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Luis Martín-Santos

Luis Martín-Santos

Spanish writer and psychiatrist
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Spanish writer and psychiatrist
A.K.A. Luis Martín-Santos Ribera
Countries Spain
Occupations Psychiatrist Writer
Gender male
Birth 11 November 1924 (Larache)
Death 21 January 1964 (Vitoria-Gasteiz)
The details

Luis Martín-Santos Ribera (11 November 1924 – 21 January 1964) was a Spanish psychiatrist and author of Tiempo de silencio (Time of Silence), considered one of the greatest Spanish novels of the twentieth century.


Martín-Santos was born in Larache, Morocco in 1924. Son of the military doctor Leandro Martín-Santos, at five years of age his family moved to San Sebastián, where he would ultimately spend most of his life. He studied medicine in Salamanca and received his doctorate in psychiatry in Madrid, where he developed friendships with specialists like doctors Juan José López Ibor, Pedro Laín Entralgo, and Carlos Castilla del Pino. At the same time, he became interested in literature and spent time at the Café Gijón, where he met many prominent writers of his generation like Ignacio Aldecoa, Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, and Juan Benet. He also spent time with Alfonso Sastre.

As a journalist, he published Tauromaquia (Bullfighting) and Noticia del coloquio sobre realismo y realidad en la literatura contemporánea (News from the Colloquy on Realism and Reality in Contemporary Literature). As a poet, he wrote Grana Gris which was published in 1945. His most important work was done as a narrator, an area in which he is considered to have initiated the technical revolution of the Spanish social novel during the sixties.

In 1951 he became director of the psychiatric hospital of San Sebastián and subsequently reintegrated into the life San Sebastián. He participated in the so-called "Academia Errante," a debate forum created by restless Spanish intellectuals in the sixties who were searching for new forms of expression. He read Jean-Paul Sartre extensively and became interested in existentialism.

He married a woman named Rocío in 1953 and later wrote a thesis entitled Dilthey, Jaspers y la comprensión del enfermo mental (Dilthey, Jaspers, and Understanding the Mentally Ill) in 1955 and also the essay Libertad, temporalidad y transferencia en el psicoanálisis existencial (Freedom, Temporality, and Transference in Existential Psychoanalysis) in 1964. He labored in the then-clandestine Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE) and was thrown into prison on three occasions. He became a member of the Executive Committee and became friends with the socialist leader Enrique Múgica Herzog.

Near the end of 1960 he finished writing the novel Tiempo de silencio, which was published in 1962 with twenty censored pages. An uncensored edition was not published until 1981. In this novel he makes innovative use of interior monologue, second person, indirect free style, stream of consciousness, desrealización, and mythification, narrative devices that had been pioneered earlier by James Joyce.

His wife Rocío died the following year. He wrote Tiempo de destrucción (Time of Destruction), that was left incomplete when the author died in a traffic accident in Vitoria, Spain on 21 January 1964. Nevertheless, it was published in 1975. The same publisher also released a posthumous collection of his short stories, entitled Apólogos, in 1970.

Tiempo de silencio is also a movie based on the book and directed by Vicente Aranda.


  • Dilthey, Jaspers y la comprensión del enfermo mental 1955
  • Libertad, temporalidad y transferencia en el psicoanálisis existencial 1964
  • Tiempo de silencio
  • Tiempo de destrucción
  • Apólogos 1970

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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