Camilo José Cela

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Camilo José Cela
Camilo José Cela, Miami Book Fair International, 1994.jpg
Born Camilo José Cela y Trulock
(1916-05-11)11 May 1916
Padrón, Galicia, Spain
Died 17 January 2002(2002-01-17) (aged 85)
Madrid, Spain
Resting place Iria Flavia cemetery
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, essayist
Language Spanish
Nationality Spanish
Literary movement Generation of '36
Notable work(s) The Family of Pascual Duarte, The Hive
Notable award(s) Nobel Prize in Literature
1989
Spouse(s) María del Rosario Conde Picavea (m. 1944-div. 1990)
Marina Concepción Castaño López (m. 1991-2002)
(his death)
Children Camilo José Cela Conde
Cela's arms as 1st Marquis of Iria Flavia (1996)

Camilo José Cela y Trulock, 1st Marquis of Iria Flavia (Spanish: [kaˈmilo xoˈse ˈθela]; 11 May 1916 – 17 January 2002) was a Spanish novelist, short story writer and essayist associated with the Generation of '36 movement.

He was awarded the 1989 Nobel Prize in Literature "for a rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man's vulnerability".[1]

Biography[edit]

Cela published his first novel, La familia de Pascual Duarte (The Family of Pascual Duarte), when he was 26, in 1942. Pascual Duarte has trouble finding validity in conventional morality and commits a number of crimes, including murders, for which he feels nothing. In this sense he is similar to Meursault in Albert Camus's novel The Stranger. This novel is also of particular importance as it played a large part in shaping the direction of the post-World War II Spanish novel.

He published two travel books Viaje a la Alcarria (Journey to La Alcarria, 1948), and Del Miño al Bidasoa (From the Minho to Bidasoa, 1952).

Cela's best known work, La colmena (The Hive) was published in 1951, featuring more than 300 characters and a style showing the influence of both Spanish realism (best exemplified by Miguel de Cervantes and Benito Pérez Galdós) and contemporary English and French-language authors, such as Joyce, Dos Passos, and Sartre. Cela's typical style—a sarcastic, often grotesque, form of realism—is exemplified in La colmena. It should be also noted that, as with some of his other works in this period, La Colmena was first published in Argentina, as Franco's Roman Catholic Church-affiliated government banned it because of the perceived immorality of its content.

Official censors expelled him from the Press Association, meaning his name could no longer appear in the printed media.[2] Nevertheless, Cela remained loyal to the Franco regime, even working as a spy for the Spanish secret police and reporting on the activities of dissident groups.[3][4]

From the late 1960s, with the publication of San Camilo 1936, Cela's work became increasingly experimental. In 1988, for example, he wrote Cristo versus Arizona (Christ versus Arizona), which tells the story of the duel in the OK Corral in a single sentence that is more than a hundred pages long.

In 1957 he was appointed a member of the Royal Spanish Academy. He was appointed Royal Senator in the Constituent Cortes, where he exerted some influence in the wording of the Spanish Constitution of 1978. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for a rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man's vulnerability.[5]

In his later years he was infamous for his scandalous outbursts: he boasted in a TVE interview with Mercedes Milá about his capability to absorb a litre of water via his anus, offering to demonstrate.[6] He had already scandalized Spanish society with his Diccionario secreto (Secret Dictionary, 1969–1971), a dictionary of slang and taboo words.

He described the Spanish Cervantes Prize as "covered with shit".[7] Subsequently, he was awarded the prize in 1995.

In 1994, he was awarded the Premio Planeta.[8] Some question the objectivity of the awards, and winners on occasion have refused to accept it.[citation needed]

In recognition of his contributions in literature, Cela was ennobled on 17 May 1996 by King Juan Carlos I, who gave Cela the hereditary title of Marquis of Iria Flavia in the nobility of Spain. On his death the title passed to his son Camilo José Cela Conde.

Cela died from heart disease on 17 January 2002 at the Hospital Cemtro in Madrid, aged 85. He was buried in his hometown at the parish cemetery of Santa María de Adina.[9]

His will was contested because he favoured his widow and second younger wife, Marina Castaño, over his son Camilo José Cela Conde from a previous marriage.[citation needed]

Ancestors[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Statue of Camilo José Cela in Padrón.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Title jointly held
Spanish Senator
1977–1979
Succeeded by
Title jointly held
Awards
Preceded by
Mario Vargas Llosa
Rafael Lapesa
Recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature
1987
Succeeded by
José Angel Valente
Carmen Martín Gaite
Preceded by
Naguib Mahfouz
Recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature
1989
Succeeded by
Octavio Paz
Preceded by
Mario Vargas Llosa
Recipient of the Miguel de Cervantes Prize
1995
Succeeded by
José García Nieto
Spanish nobility
New title Marquis of Iria Flavia
1996–2002
Succeeded by
Camilo José Cela Conde