Javier Marías

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Javier Marías
Marías in 2008
Marías in 2008
BornJavier Marías Franco
(1951-09-20)20 September 1951
Madrid, Spain
Died11 September 2022(2022-09-11) (aged 70)
Madrid, Spain
  • Novelist
  • translator
  • columnist
Notable worksAll Souls, A Heart So White, Tomorrow In The Battle Think On Me, Your Face Tomorrow
Seat R of the Real Academia Española
In office
27 April 2008[a] – 11 September 2022
Preceded byFernando Lázaro Carreter
Succeeded byvacant

Javier Marías Franco (20 September 1951 – 11 September 2022)[1] was a Spanish author, translator, and columnist.[2] Marías published fifteen novels, including A Heart So White (Corazón tan blanco, 1992) and Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me (Mañana en la batalla piensa en mí, 1994).[3] In addition to his novels, he also published three collections of short stories and various essays. As one of Spain's most celebrated novelists, his books have been translated into forty-six languages and were sold close to nine million times internationally.[4] He received several awards for his work, such as the Rómulo Gallegos Prize (1995), the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (1997), the International Nonino Prize (2011), and the Austrian State Prize for European Literature (2011).[5]

Marías studied philosophy and literature at the Complutense University of Madrid before going on to teach at several universities, including his alma mater, universities in Oxford and Venice, and Wellesley College in Massachusetts.[6] In 1997, he was awarded the title of King of the Kingdom of Redonda by its predecessor Jon Wynne-Tyson for his understanding of the kingdom and for mentioning the story of one of its previous kings, John Gawsworth, in his novel All Souls (Todas las almas, 1989).


Javier Marías Franco was born in Madrid on 20 September 1951,[7][8][9] as the fourth of five sons.[10] His father was the philosopher Julián Marías,[10] who was briefly imprisoned and then banned from teaching for opposing Franco (the father of the protagonist of Your Face Tomorrow was given a similar biography[11]). His mother was the writer Dolores Franco Manera [es].[12] Marías was the fourth of five sons.[13] Two of his siblings were art historian Fernando [es] and film critic and economist Miguel [es].[12] He was the nephew and cousin of, respectively, filmmakers Jesús "Jess" Franco and Ricardo Franco.[12] Marías spent parts of his childhood in the United States, where his father taught at various institutions, including Yale University and Wellesley College. His mother died when Javier was 26 years old. He was educated at the Colegio Estudio in Madrid. After having returned to Madrid, Marías studied philosophy and literary sciences at the Complutense University of Madrid from 1968 to 1973.[14] From the 1970s onwards, he was involved in translating English literary works into the Spanish language.[15] His first literary employment consisted of translating Dracula scripts for his maternal uncle, Jesús Franco.[16][17]


Marías began writing in earnest at an early age. "The Life and Death of Marcelino Iturriaga", one of the short stories in While the Women are Sleeping (2010), was written when he was just 14.[18] He ran away from home to write his first novel and went to live with his uncle in Paris.[13] He began writing Los dominios del lobo (The Dominions of the Wolf), at the age of 17.[19] It was about an American family[19] and according to him, it was written in the morning hours.[20] The novel is dedicated to the Spanish author Juan Benet, who managed to compel the publisher Edhasa [es] to print the book, and to Vicente Molina Foix, who provided him with the title.[20] In later years he considered himself an "evening time" writer.[20] The novel Travesía del horizonte (Voyage Along the Horizon) was an adventure story about an expedition to Antarctica.[21][22]

His translations included work by Updike, Hardy, Conrad, Nabokov, Faulkner, James, Stevenson, and Browne.[23][24] In 1979 he won the Spanish national award for translation for his version of Sterne's Tristram Shandy.[14] Between 1983 and 1985 he lectured in Spanish literature and translation at the University of Oxford.[25]

In 1986 Marías published El hombre sentimental (The Man of Feeling), and in 1989 he published Todas las almas (All Souls),[26] which was set at Oxford University. The Spanish film director Gracia Querejeta released El Último viaje de Robert Rylands (Robert Rylands' Last Journey), adapted from Todas las almas, in 1996.[27]

