Julio Caro Baroja, is claimed to have been the only Spanish intellectual friend of English writer Gerald Brenan. The letters exchanged by both writers between 1953 and 1970 have just been published in Spain. Baroja heard about Brennan for the first time on a visit to Yegen in company of George M. Forster. They were collecting information for an investigation on rural life when a village innkeeper spoke to them about “the Englishman”. In 1953, after having read some of Brennan’s books, the Spanish anthropologist wrote him a letter, starting a correspondence that was to be the beginning of a long friendship between two of the most outstanding figures in Franco’s Spain. The influence of Gerald Brennan, then 62 years old, on Julio Caro Baroja, barely 42 at the time, is more than significant. Baroja actually bought a property, “El Carambuco Bajo,” in Churriana, a small village in the West of Malaga, near the English writer’s home. The village, that had captivated him on the spot was where, after the decease of his beloved uncle Pío Baroja, whom he cared for until his death, he found peace and quiet, a haven for working and reading.
While living in Churriana, Julio Caro Baroja came into contact with the world of Anglo-Saxon intellectual travelers: V.S. Pritchett, Cyril Connolly, Augustus John… A new, revealing and vital experience, a world of light that was miles away from the dark intellectual atmosphere of the Madrid of those days. Books contributed to make both men close friends. They exchanged numerous publications, especially books on travel and anthropology. Their correspondence composes a peculiar and rich bibliography that includes, aside from talk of their own works, gossip about well-known people of the time. This volume of letters speaks about an Andalusian friendship, a friendship unknown to most, that portrays the contrasts in the Spain of those days, when, still immersed in a dictatorship, a ray of sun managed to shine through somewhere in the West of Málaga.