Sergio Pitol

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Sergio Pitol Deméneghi (18 March 1933 – 12 April 2018) was a Mexican writer, translator and diplomat. In 2005, he received the Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious literary award in the Spanish-speaking world.

Early life[edit]

Born in Puebla, Pitol spent his childhood in Ingenio de Potrero, a provincial town in the state of Veracruz. His mother died when he was four years old and soon after Pitol contracted malaria, which left him bedridden until about the age of 12.[1] He was raised by his grandmother. As a teenager, Pitol moved to Córdoba, Veracruz.

Education and diplomatic work[edit]

In 1950, Pitol moved to Mexico City to study law and literature at the Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM). In 1960, he became a member of the Mexican Foreign Service and served over a number of years as cultural attaché in Rome, Belgrade, Warsaw, Paris, Beijing, Moscow, Prague, Budapest and Barcelona. In the 1980s, he served as ambassador to Czechoslovakia.[2]

Later years[edit]

Since 1993, he lived in Xalapa, capital of the state of Veracruz, where he taught at the Universidad Veracruzana. His final years were spent in poor health and he had struggled in particular with progressive aphasia, which prevented him from writing or talking. He died in Xalapa on 12 April 2018, aged 85.[3]

Writing career[edit]

Pitol’s publications as translator include literary works by such authors as Jerzy Andrzejewski, Jane Austen, Giorgio Bassani, Kazimierz Brandys, Anton Chekhov, Joseph Conrad, Witold Gombrowicz, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov. He also served as a professor at the UNAM, at the Universidad Veracruzana in Xalapa, and at the University of Bristol in England.

Awards[edit]

In 2005, Pitol received the Cervantes Prize. Other major awards include the Premio Juan Rulfo (1999), Premio Herralde de Novela (1984), and the Premio Xavier Villaurrutia (1981).

Selection of works by Sergio Pitol[edit]

Novels

  • El tañido de una flauta (Era, Mexico City, 1972)
  • Juegos florales (Siglo XXI, 1982)
  • El desfile del amor (Anagrama, Barcelona 1984)
  • Domar a la divina garza (Anagrama, Barcelona, 1988)
  • La vida conjugal (Era, Mexico City; Anagrama, Barcelona, 1991)

Essay-Memoirs

  • El arte de la fuga (Era, Mexico City, 1996 (The Art of Flight, Trans. George Henson; Deep Vellum Publishing, 2015))
  • El viaje (Era, Mexico City, 2000 (The Journey, Trans. George Henson; Deep Vellum Publishing, 2015))
  • El mago de Viena (Pre-Textos, Valencia, 2005 (The Magician of Vienna, Trans. George Henson; Deep Vellum Publishing, 2017))

Short Story Collections

  • Tiempo cercado (Editorial Estaciones, Mexico City, 1959)
  • Infierno de todos (Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, 1964)
  • Los climas (Joaquín Mortiz, Mexico City, 1966)
  • No hay tal lugar (Era, Mexico City, 1967)
  • Del encuentro nupcial (Tusquets, Barcelona, 1970)
  • Nocturno de Bujara (Siglo XXI, Mexico City, 1981)
  • Vals de Mefisto (Anagrama, Barcelona, 1984)
  • El relato veneciano de Billie Upward (Monte Ávila Editores, Caracas, 1992)
  • Todos los cuentos (Alfaguara, Mexico City, 1998)
  • El oscuro hermano gemelo y otros relatos (Norma, Bogotá, 2004)
  • Los mejores cuentos, presentación de Enrique Vila-Matas (Anagrama, Barcelona, 2005)

Readings on Sergio Pitol's work[edit]

  • José Balza, Victoria de Stefano, Anamari Gomis, et alii. Sergio Pitol, los territorios del viajero. Mexico City, ERA, 2000.
  • Karim Benmiloud. Sergio Pitol ou le carnaval des vanités. Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 2012.
  • Karim Benmiloud, Raphaël Estève (dir.). El planeta Pitol. Bordeaux, Presses Universitaires de Bordeaux, 2012.
  • José Bru (comp.). Acercamientos a Sergio Pitol. Guadalajara, Universidad de Guadalajara, 1999.
  • Maricruz Castro Ricalde. Ficcion, narracion y polifonia : el universo narrativo de Sergio Pitol.
  • Laura Cazares Hernández. El caldero fáustico : la narrativa de Sergio Pitol. Mexico City, UAM, 2000.
  • Texto critico n° 21, Xalapa, Universidad Veracruzana, abr.-jun. 1981.
  • Pedro M. Domene. Sergio Pitol: el sueño de lo real. Batarro (revista literaria) No. 38-39-40, 2002.
  • Luz Fernandez de Alba. Del tañido al arte de la fuga. Una lectura critica de Sergio Pitol. Mexico City, UNAM, 1998.
  • Teresa Garcia Diaz. Del Tajin a Venecia: un regreso a ninguna parte. Xalapa, Universidad Veracruzana, 2002.
  • Teresa Garcia Diaz (coord.). Victorio Ferri se hizo mago en Viena (sobre Sergio Pitol). Xalapa, Universidad Veracruzana, 2007.
  • Alfonso Montelongo. Vientos troqueles : la narrativa de Sergio Pitol. Xalapa, Universidad Veracruzana, 1998.
  • Renato Prada Oropeza. La narrativa de Sergio Pitol : los cuentos. Xalapa, Universidad Veracruzana, 1996.
  • Eduardo Serrato (comp.). Tiempo cerrado, tiempo abierto. Sergio Pitol ante la critica. Mexico City, ERA - UNAM, 1994.
  • Hugo Valdés Manriquez. El laberinto cuentistico de Sergio Pitol. Monterrey, Gobierno del Estado de Nuevo León, 1998.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Discurso Sergio Pitol, Premio Cervantes 2005 - RTVE.es". RTVE.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 2015-11-13.
  2. ^ "Sergio Pitol Papers (C1283) -- Sergio Pitol Papers". findingaids.princeton.edu. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
  3. ^ Villegas, Paulina (2018-04-19). "Sergio Pitol, Inventive and Honored Mexican Author, Dies at 85". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-04-24.

External links[edit]

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