Juan Goytisolo

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Juan Goytisolo
Born Juan Goytisolo[1]
(1931-01-06) 6 January 1931 (age 86)
Barcelona, Spain
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, poet, essayist
Nationality Spanish
Period 1954-
Literary movement Post-Modernism
Notable works Count Julian
Notable awards Miguel de Cervantes Prize
Spouse Monique Lange
Relatives Luis Goytisolo, José Agustín

Juan Goytisolo (born 6 January 1931 in Barcelona) is a Spanish poet, essayist, and novelist. He lives in Marrakech.


Juan Goytisolo was born to an aristocratic family. He has claimed that this level of privilege, accompanied by the cruelties of his great-grandfather and the miserliness of his grandfather (discovered through the reading of old family letters and documents), was a major reason for his joining the Communist party in his youth.[2] His father was imprisoned by the Republican government during the Spanish Civil War, while his mother (Julia Gay[3]) was killed in the first Francoist air raid in 1938.


After law studies, Goytisolo published his first novel, The Young Assassins, in 1954. His deep opposition to Francisco Franco led him into exile in Paris in 1956, where he worked as a reader for Gallimard. In the early 1960s, he was a friend of Guy Debord. Breaking with the realism of his earlier novels, he published Marks of Identity (1966), Count Julian (1970), and Juan the Landless (1975). As with all his works, they were banned in Spain until after Franco's death.

Count Julian (1970, 1971, 1974) takes up, in an act of outspoken defiance, the side of Julian, count of Ceuta, a man traditionally castigated as the ultimate traitor in Spanish history. In Goytisolo's own words, he imagines "the destruction of Spanish mythology, its Catholicism and nationalism, in a literary attack on traditional Spain." He identifies himself "with the great traitor who opened the door to Arab invasion." The narrator in this novel, an exile in North Africa, rages against his beloved Spain, forming an obsessive identification with the fabled Count Julian, dreaming that, in a future invasion, the ethos and myths central to Hispanic identity will be totally destroyed.


Goytisolo was married to the publisher, novelist and screenwriter Monique Lange, a cousin of novelist Marcel Proust, Emmanuel Berl, and the philosopher Henri Bergson.[citation needed] Lange died in 1996. After her death, he is noted as saying their once shared Paris apartment had become like a tomb. In 1997 he moved to Marrakech.

He is brother to José Agustín Goytisolo and Luis Goytisolo, also writers.[4]


For decades, my name was more popular in police stations than bookshops,
and I do not mean to compliment the literary awareness of Spanish policemen.[5]

Juan Goytisolo


  • The Young Assassins (Juegos de manos) (1954).
  • Duelo en el Paraíso (1955).
  • El circo (1957). Part of the trilogy El mañana efímero.
  • Fiestas (1958). Part of the trilogy El mañana efímero.
  • La Resaca (1958). Part of the trilogy El mañana efímero.
  • Para vivir aquí (1960). Short stories.
  • La isla (1961).
  • La Chanca (1962).
  • Fin de Fiesta. Tentativas de interpretación de una historia amorosa (1962). Stories.
  • Marks of Identity (Señas de identidad, 1966). Álvaro Mendiola trilogy.
  • Count Julian (Reivindicación del conde don Julián, 1970). Álvaro Mendiola trilogy.
  • Juan the Landless (Juan sin Tierra, 1975). Álvaro Mendiola trilogy.
  • Makbara (1980).
  • Paisajes después de la batalla (1985).
  • Las virtudes del pájaro solitario (1988).
  • La cuarentena (1991).
  • El sitio de los sitios (1995).
  • Las semanas del jardín (1997).
  • The Marx Family Saga (1999), (La saga de los Marx, 1993)
  • State of Siege (2002).
  • Telón de boca (2003).

A Cock-Eyed Comedy (2005) (Carajicomedia, 2000).


  • Problemas de la novela (1959). Literature.
  • Furgón de cola (1967).
  • España y los españoles (1979). History and politics.
  • Crónicas sarracinas (1982).
  • El bosque de las letras (1995). Literature.
  • Disidencias (1996). Literatura.
  • De la Ceca a la Meca. Aproximaciones al mundo islámico (1997).
  • Cogitus interruptus (1999).
  • El peaje de la vida (2000). With Sami Nair.
  • Landscapes of War: From Sarajevo to Chechnya (2000).
  • El Lucernario: la pasión crítica de Manuel Azaña (2004).


  • Campos de Níjar (1954). Travels, journalism.
  • Pueblo en marcha. Tierras de Manzanillo. Instantáneas de un viaje a Cuba (1962). Travels, journalism.
  • Obra inglesa de Blanco White (1972). Editor.
  • Coto vedado (1985). Memoir.
  • En los reinos de taifa (1986). Memoir.
  • Alquibla (1988). TV script for TVE.
  • Estambul otomano (1989). Travels.
  • Aproximaciones a Gaudí en Capadocia (1990). Travels.
  • Cuaderno de Sarajevo (1993). Travels, journalism.
  • Argelia en el vendaval (1994). Travels, journalism.
  • Paisajes de guerra con Chechenia al fondo (1996). Travels, journalism.
  • Lectura del espacio en Xemaá-El-Fná (1997). Illustrated by Hans Werner Geerdts.
  • El universo imaginario (1997).
  • Diálogo sobre la desmemoria, los tabúes y el olvido (2000). Conversation with Günter Grass.
  • Paisajes de guerra: Sarajevo, Argelia, Palestina, Chechenia (2001).
  • Pájaro que ensucia su propio nido (2001). Articles.
  • Memorias (2002).
  • España y sus Ejidos (2003).
  • Cinema Eden: Essays from the Muslim Mediterranean (Eland, 2003) - an English-language translation of several of his essays

Literary Prizes[edit]


  1. ^ El País Retrieved 2010-07-16.
  2. ^ Goytisolo, Juan. Forbidden Territory. New York: Verso, 2003.
  3. ^ "[H]is mother, killed during the Spanish Civil War, was Julia Gay". George E. Haggerty, Gay Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia, p. 413.
  4. ^ "Luis Goytisolo, el novelista que "escribe con los pies"" (in Spanish). El Diario. 25 October 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  5. ^ Quoted in Eberstadt, cited above.
  6. ^ (Spanish) "Los protagonistas de la lengua" El País Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  7. ^ Javier Rodriguez Marcos (23 April 2015). "Cervantes prizewinner laments state of Spain during ceremony". El Pais. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 

External links[edit]