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N
Jlc Zmcricov Icvoissovcc iv Acw Ivglovd,
eolteo by |oel Myerson (l978)
O
Zmcricov Aovclists Sivcc !orld !or II,
eolteo by |effrey Helterman ano Rlch
aro Layman (l978)
P
Zvtcbcllum !ritcrs iv Acw 1orl ovd tlc
Soutl, eolteo by |oel Myerson (l979)
Q
Zmcricov !ritcrs iv Ioris, 1920-19J9,
eolteo by Karen Lane Rooo (l980)
R
Zmcricov Iocts Sivcc !orld !or II, 2 parts,
eolteo by Donalo |. Grelner (l980)
S
Zmcricov Aovclists Sivcc !orld !or II, Scc-
ovd Scrics, eolteo by |ames E. Klbler |r.
(l980)
T
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Zmcricov Dromotists, 2
parts, eolteo by |ohn MacNlcholas (l98l)
U
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Zmcricov Scicvcc-Iictiov
!ritcrs, 2 parts, eolteo by Davlo Cow
art ano Jhomas L. Wymer (l98l)
V
Zmcricov Aovclists, 1910-194á, 3 parts,
eolteo by |ames |. Martlne (l98l)
NM
Modcrv ßritisl Dromotists, 1900-194á, 2
parts, eolteo by Stanley Welntraub (l982)
NN
Zmcricov Humorists, 1600-19á0, 2 parts,
eolteo by Stanley Jrachtenberg (l982)
NO
Zmcricov Icolists ovd Aoturolists, eolteo
by Donalo Plzer ano Earl N. Harbert
(l982)
NP
ßritisl Dromotists Sivcc !orld !or II, 2
parts, eolteo by Stanley Welntraub (l982)
NQ
ßritisl Aovclists Sivcc 1960, 2 parts,
eolteo by |ay L. Hallo (l983)
NR
ßritisl Aovclists, 19J0-19á9, 2 parts,
eolteo by Bernaro Olosey (l983)
NS
Jlc ßcots: Iitcrory ßolcmiovs iv Iostwor
Zmcrico, 2 parts, eolteo by Ann Char
ters (l983)
NT
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Zmcricov Historiovs,
eolteo by Clyoe N. Wllson (l983)
NU
¹ictoriov Aovclists Zftcr 166á, eolteo by
Ira B. Naoel ano Wllllam E. Ireoeman
(l983)
NV
ßritisl Iocts, 1660-1914, eolteo by
Donalo E. Stanforo (l983)
OM
ßritisl Iocts, 1914-194á, eolteo by
Donalo E. Stanforo (l983)
ON
¹ictoriov Aovclists ßcforc 166á, eolteo by
Ira B. Naoel ano Wllllam E. Ireoeman
(l983)
OO
Zmcricov !ritcrs for Clildrcv, 1900-1960,
eolteo by |ohn Cech (l983)
OP
Zmcricov Acwspopcr ¸ourvolists, 167J-
1900, eolteo by Perry |. Ashley (l983)
OQ
Zmcricov Coloviol !ritcrs, 1606-17J4,
eolteo by Emory Elllott (l981)
OR
Zmcricov Acwspopcr ¸ourvolists, 1901-
192á, eolteo by Perry |. Ashley (l981)
OS
Zmcricov Scrccvwritcrs, eolteo by Robert
E. Morsberger, Stephen O. Lesser, ano
Ranoall Clark (l981)
OT
Iocts of Crcot ßritoiv ovd Irclovd, 194á-
1960, eolteo by Vlncent B. Sherry |r.
(l981)
OU
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Zmcricov-¸cwisl Iictiov
!ritcrs, eolteo by Danlel Waloen (l981)
OV
Zmcricov Acwspopcr ¸ourvolists, 1926-
19á0, eolteo by Perry |. Ashley (l981)
PM
Zmcricov Historiovs, 1607-166á, eolteo
by Clyoe N. Wllson (l981)
PN
Zmcricov Coloviol !ritcrs, 17Já-1761,
eolteo by Emory Elllott (l981)
PO
¹ictoriov Iocts ßcforc 16á0, eolteo by
Wllllam E. Ireoeman ano Ira B. Naoel
(l981)
PP
Zfro-Zmcricov Iictiov !ritcrs Zftcr 19áá,
eolteo by Jhaolous M. Davls ano
Jruoler Harrls (l981)
PQ
ßritisl Aovclists, 1690-1929: Jroditiovol-
ists, eolteo by Jhomas I. Staley (l985)
PR
¹ictoriov Iocts Zftcr 16á0, eolteo by Wll
llam E. Ireoeman ano Ira B. Naoel (l985)
PS
ßritisl Aovclists, 1690-1929: Modcrvists,
eolteo by Jhomas I. Staley (l985)
PT
Zmcricov !ritcrs of tlc Iorly Icpublic,
eolteo by Emory Elllott (l985)
PU
Zfro-Zmcricov !ritcrs Zftcr 19áá: Dromo-
tists ovd Irosc !ritcrs, eolteo by Jhaol
ous M. Davls ano Jruoler Harrls (l985)
PV
ßritisl Aovclists, 1660-1600, 2 parts,
eolteo by Martln C. Battestln (l985)
QM
Iocts of Crcot ßritoiv ovd Irclovd Sivcc
1960, 2 parts, eolteo by Vlncent B.
Sherry |r. (l985)
QN
Zfro-Zmcricov Iocts Sivcc 19áá, eolteo by
Jruoler Harrls ano Jhaolous M.
Davls (l985)
QO
Zmcricov !ritcrs for Clildrcv ßcforc 1900,
eolteo by Glenn E. Estes (l985)
QP
Zmcricov Acwspopcr ¸ourvolists, 1690-
1672, eolteo by Perry |. Ashley (l986)
QQ
Zmcricov Scrccvwritcrs, Sccovd Scrics,
eolteo by Ranoall Clark, Robert E.
Morsberger, ano Stephen O. Lesser
(l986)
QR
Zmcricov Iocts, 1660-194á, Iirst Scrics,
eolteo by Peter _uartermaln (l986)
QS
Zmcricov Iitcrory Iublislivg Houscs,
1900-1960: Jrodc ovd Iopcrbocl, eolteo
by Peter Dzwonkoskl (l986)
QT
Zmcricov Historiovs, 1666-1912, eolteo
by Clyoe N. Wllson (l986)
QU
Zmcricov Iocts, 1660-194á, Sccovd Scrics,
eolteo by Peter _uartermaln (l986)
QV
Zmcricov Iitcrory Iublislivg Houscs,
16J6-1699, 2 parts, eolteo by Peter
Dzwonkoskl (l986)
RM
Zfro-Zmcricov !ritcrs ßcforc tlc Horlcm
Icvoissovcc, eolteo by Jruoler Harrls
(l986)
RN
Zfro-Zmcricov !ritcrs from tlc Horlcm
Icvoissovcc to 1940, eolteo by Jruoler
Harrls (l987)
RO
Zmcricov !ritcrs for Clildrcv Sivcc 1960:
Iictiov, eolteo by Glenn E. Estes (l986)
RP
Covodiov !ritcrs Sivcc 1960, Iirst Scrics,
eolteo by W. H. New (l986)
RQ
Zmcricov Iocts, 1660-194á, Jlird Scrics,
2 parts, eolteo by Peter _uartermaln
(l987)
RR
¹ictoriov Irosc !ritcrs ßcforc 1667, eolteo
by Wllllam B. Jheslng (l987)
RS
Ccrmov Iictiov !ritcrs, 1914-194á,
eolteo by |ames Haroln (l987)
RT
¹ictoriov Irosc !ritcrs Zftcr 1667, eolteo
by Wllllam B. Jheslng (l987)
RU
¸ocobcov ovd Corolivc Dromotists, eolteo
by Ireoson Bowers (l987)
RV
Zmcricov Iitcrory Critics ovd Sclolors,
1600-16á0, eolteo by |ohn W. Rath
bun ano Monlca M. Grecu (l987)
SM
Covodiov !ritcrs Sivcc 1960, Sccovd
Scrics, eolteo by W. H. New (l987)
SN
Zmcricov !ritcrs for Clildrcv Sivcc 1960:
Iocts, Illustrotors, ovd Aovfictiov Zutlors,
eolteo by Glenn E. Estes (l987)
SO
Ili·obctlov Dromotists, eolteo by Ireo
son Bowers (l987)
SP
Modcrv Zmcricov Critics, 1920-19áá,
eolteo by Gregory S. |ay (l988)
SQ
Zmcricov Iitcrory Critics ovd Sclolors,
16á0-1660, eolteo by |ohn W. Rath
bun ano Monlca M. Grecu (l988)
SR
Ircvcl Aovclists, 1900-19J0, eolteo by
Catharlne Savage Brosman (l988)
SS
Ccrmov Iictiov !ritcrs, 166á-191J, 2
parts, eolteo by |ames Haroln (l988)
ST
Modcrv Zmcricov Critics Sivcc 19áá,
eolteo by Gregory S. |ay (l988)
SU
Covodiov !ritcrs, 1920-19á9, Iirst
Scrics, eolteo by W. H. New (l988)
SV
Covtcmporory Ccrmov Iictiov !ritcrs, Iirst
Scrics, eolteo by Wolfgang D. Elfe ano
|ames Haroln (l988)
TM
ßritisl Mystcry !ritcrs, 1660-1919,
eolteo by Bernaro Benstock ano
Jhomas I. Staley (l988)
TN
Zmcricov Iitcrory Critics ovd Sclolors,
1660-1900, eolteo by |ohn W. Rath
bun ano Monlca M. Grecu (l988)
TO
Ircvcl Aovclists, 19J0-1960, eolteo by
Catharlne Savage Brosman (l988)
TP
Zmcricov Mogo·ivc ¸ourvolists, 1741-
16á0, eolteo by Sam G. Rlley (l988)
TQ
Zmcricov Slort-Story !ritcrs ßcforc 1660,
eolteo by Bobby Ellen Klmbel, wlth
the asslstance of Wllllam E. Grant
(l988)
TR
Covtcmporory Ccrmov Iictiov !ritcrs, Scc-
ovd Scrics, eolteo by Wolfgang D. Elfe
ano |ames Haroln (l988)
TS
Zfro-Zmcricov !ritcrs, 1940-19áá,
eolteo by Jruoler Harrls (l988)
TT
ßritisl Mystcry !ritcrs, 1920-19J9,
eolteo by Bernaro Benstock ano
Jhomas I. Staley (l988)
TU
Zmcricov Slort-Story !ritcrs, 1660-1910,
eolteo by Bobby Ellen Klmbel, wlth
the asslstance of Wllllam E. Grant
(l988)
TV
Zmcricov Mogo·ivc ¸ourvolists, 16á0-
1900, eolteo by Sam G. Rlley (l988)
UM
Icstorotiov ovd Iigltccvtl-Ccvtury Dromo-
tists, Iirst Scrics, eolteo by Paula R.
Backscheloer (l989)
UN
Zustriov Iictiov !ritcrs, 167á-191J,
eolteo by |ames Haroln ano Donalo G.
Davlau (l989)
UO
Clicovo !ritcrs, Iirst Scrics, eolteo by
Iranclsco A. Lomel∞ ano Carl R. Shlr
ley (l989)
UP
Ircvcl Aovclists Sivcc 1960, eolteo by
Catharlne Savage Brosman (l989)
UQ
Icstorotiov ovd Iigltccvtl-Ccvtury Dromo-
tists, Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by Paula R.
Backscheloer (l989)
UR
Zustriov Iictiov !ritcrs Zftcr 1914, eolteo
by |ames Haroln ano Donalo G.
Davlau (l989)
US
Zmcricov Slort-Story !ritcrs, 1910-194á,
Iirst Scrics, eolteo by Bobby Ellen Klm
bel (l989)
UT
ßritisl Mystcry ovd Jlrillcr !ritcrs Sivcc
1940, Iirst Scrics, eolteo by Bernaro
Benstock ano Jhomas I. Staley (l989)
UU
Covodiov !ritcrs, 1920-19á9, Sccovd
Scrics, eolteo by W. H. New (l989)
UV
Icstorotiov ovd Iigltccvtl-Ccvtury Dromo-
tists, Jlird Scrics, eolteo by Paula R.
Backscheloer (l989)
VM
Ccrmov !ritcrs iv tlc Zgc of Coctlc, 1769-
16J2, eolteo by |ames Haroln ano
Chrlstoph E. Schweltzer (l989)
VN
Zmcricov Mogo·ivc ¸ourvolists, 1900-
1960, Iirst Scrics, eolteo by Sam G.
Rlley (l990)
VO
Covodiov !ritcrs, 1690-1920, eolteo by
W. H. New (l990)
VP
ßritisl Iomovtic Iocts, 1769-16J2, Iirst
Scrics, eolteo by |ohn R. Greenflelo
(l990)
VQ
Ccrmov !ritcrs iv tlc Zgc of Coctlc: Sturm
uvd Drovg to Clossicism, eolteo by |ames
Haroln ano Chrlstoph E. Schweltzer
(l990)
VR
Iigltccvtl-Ccvtury ßritisl Iocts, Iirst
Scrics, eolteo by |ohn Sltter (l990)
VS
ßritisl Iomovtic Iocts, 1769-16J2, Sccovd
Scrics, eolteo by |ohn R. Greenflelo
(l990)
VT
Ccrmov !ritcrs from tlc Ivligltcvmcvt to
Sturm uvd Drovg, 1720-1764, eolteo by
|ames Haroln ano Chrlstoph E.
Schweltzer (l990)
VU
Modcrv ßritisl Issoyists, Iirst Scrics,
eolteo by Robert Beum (l990)
VV
Covodiov !ritcrs ßcforc 1690, eolteo by
W. H. New (l990)
NMM
Modcrv ßritisl Issoyists, Sccovd Scrics,
eolteo by Robert Beum (l990)
NMN
ßritisl Irosc !ritcrs, 1660-1600, Iirst
Scrics, eolteo by Donalo J. Slebert
(l99l)
NMO
Zmcricov Slort-Story !ritcrs, 1910-194á,
Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by Bobby Ellen
Klmbel (l99l)
NMP
Zmcricov Iitcrory ßiogroplcrs, Iirst Scrics,
eolteo by Steven Serafln (l99l)
NMQ
ßritisl Irosc !ritcrs, 1660-1600, Sccovd
Scrics, eolteo by Donalo J. Slebert
(l99l)
NMR
Zmcricov Iocts Sivcc !orld !or II, Sccovd
Scrics, eolteo by R. S. Gwynn (l99l)
NMS
ßritisl Iitcrory Iublislivg Houscs, 1620-
1660, eolteo by Patrlcla |. Anoerson
ano |onathan Rose (l99l)
NMT
ßritisl Iomovtic Irosc !ritcrs, 1769-
16J2, Iirst Scrics, eolteo by |ohn R.
Greenflelo (l99l)
NMU
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Spovisl Iocts, Iirst
Scrics, eolteo by Mlchael L. Perna
(l99l)
NMV
Iigltccvtl-Ccvtury ßritisl Iocts, Sccovd
Scrics, eolteo by |ohn Sltter (l99l)
NNM
ßritisl Iomovtic Irosc !ritcrs, 1769-
16J2, Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by |ohn R.
Greenflelo (l99l)
NNN
Zmcricov Iitcrory ßiogroplcrs, Sccovd
Scrics, eolteo by Steven Serafln (l99l)
NNO
ßritisl Iitcrory Iublislivg Houscs, 1661-
196á, eolteo by |onathan Rose ano
Patrlcla |. Anoerson (l99l)
NNP
Modcrv Iotiv-Zmcricov Iictiov !ritcrs,
Iirst Scrics, eolteo by Wllllam Luls (l992)
NNQ
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Itoliov Iocts, Iirst Scrics,
eolteo by Glovanna Weoel De Staslo,
Glauco Cambon, ano Antonlo Illlano
(l992)
NNR
Mcdicvol Ililosoplcrs, eolteo by |eremlah
Hackett (l992)
NNS
ßritisl Iomovtic Aovclists, 1769-16J2,
eolteo by Braoforo K. Muoge (l992)
NNT
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Coribbcov ovd ßlocl
Zfricov !ritcrs, Iirst Scrics, eolteo by
Bernth Llnofors ano Relnharo Sanoer
(l992)
NNU
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Ccrmov Dromotists, 1669-
1916, eolteo by Wolfgang D. Elfe ano
|ames Haroln (l992)
NNV
Aivctccvtl-Ccvtury Ircvcl Iictiov !ritcrs:
Iomovticism ovd Icolism, 1600-1660,
eolteo by Catharlne Savage Brosman
(l992)
NOM
Zmcricov Iocts Sivcc !orld !or II, Jlird
Scrics, eolteo by R. S. Gwynn (l992)
NON
Scvcvtccvtl-Ccvtury ßritisl Aovdromotic
Iocts, Iirst Scrics, eolteo by M. Jhomas
Hester (l992)
NOO
Clicovo !ritcrs, Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by
Iranclsco A. Lomel∞ ano Carl R. Shlr
ley (l992)
NOP
Aivctccvtl-Ccvtury Ircvcl Iictiov !ritcrs:
Aoturolism ovd ßcyovd, 1660-1900,
eolteo by Catharlne Savage Brosman
(l992)
NOQ
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Ccrmov Dromotists,
1919-1992, eolteo by Wolfgang D.
Elfe ano |ames Haroln (l992)
NOR
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Coribbcov ovd ßlocl
Zfricov !ritcrs, Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by
Bernth Llnofors ano Relnharo Sanoer
(l993)
NOS
Scvcvtccvtl-Ccvtury ßritisl Aovdromotic
Iocts, Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by M.
Jhomas Hester (l993)
NOT
Zmcricov Acwspopcr Iublislcrs, 19á0-
1990, eolteo by Perry |. Ashley (l993)
NOU
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Itoliov Iocts, Sccovd
Scrics, eolteo by Glovanna Weoel De
Staslo, Glauco Cambon, ano Antonlo
Illlano (l993)
NOV
Aivctccvtl-Ccvtury Ccrmov !ritcrs, 1641-
1900, eolteo by |ames Haroln ano
Slegfrleo Mews (l993)
NPM
Zmcricov Slort-Story !ritcrs Sivcc !orld
!or II, eolteo by Patrlck Meanor (l993)
NPN
Scvcvtccvtl-Ccvtury ßritisl Aovdromotic Iocts,
Jlird Scrics, eolteo by M. Jhomas Hes
ter (l993)
NPO
Sixtccvtl-Ccvtury ßritisl Aovdromotic !rit-
crs, Iirst Scrics, eolteo by Davlo A. Rlch
aroson (l993)
NPP
Aivctccvtl-Ccvtury Ccrmov !ritcrs to 1640,
eolteo by |ames Haroln ano Slegfrleo
Mews (l993)
NPQ
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Spovisl Iocts, Sccovd
Scrics, eolteo by |erry Phllllps Wlnflelo
(l991)
NPR
ßritisl Slort-Iictiov !ritcrs, 1660-1914:
Jlc Icolist Jroditiov, eolteo by Wllllam
B. Jheslng (l991)
NPS
Sixtccvtl-Ccvtury ßritisl Aovdromotic !rit-
crs, Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by Davlo A.
Rlcharoson (l991)
NPT
Zmcricov Mogo·ivc ¸ourvolists, 1900-
1960, Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by Sam G.
Rlley (l991)
NPU
Ccrmov !ritcrs ovd !orls of tlc Higl
Middlc Zgcs: 1170-1260, eolteo by
|ames Haroln ano Wlll Hasty (l991)
NPV
ßritisl Slort-Iictiov !ritcrs, 194á-1960,
eolteo by Dean Balowln (l991)
NQM
Zmcricov ßool-Collcctors ovd ßibliogro-
plcrs, Iirst Scrics, eolteo by |oseph
Rosenblum (l991)
NQN
ßritisl Clildrcv`s !ritcrs, 1660-1914,
eolteo by Laura M. Zaloman (l991)
NQO
Iigltccvtl-Ccvtury ßritisl Iitcrory ßiogro-
plcrs, eolteo by Steven Serafln (l991)
NQP
Zmcricov Aovclists Sivcc !orld !or II,
Jlird Scrics, eolteo by |ames R. Glles
ano Wanoa H. Glles (l991)
NQQ
Aivctccvtl-Ccvtury ßritisl Iitcrory ßiogro-
plcrs, eolteo by Steven Serafln (l991)
NQR
Modcrv Iotiv-Zmcricov Iictiov !ritcrs, Scc-
ovd Scrics, eolteo by Wllllam Luls ano
Ann Gonz•lez (l991)
NQS
Uld ovd Middlc Ivglisl Iitcroturc, eolteo
by |effrey Helterman ano |erome
Mltchell (l991)
NQT
Soutl Slovic !ritcrs ßcforc !orld !or II,
eolteo by Vasa D. Mlhallovlch (l991)
NQU
Ccrmov !ritcrs ovd !orls of tlc Iorly
Middlc Zgcs: 600-1170, eolteo by Wlll
Hasty ano |ames Haroln (l991)
NQV
Iotc Aivctccvtl- ovd Iorly Jwcvtictl-
Ccvtury ßritisl Iitcrory ßiogroplcrs, eolteo
by Steven Serafln (l995)
NRM
Iorly Modcrv Iussiov !ritcrs, Iotc Scvcv-
tccvtl ovd Iigltccvtl Ccvturics, eolteo by
Marcus C. Levltt (l995)
NRN
ßritisl Irosc !ritcrs of tlc Iorly Scvcvtccvtl
Ccvtury, eolteo by Clayton D. Leln
(l995)
NRO
Zmcricov Aovclists Sivcc !orld !or II,
Iourtl Scrics, eolteo by |ames R. Glles
ano Wanoa H. Glles (l995)
NRP
Iotc-¹ictoriov ovd Idwordiov ßritisl Aovcl-
ists, Iirst Scrics, eolteo by George M.
|ohnson (l995)
NRQ
Jlc ßritisl Iitcrory ßool Jrodc, 1700-
1620, eolteo by |ames K. Bracken ano
|oel Sllver (l995)
NRR
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury ßritisl Iitcrory ßiogro-
plcrs, eolteo by Steven Serafln (l995)
NRS
ßritisl Slort-Iictiov !ritcrs, 1660-1914:
Jlc Iomovtic Jroditiov, eolteo by Wll
llam I. Naufftus (l995)
NRT
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Coribbcov ovd ßlocl
Zfricov !ritcrs, Jlird Scrics, eolteo by
Bernth Llnofors ano Relnharo Sanoer
(l995)
NRU
ßritisl Icform !ritcrs, 1769-16J2,
eolteo by Gary Kelly ano Eoo Apple
gate (l995)
NRV
ßritisl Slort-Iictiov !ritcrs, 1600-1660,
eolteo by |ohn R. Greenflelo (l996)
NSM
ßritisl Clildrcv`s !ritcrs, 1914-1960,
eolteo by Donalo R. Hettlnga ano
Gary D. Schmlot (l996)
NSN
ßritisl Clildrcv`s !ritcrs Sivcc 1960, Iirst
Scrics, eolteo by Carollne Hunt (l996)
NSO
ßritisl Slort-Iictiov !ritcrs, 191á-194á,
eolteo by |ohn H. Rogers (l996)
NSP
ßritisl Clildrcv`s !ritcrs, 1600-1660,
eolteo by Meena Khorana (l996)
NSQ
Ccrmov ßoroquc !ritcrs, 1á60-1660,
eolteo by |ames Haroln (l996)
NSR
Zmcricov Iocts Sivcc !orld !or II, Iourtl
Scrics, eolteo by |oseph Conte (l996)
NSS
ßritisl Jrovcl !ritcrs, 16J7-167á, eolteo
by Barbara Brothers ano |ulla Gerglts
(l996)
NST
Sixtccvtl-Ccvtury ßritisl Aovdromotic !rit-
crs, Jlird Scrics, eolteo by Davlo A.
Rlcharoson (l996)
NSU
Ccrmov ßoroquc !ritcrs, 1661-17J0,
eolteo by |ames Haroln (l996)
NSV
Zmcricov Iocts Sivcc !orld !or II, Iiftl
Scrics, eolteo by |oseph Conte (l996)
NTM
Jlc ßritisl Iitcrory ßool Jrodc, 147á-
1700, eolteo by |ames K. Bracken ano
|oel Sllver (l996)
NTN
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Zmcricov Sportswritcrs,
eolteo by Rlcharo Orooenker (l996)
NTO
Sixtccvtl-Ccvtury ßritisl Aovdromotic !rit-
crs, Iourtl Scrics, eolteo by Davlo A.
Rlcharoson (l996)
NTP
Zmcricov Aovclists Sivcc !orld !or II,
Iiftl Scrics, eolteo by |ames R. Glles
ano Wanoa H. Glles (l996)
NTQ
ßritisl Jrovcl !ritcrs, 1676-1909, eolteo
by Barbara Brothers ano |ulla Gerglts
(l997)
NTR
Aotivc Zmcricov !ritcrs of tlc Uvitcd
Stotcs, eolteo by Kenneth M. Roemer
(l997)
NTS
Zvcicvt Crccl Zutlors, eolteo by Waro
W. Brlggs (l997)
NTT
Itoliov Aovclists Sivcc !orld !or II, 194á-
196á, eolteo by Augustus Pallotta
(l997)
NTU
ßritisl Iovtosy ovd Scicvcc-Iictiov !ritcrs
ßcforc !orld !or I, eolteo by Darren
HarrlsIaln (l997)
NTV
Ccrmov !ritcrs of tlc Icvoissovcc ovd Icf-
ormotiov, 1260-1á60, eolteo by |ames
Haroln ano Max Relnhart (l997)
NUM
¸opovcsc Iictiov !ritcrs, 1666-194á,
eolteo by Van C. Gessel (l997)
NUN
Soutl Slovic !ritcrs Sivcc !orld !or II,
eolteo by Vasa D. Mlhallovlch (l997)
NUO
¸opovcsc Iictiov !ritcrs Sivcc !orld !or
II, eolteo by Van C. Gessel (l997)
NUP
Zmcricov Jrovcl !ritcrs, 1776-1664,
eolteo by |ames |. Schramer ano
Donalo Ross (l997)
NUQ
Aivctccvtl-Ccvtury ßritisl ßool-Collcctors
ovd ßibliogroplcrs, eolteo by Wllllam
Baker ano Kenneth Womack (l997)
NUR
Zmcricov Iitcrory ¸ourvolists, 194á-199á,
Iirst Scrics, eolteo by Arthur |. Kaul
(l998)
NUS
Aivctccvtl-Ccvtury Zmcricov !cstcrv !rit-
crs, eolteo by Robert L. Gale (l998)
NUT
Zmcricov ßool Collcctors ovd ßibliogro-
plcrs, Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by |oseph
Rosenblum (l998)
NUU
Zmcricov ßool ovd Mogo·ivc Illustrotors to
1920, eolteo by Steven E. Smlth,
Catherlne A. Hasteot, ano Donalo H.
