LETTERS: Kipling's translators If only we understood Kipling

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The Independent Online
IN HIS article on Kipling's "If" ("If we could keep our heads ...", 15 October), Geoffrey Wheatcroft mentions Juan Primo de Rivera as a translator. Surely he means Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of the Falange Espanola, the only political party permitted in Franco's Spain. Jose Antonio was shot by the Republicans in Alicante jail at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. Thereafter the Falange regarded him as the chief martyr in its roll of honour and the fading inscription Jose Antonio presente can be seen on many Spanish church walls. Franco often referred to him as el ausente - the absent one.

Mr Wheatcroft may also be interested to know that Jose Antonio's father, General Miguel Primo de Rivera, proclaimed himself dictator of Spain after a military coup in 1923 with the support of Alfonso XIII. Alfonso called him "my Mussolini". Primo de Rivera fell in 1930 and Alfonso followed him into exile a year later, opening the way for the Second Republic and the Civil War.

R A B Morlin

Oxford

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