His 1992 novel Corazón tan blanco [28] is centered around Juan, a translator for the United Nations (UN), and its English version A Heart So White was translated by Margaret Jull Costa.[29] It was received well by the literary critics and won the Spanish Critics Award.[20] Marías and Costa were joint winners of the 1997 International Dublin Literary Award.[30] In his 1994 novel, Mañana en la batalla piensa en mí, the protagonist is a ghostwriter.[31]

The protagonists of the novels written since 1986 are all interpreters or translators of one kind or another, based on his own experience as a translator and teacher of translation at Oxford University. Of these protagonists, Marías wrote, "They are people who are renouncing their own voices."[13]

In 2002 Marías published Tu rostro mañana 1. Fiebre y lanza (Your Face Tomorrow 1: Fever and Spear), the first part of a trilogy that was his most ambitious literary project. The first volume is dominated by a translator, an elderly don based on an actual professor emeritus of Spanish studies at Oxford University, Sir Peter Russell. The second volume, Tu rostro mañana 2. Baile y sueño (Your Face Tomorrow 2: Dance and Dream), was published in 2004. In 2007, Marías completed the final installment, Tu rostro mañana 3. Veneno y sombra y adiós (Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell).[32] In 2009 the trilogy was published as one single volume.

It was followed by the novel Los enamoramientos (The Infatuations) in 2011, a story about a woman drawn into a murder mystery. The novel won the state-run National novel prize, but Marías rejected the award saying he did not want to be indebted to a government of any kind.[33]

He also was a regular contributor to El País, whose editor-in-chief Pepa Bueno lamented his death and called it a sad day for Spanish literature.[34] In 2005–06 an English version of his column, "La Zona Fantasma", appeared in the monthly magazine The Believer.[35]


After having been awarded the title King of Redonda, he was also known as Xavier I.[36] and, from 2000 onwards, Marías operated a small publishing house under the name of Reino de Redonda.[37] Its first book of the publishing house was La mujer de Huguenin by the first King of Redondo and author M. P. Shiel.[36] Marías's novel, Todas las almas (All Souls), included a portrayal of the poet John Gawsworth, who was also the third King of Redonda. Although the fate of this monarchy after the death of Gawsworth is contested, the portrayal by Marías so affected the "reigning" king, Jon Wynne-Tyson, that he abdicated and left the throne to Marías in 1997. This course of events was chronicled in his "false novel," Negra espalda del tiempo (Dark Back of Time). The book was inspired by the reception of Todas las almas by many people who, falsely according to Marías, believed they were the source of the characters in Todas las almas.[38] After "taking the throne" of Redonda, Marías began a publishing imprint named Reino de Redonda ("Kingdom of Redonda").[39]

Marías conferred many titles during his reign upon people he liked, including upon Pedro Almodóvar (Duke of Trémula),[40] António Lobo Antunes (Duke of Cocodrilos), John Ashbery (Duke of Convexo), Pierre Bourdieu (Duke of Desarraigo), William Boyd (Duke of Brazzaville),[40] Michel Braudeau (Duke of Miranda),[citation needed] A. S. Byatt (Duchess of Morpho Eugenia),[40] Guillermo Cabrera Infante (Duke of Tigres),[citation needed] Pietro Citati (Duke of Remonstranza),[citation needed] Francis Ford Coppola (Duke of Megalópolis),[41] Agustín Díaz Yanes (Duke of Michelín),[citation needed] Roger Dobson (Duke of Bridaespuela),[citation needed] Frank Gehry (Duke of Nervión),[citation needed] Francis Haskell (Duke of Sommariva),[citation needed] Eduardo Mendoza (Duke of Isla Larga),[citation needed] Ian Michael (Duke of Bernal),[citation needed] Orhan Pamuk (Duke of Colores),[citation needed] Arturo Pérez-Reverte (Duke of Corso),[citation needed] Francisco Rico (Duke of Parezzo),[citation needed] Sir Peter Russell (Duke of Plazatoro),[citation needed] Fernando Savater (Duke of Caronte),[citation needed] W. G. Sebald (Duke of Vértigo),[41] Jonathan Coe (Duke of Prunes),[citation needed] Luis Antonio de Villena (Duke of Malmundo),[citation needed] and Juan Villoro (Duke of Nochevieja).[citation needed]