Dyal (l998)
NUV
Zmcricov Jrovcl !ritcrs, 16á0-191á,
eolteo by Donalo Ross ano |ames |.
Schramer (l998)
NVM
ßritisl Icform !ritcrs, 16J2-1914,
eolteo by Gary Kelly ano Eoo Apple
gate (l998)
NVN
ßritisl Aovclists ßctwccv tlc !ors, eolteo
by George M. |ohnson (l998)
NVO
Ircvcl Dromotists, 1769-1914, eolteo by
Barbara J. Cooper (l998)
NVP
Zmcricov Iocts Sivcc !orld !or II, Sixtl
Scrics, eolteo by |oseph Conte (l998)
NVQ
ßritisl Aovclists Sivcc 1960, Sccovd Scrics,
eolteo by Merrltt Moseley (l998)
NVR
ßritisl Jrovcl !ritcrs, 1910-19J9, eolteo
by Barbara Brothers ano |ulla Gerglts
(l998)
NVS
Itoliov Aovclists Sivcc !orld !or II, 196á-
199á, eolteo by Augustus Pallotta
(l999)
NVT
Iotc-¹ictoriov ovd Idwordiov ßritisl Aovcl-
ists, Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by George M.
|ohnson (l999)
NVU
Iussiov Iitcroturc iv tlc Zgc of Iuslliv ovd
Cogol: Irosc, eolteo by Chrlstlne A.
Ryoel (l999)
NVV
¹ictoriov !omcv Iocts, eolteo by Wllllam
B. Jheslng (l999)
OMM
Zmcricov !omcv Irosc !ritcrs to 1620,
eolteo by Carla |. Mulforo, wlth
Angela Vletto ano Amy E. Wlnans
(l999)
OMN
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury ßritisl ßool Collcctors
ovd ßibliogroplcrs, eolteo by Wllllam
Baker ano Kenneth Womack (l999)
OMO
Aivctccvtl-Ccvtury Zmcricov Iictiov !ritcrs,
eolteo by Kent P. Ljungqulst (l999)
OMP
Mcdicvol ¸opovcsc !ritcrs, eolteo by
Steven D. Carter (l999)
OMQ
ßritisl Jrovcl !ritcrs, 1940-1997, eolteo
by Barbara Brothers ano |ulla M. Ger
glts (l999)
OMR
Iussiov Iitcroturc iv tlc Zgc of Iuslliv ovd
Cogol: Ioctry ovd Dromo, eolteo by
Chrlstlne A. Ryoel (l999)
OMS
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Zmcricov !cstcrv !rit-
crs, Iirst Scrics, eolteo by Rlcharo H.
Cracroft (l999)
OMT
ßritisl Aovclists Sivcc 1960, Jlird Scrics,
eolteo by Merrltt Moseley (l999)
OMU
Iitcroturc of tlc Ircvcl ovd Uccitov Middlc
Zgcs: Ilcvcvtl to Iiftccvtl Ccvturics, eolteo
by Deborah SlnnrelchLevl ano Ian S.
Laurle (l999)
OMV
Clicovo !ritcrs, Jlird Scrics, eolteo by
Iranclsco A. Lomel∞ ano Carl R. Shlr
ley (l999)
ONM
Irvcst Hcmivgwoy: Z Documcvtory ¹ol-
umc, eolteo by Robert W. Jrogoon
(l999)
ONN
Zvcicvt Iomov !ritcrs, eolteo by Waro
W. Brlggs (l999)
ONO
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Zmcricov !cstcrv !rit-
crs, Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by Rlcharo H.
Cracroft (l999)
ONP
Irc-Aivctccvtl-Ccvtury ßritisl ßool Collcc-
tors ovd ßibliogroplcrs, eolteo by Wllllam
Baker ano Kenneth Womack (l999)
ONQ
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Dovisl !ritcrs, eolteo
by Marlanne StecherHansen (l999)
ONR
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Iostcrv Iuropcov !rit-
crs, Iirst Scrics, eolteo by Steven Serafln
(l999)
ONS
ßritisl Iocts of tlc Crcot !or: ßroolc,
Ioscvbcrg, Jlomos. Z Documcvtory ¹olumc,
eolteo by Patrlck _ulnn (2000)
ONT
Aivctccvtl-Ccvtury Ircvcl Iocts, eolteo by
Robert Beum (2000)
ONU
Zmcricov Slort-Story !ritcrs Sivcc !orld
!or II, Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by Patrlck
Meanor ano Gwen Crane (2000)
ONV
I. Scott Iit·gcrold`s Jhe Great Gatsby. Z
Documcvtory ¹olumc, eolteo by Matthew
|. Bruccoll (2000)
OOM
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Iostcrv Iuropcov !rit-
crs, Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by Steven Sera
fln (2000)
OON
Zmcricov !omcv Irosc !ritcrs, 1670-
1920, eolteo by Sharon M. Harrls,
wlth the asslstance of Helol L. M.
|acobs ano |ennlfer Putzl (2000)
OOO
H. I. Mcvclcv: Z Documcvtory ¹olumc,
eolteo by Rlcharo |. Schraoer (2000)
OOP
Jlc Zmcricov Icvoissovcc iv Acw Ivglovd,
Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by Wesley J. Mott
(2000)
OOQ
!olt !litmov: Z Documcvtory ¹olumc,
eolteo by |oel Myerson (2000)
OOR
Soutl Zfricov !ritcrs, eolteo by Paul A.
Scanlon (2000)
OOS
Zmcricov Hord-ßoilcd Crimc !ritcrs,
eolteo by George Parker Anoerson
ano |ulle B. Anoerson (2000)
OOT
Zmcricov Aovclists Sivcc !orld !or II,
Sixtl Scrics, eolteo by |ames R. Glles
ano Wanoa H. Glles (2000)
OOU
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Zmcricov Dromotists,
Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by Chrlstopher |.
Wheatley (2000)
OOV
Jlomos !olfc: Z Documcvtory ¹olumc,
eolteo by Jeo Mltchell (200l)
OPM
Zustroliov Iitcroturc, 1766-1914, eolteo
by Sellna Samuels (200l)
OPN
ßritisl Aovclists Sivcc 1960, Iourtl Scrics,
eolteo by Merrltt Moseley (200l)
OPO
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Iostcrv Iuropcov !rit-
crs, Jlird Scrics, eolteo by Steven Sera
fln (200l)
OPP
ßritisl ovd Irisl Dromotists Sivcc !orld
!or II, Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by |ohn Bull
(200l)
OPQ
Zmcricov Slort-Story !ritcrs Sivcc !orld
!or II, Jlird Scrics, eolteo by Patrlck
Meanor ano Rlcharo E. Lee (200l)
OPR
Jlc Zmcricov Icvoissovcc iv Acw Ivglovd,
Jlird Scrics, eolteo by Wesley J. Mott
(200l)
OPS
ßritisl Ilctoriciovs ovd Iogiciovs, 1á00-
1660, eolteo by Eowaro A. Malone
(200l)
OPT
Jlc ßcots: Z Documcvtory ¹olumc, eolteo
by Matt Jheaoo (200l)
OPU
Iussiov Aovclists iv tlc Zgc of Jolstoy ovd
Dostocvsly, eolteo by |. Alexanoer
Ogoen ano |uolth E. Kalb (200l)
OPV
Zmcricov !omcv Irosc !ritcrs: 1620-
1670, eolteo by Amy E. Huoock ano
Katharlne Rooler (200l)
OQM
Iotc Aivctccvtl- ovd Iorly Jwcvtictl-
Ccvtury ßritisl !omcv Iocts, eolteo by
Wllllam B. Jheslng (200l)
OQN
Zmcricov Sportswritcrs ovd !ritcrs ov
Sport, eolteo by Rlcharo Orooenker
(200l)
OQO
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Iuropcov Culturol Jlco-
rists, Iirst Scrics, eolteo by Paul Hansom
(200l)
OQP
Jlc Zmcricov Icvoissovcc iv Acw Ivglovd,
Iourtl Scrics, eolteo by Wesley J. Mott
(200l)
OQQ
Zmcricov Slort-Story !ritcrs Sivcc !orld
!or II, Iourtl Scrics, eolteo by Patrlck
Meanor ano |oseph McNlcholas (200l)
OQR
ßritisl ovd Irisl Dromotists Sivcc !orld
!or II, Jlird Scrics, eolteo by |ohn Bull
(200l)
OQS
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Zmcricov Culturol Jlco-
rists, eolteo by Paul Hansom (200l)
OQT
¸omcs ¸oycc: Z Documcvtory ¹olumc,
eolteo by A. Nlcholas Iargnoll (200l)
OQU
Zvtcbcllum !ritcrs iv tlc Soutl, Sccovd
Scrics, eolteo by Kent Ljungqulst (200l)
OQV
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Zmcricov Dromotists,
Jlird Scrics, eolteo by Chrlstopher
Wheatley (2002)
ORM
Zvtcbcllum !ritcrs iv Acw 1orl, Sccovd
Scrics, eolteo by Kent Ljungqulst (2002)
ORN
Covodiov Iovtosy ovd Scicvcc-Iictiov !rit-
crs, eolteo by Douglas Ivlson (2002)
ORO
ßritisl Ililosoplcrs, 1á00-1799, eolteo
by Phlllp B. Demattels ano Peter S.
Iosl (2002)
ORP
Ioymovd Clovdlcr: Z Documcvtory ¹olumc,
eolteo by Robert Moss (2002)
ORQ
Jlc Housc of Iutvom, 16J7-1672: Z Doc-
umcvtory ¹olumc, eolteo by Ezra Green
span (2002)
ORR
ßritisl Iovtosy ovd Scicvcc-Iictiov !ritcrs,
1916-1960, eolteo by Darren Harrls
Ialn (2002)
ORS
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Zmcricov !cstcrv !rit-
crs, Jlird Scrics, eolteo by Rlcharo H.
Cracroft (2002)
ORT
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Swcdisl !ritcrs Zftcr
!orld !or II, eolteo by AnnCharlotte
Gavel Aoams (2002)
ORU
Modcrv Ircvcl Iocts, eolteo by |ean
Irançols Leroux (2002)
ORV
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Swcdisl !ritcrs ßcforc
!orld !or II, eolteo by AnnCharlotte
Gavel Aoams (2002)
OSM
Zustroliov !ritcrs, 191á-19á0, eolteo by
Sellna Samuels (2002)
OSN
ßritisl Iovtosy ovd Scicvcc-Iictiov !ritcrs
Sivcc 1960, eolteo by Darren Harrls
Ialn (2002)
OSO
ßritisl Ililosoplcrs, 1600-2000, eolteo
by Peter S. Iosl ano Leemon B. McHenry
(2002)
OSP
!illiom Slolcspcorc: Z Documcvtory ¹ol-
umc, eolteo by Catherlne Loomls (2002)
OSQ
Itoliov Irosc !ritcrs, 1900-194á, eolteo
by Luca Somlgll ano Rocco Capozzl
(2002)
OSR
Zmcricov Sovg Iyricists, 1920-1960, eolteo
by Phlllp Iurla (2002)
OSS
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Zmcricov Dromotists,
Iourtl Scrics, eolteo by Chrlstopher |.
Wheatley (2002)
OST
Jwcvty-Iirst-Ccvtury ßritisl ovd Irisl Aov-
clists, eolteo by Mlchael R. Mollno (2002)
OSU
Scvcvtccvtl-Ccvtury Ircvcl !ritcrs, eolteo
by Irançolse |aouën (2002)
OSV
Aotlovicl Howtlorvc: Z Documcvtory ¹ol-
umc, eolteo by Benjamln Iranklln V (2002)
OTM
Zmcricov Ililosoplcrs ßcforc 19á0, eolteo
by Phlllp B. Demattels ano Leemon B.
McHenry (2002)
OTN
ßritisl ovd Irisl Aovclists Sivcc 1960,
eolteo by Merrltt Moseley (2002)
OTO
Iussiov Irosc !ritcrs ßctwccv tlc !orld
!ors, eolteo by Chrlstlne Ryoel (2003)
OTP
I. Scott Iit·gcrold`s Jenoer Is the Nlght.
Z Documcvtory ¹olumc, eolteo by Matthew
|. Bruccoll ano George Parker Anoerson
(2003)
OTQ
¸olv Dos Iossos`s L.S.A.. Z Documcvtory
¹olumc, eolteo by Donalo Plzer (2003)
OTR
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Zmcricov Aoturc !rit-
crs: Irosc, eolteo by Roger Jhompson
ano |. Scott Bryson (2003)
OTS
ßritisl Mystcry ovd Jlrillcr !ritcrs Sivcc 1960,
eolteo by Glna Macoonalo (2003)
OTT
Iussiov Iitcroturc iv tlc Zgc of Icolism, eolteo
by Alyssa Dlnega Glllesple (2003)
OTU
Zmcricov Aovclists Sivcc !orld !or II, Scvcvtl
Scrics, eolteo by |ames R. Glles ano
Wanoa H. Glles (2003)
OTV
Zmcricov Ililosoplcrs, 19á0-2000, eolteo by
Phlllp B. Demattels ano Leemon B.
McHenry (2003)
OUM
Doslicll Hommctt`s Jhe Maltese Ialcon.
Z Documcvtory ¹olumc, eolteo by Rlch
aro Layman (2003)
OUN
ßritisl Ilctoriciovs ovd Iogiciovs, 1á00-
1660, Sccovd Scrics, eolteo by Eowaro
A. Malone (2003)
OUO
Acw Iormolist Iocts, eolteo by |onathan
N. Barron ano Bruce Meyer (2003)
OUP
Modcrv Spovisl Zmcricov Iocts, Iirst Scrics,
eolteo by Mar∞a A. Salgaoo (2003)
OUQ
Jlc Housc of Holt, 1666-1946: Z Docu-
mcvtory ¹olumc, eolteo by Ellen D. Gll
bert (2003)
OUR
Iussiov !ritcrs Sivcc 1960, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó
j~êáå~ _~äáå~ ~åÇ j~êâ iáéçóîÉíëâó
EOMMQF
OUS
Costiliov !ritcrs, 1400-1á00, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó
cê~åâ ^K açã∞åÖìÉò ~åÇ dÉçêÖÉ aK
dêÉÉåá~ EOMMQF
OUT
Iortugucsc !ritcrs, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó jçåáÅ~
oÉÅíçê ~åÇ cêÉÇ jK `ä~êâ EOMMQF
OUU
Jlc Housc of ßovi c Iivcriglt, 1917-
19JJ: Z Documcvtory ¹olumc, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó
`Ü~êäÉë bÖäÉëíçå EOMMQF
OUV
Zustroliov !ritcrs, 19á0-197á, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó
pÉäáå~ p~ãìÉäë EOMMQF
OVM
Modcrv Spovisl Zmcricov Iocts, Sccovd
Scrics, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó j~ê∞~ ^K p~äÖ~Çç EOMMQF
OVN
Jlc Hoosicr Housc: ßobbs-Mcrrill ovd Its
Ircdcccssors, 16á0-196á: Z Documcvtory
¹olumc, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó oáÅÜ~êÇ gK pÅÜê~ÇÉê
EOMMQF
OVO
Jwcvty-Iirst-Ccvtury Zmcricov Aovclists,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó iáë~ ^ÄåÉó ~åÇ pìò~ååÉ
aáëÜÉêççåJdêÉÉå EOMMQF
OVP
Icclovdic !ritcrs, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó m~íêáÅâ gK
píÉîÉåë EOMMQF
OVQ
¸omcs Could Co··cvs: Z Documcvtory ¹ol-
umc, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó j~ííÜÉï gK _êìÅÅçäá
EOMMQF
OVR
Iussiov !ritcrs of tlc Silvcr Zgc, 1690-
192á, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó gìÇáíÜ bK h~äÄ ~åÇ gK
^äÉñ~åÇÉê lÖÇÉå ïáíÜ íÜÉ Åçää~Äçê~J
íáçå çÑ fK dK sáëÜåÉîÉíëâó EOMMQF
OVS
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Iuropcov Culturol Jlco-
rists, Sccovd Scrics, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó m~ìä e~åJ
ëçã EOMMQF
OVT
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Aorwcgiov !ritcrs, ÉÇáíÉÇ
Äó q~åó~ qÜêÉëÜÉê EOMMQF
OVU
Hcvry Dovid Jlorcou: Z Documcvtory ¹ol-
umc, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó oáÅÜ~êÇ gK pÅÜåÉáÇÉê
EOMMQF
OVV
Holocoust Aovclists, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó bÑê~áã
páÅÜÉê EOMMQF
PMM
Dovisl !ritcrs from tlc Icformotiov to Dcc-
odcvcc, 1áá0-1900, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó j~êá~ååÉ
píÉÅÜÉêJe~åëÉå EOMMQF
PMN
Custovc Iloubcrt: Z Documcvtory ¹olumc,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó °êáÅ iÉ `~äîÉò EOMMQF
PMO
Iussiov Irosc !ritcrs Zftcr !orld !or II,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó `ÜêáëíáåÉ oóÇÉä EOMMQF
PMP
Zmcricov Iodicol ovd Icform !ritcrs, Iirst
Scrics, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó píÉîÉå oçëÉåÇ~äÉ
EOMMRF
PMQ
ßrom Stolcr`s aê~Åìä~W Z Documcvtory
¹olumc, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó bäáò~ÄÉíÜ jáääÉê
EOMMRF
PMR
Iotiv Zmcricov Dromotists, Iirst Scrics,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó ^Ç~ã sÉêë¨åóá EOMMRF
PMS
Zmcricov Mystcry ovd Dctcctivc !ritcrs,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó dÉçêÖÉ m~êâÉê ^åÇÉêëçå
EOMMRF
PMT
ßro·iliov !ritcrs, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó jçåáÅ~ oÉÅJ
íçê ~åÇ cêÉÇ jK `ä~êâ EOMMRF
PMU
Irvcst Hcmivgwoy`s ^ c~êÉïÉää íç ^êãëW
Z Documcvtory ¹olumc, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó `Ü~êäÉë
läáîÉê EOMMRF
PMV
¸olv Stcivbccl: Z Documcvtory ¹olumc,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó iìÅÜÉå iá EOMMRF
PNM
ßritisl ovd Irisl Dromotists Sivcc !orld
!or II, Iourtl Scrics, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó gçÜå _ìää
EOMMRF
PNN
Zrobic Iitcrory Culturc, á00-92á, ÉÇáíÉÇ
Äó jáÅÜ~Éä `ççéÉêëçå ~åÇ pÜ~ïâ~í
jK qççê~ï~ EOMMRF
PNO
Zsiov Zmcricov !ritcrs, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó aÉÄçJ
ê~Ü iK j~ÇëÉå EOMMRF
PNP
!ritcrs of tlc Ircvcl Ivligltcvmcvt, I,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó p~ãá~ fK péÉåÅÉê EOMMRF
PNQ
!ritcrs of tlc Ircvcl Ivligltcvmcvt, II,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó p~ãá~ fK péÉåÅÉê EOMMRF
PNR
Iovgstov Huglcs: Z Documcvtory ¹olumc,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó `ÜêáëíçéÜÉê `K aÉ p~åíáë
EOMMRF
PNS
Zmcricov Irosc !ritcrs of !orld !or I: Z
Documcvtory ¹olumc, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó píÉîÉå
qêçìí EOMMRF
PNT
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Iussiov Imigrc !ritcrs,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó j~êá~ oìÄáåë EOMMRF
PNU
Sixtccvtl-Ccvtury Spovisl !ritcrs, ÉÇáíÉÇ
Äó dêÉÖçêó _K h~éä~å EOMMSF
PNV
ßritisl ovd Irisl Slort-Iictiov !ritcrs
194á-2000, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó `ÜÉêóä ^äÉñJ
~åÇÉê j~äÅçäã ~åÇ a~îáÇ j~äÅçäã
EOMMSF
POM
Iobcrt Icvv !orrcv: Z Documcvtory ¹ol-
umc, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó g~ãÉë ^K dêáãëÜ~ï gêK
EOMMSF
PON
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Ircvcl Dromotists, ÉÇáíÉÇ
Äó j~êó ^ååÉ lÛkÉáä EOMMSF
POO
Jwcvtictl-Ccvtury Spovisl Iictiov !ritcrs,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó j~êí~ bK ^äíáëÉåí ~åÇ `êáëíáå~
j~êí∞åÉòJ`~ê~òç EOMMSF
POP
Soutl Zsiov !ritcrs iv Ivglisl, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó
c~âêìä ^ä~ã EOMMSF
POQ
¸olv U`Horo: Z Documcvtory ¹olumc,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó j~ííÜÉï gK _êìÅÅçäá EOMMSF
POR
Zustroliov !ritcrs, 197á-2000, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó
pÉäáå~ p~ãìÉäë EOMMSF
POS
ßoolcr Iri·c Aovcls, 1969-200á, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó
jÉêêáíí jçëÉäÉó EOMMSF
POT
Sixtccvtl-Ccvtury Ircvcl !ritcrs, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó
jÉÖ~å `çåï~ó EOMMSF
POU
Clivcsc Iictiov !ritcrs, 1900-1949, ÉÇáíÉÇ
Äó qÜçã~ë jçê~å EOMMTF
POV
Aobcl Iri·c Iourcotcs iv Iitcroturc, Iort 1:
Zgvov-Iuclcv EOMMTF
aáÅíáçå~êó çÑ iáíÉê~êó _áçÖê~éÜó açÅìãÉåí~êó pÉêáÉë
N
Slcrwood Zvdcrsov, !illo Cotlcr, ¸olv
Dos Iossos, Jlcodorc Drciscr, I. Scott
Iit·gcrold, Irvcst Hcmivgwoy, Sivcloir
Icwis, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó j~êÖ~êÉí ^K s~å
^åíïÉêé ENVUOF
O
¸omcs Could Co··cvs, ¸omcs J. Iorrcll,
!illiom Ioullvcr, ¸olv U`Horo, ¸olv
Stcivbccl, Jlomos !olfc, Iiclord !riglt,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó j~êÖ~êÉí ^K s~å ^åíïÉêé
ENVUOF
P
Soul ßcllow, ¸ocl Icrouoc, Aormov
Moilcr, ¹lodimir Aobolov, ¸olv Updilc,
Iurt ¹ovvcgut, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó j~êó _êìÅJ
Åçäá ENVUPF
Q
Jcvvcsscc !illioms, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó j~êÖ~êÉí ^K
s~å ^åíïÉêé ~åÇ p~ääó gçÜåë ENVUQF
R
Zmcricov Jrovsccvdcvtolists, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó
gçÉä jóÉêëçå ENVUUF
S
Hordboilcd Mystcry !ritcrs: Ioymovd
Clovdlcr, Doslicll Hommctt, Ioss Moc-
dovold, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó j~ííÜÉï gK _êìÅÅçäá
~åÇ oáÅÜ~êÇ i~óã~å ENVUVF
T
Modcrv Zmcricov Iocts: ¸omcs Diclcy,
Iobcrt Irost, Moriovvc Moorc, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó
h~êÉå iK oççÇ ENVUVF
U
Jlc ßlocl Zcstlctic Movcmcvt, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó
gÉÑÑêÉó içìáë aÉÅâÉê ENVVNF
V
Zmcricov !ritcrs of tlc ¹ictvom !or: !. D.
Ilrlort, Iorry Hcivcmovv, Jim U`ßricv,
!oltcr McDovold, ¸olv M. Dcl ¹ccclio,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó oçå~äÇ _~ìÖÜã~å ENVVNF
NM
Jlc ßloomsbury Croup, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó
bÇï~êÇ iK _áëÜçé ENVVOF
NN
Zmcricov Irolctoriov Culturc: Jlc Jwcv-
tics ovd Jlc Jlirtics, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó gçå
`Üêáëíá~å pìÖÖë ENVVPF
NO
Soutlcrv !omcv !ritcrs: Ilovvcry U`Cov-
vor, Iotlcrivc Zvvc Iortcr, Iudoro !clty,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó j~êó ^åå táãë~íí ~åÇ
h~êÉå iK oççÇ ENVVQF
NP
Jlc Housc of Scribvcr, 1646-1904,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó gçÜå aÉä~åÉó ENVVSF
NQ
Iour !omcv !ritcrs for Clildrcv, 1666-
1916, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó `~êçäáåÉ `K eìåí ENVVSF
NR
Zmcricov Ixpotriotc !ritcrs: Ioris iv tlc
Jwcvtics, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó j~ííÜÉï gK _êìÅJ
Åçäá ~åÇ oçÄÉêí tK qêçÖÇçå ENVVTF
NS
Jlc Housc of Scribvcr, 190á-19J0,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó gçÜå aÉä~åÉó ENVVTF
NT
Jlc Housc of Scribvcr, 19J1-1964,
ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó gçÜå aÉä~åÉó ENVVUF
NU
ßritisl Iocts of Jlc Crcot !or: Sossoov,
Crovcs, Uwcv, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó m~íêáÅâ nìáåå
ENVVVF
NV
¸omcs Diclcy, ÉÇáíÉÇ Äó gìÇáíÜ pK
_~ìÖÜã~å ENVVVF
pÉÉ ~äëç ai_ ONMI ONSI ONVI OOOI OOQI
OOVI OPTI OQTI ORPI ORQI OSPI OSVI
OTPI OTQI OUMI OUQI OUUI OVNI OVQI
OVUI PMNI PMQI PMUI PMVI PNRI PNSI
POMI POQ
aáÅíáçå~êó çÑ iáíÉê~êó _áçÖê~éÜó vÉ~êÄççâë
NVUM
eolteo by Karen L. Rooo, |ean W.
