José Manuel Castañón

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José Manuel Castañón
Born(1920-02-10)February 10, 1920
Pola de Lena, Asturias, Spain
DiedJune 6, 2001(2001-06-06) (aged 81)
Madrid, Spain
Occupation Writer, lawyer
SpouseMaria de las Nieves Castañon Escalada
Galicia, October 1937, At the hospital. Jose Manuel Castanon.JPG
Galicia, October 1937, At the hospital.

José Manuel Castañón (February 10, 1920 June 6, 2001) was a Spanish writer born in Pola de Lena, Asturias. [1] Although he fought in Francisco Franco’s 1936 military uprising, he later distanced himself from Franco's regime and in 1957 left for a 20-year exile to Venezuela. His best-known novel Moletu-Voleva, published in Madrid in 1956, a story about lust for money.

Writer person who uses written words to communicate ideas and to produce works of literature

A writer is a person who uses written words in various styles and techniques to communicate their ideas. Writers produce various forms of literary art and creative writing such as novels, short stories, poetry, plays, screenplays, and essays as well as various reports and news articles that may be of interest to the public. Writers' texts are published across a range of media. Skilled writers who are able to use language to express ideas well, often contribute significantly to the cultural content of a society.

Asturias Autonomous community and province of Spain

Asturias, officially the Principality of Asturias, is an autonomous community in north-west Spain. It is coextensive with the province of Asturias, and contains some of the territory that was part of the larger Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages. Divided into eight comarcas (counties), the autonomous community of Asturias is bordered by Cantabria to the east, by Castile and León to the south, by Galicia to the west, and by the Bay of Biscay to the north.

Francisco Franco Spanish general and dictator

Francisco Franco Bahamonde was a Spanish general and politician who ruled over Spain as a dictator under the title Caudillo from 1939, after the nationalist victory in the Spanish Civil War, until his death in 1975. This period in Spanish history is commonly known as Francoist Spain.



José Manuel Castañón was born in Pola De Lena, Asturias. He was the third of seven children of Guillermo Castañón, a lawyer, and Berta de la Peña. He was very much influenced by his father. He had a happy childhood life, liked to read books in his father’s library, and at a very young age began to feel the calling to be a writer.

At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, he left secretly his parents' home, and enlisted himself in the Infantry. He was severely injured (he lost the use of his right hand) but Castañón still had the strength to return to the front. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and in 1941 volunteered in the Blue Division. He returned to conclude his studies and became a lawyer like his father. In 1942 he married his first-cousin Nieves Escalada; they had five children. In 1945 he graduated from Law School at the University of Oviedo. Castañón worked as a lawyer in private practice for some years in Oviedo. Unwilling to be part of the Franco’s regime due to the unfair treatment of defeated Republicans and to discriminatory legal procedures, he started expressing his discontent. He protested openly against the dictatorship, calling for a just treatment to family members of Republicans killed in the war and to War Disable Republican fighters and their families. As a result he was imprisoned, in 1953.

Spanish Civil War War between the Republicans and the Nationalists in Spain from 1936 to 1939

The Spanish Civil War took place from 1936 to 1939. Republicans loyal to the left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, in alliance with the Anarchists and Communists, fought against the Nationalists, an alliance of Falangists, Monarchists, Carlists, and Catholics, led by a military clique among whom General Francisco Franco soon achieved a preponderant role. Due to the international political climate at the time, the war had many facets, and different views saw it as class struggle, a war of religion, a struggle between dictatorship and republican democracy, between revolution and counterrevolution, between fascism and communism. The Nationalists won the war in early 1939 and ruled Spain until Franco's death in November 1975.

Infantry military service branch that specializes in combat by individuals on foot

Infantry is the branch of an army that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and tank forces. Also known as foot soldiers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may also use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, and typically bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress.

Blue Division Spanish division

The Blue Division, officially designated as División Española de Voluntarios by the Spanish Army and 250. Infanterie-Division in the German Army was a unit of Spanish volunteers and conscripts who served in the German Army on the Eastern Front of the Second World War. It also included over 150 to several hundred men of the Portuguese Legion sent by the Portuguese Estado Novo under the Spanish Flag, many of whom had already fought in the Viriatos during the Spanish Civil War.

In prison he wrote his first novel Moletu-Voleva or "The insanity for the lust of dollars", a tragic-comic satire, inspired by the personality of one of the jail recluses and his mad pursuit for easy-coming money. The book, published in 1956, received very warm critics and it was considered full of originality and transcendence. In 1957 he also published Bezana Roja .

By that time, he had already decided going into self-exile, considering incompatible his profession as a freelance writer with Franco's dictatorship. In 1957, he resigned his infantry captain rank and addressed a letter to the Spanish Government requesting that his War Veteran's pension be paid to a War Disable Republican, and fled to France. From there he went to Caracas, Venezuela. Two years later his family joined him. In Venezuela he sustained his family working exclusively as a writer. Most of his literary work was published in Caracas. In 1987 he received de Andres Bello Order from the Government of Venezuela.

Caracas Capital City in Capital District, Venezuela

Caracas, officially Santiago de León de Caracas, is the capital and largest city of Venezuela, and centre of the Greater Caracas Area. Caracas is located along the Guaire River in the northern part of the country, following the contours of the narrow Caracas Valley on the Venezuelan coastal mountain range. Terrain suitable for building lies between 760 and 1,140 m above sea level, although there is some settlement above this range. The valley is close to the Caribbean Sea, separated from the coast by a steep 2,200-metre-high (7,200 ft) mountain range, Cerro El Ávila; to the south there are more hills and mountains. The Metropolitan Region of Caracas has an estimated population of 4.923.201.

Venezuela Republic in northern South America

Venezuela, officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and a large number of small islands and islets in the Caribbean Sea. The capital and largest urban agglomeration is the city of Caracas. It has a territorial extension of 916,445 km2. The continental territory is bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Colombia, Brazil on the south, Trinidad and Tobago to the north-east and on the east by Guyana. With this last country, the Venezuelan government maintains a claim for Guayana Esequiba over an area of 159,542 km2. For its maritime areas, it exercises sovereignty over 71,295 km2 of territorial waters, 22,224 km2 in its contiguous zone, 471,507 km2 of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean under the concept of exclusive economic zone, and 99,889 km2 of continental shelf. This marine area borders those of 13 states. The country has extremely high biodiversity and is ranked seventh in the world's list of nations with the most number of species. There are habitats ranging from the Andes Mountains in the west to the Amazon basin rain-forest in the south via extensive llanos plains, the Caribbean coast and the Orinoco River Delta in the east.

José Manuel Castañón was a passionate lover of poetry. He had an astounding ability to memorizing poems; he knew an extraordinary number of poems by heart, and enjoyed reciting them to audiences. He wrote a book about his beloved Peruvian poet Cesar Vallejo: Passion for Vallejo . In 1983, he was named adoptive son of Santiago de Chuco, Vallejo's birthplace.

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Santiago de Chuco is a city in Peru, capital of Santiago de Chuco Province, La Libertad Region.

While in the Blue Division he had kept a diary, which remained unpublished for many years. The book was published in 1991 under the title The Diary of an Adventure . He wrote, as well, books on his ideology, political beliefs, and his inner struggle. In 1977, he returned to Madrid, when in Spain had already disappeared all vestige of the dictatorship. He died June 6, 2001.

Castañón was predeceased by his wife and a son, and is survived by four daughters.

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