All of us born in the mid or late 80’s observed with astonishment in the American films of the mid-20th century the effect that the fear of the atomic bomb and a nuclear war had had on the population. From an early childhood in the 1990s, when it seemed that this threat had been deactivated, the images of children receiving instructions on what to do in the event of an explosion or the creation of fictional but dystopian worlds as a result of the war situation seemed to speak to another people, in another life. It was an illogical panic.
the war returns
We did not count on the fact that the Russian invasion of the Ukraine would bring that terror to light again. And it is demonstrated by the fact that the most read article in the Culture section in 2022 is the analysis that Jesús Isaías Gómez López, from the University of Almería, makes of the novel monkey and essenceby Aldous Huxley.
In it, the author describes the possibility of a third atomic world war and the post-apocalyptic world that would follow it. It is clear that in moments of misfortune, the human species embraces fictions that anticipate reality. Or that describe it (in Russia, after the invasion, sales of the 1984 by George Orwell).
Moving away from fiction, when the world seemed doomed to collapse at the end of February, the historian José María Faraldo Jarillo, from the Complutense University of Madrid, briefly and simply explained the history of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. We needed a clarification of the context, as evidenced by the more than half a million readings that the piece has had.
The interest in the Slavic past was also demonstrated by the acceptance of the article in which Julio Prada Rodríguez, from the University of Vigo, described the photographic tricks that Stalin used to “eliminate” his opponents. In many cases, disappearing from the photos was the least of the problems for those affected. But the obsession of the dictator to erase from the world, and from History, those who did not agree with him is still curious.
A look to the past
Perhaps because the past often serves as a guide for the present, it has been her, History in capital letters, the protagonist of the year. Prehistoric stories, from ancient Greece or ancient Rome have been widely accepted. But if there is a time that, due to its vast and mysterious nature, has captured the attention of readers only with its name, that is the Middle Ages… despite its fame. And if not, tell Eduardo Baura García, from the CEU San Pablo University, who explained with great success where the bad press comes from in the Middle Ages.
We also go back to the 12th century to tell, by the hand of José María Anguita Jaén, from the University of Santiago de Compostela, if the Calixtinus Codex he was right when it came to justifying where the Basque people come from.
It may seem strange to include in the same paragraph the Benidorm Fest and one of the greatest humanists in the history of Spain. But it makes sense: the one responsible for such a big jump is language. The linguistic analysis that Lorena Pérez Hernández, from the University of La Rioja, made of some of the finalist Spanish songs of the pre-Eurovision contest swept the readings. The Castilian grammar, for its part, commemorated this year the bicentenary of the death of his father: Antonio de Nebrija.
The same year that Nebrija left, Elcano arrived. He was returning from circumnavigating the world, an epic journey initially led by Magellan that the Spanish sailor and a handful of survivors completed. This is how Paula Herrero Diz, from the Loyola Andalucía University, told us how that journey was.
And finally, in 2022 we also celebrate the centenary of the publication of the Ulises. Antonio Ballesteros González, from UNED, rescued the opinions that Jorge Luis Borges had about the most important novel of the 20th century and the work of James Joyce in general. spoilers: I had many.
One of the raison d’être of dissemination is to reveal to the public events or people that they do not know and that have been important to history. There is still a whole drawer full of curiosities ready to be read or learned. Unfortunately, a high percentage of these curiosities are carried out by women who at the time did not receive the recognition they deserved.
Two artists have captivated readers: the impressionist painter Berthe Morisot, about whom Judith Urbano Lorente, from the International University of Catalonia, told us, and the photographer Dora Maar, whose work was described by Amparo Serrano de Haro, from UNED.
They have by no means been the only protagonists of interesting and widely read articles. Thus, over the past few months, among other examples, we have reviewed the life of the avant-garde Hilma af Klint, met the great video artists of the 20th and 21st centuries and analyzed the Womanhouse project.
In music we had the pleasure of learning the names of the composers, singers and performers to whom the canon owes a place. We also covered the life of a pianist who achieved genius in her work: Clara Haskil. And, after looking back, we look at our time and analyze, among others, the works of Rosalía and Beyoncé.
Finally, 2022 recognized the work of two great filmmakers: New Zealand’s Jane Campion, who won the Oscar for Best Director for her work on the power of the dog, and the Spanish Cecilia Bartolomé, Feroz de Honor Award 2022. Indeed, it has been a strangely good year for women in Spanish cinema. But the glory of these months cannot make us forget that women are by no means half of the audiovisual industry.
It has been twelve months without pause. Just as it is complicated to put ten centuries of the Middle Ages in the same bag, it is also difficult to define all the cultural interests of the readers during 365 days. We will keep reporting.