Ross, ano Rlcharo Zlegfelo (l98l)
NVUN
eolteo by Karen L. Rooo, |ean W.
Ross, ano Rlcharo Zlegfelo (l982)
NVUO
eolteo by Rlcharo Zlegfelo; asso
clate eoltors. |ean W. Ross ano
Lynne C. Zelgler (l983)
NVUP
eolteo by Mary Bruccoll ano |ean
W. Ross; assoclate eoltor Rlcharo
Zlegfelo (l981)
NVUQ
eolteo by |ean W. Ross (l985)
NVUR
eolteo by |ean W. Ross (l986)
NVUS
eolteo by |. M. Brook (l987)
NVUT
eolteo by |. M. Brook (l988)
NVUU
eolteo by |. M. Brook (l989)
NVUV
eolteo by |. M. Brook (l990)
NVVM
eolteo by |ames W. Hlpp (l99l)
NVVN
eolteo by |ames W. Hlpp (l992)
NVVO
eolteo by |ames W. Hlpp (l993)
NVVP
eolteo by |ames W. Hlpp, contrlb
utlng eoltor George Garrett (l991)
NVVQ
eolteo by |ames W. Hlpp, contrlb
utlng eoltor George Garrett (l995)
NVVR
eolteo by |ames W. Hlpp, contrlb
utlng eoltor George Garrett (l996)
NVVS
eolteo by Samuel W. Bruce ano L.
Kay Webster, contrlbutlng eoltor
George Garrett (l997)
NVVT
eolteo by Matthew |. Bruccoll ano
George Garrett, wlth the assls
tance of L. Kay Webster (l998)
NVVU
eolteo by Matthew |. Bruccoll,
contrlbutlng eoltor George Gar
rett, wlth the asslstance of D. W.
Jhomas (l999)
NVVV
eolteo by Matthew |. Bruccoll,
contrlbutlng eoltor George Gar
rett, wlth the asslstance of D. W.
Jhomas (2000)
OMMM
eolteo by Matthew |. Bruccoll,
contrlbutlng eoltor George Gar
rett, wlth the asslstance of George
Parker Anoerson (200l)
OMMN
eolteo by Matthew |. Bruccoll,
contrlbutlng eoltor George Gar
rett, wlth the asslstance of George
Parker Anoerson (2002)
OMMO
eolteo by Matthew |. Bruccoll ano
George Garrett; George Parker
Anoerson, Asslstant Eoltor (2003)
`çåÅáëÉ pÉêáÉë
`çåÅáëÉ aáÅíáçå~êó çÑ ^ãÉêáÅ~å iáíÉê~êó _áçÖê~éÜóI 7 volumes (l988-l999). Jlc Acw
Covsciousvcss, 1941-1966; Colovi·otiov to tlc Zmcricov Icvoissovcc, 1640-166á; Icolism, Aoturol-
ism, ovd Iocol Color, 166á-1917; Jlc Jwcvtics, 1917-1929; Jlc Zgc of Moturity, 1929-1941;
ßroodcvivg ¹icws, 1966-1966; Supplcmcvt: Modcrv !ritcrs, 1900-1996.
`çåÅáëÉ aáÅíáçå~êó çÑ _êáíáëÜ iáíÉê~êó _áçÖê~éÜóI 8 volumes (l99l-l992). !ritcrs
of tlc Middlc Zgcs ovd Icvoissovcc ßcforc 1660; !ritcrs of tlc Icstorotiov ovd Iigltccvtl Ccv-
tury, 1660-1769; !ritcrs of tlc Iomovtic Icriod, 1769-16J2; ¹ictoriov !ritcrs, 16J2-
1690; Iotc-¹ictoriov ovd Idwordiov !ritcrs, 1690-1914; Modcrv !ritcrs, 1914-194á;
!ritcrs Zftcr !orld !or II, 194á-1960; Covtcmporory !ritcrs, 1960 to Ircscvt.
`çåÅáëÉ aáÅíáçå~êó çÑ tçêäÇ iáíÉê~êó _áçÖê~éÜóI 1 volumes (l999-2000). Zvcicvt
Crccl ovd Iomov !ritcrs; Ccrmov !ritcrs; Zfricov, Coribbcov, ovd Iotiv Zmcricov !ritcrs; Soutl
Slovic ovd Iostcrv Iuropcov !ritcrs.
aáÅíáçå~êó çÑ iáíÉê~êó _áçÖê~éÜó

√ sçäìãÉ qÜêÉÉ eìåÇêÉÇ qïÉåíóJkáåÉ

kçÄÉä mêáòÉ i~ìêÉ~íÉë áå iáíÉê~íìêÉI
m~êí NW ^ÖåçåÓbìÅâÉå
aáÅíáçå~êó çÑ iáíÉê~êó _áçÖê~éÜó

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^ _êìÅÅçäá `ä~êâ i~óã~å _ççâ
Dictionary of Literary Biography
Volume 329: Nobel Prize Laureates in Literature,
Part 1: Agnon–Eucken
Advisory Board
John Baker
William Cagle
Patrick O’Connor
George Garrett
Trudier Harris
Alvin Kernan
Editorial Directors
Matthew J. Bruccoli and Richard Layman
© 2007 Thomson Gale, a part of The Thomson
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Printed in the United States of America
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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
Nobel prize laureates in literature.
v. cm. — (Dictionary of literary biography ; v. 329-)
"A Bruccoli Clark Layman book."
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN-13: 978–0–7876–8147–0
ISBN-10: 0–7876–8147–4 (hardcover : alk. paper)
1. Literature, Modern—20th century—Bio-bibliography—Dictionaries.
2. Literature, Modern—21st century—Bio-bibliography—Dictionaries.
3. Nobel Prizes. 1. Thomson Gale (Firm)
PN171.P75N58 2006
809’.04—dc22
[B]
2006018605
ñá
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fåíêçÇìÅíáçå K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K ñîáá
Iorl ßuclcr
pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå ENUUTÓNVTMF K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K P
Dvir Zbromovicl
NVSS kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K NR
by Zvdcrs Ústcrlivg, Mcmbcr of tlc Swcdisl Zcodcmy
^ÖåçåW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K NS
sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉ ENUVUÓNVUQF K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K NV
Sovtiogo Doyd∞-Tolsov
NVTT kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OV
by Dr. Iorl Iogvor Cicrow, of tlc Swcdisl Zcodcmy (Trovslotiov from tlc Swcdisl)
^äÉáñ~åÇêÉW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K PM
mêÉëë oÉäÉ~ëÉW qÜÉ kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ NVTT K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K PN
^äÉáñ~åÇêÉW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI NO aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVTT K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K PP
fîç ^åÇêáć ENUVOÓNVTRF K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K PS
!oso D. Miloilovicl
NVSN kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K QR
by Zvdcrs Ústcrlivg, Icrmovcvt Sccrctory of tlc Swcdisl Zcodcmy
^åÇêáćW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K QT
jáÖìÉä žåÖÉä ^ëíìêá~ë ENUVVÓNVTQF K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K QV
Urolio Ircblc-`icmi
NVST kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K SN
by Zvdcrs Ústcrlivg, Icrmovcvt Sccrctory of tlc Swcdisl Zcodcmy
^ëíìêá~ëW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K SO
^ëíìêá~ëW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI NO aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVST K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K SQ
p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí ENVMSÓNVUVF K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K SV
¸uliov Z. Corfortl
NVSV kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K UT
by Dr. Iorl Iogvor Cicrow, of tlc Swcdisl Zcodcmy (Trovslotiov from tlc Swcdisl)
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Icitl M. Updoll
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by Dr. Iorl Iogvor Cicrow, of tlc Swcdisl Zcodcmy (Trovslotiov from tlc Swcdisl)
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g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ ENUSSÓNVRQF K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K NNN
Movtscrrot Zl•s-ßruv
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by Icr Hollstr∏m, Cloirmov of tlc `obcl Committcc of tlc Swcdisl Zcodcmy
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eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå ENURVÓNVQNF K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K NOT
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eÉáåêáÅÜ _∏ää ENVNTÓNVURF K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K NRS
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_∏ääW ^ìíçÄáçÖê~éÜáÅ~ä pí~íÉãÉåí K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K NTP
NVTO kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K NTP
by Dr. Iorl Iogvor Cicrow, Icrmovcvt Sccrctory of tlc Swcdisl Zcodcmy (Trovslotiov from tlc Swcdisl)
_∏ääW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K NTQ
_∏ääW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI O j~ó NVTP K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K NTT
gçëÉéÜ _êçÇëâó EfçëáÑ ^äÉâë~åÇêçîáÅÜ _êçÇëâóF ENVQMÓNVVSF K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K NUQ
Zlysso Divcgo Cillcspic
NVUT kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OMO
by Irofcssor Sturc Zllcv, of tlc Swcdisl Zcodcmy (Trovslotiov from tlc Swcdisl)
_êçÇëâóW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OMP
mêÉëë oÉäÉ~ëÉW qÜÉ kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ NVUT K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OMQ
_êçÇëâóW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI U aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVUTK K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OMR
mÉ~êä pK _ìÅâ ENUVOÓNVTPF K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K ONM
Trocy Simmovs ßitovti
NVPU kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OON
by Icr Hollstr∏m, Icrmovcvt Sccrctory of tlc Swcdisl Zcodcmy
_ìÅâW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OOQ
_ìÅâW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI NO aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVPU K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OOS
ñááá
ai_ POV `çåíÉåíë
fî~å _ìåáå ENUTMÓNVRPF K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OPR
gìäá~å tK `çååçääó
_ìåáåW ^ìíçÄáçÖê~éÜáÅ~ä pí~íÉãÉåí K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OQS
NVPP kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OQS
Äó mÉê e~ääëíê∏ãI mÉêã~åÉåí pÉÅêÉí~êó çÑ íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜ ^Å~ÇÉãó
_ìåáåW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OQV
^äÄÉêí `~ãìë ENVNPÓNVSMF K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K ORM
`~íÜ~êáåÉ p~î~ÖÉ _êçëã~å
NVRT kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OST
Äó ^åÇÉêë £ëíÉêäáåÖI mÉêã~åÉåí pÉÅêÉí~êó çÑ íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜ ^Å~ÇÉãó
`~ãìëW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OSU
bäá~ë `~åÉííá ENVMRÓNVVQF K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OTN
qÜçã~ë eK c~äâ ~åÇ a~Öã~ê `K dK içêÉåò
NVUN kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OUP
Äó aêK gçÜ~ååÉë bÇÑÉäíI çÑ íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜ ^Å~ÇÉãó Eqê~åëä~íáçå Ñêçã íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜF
`~åÉííáW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OUQ
dáçëì≠ `~êÇìÅÅá ENUPRÓNVMTF K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OUS
qÜçã~ë bK mÉíÉêëçå
NVMS kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K OVV
Äó `K aK ~Ñ táêë¨åI mÉêã~åÉåí pÉÅêÉí~êó çÑ íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜ ^Å~ÇÉãó
`~ãáäç gçë¨ `Éä~ ENVNSÓOMMOF K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K PMP
iìÅáäÉ `K `Ü~êäÉÄçáë
NVUV kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K PNU
Äó mêçÑÉëëçê håìí ^ÜåäìåÇI çÑ íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜ ^Å~ÇÉãó Eqê~åëä~íáçå Ñêçã íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜF
`Éä~W _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K PNV
mêÉëë oÉäÉ~ëÉW qÜÉ kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ NVUV K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K PNV
`Éä~W kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI U aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVUV K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K PON
páê táåëíçå `ÜìêÅÜáää ENUTQÓNVSRF K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K POT
i~ìêÉåÅÉ háíò~å
NVRP kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K PQO
Äó páÖÑêáÇ páïÉêíòI jÉãÄÉê çÑ íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜ ^Å~ÇÉãó
`ÜìêÅÜáääW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K PQQ
gK jK `çÉíòÉÉ ENVQMÓ F K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K PQS
jáÅÜ~Éä j~ê~áë ~åÇ jÉêêáíí jçëÉäÉó
OMMP kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K PSP
Äó mÉê t®ëíÄÉêÖ çÑ íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜ ^Å~ÇÉãó Eqê~åëä~íáçå Ñêçã íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜF
`çÉíòÉÉW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K PSQ
mêÉëë oÉäÉ~ëÉW qÜÉ kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ OMMP K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K PSR
`çÉíòÉÉW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI T aÉÅÉãÄÉê OMMP K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K PSS
xlv
`çåíÉåíë ai_ POV
dê~òá~ aÉäÉÇÇ~ ENUTNÓNVPSF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 370
píÉÑ~åá~ iìÅ~ã~åíÉ ~åÇ bK ^åå j~ííÉê
Deledda. Autoblographlcal Statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38l
l926 Nobel Prlze ln Llterature Presentatlon Speech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 382
Äó eÉåêáâ pÅÜΩÅâI mêÉëáÇÉåí çÑ íÜÉ kçÄÉä cçìåÇ~íáçå
gçë¨ bÅÜÉÖ~ê~ó ENUPOÓNVNSF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 385
gìÇó _K jÅfååáë
l901 Nobel Prlze ln Llterature Presentatlon Speech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 397
Äó `K aK ~Ñ táêë¨åI mÉêã~åÉåí pÉÅêÉí~êó çÑ íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜ ^Å~ÇÉãó
qK pK bäáçí ENUUUÓNVSRF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
gÉïÉä péÉ~êë _êççâÉê
l918 Nobel Prlze ln Llterature Presentatlon Speech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1l8
Äó ^åÇÉêë £ëíÉêäáåÖI mÉêã~åÉåí pÉÅêÉí~êó çÑ íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜ ^Å~ÇÉãó
Ellot. Banquet Speech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
lÇóëëÉìë bäóíáë ENVNNÓNVVSF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
j~êáåçë mçìêÖçìêáë
l979 Nobel Prlze ln Llterature Presentatlon Speech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
Äó aêK h~êä o~Öå~ê dáÉêçïI çÑ íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜ ^Å~ÇÉãó Eqê~åëä~íáçå Ñêçã íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜF
Elytls. Banquet Speech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Press Release. Jhe Nobel Prlze ln Llterature l979 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
bäóíáëW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI U aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVTV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
oìÇçäÑ bìÅâÉå ENUQSÓNVOSF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
rïÉ a~íÜÉ
l908 Nobel Prlze ln Llterature Presentatlon Speech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
Äó e~ê~äÇ eà®êåÉI aáêÉÅíçê çÑ íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜ ^Å~ÇÉãó
bìÅâÉåW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI OT j~êÅÜ NVMV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
Nobel Laureates ln Llterature, l90l-2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16l
Contrlbutors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
xv
mä~å çÑ íÜÉ pÉêáÉë
. . . Zlmost tlc most prodigious ossct of o couvtry, ovd pcr-
lops its most prccious posscssiov, is its votivc litcrory product÷
wlcv tlot product is fivc ovd voblc ovd cvdurivg.
Mark Jwaln*
Jhe advlsory board, the edltors, and the pub
llsher of the Dictiovory of Iitcrory ßiogroply are jolned ln
endorslng Mark Jwaln`s declaratlon. Jhe llterature of a
natlon provldes an lnexhaustlble resource of permanent
worth. Our purpose ls to make llterature and lts cre
ators better understood and more accesslble to students
and the readlng publlc, whlle satlsfylng the needs of
teachers and researchers.
Jo meet these requlrements, litcrory biogroply has
been construed ln terms of the author`s achlevement.
Jhe most lmportant thlng about a wrlter ls hls wrltlng.
Accordlngly, the entrles ln DIß are career blographles,
traclng the development of the author`s canon and the
evolutlon of hls reputatlon.
Jhe purpose of DIß ls not only to provlde rell
able lnformatlon ln a usable format but also to place the
flgures ln the larger perspectlve of llterary hlstory and
to offer appralsals of thelr accompllshments by quallfled
scholars.
Jhe publlcatlon plan for DIß resulted from two
years of preparatlon. Jhe project was proposed to Bruc
coll Clark by Irederlck G. Ruffner, presldent of the
Gale Research Company, ln November l975. After
speclmen entrles were prepared and typeset, an advl
sory board was formed to reflne the entry format and
develop the serles ratlonale. In meetlngs held durlng
l976, the publlsher, serles edltors, and advlsory board
approved the scheme for a comprehenslve blographlcal
dlctlonary of persons who contrlbuted to llterature. Edl
torlal work on the flrst volume began ln |anuary l977,
and lt was publlshed ln l978. In order to make DIß
more than a dlctlonary and to complle volumes that
lndlvldually have clalm to status as llterary hlstory, lt
was declded to organlze volumes by toplc, perlod, or
genre. Each of these freestandlng volumes provldes a
blographlcalblbllographlcal gulde and overvlew for a
partlcular area of llterature. We are convlnced that thls
organlzatlon÷as opposed to a slngle alphabet method÷
constltutes a valuable lnnovatlon ln the presentatlon of
reference materlal. Jhe volume plan necessarlly
requlres many declslons for the placement and treat
ment of authors. Certaln flgures wlll be lncluded ln sep
arate volumes, but wlth dlfferent entrles emphaslzlng
the aspect of hls career approprlate to each volume.
Ernest Hemlngway, for example, ls represented ln Zmcr-
icov !ritcrs iv Ioris, 1920-19J9 by an entry focuslng on
hls expatrlate apprentlceshlp; he ls also ln Zmcricov `ov-
clists, 1910-194á wlth an entry surveylng hls entlre
career, as well as ln Zmcricov Slort-Story !ritcrs, 1910-
194á, Sccovd Scrics wlth an entry concentratlng on hls
short flctlon. Each volume lncludes a cumulatlve lndex
of the subject authors and artlcles.
Between l98l and 2002 the serles was aug
mented and updated by the DIß Jcorbools. Jhere have
also been nlneteen DIß Documcvtory Scrics volumes,
whlch provlde lllustratlons, facslmlles, and blographlcal
and crltlcal source materlals for flgures, works, or
groups judged to have partlcular lnterest for students.
In l999 the Documcvtory Scrics was lncorporated lnto the
DIß volume numberlng system beglnnlng wlth DIß
210: Irvcst Hcmivgwoy.
We deflne llterature as the ivtcllcctuol commcrcc of o
votiov: not merely as belles lettres but as that ample and
complex process by whlch ldeas are generated, shaped,
and transmltted. DIß entrles are not llmlted to 'cre
atlve wrlters" but extend to other flgures who ln thelr
tlme and ln thelr way lnfluenced the mlnd of a people.
Jhus the serles encompasses hlstorlans, journallsts,
publlshers, book collectors, and screenwrlters. By thls
means readers of DIß may be alded to percelve lltera
ture not as cult scrlpture ln the keeplng of lntellectual
hlgh prlests but flrmly posltloned at the center of a
natlon`s llfe.
DIß lncludes the major wrlters approprlate to
each volume and those standlng ln the ranks behlnd
them. Scholarly and crltlcal counsel has been sought ln
decldlng whlch mlnor flgures to lnclude and how full
thelr entrles should be. Wherever posslble, useful refer
*Irom ov uvpublislcd scctiov of Morl Twoiv`s outobiog-
roply, copyriglt by tlc Morl Twoiv Compovy
xvl
mä~å çÑ íÜÉ pÉêáÉë ai_ POV
ences are made to flgures who do not warrant separate
entrles.
Each ai_ volume has an expert volume edltor
responslble for plannlng the volume, selectlng the flg
ures for lncluslon, and asslgnlng the entrles. Volume
edltors are also responslble for preparlng, where appro
prlate, appendlces surveylng the major perlodlcals and
llterary and lntellectual movements for thelr volumes,
as well as llsts of further readlngs. Work on the serles as
a whole ls coordlnated at the Bruccoll Clark Layman
edltorlal center ln Columbla, South Carollna, where the
edltorlal staff ls responslble for accuracy and utlllty of
the publlshed volumes.
One feature that dlstlngulshes ai_ ls the lllustra
tlon pollcy÷lts concern wlth the lconography of lltera
ture. |ust as an author ls lnfluenced by hls surroundlngs,
so ls the reader`s understandlng of the author enhanced
by a knowledge of hls envlronment. Jherefore ai_
volumes lnclude not only drawlngs, palntlngs, and pho
tographs of authors, often deplctlng them at varlous
stages ln thelr careers, but also lllustratlons of thelr fam
llles and places where they llved. Jltle pages are regu
larly reproduced ln facslmlle along wlth dust jackets for
modern authors. Jhe dust jackets are a speclal feature
of ai_ because they often document better than any
thlng else the way ln whlch an author`s work was per
celved ln lts own tlme. Speclmens of the wrlters`
manuscrlpts and letters are lncluded when feaslble.
Samuel |ohnson rlghtly decreed that 'Jhe chlef
glory of every people arlses from lts authors." Jhe pur
pose of the aáÅíáçå~êó çÑ iáíÉê~êó _áçÖê~éÜó ls to complle llt
erary hlstory ln the surest way avallable to us÷by
accurate and comprehenslve treatment of the llves and
work of those who contrlbuted to lt.
Jhe ai_ Advlsory Board
xvll
fåíêçÇìÅíáçå
m~êâ _ìÅâÉê
råáîÉêëáíó çÑ pçìíÜ `~êçäáå~I pìãíÉê
On l0 December l896, Alfred Nobel÷lnventor,
manufacturer, and amateur author÷dled ln Parls followlng
a masslve cerebral hemorrhage. He left behlnd nelther
wldow nor chlldren, few famlly helrs, and even fewer close
frlends. He had spent hls adult llfe as an expatrlate, seldom
returnlng to hls natlve Sweden. Jhrough the manufacture
and marketlng of hls own lnventlons (partlcularly the mlx
lng of nltroglycerln wlth slllca to form a malleable paste
called dynamlte) Nobel had amassed a fortune of 33 mll
llon Swedlsh krona (SEK), whlch translates to $9 mllllon ln
l900, and $200 mllllon ln 2005.
Lnllke many other selfmade mllllonalres of the nlne
teenth century, Nobel had not attempted to offset class
resentment agalnst hls fortune, or to alter hls lmage of
'death merchant," wlth acts of ostentatlous phllanthropy.
He avolded publlclty. Jhe eccentrlc mllllonalre rarely
allowed hlmself to be photographed, cltlng hls 'hogbrlstled
beard" and 'unredeemed ugllness." Nobel lntended hls
charltable endowment to be formed from the bulk of hls
estate and establlshed posthumously. Wrltten wlthout legal
advlce, Nobel`s wlll created what became the world`s most
celebrated÷and remuneratlve÷annual awards for lndlvld
ual achlevement ln the flelds of sclence, llterature, and
world peace.
Aslde from grantlng several small legacles, the wlll
stlpulates.
Wlth the resldue of my convertlble estate I hereby dlrect
my executors to proceed as follows. Jhey shall convert
my sald resldue of property lnto money, whlch they shall
then lnvest ln safe securltles; the capltal thus secured shall
constltute a fund, the lnterest accrulng from whlch shall be
annually awarded ln prlzes to those persons who shall
have contrlbuted most materlally to beneflt manklnd dur
lng the year lmmedlately precedlng. Jhe sald lnterest shall
be dlvlded lnto flve equal amounts, to be apportloned as
follows. one share to the person who shall have made the
most lmportant dlscovery or lnventlon ln the domaln of
physlcs; one share to the person who shall have made the
most lmportant chemlcal dlscovery or lmprovement; one
share to the person who shall have made the most lmpor
tant dlscovery ln the domaln of physlology or medlclne;
one share to the person who shall have produced ln the
fleld of llterature the most dlstlngulshed work of an ldealls
tlc tendency; and, flnally, one share to the person who
shall have most or best promoted the fraternlty of natlons
and the abolltlon or dlmlnutlon of standlng armles and
the formatlon or lncrease of peace congresses. Jhe prlzes
for physlcs and chemlstry shall be awarded by the Swed
lsh Academy of Sclence ln Stockholm, the one for physlol
ogy or medlclne by the Carollne Medlcal Instltute ln
Stockholm; the prlze for llterature by the Swedlsh Acad
emy ln Stockholm, and that for peace by a commlttee of
flve persons to be elected by the Norweglan Storthlng. I
declare lt to be my express deslre that, ln awardlng these
prlzes, no conslderatlon whatever be pald to the natlonal
lty of the candldates, that ls to say, the most deservlng be
awarded the prlze, whether of Scandlnavlan orlgln or not.
Jhe wlll generated great controversy among potentlal helrs
and governments. Irance clalmed Nobel as a cltlzen and
therefore wanted to tax the estate. In order for the award to
be establlshed, the respectlve organlzatlons llsted ln the wlll
had to agree to accept Nobel`s glft and the responslblllty of
admlnlsterlng lt. Jhe Swedlsh and soontobelndependent
Norweglan governments formed the Nobel Ioundatlon to
admlnlster the estate and make the requlred lnvestments.
Jhe separate socletles were left to lnterpret Nobel`s amblg
uous dlrectlves accordlng to thelr own preconceptlons and
ldeologles.
