Camilo José Cela
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1989
Born: 11 May 1916, Iria Flavia, Spain
Died: 17 January 2002, Madrid, Spain
Residence at the time of the award: Spain
Prize motivation: “for a rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man's vulnerability”
Prize share: 1/1
Camilo José Cela was born in Galicia, Spain, but grew up in Madrid. He began studying medicine but abandoned this to study literature instead. His studies were interrupted by the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. He took part in the war and was seriously injured. After the war he continued his studies in Madrid, now as a law student. After publication of his debut novel in 1942, he devoted himself to writing full-time. Cela’s extensive production includes most genres, including novels, essays, plays and poems.
Camilo José Cela’s works bear the stamp of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War. His literary style, which is related to the Spanish tradition of humorous grotesquerie, is also characterized by experimentation with form and content. His most famous works include La Familia de Pascual Duarte (1942) (The Family of Pascual Duarte) and La Colmena (1951) (The Hive). As editor of the magazine Paples de son Armada, he provided a platform for freedom of speech during General Francisco Franco’s dictatorship in Spain.
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