The (Male) Problem That Had No Name: Male Neurosis in Postwar Spanish Fiction and Film

Caragh Wells*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Despite the paucity of medical accounts of male neurosis under Francoism, the representation of the neurotic male is ubiquitous in postwar Spanish fiction and film. This article explores just a few examples, including three relatively unknown short stories by Carmen Laforet, ‘El infierno’ (1946), ‘El último verano’ (1954) and ‘El regreso’ (1954) as well as Juan Antonio Bardem’s film Calle mayor (1956). The texts discussed illustrate how turning the male gaze inward was too dangerous a phenomenon for the regime to contemplate. In postwar Spain, the problem that had no name, for male neurosis had to remain nameless for the sake of Franco’s ideological project, yet, as the texts discussed aver, upholding hyper-masculine values functioned to devalue men’s emotional selves and inflict psychological damage at an individual and collective level.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBulletin of Spanish Studies
Early online date4 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

The acceptance date for this record is provisional and based upon the month of publication for the article.


  • Carmen Laforet
  • Francoism
  • Hypermasculinity
  • Juan Antonio Bardem
  • Male mental health
  • Postwar fiction and film in Spain


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