In a prevlous wlll Nobel had left part of hls estate to
establlsh prlzes for sclentlflc advancement and peace, but
not llterature. Emblttered by buslness reverses and law
sults ln the latter part of hls llfe, Nobel wrote poetry and a
phllosophlcal prose tragedy, kÉãÉëáë. Composed shortly
before hls death and heavlly lnfluenced by Percy Bysshe
Shelley`s qÜÉ `ÉåÅá (l8l9), the play was prlnted whlle the
author suffered from hls flnal lllness. After Nobel`s death,
hls famlly attempted to destroy the entlre prlnted edltlon,
because they feared the amateur play would harm hls rep
utatlon as a prlzeglver; but three coples survlved. Jhe her
olne of kÉãÉëáëI Beatrlce Cencl, advances one of Nobel`s
themes. 'Jhe lyrlcs of our wonderful poets became for me
entranclng and consollng echoes of the splrltual world of
feellng and thought." Jhls late lnterest ln llterary composl
tlon and lts role ln soclety may have prompted Nobel to
revlse hls wlll.
xvlll
fåíêçÇìÅíáçå ai_ POV
Lnllke the objectlve flelds of physlcs, chemlstry, or
medlclne÷ln whlch reasonable observers can generally
agree on the sclentlflc breakthroughs or dlscoverles that
merlt recognltlon÷llterature ls an art form dependent on a
common language and culture, and lt defles qualltatlve dls
tlnctlons. In namlng the Swedlsh Academy (unschooled ln
lnternatlonal llterary trends) as the arblter of the llterary
prlze, Nobel lnadvertently lnsured a bureaucratlc and lll
lnformed selectlon process ln whlch ldeallstlc merltocratlc
prlnclples fell prey to compromlse and pettlness and too
often resulted ln medlocre cholces. A few tlmes the Swed
lsh Academy has successfully fulfllled Nobel`s wlshes ln
honorlng the dlstlngulshed creators of recent masterpleces.
Wllllam Butler Yeats (l923), George Bernard Shaw
(l925), and Eugene O`Nelll (l936). Ernest Hemlngway,
who should have been recognlzed followlng the publlca
tlon of ^ c~êÉïÉää íç ^êãë (l929) or cçê tÜçã íÜÉ _Éää qçääë
(l910), dld not recelve thls award untll l951, after the pub
llcatlon of the mlnor novella qÜÉ läÇ j~å ~åÇ íÜÉ pÉ~
(l952). Slmllarly, J. S. Ellot dld not recelve hls award untll
l918, twentyslx years after publlcatlon of qÜÉ t~ëíÉ i~åÇ
(l922). Jhe reasons for an author`s selectlon often have
stemmed not from 'dlstlngulshed work" beneflclal to man
klnd, but rather from lnternal prejudlces, and from exter
nal geopolltlcal and cultural concerns.
tÜó íÜÉ kçÄÉä mêáòÉ oÉã~áåë fãéçêí~åí
If the prlze for llterature routlnely rewards con
troverslal or nondeservlng authors, why does lt con
tlnue to hold the world`s attentlon? Jhe nonwlnners
who enjoyed strong lnternatlonal reputatlons durlng
thelr llfetlmes (lncludlng Leo Jolstoy, Mark Jwaln,
Henrlk Ibsen, |ames |oyce, Jheodore Drelser, Gra
ham Greene, Robert Irost, and Vladlmlr Nabokov)
are often more lmpresslve than the actual laureates.
Aslde from the fact that the world`s medla feeds on
controversy, three reasons may explaln the contlnued
relevance of the award.
jçåÉóK Jhe Nobel Prlze cash award÷called 'dyna
mlte money" by Amerlcan novellsts (and nonwlnners)
|ohn O`Hara and Kurt Vonnegut÷often relleves the
wlnner of economlc pressures, especlally when com
blned wlth the subsequent worldwlde boost ln book
sales. As outllned by Nobel`s wlll, the wlnner or wln
ners ln each category share equally each year ln the
lnterest accrued by the Ioundatlon`s lnvestments. Jhe
flrst wlnners ln l90l recelved l50,782 SEK or
$10,000, roughly equlvalent to $800,000 ln twenty
flrstcentury dollars. Jhe cash amounts decreased for
the flrst twenty years of the prlze. In l923 the Acad
emy awarded the lowest amount ln lts hlstory.
ll1,935 SEK, or $30,000. Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon
recelved taxexempt status ln l916 from Sweden and
ln l953 from the Lnlted States, whlch allowed the
endowment lncome to lncrease greatly. By the early
l970s each award brought more than $l00,000;
through years of profltable lnvestments by the Nobel
Ioundatlon, the award reached almost a mllllon dol
lars by l990. Jhe 2001 wlnner, Austrlan author Elf
rlede |ellnek, recelved ten mllllon SEK or $l.28
mllllon. See Jable A.
vb^o tfkkbo pbh A
l907 Rudyard Klpllng l38,796 10,000
l923 Wllllam Butler Yeats ll1,935 30,000
l930 Slnclalr Lewls l72,917 16,000
l918 J. S. Ellot l59,773 32,000
l951 Ernest Hemlngway l90,2l1 35,000
l961 |eanPaul Sartre (refused) 273,000 53,000
l970 Aleksandr Solzhenltsyn 100,000 77,000
l976 Saul Bellow 68l,000 l80,000
l992 Derek Walcott 6,500,000 l,200,000
l993 Jonl Morrlson 6,700,000 880,000
l999 GΩnter Grass 7,900,000 960,000
2005 Harold Plnter l0,000,000 l,276,000
q~ÄäÉ ^W p~ãéäÉ ~ãçìåíë áääìëíê~íÉ íÜÉ áåÅêÉ~ëÉÇ áåÅçãÉ çÑ kçÄÉäÛë Éëí~íÉ
xlx
ai_ POV fåíêçÇìÅíáçå
Slnce lts lnceptlon and throughout lts hlstory, the
Nobel Prlze has offered the largest cash award of any
llterary prlze. Jhe establlshed Amerlcan llterary prlzes
offer a small fractlon of the Nobel payout. the PEN/
Iaulkner Award ($l5,000), the Natlonal Book Award
($l0,000), and the Pulltzer Prlze ($l0,000). In the Brlt
lsh Isles, prlzewlnnlng authors do slgnlflcantly better.
the Brltlsh Man Booker Prlze pays ¿50,000 ($86,000),
and the IMPAC Dublln Llterary Award, a relatlve new
comer to the fleld, pays €l00,000 ($ll8,500).
In addltlon to a check, the laureate recelves a cer
tlflcate and a gold medal bearlng the portralt of Alfred
Nobel. Slnce l96l every wlnner has also been com
memorated on a serles of Swedlsh postage stamps. Jhe
Academy usually requlres that the reclplent attend
the ceremony ln Stockholm to recelve the money
prlze (lt wlll mall the gold medal and certlflcate) but
has made allowances for lllness. Although Shaw dld
not accept hls prlze ln person, the Academy dld agree
to the playwrlght`s request that the money be used to
establlsh the AngloSwedlsh Llterary Ioundatlon to
flnance the publlcatlon of Engllsh translatlons of classlc
Swedlsh llterature, partlcularly the works of Shaw`s
favorlte Swedlsh author÷and non÷Nobel Prlze wlnner÷
August Strlndberg. A hlghly successful author at age
slxtynlne, Shaw explalned to the Nobel judges that
'Jhe money ls a llfebelt thrown to a swlmmer who has
already reached the shore ln safety!"
däçÄ~ä pÅçéÉK Most llterary prlzes are restrlcted to spe
clflc natlonalltles or languages. But Nobel`s wlll dlrected
that 'no conslderatlon whatever be pald to the natlonal
lty of the candldates." Wlth lts flrst selectlon, the Acad
emy dellberately chose an author from a non
Scandlnavlan country (Irench poet Sully Prudhomme),
so that the prlze would not be percelved as a Scandlna
vlan award. In l9l3, Indlan poet Rablndranath Jagore
became the flrst nonEuropean to wln the prlze (the flrst
Amerlcan dld not wln untll seventeen years later, when
Slnclalr Lewls recelved the award). Although wlnners
lnclude authors from every contlnent other than Ant
arctlca, 75 percent of laureates have been from Europe
(l3 percent from Irance). Jhe Lnlted States has the
second hlghest percentage of wlnners at l0 percent.
Even when the Academy selects a nonEuropean, the
reclplent often wrltes ln a European language
(Jagore translated hls poems from hls natlve Bengall
lnto Engllsh). Iour Afrlcans have recelved the prlze.
Wole Soylnka (Nlgerla, l986), Nagulb Mahfouz
(Egypt, l988), Nadlne Gordlmer (South Afrlca,
l99l), and |. M. Coetzee (South Afrlca, 2003). But
only one, Mahfouz, wrote ln a language natlve to
Afrlca÷the other three composed ln Engllsh. In recent
decades the Academy has trled to broaden lts scope to
lnclude nonEuropeanlanguage authors, such as Chl
nese novellst and playwrlght Gao Xlngjlan, who was
selected ln 2000.
mêÉëíáÖÉ Äó ^ëëçÅá~íáçåK In a commerclal culture, some
of the prestlge of the prlze obvlously emanates from the
amount of the monetary award, but the Nobel Prlze ln
Llterature achleves a great deal of cachet by lts assocla
tlon wlth the other Nobel awards. Each December, the
wlnner ln Llterature recelves the award on the same
stage as that year`s wlnners ln Medlclne, Physlcs,
Chemlstry, Economlcs (added ln l969), and World
Peace. Nobel`s wlll characterlzes these wlnners as hav
lng contrlbuted 'most materlally to beneflt manklnd."
Llnklng llterature to the sclences and peace argues that
the wrltten word fulfllls an ennobllng good for human
lty analogous to flndlng the cure for a dlsease or endlng
a war. It also argues for llterature as clvlllzatlon`s most
'beneflclal" art form. Jhe prlze places a poet, play
wrlght, or novellst on the same level as Albert Elnsteln
and Martln Luther Klng |r. Jhe wlnner also shares ln
the glory of past reclplents ln Llterature as the new
member of an excluslve club of genluses.
A Nobel Prlze can do more than provlde another
award to an already recognlzed genlus. lts prestlge and
global notorlety can also revlve the career of a neglected
or forgotten author. Ior the rest of the reclplent`s llfe,
the mentlon of hls or her name ls usually preceded by
the phrase 'Nobel Prlze-wlnnlng author." Jhe l919
award to Wllllam Iaulkner slmultaneously resurrected
and cemented the novellst`s llterary reputatlon.
Although hls work was popular ln Europe÷especlally
Irance÷Iaulkner`s Amerlcan reputatlon had waned,
and many of hls books had gone out of prlnt. After hls
Nobel Prlze, other awards followed. In l95l he
recelved the Natlonal Book Award (for `çääÉÅíÉÇ píçêáÉë çÑ
táääá~ã c~ìäâåÉêI l950) and the Irench Leglon of Honor.
In l955 he recelved the Pulltzer Prlze (hls flrst) and
another Natlonal Book Award for hls l951 novel, ^
c~ÄäÉK
eçï íÜÉ mêáòÉ fë ^ÇãáåáëíÉêÉÇ
Nobel speclflcally charged the Swedlsh Academy
ln Stockholm to select the prlze for llterature. Jhe
Swedlsh Academy was founded on the model of the
Irench Academy to work for the 'purlty, vlgor, and
majesty" of the Swedlsh language; thelr maln purpose
now ls overseelng the Nobel process. It ls made up of
elghteen Swedlsh cltlzens who serve llfetlme appolnt
ments and select thelr own successors, subject to
approval by the klng of Sweden. Members ln l900 were
prlmarlly mlnor academlcs and government offlclals.
Jhe current makeup lncludes more than elght authors
as well as llngulsts, llterary scholars, and hlstorlans.
Once elected, a member may not reslgn, but may refuse
xx
fåíêçÇìÅíáçå ai_ POV
to attend meetlngs or vote. One Academy member pub
llcly 'reslgned" ln protest over the l983 award to Brlt
lsh novellst Wllllam Goldlng. In l989 two other
members slmllarly wlthdrew ln protest agalnst the
Academy`s refusal to denounce Iran`s call for the execu
tlon of Brltlsh novellst Salman Rushdle.
Jhe Swedlsh statutes that created the Nobel
Ioundatlon ln l900 lnstltuted procedural guldellnes for
awardlng the prlzes. As per Nobel`s wlll, the Swedlsh
Academy awards the prlze for llterature deflned as 'not
only bellelettres, but also other wrltlngs whlch, by vlr
tue of thelr form and style, possess llterary value."
Jhe publlc percelves the Nobel Prlze ln Llterature
as a llfetlme achlevement award for the author`s career,
but Nobel`s wlll speclfles that the reclplent be the
author of a 'dlstlngulshed work" produced 'durlng the
year lmmedlately precedlng." Jhe statute modlfles
Nobel`s stlpulatlon to lnclude 'older works only lf thelr
slgnlflcance has not become apparent untll recently."
Jhe Swedlsh Academy has largely lgnored Nobel`s
dlrectlve to honor a slngle work produced ln the preced
lng year throughout the hlstory of the award. Jhe
Academy regularly slngles out a speclflc book or work
ln lts selectlon ratlonale even though the wlnnlng
author may have wrltten the 'masterwork" many years
prevlously. Jhe Academy drew partlcular attentlon, for
example, to Lewls`s _~ÄÄáíí (l922), to l962 wlnner
Stelnbeck`s qÜÉ dê~éÉë çÑ tê~íÜ (l939), to l969 wlnner
Samuel Beckett`s bå ~ííÉåÇ~åí dçÇçí (l952; translated by
Beckett as t~áíáåÖ Ñçê dçÇçíI l951), and to l999 wlnner
Grass`s qÜÉ qáå aêìã (l959) as the prlmary justlflcatlon
for thelr authors` recognltlon. In the presentatlon
speech for 2005 wlnner Harold Plnter, the Academy
mentloned only four plays. qÜÉ aìãÄ t~áíÉê (l957), qÜÉ
_áêíÜÇ~ó m~êíó (l957), qÜÉ eçíÜçìëÉ (l958), and jçìåí~áå
i~åÖì~ÖÉ (l988).
Jhe Academy can suspend awardlng the prlze lf
no nomlnated author matches lts crlterla, but must
name a wlnner at least every flve years. (Jhe Nobel
Ioundatlon suspended grantlng awards durlng parts of
World Wars I and II). Each prlzeglvlng academy must
select a three to flvemember nomlnatlng commlttee of
lts own members, charged wlth maklng a flnal recom
mendatlon to lts respectlve academy. Jhe statutes leave
up to each academy the crlterla by whlch nomlnatlons
are made. Jhe commlttee`s dellberatlons and reports
are held confldentlal.
Accordlng to Swedlsh law, the rlght to nomlnate
shall be enjoyed by.
l. Members of the Swedlsh Academy and of other
academles, lnstltutlons and socletles whlch are slmllar
to lt ln constructlon and purpose;
2. Professors of llterature and of llngulstlcs at unlversl
tles and unlverslty colleges;
3. Prevlous Nobel Prlze Laureates ln Llterature;
1. Presldents of those socletles of authors that are repre
sentatlve of the llterary productlon ln thelr respectlve
countrles.
Posthumous nomlnatlons are not allowed. Jhe Acad
emy recelves an average of two hundred llteraryprlze
nomlnatlons each year by the l Iebruary deadllne. Jhe
Academy`s Nobel commlttee makes a recommendatlon
to the full Academy membershlp for an October vote.
Ior most of the hlstory of the prlze, the commlttee
made a slngle recommendatlon. Slnce the l970s, every
commlttee member prepares a report and advances a
few candldates, allowlng the Academy members a
sllghtly larger cholce than a slngle recommendatlon by
the commlttee. By the end of May, the Academy has
whlttled down the commlttee`s suggestlons to flve flnal
lsts, allowlng the summer for members to revlew the
candldates` work. Jo wln, a nomlnee must recelve more
than half of the votes cast. Slnce the nomlnatlng com
mlttee fllters proposals and makes recommendatlons to
the Academy for approval, thls small group has hlstorl
cally held conslderable÷some crltlcs have charged dls
proportlonate÷power and lnfluence.
A flrsttlme nomlnee can no longer wln the
award, but rather must be the veteran of earller noml
natlon processes. Jhe Academy lnstltuted thls conven
tlon after the controverslal cholce of Amerlcan novellst
Pearl S. Buck ln l938. She had been nomlnated ln Sep
tember of that year by senlor Academy member Dr.
Sven Hedln, who was the Academy`s sole Aslan author
lty (and whose Amerlcan publlsher was Buck`s hus
band). Some crltlcs belleved that the full Academy dld
not take tlme to glve her due conslderatlon but selected
her ln deference to Hedln.
eçï íÜÉ mêáòÉ c~áäë íç ^ÅÅçãéäáëÜ fíë mìêéçëÉ
Jhe weakness of the selectlon process for the
Nobel Prlze ln Llterature lles ln lts rellance on the secre
tlve commlttee structure of an elghteenmember
natlonal academy. Commlttees may be an effectlve
method to select wlnners ln the sclences, but the assess
ment of an aesthetlc actlvlty ls lnherently subjectlve.
Jhe Academy`s lnsularlty also llmlts the selectlon pro
cess. Jhe phllosophles and personal prejudlces of the
members unavoldably affect thelr declslon. Jhe two
greatest Scandlnavlan wrlters of the late nlneteenth cen
tury÷Ibsen and Strlndberg÷were both denled member
shlp and Nobel Prlzes by the Academy. (Although
Norweglan, Ibsen was ellglble for membershlp ln the
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Swedlsh Academy untll l905, when Norway became
lndependent from Sweden.)
A commlttee also breeds compromlse. After Euro
pean crltlcs expressed outrage over the flrst two less
thanstellar laureates (Sully Prudhomme and German
hlstorlan Jheodor Mommsen), the Academy felt exter
nal pressure to honor Ibsen. But C. D. af Wlrsén, the
permanent secretary of the Academy and chalrman of
the nomlnatlng commlttee, forcefully opposed Ibsen`s
nomlnatlon as contrary to Nobel`s lntentlon to honor
work of an 'ldeallstlc tendency." Jhe culturally conser
vatlve Wlrsén dlstrusted Ibsen`s soclal crltlclsm ln such
works as dÜçëíë (l88l) and ^å båÉãó çÑ íÜÉ mÉçéäÉ (l882).
Desplte the secretary`s opposltlon, many members stlll
wlshed to recognlze the newly lndependent Norway
and hoped to dlffuse Wlrsén`s objectlons by palrlng
Ibsen wlth another Norweglan playwrlght, Bj›rnstjerne
Bj›rnson. Wlrsén dlsmlssed the proposal as polltlcal
grandstandlng. Bj›rnson recelved the award ln l903;
Ibsen dled ln l906.
Commlttees also llke balance, or at the least, the
appearance of falrness. Although the practlce ls never
publlcly admltted, most observers agree that the Acad
emy makes a hablt of grantlng awards ln reference to
who has won and not won prevlously. Indlvlduals from
the same country or who wrlte ln the same language
rarely wln ln successlon. Jhe Academy wlll put off an
author for later conslderatlon 'to spread the award
around." Deservlng authors often dle before thelr turn
comes. After Stelnbeck won ln l962, O`Hara recog
nlzed he would never wln the award because the Acad
emy would not honor another Amerlcan flctlon wrlter
wlthln hls llfetlme. O`Hara dled ln l970. Jhe next
Amerlcan wlnner was Saul Bellow ln l976.
In dlrect confllct wlth Nobel`s wlll, the Academy
often honors an author`s natlonal herltage rather than
the quallty of hls or her art. Jhe llst of prlzewlnners
suggests an equltable veneer to selectlons ln that every
natlonallty or race wlll eventually get recognltlon, as lf
to answer the questlons 'When wlll lt be Country X`s
turn?" or 'When wlll we have a wlnner from Mlnorlty
Y?" Jhe Academy fulfllls these soclally consclous
requlrements wlth authors lt regards as representatlve
of thelr entlre natlonal or ethnlc llterature. In honorlng
Icelandlc novellst Halldór Laxness÷the flrst and only
Icelander to recelve the prlze÷the l955 certlflcate
pralsed hlm for renewlng 'the great narratlve art of Ice
land." Crltlcs labeled the dual award to German poet
Nelly Sachs and Israell novellst Shmuel Yosef Agnon ln
l966 as the '|ewlsh Award" (Pollshborn |ewlsh Amerl
can author Isaac Bashevls Slnger won ln l978.) Jhe
Academy celebrated Agnon for taklng hls 'motlfs from
the llfe of the |ewlsh people" and pralsed Sachs for
lnterpretlng 'Israel`s destlny wlth touchlng strength." In
l988 the Academy attempted cultural balance ln select
lng the Egyptlan Mahfouz and laudlng hlm for formlng
'an Arablan narratlve art that applles to all manklnd."
He remalns the only wlnner from the Arab world.
One aspect ln whlch the Academy obvlously has
not exhlblted balance ls the genre ln whlch an author
wrltes. Almost twothlrds of the laureates have been prl
marlly wrlters of narratlve flctlon, ecllpslng poets and
playwrlghts. Hlstorlans and phllosophers rarely won ln
the flrst halfcentury of the prlze; the last phllosopher to
wln was Bertrand Russell (l950), and the last hlstorlan
Slr Wlnston Churchlll (l953). Jhe reason for thls dom
lnance by flctlon wrlters may be the result of the lan
guage barrler. Jhe Academy conslders the works of
almost all of the nomlnees ln translatlon. Although
many members of the Academy surely read other lan
guages, the avallablllty of good Swedlsh translatlons ls
known to strengthen a nomlnee`s chances. A novel ls
more easlly appreclated ln translatlon than the con
densed lmagery of poetry, and a hlgh degree of theatrl
cal sophlstlcatlon ls requlred to evaluate a play scrlpt
properly. But even novellsts can run lnto dlfflculty. one
of the reasons glven by Nobel hlstorlan Burton Ield
man for the fallure of Amerlcan novellst Henry |ames
to wln ln l9ll over Belglan playwrlght Maurlce
Maeterllnck ls that hls dense prose style dld not trans
late well lnto Swedlsh.
Jhe language barrler ls also glven as a reason for
the domlnance of Europeanlanguage laureates over
Aslan and Afrlcan authors. In defense of the apparent
Eurocentrlsm ln the hlstory of the prlze, Academy
member Artur Lundkvlst wrote an artlcle tltled 'Nobel
prls ™t vem?" for pîÉåëâ~ a~ÖÄä~ÇÉí (l2 October l977) ln
whlch he deflned the award as a 'Western lnstltutlon"
that 'cannot reasonably be dlstrlbuted on a basls other
than Western evaluatlons." He derlded the llterary out
put of nonEuropean natlons and cultures.
Jhe academy ls often reproached for thus neglectlng
the llteratures of Asla and Afrlca and other 'remote"
parts. But I doubt lf there ls so far very much to flnd
there. It ls a questlon of llteratures that (wlth certaln
exceptlons, partlcularly ln the case of |apan) as far as
can be judged have not achleved that level of develop
ment (artlstlc, psychologlcal, llngulstlc) that can make
them truly slgnlflcant outslde thelr glven context.
Lundkvlst`s controverslal comments expose one of the
major weaknesses of the prlze. the Academy`s small,
homogenous membershlp makes lts selectlons espe
clally vulnerable to the personal prejudlces of lts mem
bers. Lundkvlst (elected ln l968) boasted that Greene÷
a flnallst ln l967÷would never wln the Nobel Prlze
whlle Lundkvlst was an Academy member. (Desplte
Lundkvlst`s boast, an Academy member cannot veto a
xxll
fåíêçÇìÅíáçå ai_ POV
selectlon.) Lundkvlst malntalned that Greene was too
well known and respected to need the award, as lts pur
pose was to draw 'attentlon to achlevements that have
not been sufflclently regarded and to a hlgh degree
deserve recognltlon." Greene never won the prlze. Both
Lundkvlst and Greene dled ln l99l. A revlew of other
wlnners durlng Lundkvlst`s tenure reveals hls prefer
ence for Spanlshlanguage authors. Lundkvlst champl
oned Chllean poet Pablo Neruda, who became the flrst
South Amerlcan wlnner ln l97l; Lundkvlst was hls
Swedlsh translator. Other Spanlshlanguage laureates
advocated by Lundkvlst lnclude Spanlsh poet Vlcente
Alelxandre (l977), Colomblan novellst Gabrlel Garc∞a
M•rquez (l982), Spanlsh novellst Camllo |osé Cela
(l989), and Mexlcan poet and crltlc Octavlo Paz
(l990).
Jen women have won the Nobel Prlze ln Lltera
ture. Only the Peace Prlze has more female wlnners
wlth eleven. Seven women have won for Physlology or
Medlclne, three for Chemlstry, and two for Physlcs (the
flrst woman to wln a Nobel Prlze ln any fleld was Marle
Curle for Physlcs ln l903). In l909 Swedlsh novellst
Selma Lagerl∏f won the Nobel Prlze ln Llterature, and
her major dlstlnctlon today ls ln belng the flrst female
wlnner ln that category. In selectlng female authors the
Swedlsh Academy followed the same pattern lt had wlth
male wrlters. lt flrst awarded the prlze to a Scandlna
vlan, then other Europeans before chooslng an Amerl
can. After Itallan novellst Grazla Deledda won ln l926
and Norse novellst Slgrld Lndset ln l928, Buck became
the flrst Amerlcan woman to wln the llterary prlze ln
l938. Her award generated much controversy, as many
crltlcs consldered her novels and memolrs set ln Chlna
as not worthy of worldwlde recognltlon. Most Nobel
observers expected Wllla Cather to be the flrst female
Amerlcan wlnner. In l915 Chllean poet Gabrlela Mls
tral became the flrst Latln Amerlcan author to recelve
the prlze. Jhe flrst South Afrlcan author to be honored
was novellst Gordlmer ln l99l. Between l915 and
l99l, the only other female wlnner was Sachs, who
shared the l966 prlze wlth Agnon. In l993, novellst
Jonl Morrlson became the flrst and only Afrlcan Amer
lcan Nobel laureate for llterature. Jwo Eastern Euro
pean women were honored ln recent years. Pollsh poet
Wlsława Szymborska ln l996 and Austrlan author
|ellnek ln 2001.
After the Peace Prlze, the Nobel Prlze ln Lltera
ture ls the award most tlghtly entangled wlth lnterna
tlonal controversy and geopolltlcal lntrlgue. As wlth
any subjectlve award, the wlnners reflect the attltudes
and anxletles of thelr age. Irlsh poet Yeats won ln l923,
one year after hls country became an lndependent
natlon, for hls poetry that 'glves expresslon to the splrlt
of a whole natlon"; Ilnnlsh novellst Irans Eemll Slllan
pää won ln l939 as hls country reslsted the encroach
ment of the Sovlet Lnlon; Amerlcan Bellow won the
same year as the Lnlted States celebrated lts blcenten
nlal; and Pollsh expatrlate poet Czesław Mlłosz won ln
l980 as Pollsh workers struck agalnst thelr Communlst
government.
