The context in which Tiempo de Silencio was published, as well as the setting and themes of the book seem to reflect the official censorship that existed in Spain at the time. However, if one reads the novel from a philosophical instead of sociological perspective then the influence of censorship could be viewed as secondary to the purpose and themes of the text.
Luis Martín-Santos’ novel Tiempo de Silencio was written and published during the time of Franco’s regime, and because of this, as one would expect, the book reflects the climate of the time. In fact the difficulty that the author encountered in his attempt to publish the book is the first reflection of the censorship of the era; although the novel was finished in 1960 it was not published until 1962, in the form of an edition with 20 pages removed by the censor. The full uncensored edition was not released in Spain until 1981, by which time Franco’s regime was almost unrecognisable from the heavily oppressive nature that it had at its beginning, and was in comparison extremely liberal. In the post civil war era the state held tight control over all forms of media and art, and in fact most aspect of Spanish life, and obviously within this context antigovernment works or those that were critical of the state were not tolerated.
Although as I have described it was extremely difficult to speak out against the state at the time, Martín-Santos’ work is in fact highly critical of the regime. The first indication of this is the title itself, Tiempo de Silencio, which is usually interpreted to be in reference to the silence of intellectualism at the time. The sciences and academia were highly restricted by the regime as they were perceived to have the potential to be dissenting or derisive toward the state, and therefore one could say that there was a time of silence within intellectualism, as academics were not allowed to discuss the politics or sociology of the day.
Of course the content of the book is also critical; right from the very start one can see criticism within the text. In the first scene of the novel in the laboratory in which Pedro and Amador discuss the problem that they will have in obtaining more mice there is a scathing criticism. Although not direct, this criticism used comparison In order to make a negative comment about Spain, the two scientists having realised that their best option for obtaining more mice is to go to the chabolas where a man has some stolen mice makes comment on the fact that in Illinois in the United States, the place that the mice originate from, no scientist would have to go to such lengths to obtain them:
‘¿Pero no comprendes que es un ladrón, que no vamos a poder comprar a un ladrón lo que a nosotros mismos ha robado y que no es posible que la institución robada acceda a adquirir de nuevo a precio oneroso lo robado o lo que desciende de lo robado (por cierto, ¿qué garantía?) estando como estamos en un estado de derecho donde existen cosas tales...