Publication: Sunday May 9, 2021 10:04 AM
Poet José Manuel Caballero Bonald, Cervantes Prize of the Year 2012, has died at the age of 94 in Madrid. An eminent member of the generation of the 1950s, he is one of the most prominent contemporary voices in Spanish literature.
Poet, novelist and essayist, Caballero Bonald was born in Jerez de la Frontera (Cadiz) in 1926. From a Cuban father and mother of French aristocratic origin, he studied philosophy and literature in Seville and nautical and astronomy in Cadiz. He published his first collection of poems, “Las adivinaciones”, in 1952, after obtaining with him a second prize in the Adonáis Prize. Two years earlier he had won the Silversmith Prize for Poetry.
He was professor of Spanish literature at the National University of Colombia and at the Center for Hispanic Studies at Bryn Mawr College. He was also the literary director of the editorial office Júcar, deputy director of Papeles de Son Armadans and worked at the Lexicography Seminar of the Royal Spanish Academy. He also ran a record company and edited an archive of flamenco singing in 1966, consisting of a monograph and a series of recordings on site.
His career as a novelist began with “ Two Days of September ” (1962; Brief Library Prize), which was followed by “ Ágata’s eye of a cat ” (1974; Barral Prize, which he resigns, and reviews), “All night They heard birds pass” (1981), “En la casa del padre” (1988) and “Campo de Agramante” (1992), which have been republished and translated several times into different languages .
He is also the author of the memoirs “ Le temps des guerres perdues ” (1995) and “ The habit of living ” (2001) which is subdivided into a third part, “ Oublié deferred ” in an edition joint titled “ The novel of memory ” (2010).
His complete poetic work is included in the volume “We are the time that we have left”. He has also published various books of essays and travel chronicles and made adaptations of classic Castilian plays, among which ‘Abre el ojos’, by Rojas Zorrilla, ‘Don Gil de las calzas rojas’, by Tirso de Molina and ‘Fuenteovejuna’, Lope de Vega, released in Madrid in 1978, 1994 and 1998 respectively.
He was president of the Spanish session of the International PEN Club, a position from which he resigned in 1981, and in 1998 he created the Foundation that bears his name. In his honor, the Caballero Bonald International Essay Award was established in 2004.
Signs of affection from the world of politics and literature
The Ministry of Culture has deplored through Twitter the death of Caballero Bonald, “one of the great writers of our time”. In the same social network, Pedro Sánchez spoke of his loss, which sent his “condolences and affection for his loved ones”.
The head of the Treasury, María Jesús Montero, also reacted to his death on Twitter. “José Manuel Caballero Bonald has passed away. Those of us who love literature are left without a unique sensitivity,” wrote the minister spokesperson for the executive. The PSOE also conveyed its condolences by recalling the verses of the poet: “I live where I was, at the edge of the delirious sea, free and motionless speed bordered by fire, lustrous forest of joy.”
Expressions of affection have also come from Andalusia, his native land, by the mayor of Seville, Juan Espadas, or by the former president of the council Susana Díaz, who lamented that today is “a sad day for Andalusian letters “. “José Manuel Caballero Bonald, one of the great writers of our time, has passed away. Favorite son of Andalusia, anti-Franco fighter and genius of the word. Rest in peace.”
The writer and former Minister of Culture of the Community of Madrid Marta Rivera de la Cruz also recalled the poet, who stressed that he was one of those who promoted, “with infinite generosity”, his career of writer: “I have his books and the gratitude that I owe him, but it is not enough. He was a good man. How sad, what shame,” he wrote.
For his part, the writer Fernando Aramburu expressed his sorrow for the death of “professor” Caballero Bonald and recalled his verses: “If you look at a clock and wait impassively for a minute, you will finally understand what eternity consists of. of. “