When Stelnbeck won ln l962, several observers÷
lncludlng Stelnbeck÷expressed dlsmay that he had won
out over such ellglble Amerlcan authors as |ohn Dos
Passos, Irost, and Jennessee Wllllams. One Swedlsh
source later reported that the Nobel judges regarded an
award for the author of qÜÉ dê~éÉë çÑ tê~íÜ 'at least ln
part, as a soclal gesture ln support of the tormented
South." Jhe Swedlsh Academy had apparently con
flated the Depresslonera hardshlp of whlte mlgrant
workers wlth the clvll rlghts movement of the l950s.
^ï~êÇ qêÉåÇë
After the formatlon of the Nobel Ioundatlon and
the schedullng of awards, most European llterary crltlcs
agreed that the flrst prlze for llterature should go to
Russlan novellst Jolstoy. Hls works were regarded as
the greatest llterary product of nlneteenthcentury
Europe and as exhlbltlng the 'ldeallstlc tendency" that
Nobel prescrlbed for hls awards. Jolstoy`s masterpleces
t~ê ~åÇ mÉ~ÅÉ (l865-l869) and ^åå~ h~êÉåáå~ (l875-
l877) had appeared more than a quarter century ear
ller; ln l900 he was llvlng as a rural rellglous extremlst,
publlcly denounclng all government and church lnstltu
tlons as ungodly. Secretary Wlrsén lnterpreted Nobel`s
lnjunctlon of 'ldeallsm" rlgldly as a conformlty to tradl
tlonal forms of government, worshlp, and socletal
norms. He could not countenance the award golng to
someone he consldered an anarchlst. Academy apolo
glsts use the excuse that the Russlan author was not
properly nomlnated ln the flrst year of ballotlng÷a sltu
atlon that was remedled by many nonAcademy noml
nators the next year. But Jolstoy hlmself relleved the
pressure on Wlrsén by statlng ln a letter to supporters
that he was glad not to recelve the prlze and thus could
avold the temptatlon of a cash award that could 'brlng
nothlng but evll."
No such lnternatlonal outcry erupted for the
Academy`s fallure to recognlze Jwaln. Amerlcan lltera
ture was not yet consldered÷elther by the Academy or
other European nomlnatlng academles÷wlthln the
scope of 'dlstlngulshed work."
Wlrsén`s tenure (l90l-l9l2) as the award`s
flrst custodlan ls noteworthy not so much for lts wln
ners as for lts alsorans (Jolstoy, Ibsen, Strlndberg,
|ames). Jhe one wlnner from thls perlod who contln
ues to enjoy popular acclalm ls Brltlsh author
Klpllng, the flrst Engllshlanguage wrlter to recelve
xxlll
ai_ POV fåíêçÇìÅíáçå
the award. He represented the Vlctorlan values
Wlrsén hoped to preserve. In hls presentatlon
address Wlrsén pralsed Klpllng as the helr to Alfred
Jennyson and descrlbed the award as a natlonal trlb
ute to all Engllsh authors. 'homage to the llterature
of England, so rlch ln manlfold glorles."
Jhe Academy dld not want to appear to be taklng
sldes among the combatants of World War I by honor
lng authors wlth hlgh polltlcal or natlonallstlc proflles.
Jhls 'neutrallty" accounts for the Scandlnavlan awards
durlng thls perlod. Sweden, l9l6; Denmark, l9l7; Swe
den, l920.
Jhe flrst lndlcatlon that the Academy was
addresslng the relevant modern llterature of lts day ls
the l923 award to Yeats. Yet, the Academy`s trlbute
does not celebrate Yeats as a modernlst but rather for
hls 'falry poetry" of twenty years prevlous. A future
Nobel laureate, the thenunknown Hemlngway, used
the occaslon of Yeats`s award to crltlclze the Academy
for lts omlsslons. In an artlcle wrltten from Parls for
the qçêçåíç pí~ê tÉÉâäó Hemlngway pralses Yeats as the
greatest llvlng Engllshlanguage poet wlth the posslble
exceptlon of Ezra Pound. Hemlngway does not
advance any other Amerlcan as a contender, announc
lng that Sherwood Anderson 'was headed ln that
dlrectlon, but he has swerved a long way off now." He
champlons Engllsh novellst Jhomas Hardy (who was
a flnallst agalnst Yeats) as the 'ghost that must haunt
the Nobel Prlzeglvers` consclences." He also advo
cates Pollshborn Engllsh novellst |oseph Conrad as a
much more flttlng reclplent of the prlze than the l905
wlnner Henryk Slenklewlcz, the Pollsh author of nìç
s~Çáë (l895).
Lnllke Yeats, who won hls award for hls early
wrltlngs, Shaw (a nomlnee for several years) flnally
secured hls prlze wlth a recent work. Hls pre-World
War I plays are fllled wlth cynlcal observatlons about
human nature, ldeas that the conservatlve Academy
usually dld not celebrate. In j~àçê _~êÄ~ê~ (l905) Shaw
deplcts an Alfred Nobel-llke munltlons mllllonalre who
expresses a revolutlonary MachlavelllanSoclallst phl
losophy. But the Academy rested lts ratlonale for
Shaw`s award on hls play p~áåí gç~å (l923) as excuslng
the author`s suspect and nonldeallstlc polltlcs. In hls
presentatlon speech, secretary Per Hallstr∏m explalned.
'If from thls polnt we look back on Shaw`s best works,
we flnd lt easler ln many places, beneath all hls sportlve
ness and deflance, to dlscern somethlng of the same lde
allsm that has found expresslon ln the herolc flgure of
Salnt |oan."
Many observers speculated about who would be
the flrst Amerlcan author to wln the prlze. By l930 sev
eral crltlcs belleved the Lnlted States`s 'turn" had
come. Drelser campalgned for the award as early as
l9ll and lobbled for the support of crltlc H. L.
Mencken. In l926, a year after he publlshed hls natu
rallstlc masterwork ^å ^ãÉêáÅ~å qê~ÖÉÇóI Drelser toured
Sweden to dlscuss translatlons of hls works wlth pub
llshers, bellevlng they had lnfluence on Academy mem
bers. Drelser`s maln rlval was Lewls, who won
prlmarlly because hls novels÷eleven were ln Swedlsh
translatlon ln l930÷were bestsellers ln Scandlnavla,
whereas Drelser`s were not. Nelther author was consld
ered by the Academy for hls celebratlon of natlve val
ues or the natlonal character (unllke Klpllng or Yeats)
but rather for hls harsh crltlclsm of Amerlcan llfe. As
wlth other 'flrst" wlnners, the Academy pralsed Lewls
as a representatlve of hls country.
Yes, Slnclalr Lewls ls an Amerlcan. He wrltes the new
language÷Amerlcan÷as one of the representatlves of
l20,000,000 souls. He asks us to conslder that thls
natlon ls not yet flnlshed or melted down; that lt ls stlll
ln the turbulent years of adolescence. Jhe new great
Amerlcan llterature has started wlth natlonal selfcrltlclsm.
It ls a slgn of health.
In hls acceptance speech, Lewls offered the Swedlsh
audlence a prlmer on contemporary Amerlcan lltera
ture, champlonlng such authors as Anderson, Cather,
O`Nelll, Jhornton Wllder, Hemlngway, Dos Passos,
Jhomas Wolfe, and Iaulkner. Jhree of the authors on
hls llst eventually won the Nobel Prlze. Although Lewls
admltted that Drelser was not a popular author because
of hls despalrlng characters and 'cumbersome" style,
he pralsed hls rlval as hls greatest llterary mentor.
'Now to me, as to many other Amerlcan wrlters, Drel
ser more than any other man, marchlng alone, usually
unappreclated, often hated, has cleared the trall from
Vlctorlan and Howellslan tlmldlty and gentlllty ln
Amerlcan flctlon to honesty and boldness and passlon
of llfe."
In the post-World War II perlod of the Nobel
Prlze, the Academy trled to make up for past omls
slons. It recognlzed three masters of modernlsm well
past the peak of thelr careers. Amerlcan/Brltlsh poet
Ellot (l918) and Amerlcan novellsts Iaulkner (l919)
and Hemlngway (l951). Jhe major modernlst author
that the Academy dellberately chose not to honor
belatedly was Amerlcan poet÷and fasclst÷Pound.
Durlng the l950s the Academy engaged ln lts
own verslon of the Cold War polltlcs, alternatlng
awards between left and rlghtwlng authors. Many
observers crltlclzed the selectlon of Churchlll ln l953
as a blatantly polltlcal award, a concesslon for not hav
lng awarded hlm the Nobel Peace Prlze earller. In a l2
May l955 letter to crltlc and fellow Academy member
Sten Selander, Swedlsh dlplomat Dag Hammarskj∏ld
xxlv
fåíêçÇìÅíáçå ai_ POV
questloned whether such an award made the Swedlsh
Academy 'a llterature commlttee ln the Iorelgn
Offlce?"
Whlle the judges dld sometlmes select a polltl
cally conservatlve author such as Churchlll, they
apparently could not ablde any candldate wlth a con
nectlon to prewar fasclsm. When Pound was consld
ered for an award ln the l950s, he would have been
an extremely controverslal cholce. Jhe poet was then
commltted to an lnsane asylum lnstead of prlson for
hls treasonable acts as a supporter of Benlto Mussollnl
ln World War II. Hammarskj∏ld worked for Pound`s
release but dld not advocate awardlng hlm the Nobel
Prlze. In a 21 |uly l959 letter to fellow Academy mem
ber Pär Lagerkvlst, Hammarskj∏ld argued that an
award to Pound should be denled because the author`s
antlSemltlsm 'ought to exclude the posslblllty of a
prlze that ls after all lntended to lay welght on the 'lde
allstlc tendency` of the reclplent`s efforts. I do not
know exactly what the words 'ldeallstlc tendency`
mean, but at least I do know what ls dlametrlcally
opposed to what they can reasonably be assumed to
slgnlfy."
Jhe Academy also denled Argentlne author
|orge Luls Borges the prlze, allegedly for belng pho
tographed shaklng the hand of Chllean dlctator Gen
eral Augusto Plnochet. Lundkvlst blocked Borges`s
nomlnatlon because, he argued ln an lntervlew wlth
Karl Vennberg ln pîÉåëâ~ a~ÖÄä~ÇÉí (20 December
l979), 'When lt comes to hls polltlcal blunders, thls
tlme ln a fasclst dlrectlon, these make hlm ln my
oplnlon unsultable on ethlcal and human grounds for
a Nobel Prlze."
But the Academy held no such qualms ln recog
nlzlng former Communlst or proStallnlst authors.
Jhe Sovlet Lnlon created the Stalln Peace Prlze
(renamed the Lenln Peace Prlze ln l956) ln l919 as a
counterpart to the Nobel Prlze. It was awarded by a
governmentappolnted commlttee to lndlvlduals who
had 'strengthened peace among peoples." Jhe flrst
reclplent was Laxness, slx years before he won the
Nobel Prlze. Neruda recelved thls prlze ln l953, effu
slvely pralslng |oseph Stalln the followlng year as 'the
hlgh noon, the fulflllment of men and peoples." Acad
emy member Gunnar Ekel∏f suspected Neruda, a
former Chllean dlplomat asslgned to Mexlco, of com
pllclty ln the l910 assasslnatlon of Russlan exlle Leon
Jrotsky. Ekel∏f successfully blocked Neruda`s candl
dacy for a Nobel Prlze untll Ekel∏f`s death ln l968.
Hls membershlp passed to Lundkvlst, and Neruda
won three years later. In hls l963 jÉãçáêë Neruda
renounced hls Stallnlsm, but he wrote the poems
pralsed by the Nobel commlttee durlng hls perlod of
Stallnlst devotlon.
Jhe most publlc Cold War sklrmlsh assoclated
wlth the Nobel Prlze ln Llterature occurred ln l961,
when the Academy selected Irench author and cele
brated leftlst |eanPaul Sartre, who refused the award÷
and the money÷clalmlng that the prlze was antlSovlet
and 'an honor restrlcted to Western wrlters and East
ern rebels." Jhe 'Eastern rebel" to whlch Sartre
referred may have been l958 laureate Borls Pasternak,
author of açÅíçê wÜáî~Öç (l957), an hlstorlcal novel of
the Russlan Revolutlon. Hls selectlon angered Sovlet
authorltles, who refused to allow the author to travel
to Stockholm for hls award. In l965, the year after the
Academy members chose Sartre÷and perhaps ln
answer to hls charge÷they selected Russlan novellst
and suspected plaglarlst Mlkhall Sholokhov, who was
openly supportlve of the Sovlet reglme. Jhe Kremlln
allowed Sholokhov to accept hls prlze. Guatemalan
novellst Mlguel žngel Asturlas recelved the Lenln
Peace Prlze ln l965, the year before he recelved hls
Nobel award.
Once the Cold War culture wars subslded, the
Academy began to make less overtly polltlcal cholces.
Exasperated by the celebrlty selectlons of Hemlngway
and Churchlll, Hammarskj∏ld wrote to Selander ln
the mld l950s, 'Oh÷lf only we could show a touch of
darlng." Jhe l969 selectlon of Beckett, best known
for the absurdlst play t~áíáåÖ Ñçê dçÇçíI quashed the
assumptlon that laureates must express an ldeallstlc
outlook for the human race. Slnce then the Academy
has cast lts favor far afleld from lts Eurocentrlc back
ground, partlcularly toward Latln Amerlcan authors,
though they usually compose ln a European language.
Perhaps the most unconventlonal cholce came ln l997
wlth the selectlon of Itallan postmodern comedlan
Darlo Io. Hls acceptance lecture÷'Agalnst |esters
Who Defame and Insult"÷was a freeform lmprovlsa
tlon comblnlng text, lllustratlons, and theatrlcal per
formance. Charlle Chaplln had been nomlnated
several years prevlous, but hls candldacy was dls
mlssed by the commlttee because hls movle scrlpts
were not publlshed texts.

qÜÉ ^äëçJo~åë
Why Russlan Amerlcan novellst Nabokov never
won remalns a mystery. Iellow Russlan émlgré and Nobel
laureate Aleksandr Solzhenltsyn was known to have noml
nated hlm. Perhaps, llke the Pollshborn Engllshlanguage
author Conrad, he defled easy categorlzatlon; Nabokov
wrote ln three languages. But most crltlcs agree that the
most glarlng omlsslon from the llst of laureates ls |oyce.
Jhe reasons for hls fallure to wln the award are not clear.
xxv
ai_ POV fåíêçÇìÅíáçå
Jhe Academy`s clalm that he was never nomlnated ls not
credlble. |oyce achleved a hlgh lnternatlonal reputatlon
durlng hls llfetlme÷räóëëÉë was publlshed ln l922. Slnce
|oyce dled ln l91l, he dld not survlve to the Academy`s
postwar perlod of reprleve for prevlously unrecognlzed
modernlst wrlters. Before l910 the only modernlsts the
judges embraced were dramatlsts (the Itallan Lulgl Plran
dello ln l931 and the Amerlcan O`Nelll ln l936). Des
mond Iltzgerald, a mlnlster of the newly lndependent
Ireland, wrote to |oyce ln l923 proposlng to nomlnate hlm
for a Nobel Prlze. |oyce replled that not only would he not
wln, but such a publlc nomlnatlon would probably result
ln Iltzgerald`s belng removed from offlce. In l916, Acad
emy member÷and Buck proponent÷Hedln was asked lf
|oyce had ever been consldered for the prlze. He
responded '|oyce? Who ls he?"
Jhe dlfflculty encountered wlth Wllllams`s noml
natlon ln l955 ls lnstructlve both for lts revelatlon of
the role that marketlng and selfpromotlon play ln the
selectlon process, and as a cautlonary tale for future
nomlnees. Only one Amerlcan dramatlst had won the
prlze prevlously, and the atmosphere seemed promlslng
for Wllllams. Hls dramas of poetlc reallsm had recelved
lnternatlonal productlons and were acclalmed ln Swe
den. O`Nelll`s tragedles (heavlly lnfluenced by Strlnd
berg) had achleved slmllar Scandlnavlan success.
Wllllams`s chances appeared strong untll a publlc
relatlons flasco played out on the Academy`s doorstep.
Lllla van Saher÷an ambltlous Hungarlan émlgré
labeled a domlnatrlx by Wllllams÷had persuaded the
playwrlght to come to the Swedlsh capltal and court the
local press. In a l98l lntervlew ln m~êáë oÉîáÉïI Wllllams
descrlbed the dlsastrous press conference.
Well, she had all the press there. She was llke a fleld
marshal! 'You over that way! You over there! You do
not approach Mr. Wllllams untll I glve you the slgnal!"
Barklng out orders. Oh, lt was just terrlfylng. Jhe next
mornlng the newspapers all came out saylng Mr. Wll
llams arrlved ln Stockholm preceded by a very power
ful press agent! And my agent . . . sald, 'You know,
you`ve been nomlnated for the Nobel Prlze but now lt`s
flnlshed."
Ior a llst of other nomlnees who dld not wln, see Jable B.
mêçëéÉÅíë
A cynlc mlght look for the next wlnner to come
from a prevlously unrecognlzed country or ethnlclty.
Guesslng who the Academy wlll select becomes an
annual October llterary parlor game. Jhe Academy stlll
may not have recovered from the publlcrelatlons dlsas
ter of l971 to select another Swedlsh author. In that
year novellst Eyvlnd |ohnson and poet/novellst Harry
vb^o tfkkbo ^ipl kljfk^qba
l902 Jheodor Mommsen Leo Jolstoy
l903 Bj›rnstjerne Bj›rnson Henrlk Ibsen
l906 Glosu≠ Carduccl Mark Jwaln, Ralner Marla Rllke
l908 Rudolf Eucken Algernon Swlnburne
l9ll Maurlce Maeterllnck Henry |ames
l923 Wllllam Butler Yeats Jhomas Hardy
l930 Slnclalr Lewls Jheodore Drelser
l936 Eugene O`Nelll Slgmund Ireud
l938 Pearl S. Buck Margaret Mltchell
l911 |ohannes V. |ensen Wllla Cather, W. Somerset Maugham
l951 Ernest Hemlngway Robert Irost
l955 Halldór Laxness Jennessee Wllllams
l967 Mlguel žngel Asturlas Graham Greene
l968 Yasunarl Kawabata Yuklo Mlshlma, Mao Jse Jung
l969 Samuel Beckett Eugene Ionesco
l973 Patrlck Whlte Vladlmlr Nabokov
q~ÄäÉ _W kçíÉïçêíÜó åçãáåÉÉë ïÜç ïÉêÉ é~ëëÉÇ çîÉê Ñçê íÜÉ kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ
xxvl
fåíêçÇìÅíáçå ai_ POV
Martlnson÷both members of the Swedlsh Academy÷
shared the prlze, wlnnlng over flnallsts Greene and
Nabokov.
But who deserves to wln? If the Academy does
lndeed belleve ln the geographlc 'sharlng" of the prlze,
then Amerlcan dramatlsts deserve thelr 'turn." A
North Amerlcan playwrlght has not won ln almost sev
enty years. Amerlcans August Wllson (who dled ln
October 2005 on the eve of the prlze announcement)
and Edward Albee have both generated groundbreak
lng and lnfluentlal work for decades. If the Academy
belleves ln a genre balance, then dramatlsts merlt even
greater recognltlon; among the l0l Nobel laureates ln
Llterature to 2001, only l0 have been playwrlghts. In
2005 the Academy lncreased that number to ll when lt
chose Brltlsh playwrlght Plnter. Hls selectlon, llke
Hemlngway`s and Ellot`s, honors the author`s past
achlevements and lnnovatlons rather than recent cre
atlons. In the l960s and l970s Plnter was a major force
ln world drama, but he has not enjoyed a large success
ln more than two decades. Hls polltlcal actlvlsm slnce
the l990s agalnst Amerlcan forelgn pollcy may also
have lncreased hls chances among polltlcally llberal
Academy members.
A commlttee, partlcularly a small one, always dls
llkes the obvlous selectlon because lt dlmlnlshes lts
power. Jhe Swedlsh Academy wlll probably contlnue
to make surprlslng, unexpected (even unwarranted)
cholces.
pçìêÅÉë
Arthur, Anthony. Iitcrory Icuds: Z Ccvtury of Cclcbrotcd
_uorrcls÷Irom Morl Twoiv to Tom !olfc. New
York. St. Martln`s Press, 2002.
Devlln, Albert |., ed. Covvcrsotiovs witl Tcvvcsscc !illioms.
|ackson × London. Lnlverslty Press of Mlssls
slppl, l986, pp. 325-360.
Espmark, Kjell. Tlc `obcl Iri·c iv Iitcroturc: Z Study of tlc
Critcrio ßclivd tlc Cloiccs. Boston. G. K. Hall,
l986.
Ieldman, Burton. Tlc `obcl Iri·c: Z History of Ccvius,
Covtrovcrsy ovd Ircstigc. New York. Arcade, 2000.
Hemlngway, Ernest. ''Nobelman` Yeats," ln hls Dotc-
livc: Torovto / Tlc Complctc Joronto Star Dispotclcs,
1920-1924. Ed. Wllllam Whlte. New York.
Scrlbners, l985, pp. 381-386.
Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon and Wllhelm Odelberg, eds.
`obcl: Tlc Mov ovd His Iri·cs. Jhlrd edltlon. New
York. Amerlcan Elsevler, l972.
Wallace, Irvlng. 'Jhe Nobel Prlze Awards. Llterature,"
ln Tlc Icoplc`s Zlmovoc. Garden Clty, N.Y.. Dou
bleday, l975, pp. l098-ll05.
^ÅâåçïäÉÇÖãÉåíë
Jhls book was produced by Bruccoll Clark Lay
man, Inc. Jracy Slmmons Bltontl was the lnhouse edl
tor.
Productlon manager ls Phlllp B. Demattels.
Admlnlstratlve support was provlded by Carol A.
Cheschl.
Accountant ls AnnMarle Holland.
Copyedltlng supervlsor ls Sally R. Evans. Jhe
copyedltlng staff lncludes Phyllls A. Avant, Caryl
Brown, Mellssa D. Hlnton, Phlllp I. |ones, Rebecca
Mayo, and Nancy E. Smlth.
Plpellne manager ls |ames I. Jldd |r.
Edltorlal assoclates are Ellzabeth Leverton, Dlck
son Monk, and Jlmothy C. Slmmons.
Inhouse vetter ls Catherlne M. Pollt.
Permlsslons edltor ls Amber L. Coker. Permls
slons asslstant ls Crystal A. Glelm.
Layout and graphlcs staff lncludes Zoe R. Cook
and |anet E. Hlll.
Offlce manager ls Kathy Lawler Merlette.
Photography edltor ls Mark |. McEwan.
Dlgltal photographlc copy work was performed
by |oseph M. Bruccoll.
Systems manager ls Donald Kevln Starllng.
Jypesettlng supervlsor ls Kathleen M. Ilanagan.
Jhe typesettlng staff lncludes Patrlcla Marle Ilanagan
and Pamela D. Norton.
Llbrary research was facllltated by the followlng
llbrarlans at the Jhomas Cooper Llbrary of the Lnl
verslty of South Carollna. Ellzabeth Suddeth and the
rarebook department; |o Cottlngham, lnterllbrary
loan department; clrculatlon department head Jucker
Jaylor; reference department head Vlrglnla W.
Weathers; reference department staff Laurel Baker,
Marllee Blrchfleld, Kate Boyd, Paul Cammarata,
|oshua Garrls, Gary Geer, Jom Marcll, Rose Mar
shall, and Sharon Verba; lnterllbrary loan department
head Marna Hostetler; and lnterllbrary loan staff Blll
Ietty and Nelson Rlvera.
3
aáÅíáçå~êó çÑ iáíÉê~êó _áçÖê~éÜó
pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå
(S Zugust 1SS7 - 17 Icbruory 1970)
aîáê ^Äê~ãçîáÅÜ
Uvivcrsity of Mclbourvc
BOOKS. !c-Hoyol lc-`Zlov lc-Mislor ( |erusalem. Y. H.
Brener, l9l2; Berlln. |Ωdlscher, l9l9);
Civ `ot lo-Hol (Berlln. |Ωdlscher, l9l9);
ßc-Sod Jcslorim (Berlln. |Ωdlscher, l92l);
Sipur Mc-Homot lo-Mctsil (Berlln. |Ωdlscher, l92l);
`Zl lopot lo-mov`ul: Sipurc olovim (Berlln. |Ωdlscher,
l922);
Dic Ir·oluvg vom Torosclrcibcr (Berlln. Marx, l923); orlg
lnal Hebrew verslon publlshed as Zgodot lo-sofcr
(Jel Avlv. Omanut, l929);
Dcr !crstosscvc (Berlln. |Ωdlscher, l923);
Ioliv (Jel Avlv. Hedlm, l921);
Mo`oscl lo-mcslulol mc-crcts lo-Icdoslol (Jel Avlv.
Kupat Hasefer, l921);
Mo`oscl robi Codicl lo-Tivol (Berlln. |Ωdlscher, l925);
Tsipori (Jel Avlv. Devlr, l926);
Sipur lo-Slovim lo-Tovot / Mo`oscl lo-Iov !clo-Urol (Jel
Avlv, l927);
Iol Sipurov slcl Slmucl Joscf Zgvov, volumes l-6 (Berlln.
Schocken, l93l-l935); volumes 7-ll ( |erusalem.
Schocken, l939-l952)÷comprlses volumes l-2,
Hollvosot Iolol (l93l), translated by Israel Melr
Lask as Tlc ßridol Covopy (Garden Clty, N.Y..
Doubleday, Doran, l937); volume 3, Mc`o· U-
Mc`otol (l93l); volume 1, Sipurc Zlovim (l93l);
volume 5, Sipur Ioslut (l935), translated by Hlllel
Halkln as Z Simplc Story (New York. Schocken,
l985); volume 6, ßc-sluvol vo-volot (l935); vol
ume 7, Urcol votol lo-luv (l939), translated by
Mlsha Louvlsh as Z Cucst for tlc `iglt (New York.
