Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Culture

By Eamonn Rodgers; Valerie Rodgers | Go to book overview

Further reading

d
Davies, J. (ed.) (1993) The Mercator Media Guide, Cardiff: University of Wales Press (contains short but informative entries on the main newspapers and television and radio stations in a number of minority languages, including Catalan).

HUGH O’DONNELL


Ayala, Francisco

b. 1906, Granada

Writer

A master stylist and an astute observer of human society, Ayala has won international recognition as a novelist, short story writer, and essayist, as well as a sociologist and social critic. He has received all of Spain’s major prizes, including the 1972 Critics’ Prize, the 1983 National Prize for Literature, the 1988 National Prize for Spanish Letters, and in 1991 Spain’s most prestigious award, the Cervantes Prize. Election to the Royal Academy of Language in 1983 confirmed him as one of Spain’s leading intellectuals. Since making Madrid his primary residence in 1980, he has contributed frequent essays on contemporary social issues to Spanish newspapers.

A native of Granada, Ayala became part of the literary vanguard of the late 1920s, when Spain was opening up to intellectual currents from across Europe, especially Germany, where he spent the year 1930. His earliest writings are two collections of short, experimental fiction, El boxeador y un ángel (The Boxer and an Angel) (1929) and Cazador en el alba (Hunter in the Dawn) (1930), marked by verbal experimentation and cinematographic techniques. Since his first novel in 1925, written while he was a law student in Madrid, he has written in a wide range of genres, including prose narrative, criticism, translation theory, sociology, cultural history and autobiography. In all these genres, he displays wide verbal scope, rhetorical authority and ironic vision.

A law professor at the University of Madrid when the Civil War began, Ayala served in the Republican government’s Foreign Office. He left Spain just before Franco’s victory in 1939, teaching first sociology and later Spanish literature at universities in Buenos Aires, Puerto Rico, and ultimately the United States. Although he made his first return visit to Spain in 1960, recording his impressions of post-war conditions in España a la fecha (Today’s Spain), he continued to live and teach abroad. He discussed Spain again in a 1985 series of lectures, published as La imagen de España (The Image of Spain), which analyses the changes and continuities in the post-Franco era.

In the mid-1940s, Ayala began writing fiction again in Buenos Aires, where he knew such seminal figures as Jorge Luis Borges. Ayala’s first post-war short story, ‘El hechizado’ (The Bewitched), which Borges considered one of the best in Hispanic literature, was included in the first of two collections published in 1949, Usurpers (Los usurpadores). Usurpers explores the abuse of power through the imaginative recreation of episodes from Spanish history. The second volume, La cabeza del cordero (The Lamb’s Head), contains stories of fraternal conflict set in the context of the Civil War. Ayala’s only full-length novels are two interrelated volumes, the 1958 Death As a Way of Life (Muertes de perro) and the 1962 El fondo del vaso (The Bottom of the Glass). Both examine the excesses and absurdities of political power in a Latin American dictatorship. He also founded two important literary magazines, Realidad in Buenos Aires and later La Tone in Puerto Rico. During these years, Ayala published numerous volumes on politics and sociology, including a frequently reissued textbook, Tratado de sociología (Treatise on Sociology).

His later volumes of short fiction continue his experimentation with narrative form and blur the boundaries between story, sketch, satire, essay, and autobiography. His ironic and at times acerbic view of contemporary life remains a constant in his 1955 Historia de macacos (Monkey Stories), his 1966 De raptos, violaciones y otras inconveniencias (On Abduc-tions, Rapes and Other Inconveniences), and his 1971 El jardín de las delicias (The Garden of Delights). Ayala’s complete prose narratives appeared in a single volume in 1969 in Mexico, since Spanish censorship still prohibited publication of his civil-war stories, La cabeza del cordero. Not until 1993 did Spain bring out his Narrativa completa (Complete Narratives).

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Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction x
  • Acknowledgments xii
  • Structure xiii
  • Architecture xiv
  • A 1
  • Further Reading 7
  • Further Reading 11
  • Further Reading 29
  • Further Reading 37
  • Further Reading 41
  • B 44
  • Further Reading 47
  • Further Reading 65
  • C 70
  • Further Reading 81
  • Further Reading 93
  • Further Reading 100
  • Further Reading 113
  • Further Reading 128
  • D 135
  • Further Reading 136
  • Further Reading 140
  • E 152
  • Further Reading 155
  • Further Reading 166
  • Further Reading 171
  • F 173
  • Further Reading 185
  • Further Reading 206
  • G 213
  • Further Reading 227
  • Further Reading 229
  • Further Reading 231
  • Further Reading 242
  • H 245
  • I 261
  • Further Reading 266
  • J 276
  • Further Reading 280
  • K 283
  • L 285
  • Further Reading 292
  • M 313
  • Further Reading 332
  • Further Reading 335
  • N 359
  • Further Reading 362
  • Further Reading 365
  • O 376
  • P 384
  • Further Reading 429
  • Q 430
  • R 433
  • Further Reading 435
  • Further Reading 436
  • Further Reading 439
  • Further Reading 443
  • References 452
  • S 464
  • Further Reading 471
  • Further Reading 475
  • T 502
  • Further Reading 508
  • Further Reading 509
  • U 526
  • Further Reading 536
  • V 537
  • Further Reading 538
  • Further Reading 539
  • Further Reading 544
  • W 545
  • X 550
  • Y 552
  • Further Reading 553
  • Z 554
  • Index 557
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