Premio Reino de Redonda[edit]

Marías created a literary prize, the Premio Reino de Redonda [es], to be judged by the dukes and duchesses. The jury was of an extraordinary prominence,[36] comprising the dukes mentioned below and other figures such as Francis Ford Coppola.[42] In addition to prize money, the winners, listed below, received a duchy:


Marías died of pneumonia caused by Covid-19 in Madrid on 11 September 2022, at age 70.[51][7][8][52] The Spanish novelist Eduardo Mendoza remembered him as the best writer in Spain at the time of his death,[4] and one who wrote female characters the best.[53]

Awards and honours[edit]


All English translations by Margaret Jull Costa unless otherwise indicated.


Novellas and short stories[edit]

  • Mientras ellas duermen (1990). While the Women Are Sleeping (U.S.: New Directions/UK: Chatto & Windus, 2010)[82]
  • Cuando fui mortal (1996). When I Was Mortal (The Harvill Press, 1999; New Directions, 2000)[83]
  • Mala índole (1996). Bad Nature, or With Elvis in Mexico, translated by Esther Allen (New Directions, 2010)[84]


  • Between Eternities & Other Writings (U.S.: Penguin/UK: Hamish Hamilton, 2017). Later compiled in Spanish as Entre Eternidades. Y otros escritos (2018)[85]


  • Vidas escritas (1992). Written Lives (U.S.: New Directions/UK: Canongate, 2006). Literary biography.[86]
  • Venice, an interior (2016) (London: Penguin Books 2016)[87]