Schocken, l968; London. Gollancz, l968); vol
ume 8, Ilu !c-Ilu (l91l), selectlon translated by |.
Welnberg and H. Russell as Z Dwcllivg Ilocc of My
Icoplc: Sixtccv Storics of tlc Clossidim (Edlnburgh.
Scottlsh Academlc Press, l983); volume 9, Tcmol
Slilslom (l915), translated by Barbara Harshav as
Uvly Jcstcrdoy (Prlnceton, N.|.. Prlnceton Lnlver
slty Press, 2000); volume l0, Somull !c-`ir`cl
(l950); and volume ll, `Zd lcvol (l952);
ßi-lcvov Jomim (Berlln. Schocken, l935); translated by
Lask as Iv tlc Hcort of tlc Scos: Z Story of o ¸ourvcy
to tlc Iovd of Isrocl (New York. Schocken, l918);
pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå áå içåÇçå ~ ÑÉï Ç~óë ~ÑíÉê êÉÅÉáîáåÖ íÜÉ kçÄÉä
mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉI aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVSS E^m tçêäÇ táÇÉF
1
pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå ai_ POV
Iovcts Sipurim (Jel Avlv. Keren Ylsra`el Mets, l937);
Mi-dirol lc-dirol ( |erusalem. Schocken, l939);
Ii Slcvoim o mc-Husor Jom (Jel Avlv, l939);
Scfcr Ho-Mo`osim ( |erusalem. Schocken, l91l);
Slcvu`otl Imuvim ( |erusalem. Schocken, l913); trans
lated by Walter Lever as 'Betrothed," ln
ßctrotlcd, c Ido ovd Ivom: Two Tolcs (New York.
Schocken, l966; London. Gollancz, l966);
`Zl ßcrl Iotscvclsov (Jel Avlv. Schocken, l911);
Sipurim vc-ogodot (Jel Avlv. Schocken, l911);
Iclcv Hutsot (Merhavyah. Slfrlyat Po`allm, l950);
Iol Sipurov slcl Slmucl Joscf Zgvov, 8 volumes
( |erusalem. Schocken, l953-l962)÷comprlses
volume l, Hollvosot Iolol (l953); volume 2, Ilu
!c-Ilu (l953); volume 3, `Zl lopot lo-mov`ul
(l953); volume 1, Urcol votol lo-luv (l953); vol
ume 5, Tcmol Slilslom (l953); volume 6, Somull
!c-`ir`cl (l953); volume 7, `Zd lcvol (l953); and
volume 8, Ho-Isl vc-Ho`ctsim (l962);
`Zd olom ( |erusalem. Schocken, l951); translated as Ior-
cvcr Morc (New York. Schocken, l96l);
Tclillo, ovd Utlcr Isrocli Tolcs, by Agnon and others,
translated by Lask and others (London × New
York. AbelardSchuman, l956);
Icv-islom lo-movct (Jel Avlv, l960);
Slcvc Tolmidc lollomim slc-loyu bc`ircvu. Zgodot lo-sofcr,
edlted by Naftall Glnaton ( |erusalem. Schocken,
l967);
Sipurc Jom lo-Iipurim, edlted by Glnaton ( |erusalem.
Schocken, l967);
Sipurim: Jollut lc-vct lo-scfcr lo-ycsodi, edlted by Glnaton
( |erusalem. Schocken, l967);
Sclcctcd Storics of S. J. Zgvov |text ln Hebrew, commen
tary ln Engllsh|, edlted by Samuel Lelter (New
York. Jarbuth Ioundatlon, l970);
Slirol, edlted by Emunah Yaron ( |erusalem. Schocken,
l97l; expanded edltlon, l971; expanded edltlon,
l978); translated by Zeva Shaplro as Sliro (New
York. Schocken, l989);
Ir u-Mclo`ol ( |erusalem. Schocken, l973);
ßc-Hovuto slcl Mor Iubliv ( |erusalem. Schocken, l971);
Iifvim Miv Ho-Homol ( |erusalem. Schocken, l975);
Mc-`otsmi cl `otsmi ( |erusalem. Schocken, l976);
Jidislc vcrl, edlted by Dov Sadan ( |erusalem. Jhe Yld
dlsh Department, Hebrew Lnlverslty/Jhe Coun
cll for |ewlsh Culture ln Israel, l977);
Iitlc dcvorim ( |erusalem. Schocken, l977);
Mivlor Sipurim, edlted by Glnaton and Zvl Massad
( |erusalem. Schocken, l978);
Iorot ßotcvu ( |erusalem. Schocken, l979);
Scfcr Ho-Utiyot ( |erusalem. Schocken, l983); blllngual
edltlon translated by Robert Irlend as Zgvov`s Zlcf
bct: Iocms (Phlladelphla. |ewlsh Publlcatlon Socl
ety, l998);
Tollrill slcl Sipurim, complled by Yaron ( |erusalem.
Schocken, l981);
ßi-dcmi Jomclo: !c-`od Sipurim ( |erusalem. Schocken,
l99l);
Iol Sipurov slcl Sl. J. Zgvov, 9 volumes ( |erusalem.
Schocken, l998- ).
bÇáíáçåë áå båÖäáëÜW Twcvty-Uvc Storics, edlted by
Nahum Norbert Glatzer (New York. Schocken,
l970; London. Gollancz, l970);
Z ßool Tlot !os Iost ovd Utlcr Storics, edlted by Alan L.
Mlntz and Anne Golomb Hoffman (New York.
Schocken, l995);
Jofo Jcfot Jomim: Iclct mi-toll Sipurov slcl Sl. J. Zgvov /
¸offo, ßcllc of tlc Scos: Sclcctiovs from tlc !orls
of S. J. Zgvov |blllngual edltlon|, selected by
Davld Sharlr, translated by Barbara Harshav
( |erusalem. Schocken, l998).
OJHER. Dos ßucl vov dcv polvisclcv ¸udcv, edlted by
Agnon and Ahron Ellasberg (Berlln. |Ωdlscher,
l9l6);
Moous ¸ur: Iiv Clovullolbucl, edlted by Agnon (Berlln.
|Ωdlscher, l9l8);
Scfcr, sofcr, vc-sipur: Sipurim `ol sofrim vc-`ol scforim, edlted
by Agnon ( |erusalem, l938; expanded, |erusa
lem. Schocken, l978); selectlons publlshed as
Sifrclcm slcl Tsodilim ( |erusalem. Schocken,
l96l);
Jomim `oro`im, edlted by Agnon ( |erusalem. Schocken,
l938);
Ztcm rc`itcm, edlted by Agnon ( |erusalem. Schocken,
l959); translated by Mlchael Swlrsky as Ircscvt ot
Sivoi: Tlc Civivg of tlc Iow (Phlladelphla. |ewlsh
Publlcatlon Soclety, l991).
Shmuel Yosef Agnon ls one of the greatest mod
ern Hebrew wrlters and an lmportant prose wrlter of
the twentleth century. Crltlcs have descrlbed hls
achlevements as slngular and hls art as unlversal. Dedl
catlng hlmself to hls craft, the selfeffaclng wrlter ralsed
Hebrew llterature to a global plane, blendlng authentlc
|ewlsh herltage wlth European sources to present
lnstructlve tales that poslt a moral and legal conundrum
reflectlve of the modern condltlon. He was a l966
reclplent (sharlng the honor wlth Nelly Sachs) of the
Nobel Prlze ln Llterature, the flrst granted to a Hebrew
wrlter. Hls contrlbutlon to the |ewlsh state ls manlfested
elsewhere than just ln the llterary realm. Annually, on
Yom Klppur, the hollest day ln |udalsm, hundreds of
thousands of synagogue congregants clte the Prayer for
the Welfare of the State of Israel, wrltten ln l918 by
Agnon together wlth Chlef Rabbls Yltzhak Herzog and
Ben Zlon Lzlel.
5
ai_ POV pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå
Agnon has been feted as one whose standlng ls
akln to that of Wllllam Shakespeare ln England; he has
been memorlallzed on the flftyshekel note as well as on
the flrst commemoratlve banknote to celebrate Israel`s
flftleth annlversary of lndependence. A Jel Avlv street
bears hls name, and on the occaslon of the hundredth
annlversary of hls blrth, the Israell Parllament convened
a speclal sesslon to honor the wordsmlth. In 2002, when
the Natlonal Ylddlsh Book Centre llsted thelr one hun
dred greatest works of modern |ewlsh llterature, Agnon`s
three novels occupled the fourth, flfth, and slxth places.
In addltlon, hls novels and storles appear frequently as
compulsory readlng ln Israell schools.
Yet, outslde Israel, Agnon ls vlrtually unknown.
Jhls obscurlty ls prlnclpally because of the formldable
dlfflcultles lnvolved wlth translatlng hls ldlosyncratlc
and alluslve Hebrew, whlch ls brlstllng wlth wordplays
and acrostlcs and lnterlarded wlth quotatlons, echoes,
and references from a vast array of blbllcal sources.
One of hls translators, Hlllel Halkln, remarked ln a
l989 artlcle by Matt Nesvlsky that Agnon 'was ln a
class by hlmself . . . there`s so much golng on ln hls lan
guage. Jo lmpersonate Agnon ln Engllsh, a translator
has to exerclse hls lngenulty to the utmost." Jhe dlffl
culty of gettlng across ln Engllsh the full flavor and pro
fundlty of the Agnon prose may be one reason why the
broad, lastlng lnternatlonal appreclatlon accorded to
other modernlst glants has not been forthcomlng,
desplte the Nobel Prlze. Sharon Green notes also that
Agnon`s vlrtuoslty lay ln hls ablllty to 'hold ln creatlve
tenslon the |ewlsh rellglous tradltlon and the secular
modern world, both of whlch he shows to be needed
for |ews to thrlve," and that 'Jhe dlalectlcal tenslon ln
hls work ls probably the reason why many readers flnd
hls works enlgmatlc." Moreover, hls hlghly alluslve
style, subtle turns of thought, and purposeful amblgulty
pose an lntlmldatlng challenge to the reader.
More than anyone else, Agnon advanced the ldea
of creatlng not only a new llterature ln Hebrew, but a
new culture composed of a synthesls of Eastern Euro
pean tradltlons and modern Israell norms. Agnon was an
lnterpreter of |ewlsh llfe, servlng as a cultural condult
between the subjectlve experlences of Eastern European
|ewry and lts hlstorlcal natlonal memory. He chronlcled
both the dlsappearlng world of European orthodox
|ewry and the emerglng mllleu of the Zlonlst ploneers,
the majorlty of whom were revoltlng agalnst the long
establlshed tenets of that orthodoxy. Green malntalns
that the 'unlqueness of Agnon ls that he was able to cap
ture the rlchness of tradltlonal llfe, whlle at the same tlme
he was absolutely clear slghted about the dangers such a
llfe holds for |ewlsh survlval ln modern tlmes."
Sources usually glve Agnon`s blrth date as l7 |uly
or 26 |uly l888, but blographer Dan Laor puts the date
at 8 August l887. Agnon was born Shmuel Yosef Halevl
Czaczkes ln the |ewlsh town of Buczacz ln eastern Gall
cla, then part of AustrlaHungary (now Buchach,
Lkralne), although ln hls Nobel acceptance speech he
noted that he regarded hlmself as 'one who was born ln
|erusalem." He was born to a mlddleclass famlly of rab
bls and scholars; hls father, Shalom Mordechal Halevl, a
quallfled rabbl, worked as a fur merchant and was a fer
vent and educated dlsclple of the Hasldlc rebbe of Chor
tov. Hls presence was deeply lnfluentlal on the boy. 'All
I know," Agnon malntalned (accordlng to blographer
Laor), 'I learned from my father." In hls address at the
state banquet dellvered ln honor of the Nobel laureates,
Agnon revealed that he composed hls flrst poem at age
flve out of longlng for hls father, who was often away.
Hls father, together wlth a local rabbl, taught the boy
Jalmud as well as the teachlngs of the |ewlsh phlloso
pher Malmonldes. Irom hls mother, Esther Iarb, whose
famlly belonged to the stream of Mltnagdlm (a |ewlsh
movement whose strlct ratlonallsm stood ln sharp con
trast to the emotlve mystlclsm of the Hasldlm), he
acqulred a knowledge of German llterature. Agnon`s
drama ls a blend of these dlvergent vlews.
Whlle the shtetl was the unlverse of hls chlld
hood, where he was lmmersed ln rellglous educatlon,
hls work was shaped by the clashlng forces of a transl
tlonal world. Jhe perlod of Agnon`s youth was a tlme
of turmoll, when the pogroms ln Russla followlng the
assasslnatlon of Czar Alexander II ln l88l wreaked
havoc on the |ews. Consequently, a conslderable flow
of |ews poured out westward to Europe, wlth a smaller
stream chooslng Palestlne as thelr destlnatlon.
He declded to become a wrlter when he was elght
and publlshed hls flrst poem ln Ylddlsh when he was flf
teen. Over the next three years (l903-l906) he pro
duced about seventy llterary works ln Hebrew and
Ylddlsh that were publlshed ln Gallcla ln journals such as
e~ãáíòéÉÜ and e~ó~êÇÉå (ln l977, the Hebrew Lnlverslty
publlshed the collectlon of storles and poems he com
posed ln Ylddlsh durlng those years). In l907, at age
nlneteen, he left the shtetl and came to Palestlne as part
of the great wave of emlgratlon (known as the second
Allyah) and settled ln |affa and |erusalem. Jhere, the
buddlng wrlter served as the flrst secretary of the |ewlsh
Court ln |affa and was confronted wlth the contradlctory
confluence of |udalc tradltlon, the cosmopolltan Western
culture of the twentleth century, and modern Hebrew llt
erature. Jemporarlly jettlsonlng hls rellglous hablts dur
lng hls flrst stay ln Palestlne, he publlshed hls flrst story,
'Agunot" (Iorsaken Wlves), ln l908 ln the journal e~J
lãÉêK Concernlng starcrossed couples ln |erusalem, the
tale dlsplays the style of wrltlng seen ln the author`s later
work. Jhe story not only enhanced hls nascent reputa
tlon but also gave hlm hls pseudonym, whlch he adopted
6
pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå ai_ POV
as hls offlclal famlly name ln l921. Agnon ls taken from
~ÖìåçíI a term applled to women who have been aban
doned by thelr husbands and are left ln a state of llmbo
slnce they cannot remarry.
Crltlcs have suggested that the name 'Agnon" ls
almed at braldlng the author`s destlny to that of the
|ewlsh people. Agnon percelved hlmself as trapped ln a
slmllar sltuatlon as the abandoned women÷caught
between dlfferent unlverses but belonglng to nelther, a
fractured posltlon dramatlzed ln hls wrltlng. Baruch
Hochman says that lt ls no accldent that Agnon appro
prlated that name.
Jhe very word ls redolent of loss, but also of the lnfl
nlte yearnlng and lneffable tenderness ellclted by loss.
All of Agnon`s work was to plvot on such feellng. Flrst
there was the sort of loss rendered ln thls tale. of loved
ones torn away ln the mldst of llfe, by chance, by fate,
by death or deslre. Jhen there was hlstorlcal loss. the
submergence of the world of orlglns to whlch one`s
feellngs are bound, ln the abyss of hlstory. Flnally,
there was metaphyslcal loss. of transcendental objects
of deslre ln the bewllderment of modernlty.
Ruth Wlsse proffers another readlng. 'Jhe adoptlon of
the Hebrew name suggests that the wrlter wlll always
remaln wlthln the bounds of tradltlon but wlthout full
securlty, llke that afforded a wedded spouse."
Agnon repeatedly tled parts of hls autoblography
to the annals of |ewlsh hlstory. Ior example, he llked to
clalm (lnaccurately) that he was born on the Nlnth of
Av, the momentous date that marks the destructlon of
the two |ewlsh temples, as well as the supposed tlme
when the future messlah wlll be born. Addltlonally, he
connected the two occaslons hls house was wrecked (ln
l921 by flre, and ln l929 by rloters) to the obllteratlon
of the two temples. Slmllarly, ln hls flctlon, one can dls
cern semlautoblographlcal aspects. Buczacz, hls chlld
hood town, serves as the backdrop ln several storles,
appearlng under the flctlonal name of Szybuzs, whlch
translates as 'error" ln Hebrew. Szybuzs functlons as
the allpurpose metaphor for the fadlng mythlcal space
the shtetl once occupled ln the dlaspora.
In l9l2 Agnon publlshed hls flrst novella, sÉJ
e~ó~Ü ÜÉJÛ^âçî äÉJjáëÜçê (And the Crooked Shall Be
Made Stralght), wlth the support of hls frlend, the
wrlter Yosef Halm Brenner. Jhe work was notlced by
several llterary speclallsts, and the asplrlng wrlter was
urged by Arthur Rupln, a major flgure ln the Zlonlst
movement, to broaden hls horlzons ln Berlln. In l9l3
Agnon traveled to Germany, where for the next eleven
years he galned a reputatlon as a lltterateur, malnly
because of hls mastery of the German language and the
lmpresslve flctlon he began publlshlng ln Berlln. Durlng
hls sojourn ln Berlln, he served as a research asslstant
to academlcs, gave Hebrew lessons, and worked for a
publlsher of |ewlshthemed books, all the whlle attend
lng lectures on phllosophy and the soclal sclences.
Durlng these restless years, llvlng also ln Munlch,
Lelpzlg, and Wlesbaden, he helped found the journal
aÉê gìÇÉ (Jhe |ew) and edlted the gìÉÇáëÅÜÉê sÉêä~Ö
( |ewlsh Publlsher). Embraced by the |ewlsh lntelllgent
sla, ln l9l3, whlle ln Berlln, Agnon met Shlomo Zal
man Schocken, a selfmade buslnessman and
phllanthroplst who became an admlrer of the young
man and consequently flnanced the publlcatlon of hls
books. Schocken`s extraordlnary support (ln the form
of a wrltlng stlpend) permltted Agnon to llve free from
flnanclal worrles and to concentrate comfortably on
wrltlng. Schocken Publlshlng, whlch stlll publlshes
Agnon`s work, relocated to Jel Avlv ln the l930s after
the Nazls closed lt down, and later the flrm opened an
offlce ln New York. Schocken, together wlth Gershom
Gustav Schocken, the edltor of the Israell dally e~Û~êÉíò
(owned by the Schocken famlly), organlzed the lobby
that eventually led to the awardlng of the Nobel.
When ln the summer of l9l6 Agnon was sum
moned for a medlcal checkup ln antlclpatlon of con
scrlptlon lnto the Austrlan army, he was horrlfled by
the posslblllty of mllltary servlce. He lngested a large
number of pllls and chalnsmoked ln an effort to make
hlmself slck enough to avold the draft. Dlsmlssed by
the medlcal board, he nevertheless was requlred to stay
ln the hospltal for several months afterward.
In l920 Agnon met and marrled Esther Marx, the
felsty daughter of a welltodo orthodox famlly that lnl
tlally opposed the unlon, bellevlng she was marrylng a
man below her status. Jhe couple, who were marrled
for flfty years (untll Agnon`s death), had a son and a
daughter, both born ln Germany. In l983 Agnon`s
daughter, Emunah Yaron, gathered and edlted letters
that Agnon and hls wlfe exchanged. Jhe book, bëíÉêä~áå
vÉâáê~íá (Darllng Esther), ls a cornucopla of lntlmate
detalls, shlnlng a new llght on the polltlcal sltuatlon ln
|erusalem as well as Agnon`s longlng for hls wlfe and
affectlon for hls two chlldren. Jhe letters are wrltten ln
the same lyrlcal prose one flnds ln Agnon`s storles.
Although he had begun wrltlng ln Ylddlsh as a
chlld, Agnon chose to wrlte hls major works ln
Hebrew, the anclent holy tongue that had been morl
bund for hundreds of years untll revlved and turned
lnto a reemerglng language by Ellezer Ben Yehuda at
the end of the nlneteenth century and the beglnnlng of
the twentleth century. In a l995 _ìÑÑ~äç kÉïë artlcle,
Mark Shechner observes that to wrlte ln Hebrew ln
l908 was 'to draw one`s language and frame of refer
ence from tradltlonal llturgy and to envlslon a future
based on sacred tlme and space ln whlch |udalsm
would not be slmply preserved but renewed and trans
7
ai_ POV pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå
formed." Lnllke other ploneers of secular flctlon, such
as I. L. Peretz, Isaac Bashevls Slnger, Sholem Alelchem,
and Isaac Babel, who turned to Ylddlsh, Russlan, and
German, Agnon elected for Hebrew because he wanted
to wrlte for a future natlon that would be located ln
Eretz Israel (Jhe Land of Israel) rather than ln Europe
or the Lnlted States. Agnon had been an ardent Zlonlst
slnce he was seventeen, and champlonlng Hebrew as
the modern language of hls wrltlng corresponded to the
phllosophlcal tenets of Zlonlsm and enllghtenment, two
movements that promoted Hebrew as the language of
emanclpatlon and argued for Western modernlzatlon
as the road to rebulldlng the |ewlsh natlon.
Submerged ln blbllcal and talmudlc teachlngs,
Agnon fllled hls works wlth plous folktales, Hasldlcllke
parables, Gothlc romances, and streamofconsclousness
plots÷remlnlscent of European llterature ln the manner
of |orge Luls Borges and Bruno Schulz÷that under
score the sufferlngs and hlstory of the |ewlsh people. As
a host of theorlsts have observed, Agnon`s whole out
put ls crossed wlth references to Scandlnavlan, Russlan,
and Irench llterature, polntlng to the fact that he read
wldely and was conversant wlth European novellsts
such as Gustave Ilaubert (whose vlrtues he exalted ln
correspondence), Mlguel de Cervantes, Schulz, and Ste
fan Zwelg. Yet, Agnon lnslsted ln hls Nobel acceptance
speech that he was lnfluenced prlmarlly by 'the Blble,
Mlshna, Jalmud, Mldrash and Rashl`s commentary on
the Blble," the next lnfluences belng 'the medleval
halachlc commentators, Hebrew poets and phlloso
phers led by Malmonldes." Certalnly, Agnon drew
much lnsplratlon from Rabbl Nachman of Bratslav, a
master storyteller who paved the way for Agnon to
wrlte rabblnlcally themed tales ln a secular world where
every actlon carrles symbollc overtones. He edlted sev
eral wlderanglng anthologles of rabblnlcal texts, such
as v~ãáã kçê~Ûáã (l938, Days of Awe), a cluster of folk
tales lnsplred by the |ewlsh festlvals; ^íÉã êÉÛáíÉã (l959,
Ye Have Seen), whlch brlngs together materlal extend
lng from the Blble to the Hasldlc scrlbes of the nlne
teenth century; and páÑêÉÜÉã ëÜÉä që~Çáâáã (l96l, Book of
the Rlghteous), selectlons from pÉÑÉêI ëçÑÉêI îÉJëáéìê (l938,
Book, Wrlter, Story), a volume of Hasldlc lore.
Straddllng the worlds of the sacred and the mod
ern as an orthodox |ew, Agnon often deplcted rellglon
as the only bulwark agalnst the moral dlsorder of con
temporary soclety. Gershon Shaked, who labels Agnon
a revolutlonary tradltlonallst, malntalns that the revolu
tlonary aspect can be attrlbuted to the tendency ln
Agnon to show that the new soclal order sweeplng
through Europe was ln truth a type of anarchy that dls
orlented the |ews. In a headnote for qÉÜáää~I ~åÇ líÜÉê
fëê~Éäá q~äÉë (l956), Israel Melr Lask explalned.
Agnon`s storles of llfe a hundred years ago and more
ago are shrouded ln a mellow nostalgla, a famlly chron
lcle warmness slmllar to that of a grandmother telllng
the tales of her clan. Jhe closer he comes to the con
temporary scene, however, the less pleased wlth hls
subject matter he appears to be. Hls tales of llfe flfty
years ago are marked by an almost photographlc real
lsm whlle when he comes to the present day a certaln
undercurrent of asperlty can be detected ln the appar
ent serenlty that characterlzes all he wrltes.
Agnon also dld not refraln from crltlclzlng an
unchecked slnglemlndedness to one`s falth. One such
example ls ^Ö~Ç~í Ü~JëçÑÉê (l923, Jhe Jale of the
Scrlbe). It concerns a plous |ewlsh scrlbe who devotes
all of hls energy to hls craft and thus neglects hls suffer
lng wlfe, who remalns chlldless. Jhe story ends wlth
the rlghteous man`s death, followlng that of hls wlfe,
though he manages to complete a Jorah scroll ln her
memory. Alongslde Agnon`s total ldentlflcatlon wlth
the yeshlva world, one can also detect a certaln amblva
lence that doggedly avolds superfluous sentlmentallty.
One lnvarlable element that lnforms the Agnon lmagl
natlon ls that an overrellance on modern attltudes on
the one hand, and an excluslve bellef ln the moral cer
talnty brought forth by tradltlon on the other, can
lmprlson as much as lt can llberate.
Aloof and reserved, Agnon rarely sought the llme
llght and refralned from artlculatlng hls soclal and polltl
cal vlews. He was lntensely serlous about hls rellglon and
vlgorously defended the orthodox world agalnst what he
vlewed as unfalr attacks. Shortly before travellng to
Stockholm to recelve the Nobel Prlze, he consulted rab
bls as to whether or not lt was approprlate for hlm to
leave the Holy Land for the occaslon. Concurrently, he
retalned close tles to the less rellglously observant llterary
and scholarly communltles. Yet, he dld not shy away
from dlsapprovlng of the rellglous communlty, especlally
when rellglous partles entered the polltlcal fray. He was
dlsappolnted that the |ewlsh experlence was dlluted and
condensed to a slmple polltlcal credo. Jhus, hls natlonal
lst bellef ln the Greater Land of Israel accordlng to the
Blble stemmed from hls rellglous phllosophy and thlnk
lng rather than any polltlcal outlook. In fact, Agnon
belonged to the Land of Israel movement, founded ln
l967, whlch belleved that the whole of the land of Israel
lncluded Western Palestlne.
