After a CIA-backed coup overthrew Guatemala’s left-wing government in 1954, many of her friends were arrested and some were killed for their faith. For her to understand that art is a key point of resistance to oppression, and that analyzing her literature through its political context is not merely a methodological choice, but an ethical imperative. became.
In her final book Cruel Modernity (2013), about the political use of brutality by authoritarian governments in Latin America, she argued that her time in Guatemala “leaves a mark on everything I write.” It is an experience that will change,” he writes.
Jean Swindells was born on March 31, 1924 in Dukinfield, a town east of Manchester, England. Her father, William Swindells, was a baker and her mother, Ella (Newton) Swindells, was a stay-at-home mom.
Along with her son, she is survived by her younger sister, Pauline Swindells.
Jean studied Art History at the University of Manchester, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in 1944 and a Master’s degree in 1946. After her graduation, she received a travel grant to study art throughout Europe. She eventually settled in Florence, Italy, where she met Guatemalan artist Juan Antonio Franco. They married and moved to Guatemala City in 1953.
Franco was targeted after the coup because he was close to left-leaning President Jacobo Arbenz. Mr. and Mrs. Franco fled to Mexico City, where they worked as typists, teachers, and actors.
The Francoes later divorced, and after a brief stay in Jamaica, she and her son returned to England. She began taking evening classes in Spanish literature, but found that few English scholars were as interested in the study of Latin America as she had met in Guatemala.