  1. ^ Elected on 29 June 2006


  1. ^ "Muere Javier Marías, el gran novelista español del último medio siglo". Diario ABC (in Spanish). 11 September 2022. Retrieved 29 June 2023.
  2. ^ Nicholas Wroe (22 February 2013). "Javier Marías: a life in writing". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  3. ^ "Javier Marías | Penguin Random House". PenguinRandomhouse.com. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Spanish novelist Javier Marias dies aged 70". SWI swissinfo.ch. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  5. ^ Kingsford-Smith, Andrew (22 March 2013). "10 of the Best Contemporary Spanish Authors". Culture Trip. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Javier Marías". www.ndbooks.com. 8 September 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  7. ^ a b Noiville, Florence (12 September 2022). "Award-winning Spanish novelist Javier Marías dies aged 70". Le Monde. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  8. ^ a b Risen, Clay (12 September 2022). "Javier Marías, to Many the Greatest Living Spanish Novelist, Dies at 70". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  9. ^ "Javier Marías, el sempiterno candidato español al Nobel de Literatura". Cadena COPE. 11 September 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d Bartels, Gerrit (11 September 2022). "Autor von "Mein Herz so weiß": Spanischer Schriftsteller Javier Marías gestorben". Der Tagesspiegel Online (in German). ISSN 1865-2263. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  11. ^ Lasdun, James (21 November 2009). "Your Face Tomorrow III by Javier Marías | Book review". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  12. ^ a b c Fuente, Ulises (11 September 2022). "Muere el escritor Javier Marías, uno de los más importantes en lengua castellana". La Razón.
  13. ^ a b c Edemariam, Aida (6 May 2005). "Profile: Javier Marías". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  14. ^ a b "Javier Marías". internationales literaturfestival berlin (in German). Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  15. ^ Wood, Gareth (3 May 2012). Javier Marías's Debt to Translation: Sterne, Browne, Nabokov. OUP Oxford. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-19-965133-7.
  16. ^ Hardworking King of Redonda.
  17. ^ New new Directions Publishing biography Archived 4 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ Smith, Zadie (March 2011). "New Books: While the Women are Sleeping". Harper's. 322 (1, 930): 69. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  20. ^ a b c d Marcos, Javier Rodríguez (11 September 2022). "Spanish literary great Javier Marías dies aged 70". El País. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  21. ^ lecturalia.com. Travesía del horizonte – Javier Marías (in Spanish).
  22. ^ El pensamiento literario de Javier Marías (in Spanish). Brill. 22 February 2022. p. 87. ISBN 978-90-04-48537-2.
  23. ^ "Javier Marías traductor". Javier Marias. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  24. ^ "Javier Marías, traductor". Vasos Comunicantes | Revista de ACE Traductores (in Spanish). 12 September 2022. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  25. ^ "A History of Spanish at Oxford". University of Oxford. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  26. ^ a b "La vida de Javier Marías a través de sus obras". El Independiente (in Spanish). 11 September 2022. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  27. ^ Caparrós Lera, José María (1999). El cine de nuestros días (1994–1998) [The Cinema of Our Days (1994–1998)] (in Spanish). Ediciones Rialp. p. 83. ISBN 9788432132339. Retrieved 19 July 2018 – via Google Books.
  28. ^ "Corazón tan blanco: Resumen y todo lo que se desconoce". Resumimos Todos Los Libros Y Novelas que existen (in Spanish). 9 March 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  29. ^ Proctor, Minna (1 January 1998). "Javier Marías's A Heart So White". Bomb Magazine. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  30. ^ Battersby, Eileen (15 May 1997). "Spaniard awarded £100,000 Dublin literary prize". The Irish Times. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  31. ^ Piqueras, José A. (1 January 2001). "El juego de la ventriloquía política" (in Spanish). El País. Archived from the original on 3 December 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2020. En la memorable novela Mañana en la batalla piensa en mí, Javier Marías crea un personaje, protagonista de la trama, que convierte en escritor y ejerce de negro literario
  32. ^ Martin, Tim (23 November 2009). "Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell by Javier Marías: review". telegraph.co.uk.
  33. ^ Risen, Clay (12 September 2022). "Javier Marías, to Many the Greatest Living Spanish Novelist, Dies at 70". New York Times.
  34. ^ Jones, Sam (11 September 2022). "Spanish novelist Javier Marías dies at home in Madrid aged 70". the Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  35. ^ a b c "Javier Marías". Believer Magazine. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  36. ^ a b c "Javier Marías, veinte años como rey de Redonda". Zenda (in Spanish). 14 November 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  37. ^ Wood, Gareth (2012).pp.1–2
  38. ^ "Dark Back of Time". at Complete Review
  39. ^ Wood, Gareth J. (2012). "Javier Marías's Debt to Translation". Complete Review.
  40. ^ a b c Edemariam, Aida (7 May 2005). "Looking for Luisa". The Guardian.
  41. ^ a b Manguel, Alberto (12 September 2022). "Javier Marías: modern literature's great philosopher of everyday absurdity". The Guardian. This allowed Marías to confer titles to many of his literary friends: WG Sebald was made Duke of Vertigo and Francis Ford Coppola the Duke of Megalópolis.
  42. ^ a b c d e Wood, Gareth (2012).p.36
