Spanish novelist Javier Marías dies aged 70
The Spanish writer Javier Marías (Madrid, 1951), author of novels such as ‘A heart so white‘, ‘fads‘ Where ‘Your face tomorrow‘, all translated into English and published in the American marketdied this Sunday, September 11, 2022 in Madrid at the age of 70, following pneumonia.
Son of Republican intellectuals, he spent part of his childhood with his family in the United States since his father, a philosopher, was banned from teaching in Spanish universities under the Franco regime and taught in several universities from Massachusetts.
Back in Spain, Marías graduated in Literature and Philosophy from the Complutense University of Madrid, specializing in English Philology. He has taught Spanish literature at the University of Oxford (UK) and at Wellesley College (USA); and as a professor of translation theory at the Institute of Modern Languages and Translators of Complutense University.
Regular contributor to a Spanish newspaper El País (his latest opinion columnwhich he left ready in July to be published after the holidays, was published yesterday in his tribute), Marías began his career as a writer in 1971, at the age of 19, with ‘Los dominios del lobo’ (The domains of the wolf).
In 1972 he published ‘Travesía del horizonte’ and in 1978 ‘El monarca del tiempo’. That same year appeared his translation of Laurence Sterne’s novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, for which he received the Fray Luis de León translation prize the following year. In 1983, his fourth novel, The Century, was published.
“If there’s one activity I miss, it’s translation. I gave it up decades ago, with minor exceptions (a poem, a short story, quotations from English and French authors who appear in my novels), and nothing would stop me from returning to them except my own books and how this essential work, arguably one of the most important in the world, continues to be poorly paid, ”writes Marías in his posthumous column for the newspaper El País.
Between 2002 and 2007, he embarked on his magnum opus: the monumental trilogy which, under the title “Your Face Tomorrow”, was his approach to the Civil War based on an episode inspired by the betrayal of his father, a Republican philosopher.
In 2012, after publishing one of her best-known novels, “Los enamoriamientos” (“The Infatuations”), Marías received the Spanish National Narrative Award, an award given by the Spanish Ministry of Culture. Marías rejected the award and said he was grateful for “the kindness of the jury” and hoped his position would not be seen as “ugly”:
“I am consistent with what I have always said, that I would never receive an institutional reward (…) I rejected any remuneration that would come from the public treasury. I have said on many occasions that in the event where it would be was granted to me, I could not accept any reward,” he said in later statements.
What he accepted was his nomination for a seat in the Real Academia Española de la Lengua (RAE), in 2005, and he did so with a speech titled “Sobre la dificultad de contar” (On the difficulty of counting).
Published in 46 languages and 59 countries, Marías is one of the most international Spanish-speaking authors. Over eight million copies of his books have been sold worldwide.