Literary ways and means, and the triviality of love

Enrique Jardiel Poncela claims in an afterword to have written his “quasi-cosmopolitan novel”, Amor se escribe sin hache (Amor is written without an H) in the following locations (Madrid unless specified):

Café Universal.- Café Europeo.- Café Varela.- Café Castilla.- Café Español.- Café España.- Cuevas del Hotel Nacional.- Café Gijón.- Café Recoletos.- Granja del Henar.- Negresco.- Café de las Salesas.- Savoia.- Café Lisboa.- Cercedilla station inn.- Fuenfría [sanctuary] camp.- Restaurant car of the Barcelona mail train.- Restaurant car of the Irún express.- Third class car of the Segovia light railway.- Café Gerrenhof and Café Sacher (Vienna).- Café Woer and Café Aschinger (Berlin).- Café Dar Abbas (Constantinople).- Café Teofaní (Cairo).- Bar Chumbica (Glorieta de Cuatro Caminos).- Restaurant car of a PLM fast train.- Third class car of a Guadalajara short.- Café Kutz.- Café Oriental.- Bar Millares and the author’s home.

The author only took coffee while working, and estimates the total number ordered at 112. Given a mean price of 80 centimes, and including 10% tips, this brings his total expenditure, anno 1928, to 99 pesetas. Towards the end of the action Fermín explains the title: all important words in Spanish begin with h (los hijos, el honor, la honra, Dios (Hacedor Supremo), hombre, la materialización de Cristo (La Hostia), la hidalguía, el habilitado, humorismo, harina, huevos, hoy…) and love, amor, is written without because it is completely without importance.

(Check section 2.4 of the RAE guide to orthography for more on the letter h, missing or not.)

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