  43. ^ Fernández-Santos, Elsa (24 April 2001). "El novelista surafricano J. M. Coetzee logra el I Premio Reino de Redonda". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  44. ^ "20 años de Reino de Redonda, el sello de Javier Marías". El Mundo (in Spanish). 28 January 2019. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  45. ^ "Ray Bradbury obtiene el VI Premio Reino de Redonda". El País (in Spanish). 24 April 2006. ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  46. ^ "Fallo del VII Premio Reino de Redonda", 3 May 2007.
  47. ^ "Umberto Eco reconocido con el Premio Reino de Redonda por el conjunto de su obra". La Voz de Galicia (in Spanish). 11 April 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  48. ^ "Marc Fumaroli gana el premio Reino de Redonda". El País (in Spanish). 27 April 2009. ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  49. ^ "El Espejo del Mar – Recuerdos e impresiones".
  50. ^ "Ian McEwan gana el premio Reino de Redonda". El País (in Spanish). 26 May 2011. ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  51. ^ "Spanish author Javier Marias dies aged 70 after bout of pneumonia". 12 September 2022.
  52. ^ "Spanish author Javier Marias dies aged 70 after bout of pneumonia 'caused by Covid-19'". South China Morning Post. Agence France-Presse. 12 September 2022.
  53. ^ Mendoza, Eduardo (11 September 2022). "Javier Marías, un triste recuerdo". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  54. ^ "Premios Fray Luis de León de traducción". El País (in Spanish). 29 December 1979. ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  55. ^ "Literatura en Llengua Castellana – Premis ciutat de Barcelona" (in Catalan). Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  56. ^ "What do Fastenrath Award and Javier Marías have in common?". hyperleapsite. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  57. ^ Coppermann, Annie (5 November 1996). "Premier round des prix d'automne". Les Échos (in French). Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  58. ^ IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (12 May 2015). "Previous Winners". IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  59. ^ "Javier Marías". Real Academia Española (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 25 October 2015.
  60. ^ Javier Marias joins Spanish Royal Academy[permanent dead link].
  61. ^ Marcos, Javier Rodríguez (15 January 2011). "Javier Marías gana en Italia el Premio Nonino". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  62. ^ Winston Manrique Sabogal (23 April 2013). "El Formentor rinde homenaje a la literatura de Javier Marías". El Pais (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  63. ^ "Announcing the National Book Critics Awards Finalists for Publishing Year 2013". National Book Critics Circle. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  64. ^ "Javier Marías, LIBER 2017 Award for the most outstanding Hispano-American author". www.ifema.es. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  65. ^ "Inaugural RSL International Writers Announced". Royal Society of Literature. 30 November 2021. Retrieved 25 December 2021.
  66. ^ Marías, Javier (6 April 2011). Los dominios del lobo (in Spanish). Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial España. ISBN 978-84-204-9947-5.
  67. ^ "Voyage Along the Horizon". Goodreads. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  68. ^ El monarca del tiempo (Book, 1978) [WorldCat.org]. OCLC 1088080717. Retrieved 11 September 2022 – via www.worldcat.org.
  69. ^ Marías, Javier (1983). El siglo (in Spanish). Seix Barral. ISBN 978-84-322-4509-1.
  70. ^ lecturalia.com. El hombre sentimental – Javier Marías (in Spanish).
  71. ^ Marías, Javier (2000). All Souls. New Directions Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8112-1453-7.
  72. ^ "A Heart So White". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  73. ^ Marías, Javier (2001). Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me. New Directions Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8112-1482-7.
  74. ^ "Dark Back of Time - Javier Marías". www.complete-review.com. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  75. ^ "Fever and Spear (Your Face Tomorrow, #1)". Goodreads. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  76. ^ "Your Face Tomorrow Vol. 2: Dance & Dream". New Directions Publishing. 1 May 2008. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  77. ^ "Your Face Tomorrow III by Javier Marías | Book review". the Guardian. 21 November 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  78. ^ "Marías: The Infatuations | The Modern Novel". www.themodernnovel.org. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  79. ^ "Berta Isla by Javier Marías review – secret life of a spy". the Guardian. 18 October 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  80. ^ "Berta Isla by Javier Marías review – secret life of a spy". the Guardian. 18 October 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  81. ^ "Edizioni Ca' Foscari". edizionicafoscari.unive.it. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  82. ^ "While the Women are Sleeping – Javier Marías". www.complete-review.com. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  83. ^ "When I Was Mortal". New Directions Publishing. 1 September 2002. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  84. ^ "Bad Nature, or With Elvis in Mexico". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  85. ^ "Between Eternities by Javier Marías: 9781101972113 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books". PenguinRandomhouse.com. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  86. ^ "Written Lives by Javier Marías review – 26 literary figures examined". the Guardian. 13 May 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2022.
  87. ^ https://www.worldcat.org/formats-editions/964699358[bare URL]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]