Due to complications of pneumonia that kept him under medical supervision for at least the last month, The Spanish writer Javier Marías passed away at the age of 70, leaving in his wake a unique legacy in journalism, criticism, teaching and, of course, in literatureespecially as a member since 2008 of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), which he entered and undertook his work —in Sillón R, preceded by Fernando Lázaro Carreter— with “On the difficulty of telling”, a speech that earned him an ovation. generational
Born in Madrid on September 20, 1951, Javier Marías — who died yesterday, September 11, 2022 — forged a career in letters from different fields, for example, exploring works in the novel that placed him as one of the world’s leading writers.
He began his career with “The domains of the wolf”, in 1971 -at the age of 19-that put it on the radar of the new talents and critical voices of a new Ibero-American generation by placing its plot in the United States as a study and tribute to American literature and the atmosphere of the 50s and 60s in Hollywood.
For many years, Javier Marías was a candidate for the Nobel Prize and although he never won the acclaimed award, his career was always kept in the eyes of readers and global media through works such as “El hombre sentimental” —which earned him the Ennio Flaiano Award—; “All Souls”, which earned him the City of Barcelona Award; “Heart so white”, which led to the Critics’ Award, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Prix l’Oeil et la Lettre, for example.
The family development of Javier Marías was key in his literary and critical process and style, since as a child and with a practically forced migration to the United States, by decision of his father, the philosopher Julián Maríaswho sought a new path when exiled by the Franco regime. It was thus that the now renowned Spanish author was always linked to an intense intellectual and political environment.
After returning to his country, Javier Marías resumed his basic training at Colegio Estudio, focusing on philosophy and literature, branches in which he later explored as Professor of Spanish Literature at the University of oxfordin the Wellesley Colleague (Massachusetts) and the Complutense University of Madrid.
This link with the United States marked in Javier Marías a passionate and constant study of Anglo-Saxon culture and movements, also exploring his vocation as a translator, which was reflected in works such as “Life and opinions of the gentleman Tristram Shandy”, by Laurence Stern.
With the publication of “The Crossing of the Horizon” Y “The Timeless Monarch”With which Javier Marías immersed himself in new possibilities and narrative perspectives through essays, dramaturgy and faithful to the novel, he managed to increase his popularity and in the process established himself as one of the neatest pens in Spain.
Capable of immersing the reader in characters that in one way or another were a reflection of the personal experiences of Javier Marías himself and his vocation for literature, teaching and translation, his period of greatest projection came in 1992 with “Heart so white” and later with “Tomorrow in battle think of me”which made him the first Spanish author to win the Rómulo Gallegos Prize.
In 1998, with “Black back of time”merging reality with fiction, where he gave structure to the “Kingdom of Round”Javier Marías took up this concept to found his publishing house Reino de Redonda in 2000, and two years later he launched what is considered one of his most ambitious novels. “Your face tomorrow”.
The novel “The Crushes”2011, showed Marías in a new narrative terrain, by having a female character as the narrator and also exploring children’s literature with “Come to look for me”, something unprecedented in his already well-known work with the stories “While they sleep” (1990, and also adapted to film by director Wayne Wang), “When I Was Mortal” (1996), trials “past passions” (1991) and compilations “Literature and Ghost” (1993) years “Ghost Life” (1995), among others.
For 19 years, Javier Marías published his critical and current affairs columns —920 articles— in El País Semanal, an exercise that he constantly compiled, the last being “Is the cook a good person?”through the Alfaguara publishing house this 2022.
His legacy, awards and adaptations
- National Translation Award in
- Herralde Prize for Novel in 1986
- Spanish Critical Narrative Award in
- Rómulo Gallegos International Novel Prize in 1995
- Spain National Narrative Award 2012 (refused)
- Formentor Prize for Letters in 2013
- Spanish Critical Narrative Award
- Dulce Chacón Prize for Spanish Narrative 2018
- Madrid Journalism Award 2020
Film adaptations of his work
- “Gospel” in 1969
- “The Annual Disaster” in 1970
- “The Last Voyage of Robert Rylands” in 1996
- “While they sleep” in 2016
- “Is the cook a good person?” (2022)
- “When fools rule” (2018)
- “Your face tomorrow” (2012)
- “The crushes” (2011)
- “Come find me” (2011)
- “Too Much Snow Around” (2007)
- “The domains of the wolf” (1999)
- “Heart So White” (1999)
- “Tomorrow in battle think of me” (1994)
- “The Sentimental Man” (1986)
The culture reacts to his departure
The publishing, intellectual, literary world, cultural and educational institutions, as well as readers, reacted to the news of the death of Javier Marías.
- Through his Twitter, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)wrote: “We remember with admiration the writer Javier Marías, the undisputed figure of Spanish letters, an academic of the language and the author of great novels such as Corazón tan blanco, Negra back del tiempo or Tomás Nevinson. Rest in peace Javier Marias.
- He is also a writer Arturo Perez-ReverteHe posted on Twitter: “That Javier Marías has died without the Nobel Prize takes away a lot of category from the Nobel Prize.”
- The Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL)noted: “We regret the sensitive death of the Spanish writer Javier Marías, one of the great novelists of contemporary literature in Spanish.”
- Marisol Schulz, director of the FILShe highlighted in her message: “For professional reasons, being the editor of Alfaguara, I was able to meet Javier Marías on some occasions and talk with him. Beyond the enormous admiration for his work, I am left with the memory of an elegant, eloquent and delicate man, a great smoker”.
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