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Monday, November 24, 2014


Juan Goytisolo has won the Cervantes prize, which is kind of the "Nobel" for Spanish language writers. It hasn't always been distinguished, but Borges, María Zambrano, and Juan Gelman have won it, Gamoneda, etc... Serious people. In any given year, the winner of the Cervantes can kick the ass of the Nobel prize winner. This year the Nobel was won by an obscure French novelist, and the Cervantes by ... Goytisolo.

He is one of the most prominent Spanish novelists and essayists of the 20th century, with few rivals in his heyday--the 60s through the present. If I had been a novel specialist, I would have written about him. Brad Epps cut his teeth by grappling with him.

When I first read Señas de identidad I wasn't too impressed. But now I think I was wrong. He is the same generation as the Latin American Boom of García Márquez and Vargas Llosa (Nobel prize winners) and I think he can hold his own with the best of them. He'll never be popular, but that's a good thing.

One of the things Goytisolo did, as a public intellectual, was to turn against Communism and the Cuban revolution. Being gay probably gave him a head start in this regard. He has been one of the only prominent writers to recognize the Muslim contribution to Spanish culture.

His two brothers were also prominent writers: Luis and José Agustín. He was friends with Gil de Biedma and Valente.


Leslie B. said...

Gostei. And look, more Lorca.


Leslie B. said...