appeared the same year as the English translation (Mooyart-Doubleday), thanks to which the diary gained worldwide fame. While this means that Anne Frank’s testimony has been available in Spanish since the early 1950s, Spaniards did not have access to the story until about mid-decade, when a translation was produced under the title of Las habitaciones de atrás (Frank 1955, tr. Iglesias Barba), allowing for the text to be read in the Iberian Spanish market. Judging from the fact that a plethora of translations as well as original rewritings have been produced since, it appears that interest in Anne Frank remains high among Spanish artists and the general public.
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