A coterle of Agnon experts belleve that hls strength
lles chlefly ln short flctlon, a form that encases the
mldrashlc sketch and the Hasldlc yarns. Agnon`s length
ler opuses resemble hls short flctlon. the novels are struc
tured as vlgnettes bralded together thematlcally. pÉÑÉê e~J
j~Û~ëáã (l91l, Jhe Book of Deeds) ls a multlstranded
collectlon of twentyone storles characterlzed by expres
slonlsm, Surreallsm, and stream of consclousness that tell
8
pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå ai_ POV
of the angulshed sufferlng of the |ews ln Europe. Jhe
lntenslty of the plots led the crltlc Nahum Norbert
Glatzer to observe (ln hls afterword to qïÉåíóJlåÉ píçêáÉëI
l970) that Agnon 'must have felt compelled to abandon
the form of the wellcomposed tale for the experlence of
chaos." Agnon`s storles chronlcle and reflect an lnward
and recluslve mood, at tlmes melanchollc, embodled by
a cast of forlorn lntellectuals, neurotlc husbands, and
remorseful scholars and phllosophers. Jhese characters
are rendered powerless by personal angst and sexual
lmmoblllty. Jhe afflnlty wlth Iranz Kafka ls unmlstak
able. Although Agnon denled any suggestlon that he was
lnfluenced by contemporary wrlters (lnslstlng he had
never read Kafka, even though the latter`s collected wrlt
lngs sat on a bookshelf ln Agnon`s study), Kafka`s slgna
ture elements of lrony, dreamllke sequences, and
skeptlclsm are much to the fore ln Agnon`s wrltlngs,
fused wlth hls rellglous doubt. A portlon of the author`s
Nobel acceptance speech conveys the lmage of a solltary
artlst aloof and lgnorant of presentday modes. 'Some
see ln my books the lnfluences of authors whose names,
ln my lgnorance, I have not even heard, whlle others see
the lnfluences of poets whose names I have heard but
whose wrltlngs I have not read."
Also evldent ln the Agnon unlverse ls |erusalem;
a systematlc check of hls works reveals that the name
|erusalem ls mentloned 2,600 tlmes. In many ways,
|erusalem serves as the central axls of Agnon`s llfe and
canvas. When he arrlved ln |erusalem ln l921, after
spendlng twelve years ln Europe, he rented a room and
lmmedlately headed for the Western Wall. Arrlvlng at
dusk, he covered hls face and wept. Davld Patterson
belleves that amld Agnon`s angulshed sense of exlle
and rupture from tradltlon, |erusalem personlfled the
one stable posltlve element, statlng that ln Agnon`s tales
the clty ls 'endowed wlth a personallty of her own, and
becomes a symbol for all that ls meanlngful and perma
nent and harmonlous ln llfe. It ls as though the holy
clty alone contalns the seeds whlch mlght restore that
wholeness of splrlt and oneness that are sllpplng
through the nerveless flngers of our unhappy genera
tlons." Semlnal crltlcs such as Baruch Kurzwell and
Dov Sadan, who dld much to enhance Agnon`s reputa
tlon, determlned early on that |erusalem was the soul
and purpose ln the Agnon canon, that lt epltomlzed an
absolute value wlthln hls world.
Agnon repeatedly declalmed hls abldlng love for
|erusalem, as ln lêÉ~Ü å~í~Ü ä~Jäìå (l939; translated as ^
dìÉëí Ñçê íÜÉ káÖÜíI l968). 'My llfe and soul I shall glve
for you the holy clty / Asleep and awake, you shall
have my entlre happlness." Many of hls tales and nov
els are set ln the old clty and deplct |erusalem ln a lov
lng, reverentlal fashlon. In qÉÜáää~ (orlglnally publlshed
ln Hebrew ln l950 and translated ln qÉÜáää~I ~åÇ líÜÉê
fëê~Éäá q~äÉëI l956), for lnstance, Agnon draws a dlrect
parallel between the l01yearold eponymous herolne,
whose name radlates admlratlon (slnce lt has blbllcal
orlglns and means 'pralse"), and the clty. Llke |erusa
lem, Jehllla ls blessed wlth long llfe and embodles the
supreme ldeals of plety, hollness, and prlde, usually
assoclated wlth Israel`s eternal capltal. Jhe openlng
paragraph, although referrlng to Jehllla, can just as
well be a paean to |erusalem.
Now there used to be ln |erusalem a certaln old
woman, as comely an old woman as you have seen ln
your eyes. Rlghteous she was, and wlse she was, and
graclous and humble; for klndness and plty were the
llght of her eyes, and every wrlnkle ln her face told of
blesslng and peace. I know that women should not be
llkened to angels. yet her I would llken to an angel of
God. She had ln her, besldes, the vlgor of youth; so
that she wore old age llke a mantle, whlle ln herself
there was seen no trace of her years.
Agnon llved ln the southern nelghborhood of Jalplot for
forty years, worklng from a small llbraryturnedofflce
that ls now a museum vlslted by tourlsts and the slte of
monthly lectures on hls work. He followed a strlct and
spartan routlne, rlslng early to say hls mornlng prayers
and then ascendlng the stalrs to the prlvate, tlny area
where he tolled untll noon. He would sometlmes work
all day and lnto the nlght. Near a stove, he stood at a pol
lshed wood podlum wrltlng by hand. Blographer Laor
reports that Agnon stood to wrlte, ln order, as Agnon
put lt, 'to grab the exact word I want from all those fly
lng around the room." Only after he was dlagnosed wlth
a heart condltlon ln l95l dld he slt to work. Ior the serl
ous and seasoned artlst, wrltlng was a craft of preclslon.
Aharon Megged, a renowned Israell wrlter, says that
Agnon would get angry when someone crltlclzed hlm.
Seldom satlsfled wlth hls handlwork, he labored for
months, even years, amendlng and substltutlng words
and phrases ln many verslons, dellverlng the full flavor
of hls llngulstlc rlchness and own lnlmltable archalc
Hebrew (sometlmes tagged as 'Agnonlt" for lts dlstlnc
tlveness). Accordlngly, there are ln exlstence many
manuscrlpts and wldely dlsparate verslons of hls col
lected works, lncludlng one ln eleven volumes (l93l-
l952) and another ln elght volumes (l959-l962).
When Agnon worked, no one was allowed lnto
the study, and hls wlfe, Esther, had to ensure that there
was absolute qulet. Laor records that the street on whlch
Agnon llved was blocked off to trafflc by the clty councll,
whlle a slgn hanglng at the head of the street proclalmed
to all passersby. 'No cars are to enter. Agnon ls Wrlt
lng."
A true lover of old books, he routlnely patronlzed
secondhand bookshops, purchaslng rare edltlons (some
9
ai_ POV pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå
tlmes datlng back to the seventeenth century) wlth
money he steadlly set aslde. Durlng hls spell ln Ger
many, he acqulred old |ewlsh books for the prlvate
llbrary of hls patron, Schocken. Books and thelr trau
matlc loss flgure promlnently ln the wrlter`s llfe. In the
summer of l921, whlle he was stlll llvlng ln Bad Hom
burg, Germany, a flre consumed hls large prlvate llbrary,
lncludlng valuable manuscrlpts and 'Bltzror hahaylm"
(In the Bond of Llfe), a nearly completed autoblographl
cal novel whose publlcatlon was lmmlnent. Also
destroyed was a compllatlon of Hasldlc legends that
Agnon had assembled wlth hls frlend Martln Buber. Jhe
causes for the mysterlous flre have never been explalned
(the flftyshekel note that bears hls portralt lncludes on
the other slde a précls of that event). Agnon, who was ln
the hospltal for a hernla operatlon at the tlme, lost 1,000
Hebrew books. Jhls dlsaster had a lastlng lmpact on
Agnon, who saw the flre as an omen. In the wake of thls
mlsfortune, he became convlnced that hls stopover ln
exlle was too long, and ln l921 he returned to Palestlne,
where, as he revealed ln hls Nobel Prlze address, he
wrote 'all that God has put lnto my heart and lnto my
pen."
Durlng the bloody Arab rlots of l929, hls rented
home ln |erusalem was lnvaded and looted. Although he
had managed to save most of hls cherlshed books and
wrltlngs, once agaln thousands of volumes were rulned
and damaged. Agnon wrote about thls calamlty ln the
l91l tale 'Me`oyev Le`ohev" (Irom Ioe to Irlend), a
multlfaceted, allegorlcal narratlve about a mlghty battle
waged by a perslstent wlnd (an allpurpose metaphor for
the Arabs) and a determlned settler who wlshes to llve ln
the suburb of Jalplot. Shattered, Agnon asked hls frlend,
archltect Irltz Kornberg, to deslgn a new dwelllng ln Jal
plot for hlm and hls famlly, whlch was completed ln
l93l and ls now a museum. On the wall of Agnon`s
house remalns an lnscrlptlon that encapsulates hls
lntense feellngs about hls home. 'I have bullt myself a
house and planted myself a garden." Jhe feellng of
homelessness, of loslng one`s dwelllng, or slmply not
havlng a house where one can lodge, ls a strong current
ln Agnon`s work, servlng as a metaphor for the precarl
ous sltuatlon of the |ew.
Jhe wanderlng, homeless |ew and hls relatlonshlp
wlth the world ls at the heart of Agnon`s flrst novel,
e~âÜå~ë~í h~ä~Ü (l93l; translated as qÜÉ _êáÇ~ä `~åçéóI
l937), a folk eplc flrst publlshed as a story ln l920, rlch
ln scale and ambltlous ln lts thematlc perspectlve. Ior
mally, e~âÜå~ë~í h~ä~Ü resembles a patchwork of storles
wlthln storles, separate pleces stltched together around
the maln narratlve and bound by such themes as mar
rlage, charlty, generoslty, the role of provldence, and
rootlessness. Often compared to Cervantes`s açå nìáñçíÉ
ÇÉ i~ j~åÅÜ~ (l605), Agnon`s novel ls concerned wlth
the travels of the Hasldlc Reb Yudel and hls companlon
Notte through the towns and vlllages of nlneteenth
century Gallcla as he attempts to flnd a dowry for hls
daughters. Weldlng fantasy and reallsm, the adventures
of the two perlpatetlc prlnclpals and the characters they
encounter, each wlth a vlvld story to tell, allow Agnon to
palnt a mosalc of |ewlsh and Gentlle llfe, replete wlth
folkllke vlgnettes, traglc tales, and homlletlcal wlsdom.
Loomlng large throughout ls the emphasls placed on
unwaverlng falth ln the creator, as shown by Yudel`s
plety and love for hls fellow man. In a wlder context, the
novel ls a medltatlon on the decllne of rellglous llfe ln
Poland, utlllzlng a rellglous protagonlst whose world
vlew ls obtruslvely at odds wlth hls secular surroundlngs
but who malntalns throughout hls slmple falth ln God.
Yudel`s fldellty ls rewarded when upon hls return, he
flnds a burled treasure, glvlng hlm the wealth to provlde
for hls daughters.
In Hochman`s words, a key element ln the novel ls
'the search for a past, a problng lnto a onceuponatlme
way of llfe. In e~âÜå~ë~í h~ä~Ü Agnon ls the llterary archl
vlst of Gallclan |ewry, the comprehenslve preserver of a
now destroyed clvlllzatlon." Crltlcs, dazed by the mlghty
stream of dlgresslons and |ewlsh lore that clog the maln
plot, have now reallzed that Agnon, who lncluded e~âÜJ
å~ë~í h~ä~Ü ln hls collected works (the l93l-l952 hçä
páéìê~î ëÜÉä pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå), lntended thls project to
serve as a thematlc and aesthetlc lndex for hls later cre
atlons. Scholars have argued that ln thls novel Agnon
sought to show (early ln hls career) that hls future land
mark projects would be fundamentally dlfferent from
what hls llterary forebears had done, ln both Hebrew
and European letters.
páéìê m~ëÜìí (translated as ^ páãéäÉ píçêóI l985),
Agnon`s l935 novel, ls anythlng but slmple; lt ls a soclal
treatlse that dramatlzes the confllct of |ewlsh mlddleclass
mores wlth European modernlst ldeas of rellglous and
sexual freedom, as well as rebelllon agalnst lndurate
boundarles of behavlor. At the same tlme, lt ls a percep
tlve soclal allegory melded wlth a character study of the
dllemmas entalled ln human exlstence and the sacrlflces
man must make to flt lnto a rlgldly deflned world. Davld
Ghltelman wrltes that '^ páãéäÉ píçêó ls, ln the order of
Jhomas Mann`s aÉ~íÜ áå sÉåáÅÉ or Andre Glde`s qÜÉ
fããçê~äáëíI a complex and resonant medltatlon on the
comforts of clvlllzatlon versus lts lnevltable dlscontents."
Set ln the flrst decade of the twentleth century ln
an East European backwater (the town of Szybuzs), páéìê
m~ëÜìí follows the llfe of Hlrshl Horowltz, the only son of
wealthy shopkeepers. He falls ln love wlth Blume Nacht,
hls poor second cousln, who ls sent to llve wlth Hlrshl`s
parents and work as a housekeeper followlng the death
of her mother. Hlrshl, a classlc schlemlel who rellshes the
warmth of hls mlddleclass famlly, ls forced by hls doml
l0
pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå ai_ POV
nant and overbearlng mother, Jzlrel, to repress hls
yearnlngs for Blume and marry the prematched, shal
low Mlna Zlemllch (daughter of a wealthy landowner).
Hlrshl`s bllsterlng affectlon for the woman who captured
hls heart, however, ls not quelled but rather lncreases,
resultlng ln restlessness, lnsomnla (he undertakes noctur
nal walks hoplng to catch a gllmpse of Blume, only to see
her vlslon at a llghted wlndow), and eventually mental
dlslntegratlon. Jhe breakdown scenes are revelatory of
an lnner journey lnto the netherland of the psyche, cou
pled wlth chllllng hlstorlcal flashbacks to |ewlsh mlle
stones of exlle and destructlon. Woven lnto the
archltecturally preclse tale ls a multlhued portralt of the
|ewlsh communlty ln the AustroHungarlan Emplre at
the dawn of the twentleth century, deplctlng the resplte
and success the |ews of Gallcla beneflted from under the
tough czarlst rule.
Aware of thelr son`s plnlng, Hlrshl`s manlpulatlve
parents send hlm to a sanltarlum at a dlstant clty,
relleved to learn that the townsfolk belleve thls move ls a
clever scam to help Hlrshl avold the draft. Jhere, the
frustrated young man ls treated by Dr. Langsham,
whose unconventlonal methods lnvolve Ireudlan regres
slve therapy that takes the patlent back to hls chlldhood.
Slnglng hls patlent nostalglc lullables he remembers from
the small |ewlsh vlllage he grew up ln and abandoned,
the eccentrlc psychlatrlst shows Hlrshl that the only cure
for the soul ls a return to one`s slmple roots of |ewlsh
splrltuallsm and llvlng. As the novel draws to a close,
Hlrshl reconclles wlth hls wlfe, rejolclng ln parenthood
and flndlng emotlonal and sexual contentment, seem
lngly embodylng Agnon`s afflrmatlon of marrlage as the
bedrock of soclety.
What ls the unsuspectlng reader to make of Hlr
shl`s flnal acceptance of the conformlty to bourgeols
exlstence? Is Agnon mocklng a weakwllled character
who, after belng tempted by the chaos of thwarted, for
bldden love, does not thlnk for hlmself? Halkln, who
flrst translated the book lnto Engllsh, vlews páéìê m~ëÜìí
as an antlmodernlst tract, argulng that the concluslon of
the novel ventures beyond the typlcal modernlst aver
slon to bourgeols mores by suggestlng that sexual deslre
ls a destructlve force and that mlddleclass values are
what provlde vltally needed constancy. By contrast,
Robert Alter ln qÜÉ kÉï vçêâ qáãÉë _ççâ oÉîáÉï (22
December l985) contended that there ls 'more lrresolu
tlon ln the novel" and that 'to the end Agnon makes us
palnfully aware of the terrlble prlce Hlrshl pays for hls
flnal normallty."
Agnon`s talent was at lts peak ln lêÉ~Ü å~í~Ü ä~JäìåI
an unsettllng, nlghtmarlsh account of the splrltual and
materlal decllne of European |ewry after World War I,
as related by an unnamed narrator returnlng to hls
natlve town. Jhe apocalyptlc novel, flrst serlallzed ln the
newspaper e~Û~êÉíòI from l8 October l938 to 7 Aprll
l939, was lnsplred by Agnon`s vlslt to Buczacz ln l930,
after a slxteenyear absence, whlch provoked a Marcel
Proust-llke flood of chlldhood memorles that constltutes
one of the plllars of the work and explalns the concatena
tlon of the past and the present.
Lpon hls arrlval at hls hometown of Szybuzs, the
hero dlscovers a communlty ln decllne, devold of falth
and ravaged by the war÷the antlthesls to the congrega
tlon of yore. As a teenager, Agnon had occaslonally
called hls hometown 'a clty of the dead," and ln lêÉ~Ü
å~í~Ü ä~Jäìå thls sentlment overhangs every scene and
actlon. Agnon tlps hls metaphorlcal hat when hls protag
onlst on arrlval meets crlppled watchmen and later a |ew
hatlng beggar, slgnlfylng the degradatlon of the place.
Acute rellglous emptlness permeates dlaspora llfe. the
synagogues are almost barren, and those attendlng ser
vlces do so out of routlne, even presentlng the guest wlth
the key for the Bet Mldrash ( |ewlsh house of study), for
whlch they have no further use. Starkly palnful ln tone
and atmosphere, the tale records the despalr Agnon felt
and portends the desolatlon of |ewlsh llfe that followed.
Nonetheless, the concluslon of the book ls laced wlth
optlmlsm. prlor to leavlng, the narrator presents a new
born baby at a clrcumclslon ceremony wlth a substltute
key for the Bet Mldrash. Jhls hopeful message for the
future ls glven added resonance ln an essentlal scene ln
whlch the hero, now back ln Palestlne, flnds the orlglnal
key he thought he lost. Assertlng that lêÉ~Ü å~í~Ü ä~Jäìå ls
Agnon`s most lmportant opus, |udlth Romney Wegner
wrltes that the novel constltutes an hlstorlcal document
of protest. 'It ls the author`s testament to the lnablllty of
European |ewry to flnd an adequate replacement for the
tradltlonal culture that for centurles had sustalned |ewlsh
self ldentlflcatlon and ralson d`etre ln an allen world.
Agnon bears wltness to the dlsappolntment of the
ã~ëâáäáã (enllghtened ones) who had hoped to forge a
modern |ewlsh ldentlty compatlble wlth the Age of Rea
son, as well as to hls own profound dlsllluslonment wlth
the fallure of the e~ëâ~ä~Ü (enllghtenment)."
Arguably Agnon`s capstone, qÉãçä pÜáäëÜçã (l915,
Jhe Day Before Yesterday; translated as låäó vÉëíÉêÇ~óI
2000) was the flrst of hls novels to be located ln Palestlne,
and although set durlng the second Allyah, lt was ln fact
wrltten ln the shadow of the Holocaust÷evldenced ln the
lnterconnected motlfs of death and reblrth lt tackles.
Alter explalned ln hls l985 revlew that Agnon dealt wlth
the grlm reallty of the Shoah lndlrectly because of hls
fabullst procllvltles. 'he preferred to approach the men
ace of recent hlstory obllquely, often dlsplaclng the raw
terror of contemporary experlence lnto varlous klnds of
symbollc lmages and parabollc lntlmatlons that could be
held at an lntellectual dlstance." Alter adds that 'the utter
bleakness . . . of thls novel`s vlslon of man and God may
ll
ai_ POV pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå
be, after all, a dlrect response to the nlghtmare of Hltler
years."
qÉãçä pÜáäëÜçã beglns wlth a wlshfulflllment jour
ney, proceeds wlth a serles of plcaresque adventures,
dwells on love and loss, and flnally ends on a traglc note.
Jhe burled themes of the book are about how often peo
ple fall to actuallze thelr dreams and how bewlldered
they feel when they stumble agalnst tragedy. Llke many
of Agnon`s storles, qÉãçä pÜáäëÜçã deals wlth the twlsted
threads of llfe that expose falry tales as mere flctlons and
show exlstence to be a whlrlpool of dark, unfulfllled
deslres. Ilnally, lt ls about how the romantlc lmages of
places and ldeologles rarely resemble thelr true state.
A reconstructlon of early ploneer soclety, the novel
ls an lnslghtful and sour crltlque of the Zlonlst endeavor
that also examlnes the eleglac and dark undertow of
human exlstence followlng the natlonal and personal
exlle of the |ewlsh natlon. Cosmlc lmagery, prophetlc
lmages, and apocalyptlc messages abound as the novel
seeks to reference and encompass the unlversal destlny
and sufferlng of all people. Jhe novel was recognlzed as
such a glgantlc achlevement ln world llterature that ln
l956 the crltlc Edmund Wllson, who compared Agnon
to Kafka and Marc Chagall, publlcly called for the
author to be glven the Nobel Prlze, notlng that 'Agnon ls
a classlc . . . one ls ready to accept hlm as a true represen
tatlve of that great llne of |ewlsh wrlters that beglns wlth
the authors of Genesls." Jhe metaphyslcally loaded
novel ls a companlon plece to Agnon`s earller tour de
force, lêÉ~Ü å~í~Ü ä~JäìåK
qÉãçä pÜáäëÜçã ls the story of Yltzhak Kumer, a
nalve ploneer who travels from Gallcla to Jurklsh
controlled Palestlne, along wlth the masslve wave of
lmmlgrants leavlng the morlbund world of the shtetl
between the flrst decade of the twentleth century and the
outbreak of World War II, lntendlng to rebulld the Holy
Land through backbreaklng work. Jhese ploneers were
malnly secular ldeallsts, lntent on upholdlng the values of
|ewlsh labor and resurrectlng the Hebrew language. Jhe
dreamyeyed Kumer, who left hls Hasldlc famlly ln Szy
buzs for Zlon, ls lmpelled by the ploneer rhetorlc and
craves to plough lts soll, make the desert bloom, and be
revlved by the place. An lconlc emblem of the Zlonlst
ploneers who stralned to become the new |ews and bulld
a new natlonal |ewlsh home, he ls also the qulntessentlal
schlemlel, denuded of selfreflectlon or wlll, hopelessly
romantlc and devoted to the doctrlne that all of hls fel
low lmmlgrants are brothers llnked by a shared cause.
Before long, the brutal economlcs of the tlmes are
exposed when Kumer, llke hls brethren, dlscovers that
the |ewlsh farmers of the colonles prefer the doclle Arab
laborers, as they are cheaper and already famlllar wlth
worklng the land. It soon becomes apparent that the real
lty ls far removed from the Zlonlst ldeal as settlers strug
gle to adapt to the cultural and soclal condltlons of the
harsh envlronment.
In response, Kumer settles ln the bustllng, secular
|affa, where he becomes a perlpatetlc slgn palnter (palnt
lng ls a metaphor ln the book for the coverlng up of real
lty), whlle at the same tlme castlng off the shackles of hls
rellglous upbrlnglng. Desplte eventually becomlng a
capable housepalnter, Kumer llves wlth a recurrlng sense
of fallure for not worklng the land. In |affa, Kumer ls
agonlzed by the tltanlc cholce between the secular and
tradltlonal worlds. Wlth remarkable care for detall, and
drawlng on hls memorles of hls own tlme there, Agnon
palnts |affa as a sensual, llvely center, abrlm wlth young
lovers, wouldbe revolutlonarles, wrlters, crooked polltl
clans, and charlatans.
Over the course of hls sojourn ln |affa, the vlrglnal
Kumer meets and falls ln love wlth Sonya Zweerlng, the
seductlve, dangerously sexual female flgure who appears
frequently ln Agnon`s corpus. Ior her part, Sonya treats
the affalr as a casual fllng, whereas Yltzhak ls so lnfatu
ated wlth the allurlng female that he flagellates hlmself
for not havlng done the honorable thlng and marrled
her. Crushed after Sonya caprlclously ends thelr short
llved romance, Kumer moves to |erusalem and lnto the
arms of the vlrtuous Shlfra, the only daughter of Reb
Ialsh, an extreme fanatlc of Me`ah She`arlm who speclal
lzes ln excommunlcatlons.
|erusalem ls the converse of |affa. It ls a bastlon of
rellglous |ews and manlpulatlve rabbls who are mostly
antlZlonlsts, enmeshed ln shtetlllke surroundlngs.
Amos Oz, ln hls 2000 collectlon of essays on Agnon,
observes that |erusalem ls shown to be fosslllzed and
empty, a portrayal fllled wlth scathlng barbs and lrony.
Stlll, Kumer ls lnvelgled by |affa`s charm, to whlch he
comes back once more, but ultlmately chooses |erusa
lem. Jhe return to |erusalem also slgnals a resumptlon of
hls rellglous observance and an abandonment of hls
Zlonlst ldeals. And although he marrles Shlfra, Kumer
struggles to reconclle the splrltual vaculty of the present
wlth the nostalglc lmage of the past.
Much of the drama of the novel comes from a sub
plot lnvolvlng Balak, a dog on whose back Kumer, ln an
act of chlldlsh playfulness, palnts the words 'Mad Dog."
Jhe stray anlmal, up untll then a stald flxture on the
streets of Me`ah She`arlm, beglns to suffer persecutlon by
the lnhabltants of the communlty, who heed the warnlng
daubed on hls fur. Pelted wlth stones, Balak ls forced to
flee hls beloved nelghborhood, where he scoured for
kosher meat left by the butchers, and lnstead must eat
dlsgraceful scraps from the Gentlles. Jhe author lmag
lnes the dog`s thoughts, as Balak comments on the peo
ple he encounters and the enlgma of manklnd, ln a prose
made up of dlfferent Hebrew archltectonlcs. Whenever
the narratlve focus swltches to Balak, the plot assumes a
l2
pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå ai_ POV
Kafkaesque turn lntermlngled wlth maglc reallsm. Balak,
who wanders through the maze of Chrlstlan and Musllm
quarters ln the clty, needs to call on all of hls wlllness to
survlve the panlcselzed resldents. Soon, he emerges as a
celebrated polnt of dlscusslon ln the dlaspora, a cause for
newspaper artlcles and debates and an object for varlous
theorles about hls real lmport.
