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The house in which Gerald Brenan lived is now the Casa Gerald Brenan cultural centre
31.10.14 - 11:22 -
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‘Don Geraldo’ returns to Churriana
Various cultural and political representatives were present at the inauguration. :: SALVADOR SALAS
Ian Gibson, Tom Burns Marañón and Carlos Pranger were among those at the inauguration of the project, which is based in the house the author loved for over 30 years.
Gerald Brenan has returned to Churriana, to the house which was his home for more than 30 years. It has now become a meeting place for culture, thanks to the Casa Gerald Brenan project, and together with nearby Alhaurín el Grande and the village of Yemen, in Granada province, in which he also lived, Churriana forms the ‘physical homeland’ of an author who also had an ‘intellectual homeland’ as part of the Bloomsbury Group, as writer Tom Burns Marañon, the grandson of scientist Gregorio Marañón, explained at the inaugural conference which took place at the centre this week.
Gerald Brenan was a “contradictory man”, said Burns Marañón, as he reviewed some of the events of the author’s life including his meeting with Lorca and subsequent regret that he had not “made more effort” to get to know him better. Tom Burns also explained how Brenan’s book ‘The Spanish labyrinth’ used the concept of homeland to understand the Hispanic sentiment - “first the homeland, and then the State after that” - while at the same time examining the “natural” way of being Spanish: “To move in just one step from one extreme to another”.
This capacity to travel from everything to nothing used to fascinate the British writer, as he felt it was in complete contrast to the phlegmatic spirit of the British.
The inauguration of the Casa Gerald Brenan was an important event for Churriana. In the house, many of the author’s personal possessions, books and furniture are on display but this project is not only about the physical legacy of the man who was known in Spain as ‘Don Geraldo’, but also his intellectual legacy. Writer Silvia Grijalba, who is the coordinator of the project, points out that it has “decentralised” culture from Malaga city, and described the Casa Gerald Brenan as a much-needed cultural centre. In the near future, it will host a symposium about romantic travellers in Spain, and on 14th November the people of Churriana who knew Gerald Brenan are invited to come and share their experiences and memories of him. Singer Perla Batalla will be visiting the centre with a show that combines music and literature, and visits by writers Javier Moro and Cristina Morató are also on the planned agenda.
The inaugural conference was attended by the mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, and several specialists including Hispanist Ian Gibson; writers Carlos Pranger and Alfredo Amestoy; Churriana chronicler Cristóbal Salazar, and poet Luis Alberto.
Carlos Pranger was one of those who spoke at the event. His mother, Linda Nicholson Price, looked after Gerald Brenan in his last years. “I used to call him grandfather, and he was always very nice to me,” he recalled. He also explained that, surprisingly, Brenan connected w’ith the ‘beat’ generation and the hippies who settled on the Costa del Sol. He even “half adopted” a homeless woman, Hetty, who was living in the street with her little boy.
Not enough is known about Gerald Brenan but that, thanks to his beloved home in Churriana, is about to change.


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