Javier Marías, the writer faithful to his principles

He felt finished as an author every time he finished a book but, with more than five decades dedicated to writing, Javier Marías has been one of the essential and most prestigious names in contemporary literature in Spanish, a critical man and always faithful to his principles.

Common in the lists of candidates for the Nobel Prize for Literature Every year, the extensive work of Javier Marías, born in Madrid in 1951 and died today at the age of 70, was awarded numerous awards throughout his career, one of which, the National Literature He rejected it because he did not believe that the State should be responsible for this type of award.

In addition to the numerous awards he received during his career, the recognition of Javier Marías by critics and the public can be deduced from many figures: the author of sixteen novels, as well as books of essays, stories and hundreds of newspaper articles, his works have been published in forty-six languages ​​and in fifty-nine countries, With almost nine million copies sold.

But at the end of each of his novels, he said, he was convinced that there would not be a next one, because it seemed impossible to him to undertake the task of creating a new world and new characters again. That’s why he worked each page as if it were the last.

son of the philosopher Julian Marias, the author from Madrid began to publish when he was young since his first novel, The domains of the wolffirst came out in 1971 under the auspices of John Benet, an author for whom Marías felt veneration.

They followed horizon crossings (1972), The monarch of time, The century (1983), sentimental man, awarded the Herralde Prize in 2000 and the Ennio Flaiano, or all the souls, City of Barcelona Award and finalist for the Médicis. But the consecration came with heart so white (1993), considered by some critics as a masterpiece and converted into a contemporary classic.

This novel was a “before and after” in his life, as it allowed him to live on literature. The survival of this story over the years it seemed almost a miracle In times like the present when “the concept of posterity already belongs to the past”.

heart so white was awarded numerous prizes, among them the Critics’ Prize, which she proudly received on a second occasion, 26 years later, with the novel Bertha Island. Because he believed that it is one of the few recognitions “of which one can be sure that extraliterary factors do not intervene in it”, since “Spanish critics are not going to let themselves be influenced by anything or anyone”.

Something he did not do with the National Narrative Award, granted by the Ministry of Culture for crushes in 2012, and whose rejection had already been announced: “If they offered me any state award, I would not accept it,” he said after receiving the Austrian Prize for European Literature.

“I do not share that generalized jingoism, that happens a lot in Spain, for which if someone wins an Oscar, they become a kind of idol, and if a Spaniard wins a championship in a sport that no one cares about, it begins to be important”, he said on one occasion .

black back of time, the three volumes of your face tomorrow (Fever and spear, dance and dream Y Poison and shadow and goodbye), Falling in love, That’s how bad things begin, Berta Isla Y Thomas Nevinson were the following novels by this writer, who experimented with the concept of the novel, He skirted limits and introduced reflections that he mixed with the plot and with the game of time.

An academic of the RAE since 2008, Marías was also known for some controversial controversies that he had with one of his editors, George Herralde, or with Elijah and Grace Querejeta who adapted his work to the cinema all the souls under the title of The Last Voyage of Robert Rylandsand that the writer did not like it at all.

He was also critical of the volume of novels currently being published and was against the “superficial novels, with silly ones” of which he said that there were many: “it seems that, just by knowing how to read and write, anyone can be a novelist”.

A current era in which he believed that there was a “desubstantialization” of people, “of a superficiality that has to do with the rush and a lack of attention that is beginning to be endemic,” he said.

With a degree in Philosophy and Letters from the Complutense University of Madrid, Marías specialized in English philology, and taught as a professor of Spanish literature at the University of Oxford (United Kingdom) and at Wellesley College (United States); and as a professor of Translation Theory at the Institute of Modern Languages ​​and Translators of the Complutense University. He also translated important Anglo-Saxon authors such as Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad, Laurence Sterne, Yeats, Robert L. Stevenson, and Thomas Browne.

In recent times, his public appearances and interviews were few, although he continued to publish books and newspaper articles. He was also elected an international member of the Royal Society of Literature (RSL)the only Spanish to date from this UK charity for the promotion of literature.

An author whose work will remain in time despite the fact that, as I said, “to think of posterity on the part of a writer is ridiculous And the more time passes, the more ridiculous that idea is.”

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Javier Marías, the writer faithful to his principles