One day in October 1982, 40 years ago, the decision of the Swedish Academy to award the Nobel Prize for Literature to Gabriel García Márquez was made public. Perhaps the only written trace of the emotion that such an event caused in a Colombian is the article that he began to write that same day as a reaction to the shocking news Fernando Cruz Kronfly entitled “The loneliness of the Nobel.” In terms of still and moving images, we are left with the videos that we can see today on YouTube and the various photos of the writer’s trip to Sweden in December 1982, mainly those of Nereo López -which today rest in the archive that bears his name in the National Library of Colombia- and those of Hernando Guerrero.
It may be vain, and perhaps useless, to try to recall how that Nobel touched us at that time, countrymen and women of the honoree. Perhaps it is more important to reflect on the background that made this event possible and how this work continues to mark us today. That is why, together with the Colombian Julián Vásquez Lopera, a professor at the University of Stockholm, we have co-edited the book ‘Gabriel García Márquez 40 years after the Nobel Prize. Readings from Sweden and Stockholm’.
This book, which we hope will appear in December 2022, is published by the Editorial Program of the Universidad del Valle, and contains 24 articles. The first part, entitled “García Márquez-Suecia”, illuminates several aspects of the distinction that the Swedish Academy makes to the Colombian and the reception of the author of ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ over several decades in Swedish culture. The second part, entitled “In Garcíamarquian coordinates”, contains unpublished critical analyzes on various aspects of this immense literary work.
From its cover, where the photograph of the Chilean Patrico Salinas shows us the Colombian writer in the company of Artur Lundkvist, the only Swedish academic who read directly in Spanish and was an old acquaintance of the honoree, the book takes us to what was that December of 1982 in Stockholm. The profile that the Bolivian Javier Claure Covarrubias makes of this Swedish poet and academic gives an account of how, since the 1940s, the interest in Latin American literature happened in the writers of the Nordic country; In addition, this book contains the translation of two early reading notes by Lundkvist on ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ and ‘The Autumn of the Patriarch’, published in the Swedish press. We can also read in this book the translation of the reading notes of ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ and ‘Twelve Pilgrim Tales’ by the Swedish writer Anders Cullhed. Very illustrative of the relations that García Márquez maintained with Sweden for a long time is the article by the politician and diplomat Pierre Schori written for this book; in it the author narrates his relations with Latin America and the circumstances in which he met the aracatero; Of special interest is the description of the also early relations between the Colombian and the two-time Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme. From Professor Inger Enkevist we can read a controversial analysis of García Márquez’s Nobel acceptance speech; of the same speech Michael Palencia Roth makes a reading that highlights the ars poetica that is revealed in it; by Lina Wolff, translator of the second Swedish version of ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’, a reflection –halfway between auto-fiction and translation theory– on the torments that someone who translates a word experiences untranslatable and, by Lasse Söderberg, a very personal testimony of the funeral in Mexico of the Colombian writer in 2014. The Colombians Martha Bojassen, María Denis Esquivel and Julián Vásquez Lopera, settled in Sweden for a long time, are authors of texts that try to the personal objects of García Márquez that rest in the Nobel Museum, the memory left by the Colombian artistic delegation that accompanied the Colombian to receive the Nobel Prize and the various receptions and perceptions that the Colombian writer left in Swedish culture.
The second part contains analyzes by Colombian academics written for this book on various aspects of this literary work. About the films ‘Presagio’ and ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’, Carlos G. van der Linde and Adolfo Cardona Guevara write two articles that analyze aspects of their adaptation from the original literary texts; also on this work Nadia Celis Salgado examines the interesting contrasts between the chronicle-novel that the writer’s fiction makes about events that happened long ago and the documentation on these same events that is found in the García Márquez archives that rest at the University of Austin . Carmiña Navia Velasco writes about the critical-reflexive tenor of Gabo’s discursive prose, while Hernán Toro focuses on the importance of music in the writer’s life and work. The articles by Ángela García and Elizabeth Montes Garcés analyze in particular the stories “Ojos de perro azul” and “Only come to talk on the phone”. Eric Rodríguez Woroniuk and Juan Moreno Blanco focus on the themes of the sublime and the fatum in García Márquez’s literature, while high school teacher Esther Salazar Montiel exposes an interesting experience of teaching García Márquez’s stories.
As a preamble, this book republishes the article that the Valle del Cauca writer and professor at the Universidad del Valle, Fernando Cruz Kronfly, began to write the day the Nobel Prize was awarded to García Márquez. It should be added that the pages of this commemorative volume are illustrated with some photos that Nereo López took of the writer in Bogotá and Stockholm and others by the photographer Hernando Guerrero in the same Swedish city. In other words, with this publication from the Universidad del Valle, the old generations can remember and update the importance of this Nobel and the new ones become aware of the unparalleled significance of García Márquez in Colombian and world culture.
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Universidad del Valle will publish a book on the 40th anniversary of Gabo’s Nobel Prize