Posted By P & L Blog

Translations Of Camilo Jose Cela
Today is the birthday of three Spanish intellectuals: Salvador Dalí, Camilo José Cela, and Francisco Umbral. While everyone is familiar with Dalí's work, Cela and Umbral are not as well known in English-speaking circles.

Cela won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1989, and several of his books were made into films.  His novel, "The Family of Pascual Duarte" (La Familia de Pascual Duarte) is said to be the most widely read book in Spain after "Don Quixote".   The book was banned in Spain for several years, even though Cela had briefly worked for the government as a censor. His writings are widely available in English and other languages.

Umbral was one of the most prolific Spanish writers in the second part of the 20th century, writing 80 books along with a regular newspaper column. He was a critic of the left, an unpopular position to take in post-Franco intellectual circles.  Like Dalí, he enjoyed the high profile he achieved from his work and he was ubiquitous at social events in Madrid.  My guess is that he will remain unknown in the US; Amazon lists many of his works, but no English translations. For literature to persist in our memories, it has to be accessible first.


Image by frengo2 under Creative Commons license.


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