Jorge Enrique Adoum

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Jorge Enrique Adoum
Jorge Enrique Adoum.jpg
Born Jorge Enrique Adoum Aud
June 29, 1926
Ambato, Ecuador
Died July 3, 2009 (2009-07-04) (aged 83)
Quito, Ecuador
Occupation Writer
Nationality Ecuadorian
Notable work(s) Entre Marx y Una Mujer Desnuda (1976)
Notable award(s) Premio Eugenio Espejo (1989), Xavier Villaurrutia Prize (1976)
Spouse(s) Magdalena Jaramillo Cabezas (years married: (1948-Unknown), Nicole Rouan (years married: 1977-2009)

Jorge Enrique Adoum (Ambato, June 29, 1926 – Quito, July 3, 2009) was an Ecuadorian writer, poet, politician, and diplomat.[1] He was one of the major exponents of Latin American poetry. Social concerns were always present in his work.

Biography[edit]

Jorge Enrique Adoum was born in Ambato, Ecuador in 1926 of Lebanese ancestry.[2] He wrote close to 30 books and 3 novels.

Adoum's father was Jorge Elías Francisco Adoum (1897-1958), and his mother was Juana Auad Barciona (died 1953). His father Francisco Adoum was Lebanese and migrated to Ecuador where he made Arabic-to-Spanish translations, painted, sculpted, composed music, practiced natural medicine, and wrote more than 40 volumes on occult sciences and masonry which he published under the pseudonym "Mago Jefa". He also had a private practice for hypnotism, magnetism and suggestion, and made numerous healings considered miraculous in his time. Since 1945 he traveled to Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. He died in Rio de Jainero in 1958 at 61 years old.[3]

In 1948 Adoum married Magdalena Jaramillo Cabezas with whom he had 2 daughters. He later divorced Magdalena.

Adoum is best known for his novel Entre Marx y una Mujer Desnuda (Between Marx and a Naked Woman), which received Mexico's Xavier Villaurrutia Prize. This was the first time the award was given to a foreigner. The fictional character José Gálves is loosely based on the 1930s Ecuadorian novelist Joaquín Gallegos Lara.

Adoum was Pablo Neruda's personal secretary for nearly two years in Chile. In 1963 he traveled to Egypt, India, Japan and Israel, with a grant from UNESCO's Major Project on the Mutual Appreciation of Eastern and Western Cultural Values. Unable to return to Ecuador because of the military dictatorship of 1964-1966, he worked in the Popular Republic of China. From 1964-1986 he worked in Beijing (China) and then in Geneva and Paris. In 1987 he returned to his homeland.[4]

Adoum married Nicole Rouan from Gimel in 1977. They first met in Geneva in 1970 when Nicole was an actress in the French-version of his new play "El sol bajo las patas de los caballos" (French title: “Le Soleil Foule Par Les Chevaux”, English title: "The Sun Trampled Beneath the Horses' Hooves"). "She offered us cherries and a moment of pleasant company," is how Julio Cortázar referred to Nicole Rouen in the first few pages of The Autonauts of the Cosmoroute.[5] Nicole translated Adoum's work into French. She died on July 13, 2011.[6]

Adoum also translated works from the following authors into the Spanish language: T. S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Jacques Prévert, Yiannis Ritsos, Vinicius de Moraes, Nâzım Hikmet, Fernando Pessoa, Joseph Brodsky, and Seamus Heaney.

Besides the play "The Sun Trampled Beneath the Horses' Hooves", which was translated into 6 languages (including English in 1974 by Arthur McMurray and Robert Marquez), Adoum's other works have not been translated into English yet.

Adoum died at the age of 83 of heart failure in Quito on July 3, 2009.[7] His ashes were buried under "The Tree of Life" next to the ashes of his close friend Oswaldo Guayasamín, beside Guayasamín's home in the hills overlooking Quito.[8]

Political activity[edit]

As a teenager Jorge Enrique Adoum tried to join the Communist Party of Ecuador but was turned down because he was too young. He was a believer of communist ideology. The name "Marx" in the title of his most famous book "Between Marx and a Naked Woman" refers to Carl Marx the author of The Communist Manifesto.

In 2006, Adoum signed a petition in support of the independence of Puerto Rico from the United States of America.

Awards and recognitions[edit]

In 1952 the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (who would win the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature) declared: "Ecuador has the greatest poet in [Latin] America" in reference to Adoum.[9]

In 1960 he won the Casa de las Américas Prize in poetry (Cuba). This was the first time the prize was awarded, and has become one of Latin America’s oldest and most prestigious literary awards.

In 1976 Adoum's novel "Entre Marx y Una Mujer Desnuda" received Mexico's Xavier Villaurrutia Prize. This was the first time the award was given to a foreigner.

In 1989, Adoum was awarded Ecuador's National Prize in Literature "Premio Eugenio Espejo" presented by the President of Ecuador for his works.

Adoum has been nominated for the Cervantes Prize, which is the most prestigious and remunerative award given for Spanish-language literature.

Work[edit]

Poetry:

  • Ecuador Amargo (1949)
  • Carta para Alejandra (1952)
  • Los Cuadernos de La Tierra: I. Los Orígenes, II. El Enemigo y la Mañana (1952)
  • Notas del Hijo Pródigo (1953)
  • Relato del Extranjero (1955)
  • Los Cuadernos de la Tierra: III. Dios Trajo la Sombra (1959)
  • Los Cuadernos de la Tierra: IV. El Dorado y las Ocupaciones Nocturnas (1961)
  • Informe Personal Sobre la Situación (1975)
  • No Son Todos Los Están (1979)
  • Poesía Viva del Ecuador (1990)

Novels:

  • Entre Marx y Una Mujer Desnuda (1976)
  • Ciudad sin Ángel (1995)
  • Los Amores Fugaces (1997)

Essays:

  • Ecuador: Señas Particulares (2000)
  • De cerca y de memoria (2002)

Theater:

  • El sol bajo las patas de los caballos (1970) (English trans., The Sun Trampled Beneath the Horses' Hooves, 1974, by Arthur McMurray and Robert Marquez)

See also[edit]

References[edit]