After a whlle, the exlled anlmal sets out to avenge
hls fate on the man who marked hlm and who ls respon
slble for all hls angulsh. In the end, the two heroes meet
for the second and last tlme. Jhe mongrel bltes Kumer,
who dles a grotesque death from rables (even though the
dog dld not have rables when Kumer labeled hlm).
Agnon underllnes the blbllcal leltmotlv of the blndlng of
Isaac near the coda of the book, when the hero, llke the
blbllcal Isaac, bound wlth ropes, squlrms ln paln llke a
dog from the torturous agony of hls dlsease. Kumer`s
catastrophlc and dlsproportlonate punlshment, coupled
wlth God`s sllence ln the face of such vlolence, served as
Agnon`s llterary reactlon to the German atrocltles taklng
place. Nonetheless, the resolutlon of the book offers optl
mlsm÷ln a cruclal scene, set a day after Kumer`s funeral,
a llfeglvlng raln comes down to end the excruclatlng
drought that has eroded the sunbaked land.
Jhere have been many lnterpretatlons as to what
Balak stands for. On one level, he may be sald to be
Kumer`s bestlal alter ego, embodylng the prlmal and
repressed deslres the hero does not dare artlculate. On
another level, he can be read as a modernday |ob, suffer
lng from lnexpllcable cosmlc lnjustlce and determlned to
declpher the mysterles of hls bltter woes (at one polnt, he
mutters 'where ls heaven?"). And on stlll another, he
may, as Oz suggests, represent the motlfs of desertlon
and dlsplacement as well as the eternal search for love
and home.
Whlle the narratlve obvlously leads ln many dlffer
ent dlrectlons, one operatlng tenet ls the parallel drawn
between Balak and Kumer. Both plne for the past÷
Kumer for the home that he was ralsed ln, burstlng wlth
the sweetness of tradltlon and dally observance, Balak
for the kosher food of Me`ah She`arlm. Both feel despalr
lngly lonely. Both search for meanlng ln thelr partlcular
unlverse. And both have been decelved by the trlckerles
of llfe. After all, rather than bulldlng the land and belng
rebullt by lt, Kumer ls destroyed ln the end.
Agnon recelved many prestlglous llterary awards.
He won the Lsshlskln Prlze for Tcmol Slilslom ln l950
and the prestlglous Israel Prlze for hls collected storles ln
l951 and l958, as well as the Blallk Prlze for Llterature
bestowed by the clty of Jel Avlv, ln l935 and agaln ln
l95l. In l962 the clty of |erusalem made hlm an honor
ary cltlzen. Jhen, ln l966, came the Nobel Prlze.
Agnon`s supporters, lncludlng Shlomo Schocken
and professor Hugo Berman, had campalgned for a
Nobel nomlnatlon for hlm ln l917, followlng the success
of Tcmol Slilslom. Although thls attempt and others falled,
the publlcatlon ln Engllsh of ßctrotlcd, c Ido ovd Ivom:
Two Tolcs ln the summer of l966 colnclded wlth a wave
of lnternatlonal crltlcal acclalm for hls earller work that
contrlbuted to hls wlnnlng the prlze.
In hls Nobel presentatlon speech, Swedlsh Acad
emy member Anders Osterllng lauded Agnon`s reputa
tlon as the foremost wrlter ln modern Hebrew llterature,
notlng that Agnon ls 'endowed wlth remarkable glfts of
humor and wlsdom, and wlth a persplcaclous play of
thought comblned wlth nalve perceptlon÷ln all, a con
summate expresslon of the |ewlsh character." At the ban
quet held after the offlclal Nobel ceremony, Ingvar
Andersson of the Swedlsh Academy commented to
Agnon. 'We honour ln you a comblnatlon of tradltlon
and prophecy, of saga and wlsdom."
At the end of hls llfe Agnon was completely deblll
tated by strokes and dled of a flnal stroke ln the town of
Rehovot on l7 Iebruary l970. He was burled on Jhe
Mount of Ollves ln |erusalem. Slnce the l970s, hls
daughter has been collectlng and publlshlng hls voluml
nous wrltlngs, somethlng her prollflc father was reluctant
to do whlle allve. As a result, there are now more works
ln prlnt than there were ln the author`s llfetlme.
Slirol (l97l; translated as Sliro, l989), Agnon`s
swan song, was unflnlshed at the tlme of hls death and
was edlted by hls daughter accordlng to her father`s
lnstructlons. Agnon had worked on Slirol for twenty
flve years and left a tangle of related materlals. Wlth no
endlng vouchsafed ln the orlglnal, two chapters were
subsequently added ln l971 and l978 edltlons as the des
lgnated concluslon. Jhls lntrlcately plotted, penetratlng
novel works on many levels ln problng the most grand
of themes. the nature of art; love and obsesslon; evll;
death; and beauty. Beverly Ilelds adds that Agnon
undertakes some of the most perennlal European motlfs.
'among them Jhomas Mann`s concept of llfe as a dls
ease of matter, wlth art as the ultlmate dlsease, and the
legends of Iaust, Prometheus and the Wanderlng |ew."
Ilelds also polnts out that the maln character`s name÷
Manfred Herbst÷calls to mlnd George Gordon, Lord
Byron`s l8l7 verse drama Movfrcd, conjurlng up reso
nances of those legends.
Slirol tells the story of Herbst, a Germanborn hls
tory professor lmmersed ln German culture, who teaches
at the Hebrew Lnlverslty of the l930s. Whlle ln the hos
pltal where hls wlfe, Henrletta, ls glvlng blrth to thelr
thlrd chlld, he meets Shlrah, a slckly, mannlsh, and enlg
matlc nurse (whose name means 'poetry") wlth whom
he beglns a brlef affalr that later develops lnto a torment
lng, erotlc lnfatuatlon when she dlsappears.
Jhe novel astonlshed many for lts overt pattern of
secularlsm and candld descrlptlons of sexual obsesslon
l3
ai_ POV pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå
and exlstentlal angst. Jhere was wlderanglng amaze
ment at the lack of admlratlon for the sacred world, and
surprlse at a central character`s scorn for tradltlon.
Agnon populates hls pages wlth secular German lmml
grants whose cultural afflllatlons are to the German
republlc they escaped from, rather than to the devout
and plous |ews of |erusalem, where they have made thelr
home. Jhere ls a wealth of soclal detall conveyed
through Agnon`s collage of eccentrlc characters, lnclud
lng madmen, prophets, and poets who roam the streets
of the Rehavla and Jalplot nelghborhoods. In the back
ground ls a skeln of hlstorlcal references (the lndepen
dence underground movements, Arab terrorlsm) that
lmbues the personal patchwork wlth a polltlcal strand.
Palestlne ls under the rule of the Brltlsh mandate, and
the tumultuous confllct between Arab natlonallsm and
Zlonlst natlonallsm ls a promlnent theme, partlcularly
when Herbst ls shot and hls daughter Jamara jolns one
of the |ewlsh reslstance movements.
Herbst`s lnablllty to flnlsh a book ls fused wlth hls
search for Shlrah, whom he flnally flnds as a patlent ln a
leper hospltal ln the l971 edltlon. Jhe dlsquletlng rela
tlonshlp offers Herbst no contentment. Hls morbld fanta
sles about Shlrah lead to a creatlve and emotlonal block
and prevent hlm from completlng hls book. (In a case of
art lmltatlng llfe, Herbst`s passlon for collectlng and orga
nlzlng books parallels Agnon`s own flxatlon.) Jhe l971
endlng ls laden wlth parable. after belng affllcted wlth
leprosy hlmself, Herbst decldes to remaln and care for
Shlrah. In the l978 verslon, he deduces Shlrah`s fate and
confesses hls lnfldellty to hls wlfe. Alan L. Mlntz argues
that the prlmary reason why the novel was not con
cluded ls that the dlalectlc between Shlrah as an unattaln
able object of deslre and an allegorlcal contalner for 'art,
eros, purlty, splrltuallty can slmply not be accommo
dated by the worldly resources of the novel as a genre."
Jhe macabre elements of the narratlve are sym
bollc. Ior lnstance, Herbst`s maln area of study ls Byzan
tlne burlal customs, whlle Shlrah ls enfolded by lmages
of dlsease and death. Alter has oplned that the answer to
Shlrah`s ldentlty lles ln her name, averrlng that Herbst`s
flxatlon ls wlth a pagan splrlt of poetry. A repeated sym
bollc and vlsual trope ln pÜáê~Ü ls the hero`s death wlsh
and selfdestructlve sexual deslre, fully artlculated
through an undercurrent of dreams that affllct the
respected academlclan. Herbst leads a double exlstence,
born out of a lust for the lnexpllcably fasclnatlng nurse
who shatters the marrled man`s sterlle routlne and
domestlc boredom. Drlven to escape hls austere llfe wlth
the dull but devoted Henrletta, the hero ls domlnated by
a llbldo that erotlcally enslaves hlm to the bold Shlrah.
Above all, pÜáê~Ü ls at once an exploratlon of modern
man`s fasclnatlon wlth death and the crumbllng moral
structure of soclety. Both themes are ones Agnon lnvestl
gates wlth compasslon and restralnt, marshallng hls cus
tomary novellstlc devlces of dreams and alluslons whlle
temperlng hls lrony.
Hand ln hand wlth hls major novels, Agnon pub
llshed about slx new short storles every year, whlch were
featured ln the Hebrew dally e~Û~êÉíò. In l995 Agnon`s
short flctlon was showcased ln a new translatlon of
twentyflve of hls storles lnto Engllsh, tltled ^ _ççâ qÜ~í
t~ë içëí ~åÇ líÜÉê píçêáÉëK Jhe representatlve sampllng of
moral fables, autoblographlcal sketches, and psychologl
cally persplcuous dellneatlons spotllghts Agnon`s scope,
ambltlon, and hls keen ear and eye, thus lllustratlng the
reasons he ls appreclated and remembered for hls shorter
wrltlngs. Jhe deceptlvely uncompllcated tales are clev
erly subverslve and derlslve of the wrlter`s own cultural
domaln. Profound loss and the dlsruptlve collapse of
relatlonshlps touch many of the eclectlc story llnes. In
'Jhe Doctor`s Dlvorce," a young physlclan ls wracked
wlth regret and sufferlng for the absurd jealousy that
drove hls wlfe away; ln 'Jhe Kerchlef," a narrator reml
nlsces about the demlse of hls chlldhood nalveté, explor
lng memory through hls mother`s Sabbath kerchlef; and
ln 'Jwo Palrs," a preclous íÉÑáääáå (set of phylacterles) ls
destroyed ln a flre. Jhe volume also dlsplays the same
straln that was so slgnlflcant ln Agnon`s novels. an
enchantment wlth the vlllage of hls blrth, whlch was
annlhllated by the Nazls. On a broad scale, the slngle,
unlfled communlty of Buczacz was for Agnon an exam
ple of how all people could peacefully llve together.
Another central aspect ln ^ _ççâ qÜ~í t~ë içëí ~åÇ
líÜÉê píçêáÉë ls that the act of wrltlng and reflectlon
emerges as a recuperatlve, symbollc way to deal wlth the
loss experlenced by the characters. One strlklng occur
rence of thls theme ls ln the tltle story, ln whlch the nar
rator stumbles upon an unpubllshed rabblnlc
commentary and attempts to send the manuscrlpt from
Buczacz to the natlonal llbrary ln |erusalem. Jhe Yeshlva
student saves enough pennles to post the book but later
dlscovers that the manuscrlpt, a touchstone for the lntel
lectual tradltlons of the old world, never made lt to the
Holy Land. Yet, wrltlng the story counteracts and com
pensates for the commentary that seems to be ln contlnu
ous translt.
Preemlnent author Oz, who holds the Agnon
Chalr at Ben Gurlon Lnlverslty ln southern Israel,
belleves that every Israell author ls connected to Agnon,
who set the bar so hlgh that most asplre to only once
reach hls marvelous helghts. Oz acknowledges Agnon as
one of hls llterary mentors, as do A. B. Yehoshua, Aha
ron Appelfeld, and the late Yehuda Amlchal. Jhls adml
ratlon ls further proof that Agnon ls stlll a father flgure
and mentor to scores of Israell authors, exertlng an lrre
slstlble lnfluence on hls successors.
l1
pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå ai_ POV
Halm Be`er, author of a l992 study of Agnon`s
relatlonshlps wlth two other Hebrew authors (Hayylm
Nahman Blallk and Brenner), notes. 'Agnon ls the cen
tre of our cultural dlscourse. Hls work ls the most fre
quent subject of Hebrew llterary research. He stands at
the juncture of trends and confllcts whlch make up our
llfe today÷|ewlsh and Hebrew culture, tradltlon, falth
and |erusalem. Jhrough Agnon, you can relate to a varl
ety of themes." Arnold Band, one of the flrst crltlcs to
examlne Agnon`s flctlon, contends that Agnon reslsts
easy plgeonhollng, that for some readers he was 'the
epltome of tradltlonal |ewlshfolk llterature; for others,
he ls the most darlng of modernlsts. Ior the older reader,
Agnon conjures up memorles of |ewlsh llfe ln Eastern
Europe; for the younger reader, he wrestles wlth the cen
tral unlversal problems of our agonlzed century." Anne
Golomb Hoffman, ln commentary for Z ßool Tlot !os
Iost ovd Utlcr Storics, concurs. 'Agnon`s ls a restless wrlt
lng. . . . He has been read by some as a plous storyteller,
by others as a modern lronlst. He ls both and more."
iÉííÉêëW
Istcrloiv Jcliroti: Milltovim 6S4-691 (1924-19J1),
edlted by Emunah Yaron ( |erusalem. Schocken,
l983);
Sl. J. Zgvov ÷ Sl. ¸. Slolcv: Hilufc Igrot (676-719)
( |erusalem. Schocken, l99l);
Mi-sod Hollomim: Milltovim 1909-1970: Zgvov, ßrcvcr,
ßi`olil, Iolovcr, Iotsvclsov, Sodov ( |erusalem.
Schocken, 2002).
_áçÖê~éÜóW
Dan Laor, Hoycy Zgvov: ßiogroplio ( |erusalem.
Schocken, l998).
oÉÑÉêÉåÅÉëW
Davld Aberbach, Zt tlc Hovdlcs of tlc Iocl: Tlcmcs iv tlc
Iictiov of S. J. Zgvov (Oxford. Oxford Lnlverslty
Press, l981);
Robert Alter, Zftcr tlc Troditiov: Issoys ov Modcrv ¸cwisl
!ritivg (New York. Dutton, l969);
Alter, Hcbrcw ovd Modcrvity (Bloomlngton. Indlana Lnl
verslty Press, l991);
Arnold |. Band, `ostolgio ovd `igltmorc: Z Study iv tlc
Iictiov of S. J. Zgvov (Berkeley. Lnlverslty of Call
fornla Press, l968);
Hlllel Barzel, Sipurc olovol slcl Slmucl Joscf 'Zgvov: 'iyuvc
mcllor (Ramat Gan. Lnlverslty of Bar Ilan,
l975);
Halm Be`er, Com olovotom gom sivotom: ßiolil, ßrcvvcr,
Zgvov-mooroclot yolosim (Jel Avlv. Am Oved,
l992);
Nltza BenDov, Zgvov`s Zrt of Ivdircctiov: Uvcovcrivg Iotcvt
Covtcvt iv tlc Iictiov of S. J. Zgvov (Lelden × New
York. Brlll, l993);
BenDov, Zlovot lo mcuslorot: tislul croti, Umovut vcmovct
bcyct·irot Zgvov (Jel Avlv. Am Oved, l997);
Beverly Ilelds, 'Jhe Poetry of Jruth ln S. Y. Agnon`s
Ilnal Novel, Jragedy Must Be Acted Out," Cli-
cogo Tribuvc, 3l December l989, p. 1;
Harold Ilsch, S. J. Zgvov (New York. Lngar, l975);
Davld George, 'A New Soclal Order," ¸crusolcm Iost, 1
|anuary l99l, p. 26;
Davld Ghltelman, 'A Schlemlel Ialls ln Love," `cws-
doy, 2 Iebruary l986, p. l7;
Sharon Green, `ot o Simplc Story: Iovc ovd Iolitics iv o
Modcrv Hcbrcw `ovcl (Lanham, Md.. Lexlngton
Books, 2002);
Danlel Grossberg, 'An Introductlon to Modern Israell
Llterature," Midstrcom, 19 (May-|une 2003). 28-
3l;
Baruch Hochman, Tlc Iictiov of S. J. Zgvov (Ithaca,
N.Y.. Cornell Lnlverslty Press, l970);
Stephen Katz, Tlc Ccvtrifugol `ovcl: S. J. Zgvov`s Ioctics
of Compositiov (Madlson, N.|. × London. Ialrlelgh
Dlcklnson Lnlverslty Press, l999);
Shalom Kremer, Icolism vc-slviroto (Jel Avlv. Agudat
Hasofrlm/Masada,l968);
Baruch Kurzwell, Mosot os sipurci Zgvov ( |erusalem.
Schocken, l963);
Curt Levlant, 'Mlrror of the |ewlsh Past," Covgrcss ßi-
!cclly, 25 September l967, pp. 20-2l;
Yalr Mazor, Tlc Dyvomics of Motifs iv S. J. Zgvov`s !orls
(Jel Avlv. Dekel Academlc Press, l979);
Aharon Megged, 'Bepardeso Shel Agnon," ln hls Slul-
lov vo-lctivol (Jel Avlv. Am Oved, l989);
Alan L. Mlntz, Trovslotivg Isrocl: Covtcmporory Hcbrcw Iit-
croturc ovd Its Icccptiov iv Zmcrico (Syracuse, N.Y..
Syracuse Lnlverslty Press, 200l);
Matt Nesvlsky, ''Hlllel Halkln` Master of the Jransla
tor`s Jrade," ¸crusolcm Iost, 26 May l989, p. 5;
Amos Oz, Tlc Silcvcc of Hcovcv: Zgvov`s Icor of Cod (Prlnce
ton, N.|.. Prlnceton Lnlverslty Press, 2000);
Menachem Rlbalow, Tlc Ilowcrivg of Modcrv Hcbrcw Iit-
croturc: Z !olumc of Iitcrory Ivoluotiov (London.
Vlslon Press, l959);
Dov Sadan, Zl Sloy Zgvov (Jel Avlv. Haklbutz
Hameuchad, l959);
Gershon Shaked, Umovut lo Sippur slcl S. J. Zgvov (Jel
Avlv. Slfrlat Poallm, l973); translated by |effrey
M. Green as Slmucl Joscf Zgvov: Z Icvolutiovory
Troditiovolist (New York × London. New York
Lnlverslty Press, l989);
Mark Shechner, 'A Storyteller Ior the Whole World.
Collectlon Shlnes New Llght on Israell Wrlter
S. Y. Agnon," ßuffolo `cws, 6 August l995, p. 8G;
l5
ai_ POV pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå
|udlth Romney Wegner, Z Cucst for tlc `iglt: Epltaph
on the Perlshed Hopes of the Hoslolol," ln Studics
iv tlc Iictiov of S. ¸. Zgvov, edlted by Davld Patter
son and Glenda Abramson (Boulder, Colo..
Westvlew Press, l991), pp. l07-l27;
Samuel Werses, Iclotiovs ßctwccv ¸cws ovd Iolcs iv S. J.
Zgvov`s !orl ( |erusalem. Magnes PressLHebrew
Lnlverslty of |erusalem, l991);
Edmund Wllson, Icd, ßlocl, ßlovd ovd Ulivc: Studics iv
Iour Civili·otiovs: ¸uvi, Hoiti, Sovict Iussio, Isrocl
(London. W. H. Allen, l956);
Ruth Wlsse, Tlc Modcrv ¸cwisl Covov: Z ¸ourvcy Tlrougl
Iovguogc ovd Culturc (New York. Iree Press,
2000);
Leon I. Yudkln, ed., Zgvov: Tcxt ovd Covtcxts iv Ivglisl
Trovslotiov (New York. M. Wlener, l988).
m~éÉêëW
Jhe major collectlon of Shmuel Yosef Agnon`s papers
ls the Agnon Archlve at the Natlonal Llbrary ln |erusa
lem.

NVSS kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ
mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ
by Zvdcrs Ústcrlivg, Mcmbcr of tlc Swcdisl Zcodcmy
Jhls year`s Nobel Prlze ln Llterature has been
awarded to two outstandlng |ewlsh authors÷Shmuel
Yosef Agnon and Nelly Sachs÷each of whom repre
sents Israel`s message to our tlme. Agnon`s home ls ln
|erusalem, and Mlss Sachs has been an lmmlgrant ln
Sweden slnce l910, and ls now a Swedlsh subject. Jhe
purpose of comblnlng these two prlzewlnners ls to do
justlce to the lndlvldual achlevements of each, and the
sharlng of the prlze has lts speclal justlflcatlon. to
honour two wrlters who, although they wrlte ln dlffer
ent languages, are unlted ln a splrltual klnshlp and
complement each other ln a superb effort to present
the cultural herltage of the |ewlsh people through the
wrltten word. Jhelr common source of lnsplratlon has
been, for both of them, a vltal power.
Shmuel Agnon`s reputatlon as the foremost
wrlter ln modern Hebrew llterature has gradually pen
etrated llngulstlc barrlers whlch, ln thls case, are par
tlcularly obstructlve. Hls most lmportant works are
now avallable ln Swedlsh under the tltle I lovcts mitt (In
the Heart of the Seas). Agnon, now seventyelght
years old, began wrltlng ln Ylddlsh but soon changed
to Hebrew, whlch, accordlng to experts, he handles
wlth absolute mastery, ln a taut and sonorous prose
style of extraordlnary expresslveness. He was only
twenty when he left hls natlve town ln East Gallcla,
where, as the sclon of an old and respected famlly, he
had been brought up ln a scholarly tradltlon. He felt
drawn to Palestlne, where now, as an aged classlcal
author, he can look back on the long struggle for
natlonal reestabllshment, and where the socalled cul
tural Zlonlsm possesses ln hlm one of lts flnest creatlve
champlons.
Agnon`s unlque quallty as a wrlter ls apparent
chlefly ln the great cycle of novels set ln hls natlve
town of Buczacz, once a flourlshlng centre of |ewlsh
plety and rabblnlcal learnlng, now ln rulns. Reallty
and legend stand slde by slde ln hls narratlve art.
Hollvosot Iolol, l922 (Jhe Brldal Canopy), ls one of
hls most characterlstlc storles, ln lts lngenlous and
earthy humour, a |ewlsh counterpart to Dov _uixotc
and Till Iulcvspicgcl. But, perhaps, hls greatest achleve
ment ls hls novel Urcol votol lo-luv, l939 (A Guest for
the Nlght), whlch tells of a vlslt to Buczacz, the war
rulned clty of hls chlldhood, and of the narrator`s
valn attempts to assemble the congregatlon for a ser
vlce ln the synagogue. Wlthln the framework of a
local chronlcle we see a wonderful portrayal of destl
nles and flgures, of experlence and medltatlon. Jhe
lost key to the prayer house, whlch the traveller flnds
ln hls knapsack only after hls return to |erusalem, ls,
for Agnon, a symbollc hlnt that the old order can
never be rebullt ln the Dlaspora, but only under the
protectlon of Zlonlsm. Agnon ls a reallst, but there ls
always a mystlcal admlxture whlch lends to even the
greyest and most ordlnary scenes a golden atmo
sphere of strange falrytale poetry, often remlnlscent
of Chagall`s motlfs from the world of the Old Jesta
ment. He stands out as a hlghly orlglnal wrlter,
endowed wlth remarkable glfts of humour and wls
dom, and wlth a persplcaclous play of thought com
blned wlth nalve perceptlon÷ln all, a consummate
expresslon of the |ewlsh character.
Nelly Sachs, llke so many other German|ewlsh
wrlters, suffered the fate of exlle. Jhrough Swedlsh
lnterventlon she was saved from persecutlon and the
threat of deportatlon and was brought to thls country.
She has slnce then worked ln peace as a refugee on
Swedlsh soll, attalnlng the maturlty and authorlty that
are now conflrmed by the Nobel Prlze. In recent years
she has been acclalmed ln the German world as a
wrlter of convlnclng worth and lrreslstlble slncerlty.
Wlth movlng lntenslty of feellng she has glven volce
to the worldwlde tragedy of the |ewlsh people, whlch
she has expressed ln lyrlcal laments of palnful beauty
and ln dramatlc legends. Her symbollc language
boldly comblnes an lnsplred modern ldlom wlth ech
oes of anclent blbllcal poetry. Identlfylng herself
totally wlth the falth and rltual mystlclsm of her peo
l6
pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå ai_ POV
ple, Mlss Sachs has created a world of lmagery whlch
does not shun the terrlble truth of the extermlnatlon
camps and the corpse factorles, but whlch, at the same
tlme, rlses above all hatred of the persecutors, merely
reveallng a genulne sorrow at man`s debasement. Her
purely lyrlcal productlon ls now collected under the
tltle c~Üêíáåë pí~ìÄäçëÉI l96l ( |ourney to the Beyond),
whlch comprlses slx lnterconnected works wrltten dur
lng a twentyyear creatlve perlod of lncreaslng concen
tratlon. Jhere ls also a serles of dramatlc poems,
equally remarkable ln thelr way, under the jolnt tltle
wÉáÅÜÉå áã p~åÇI l96l (Slgns ln the Sand), the themes of
whlch mlght have been taken from the dark treasure
house of Hassldlc mystlclsm, but whlch, here, have
taken on new vlgour and vltal meanlng. Let lt sufflce
here to mentlon the mystery play bäá (l950) about an
elghtyearold boy who ls beaten to death by a Ger
man soldler ln Poland when he blows on hls shep
herd`s plpe to call on heaven`s help when hls parents
are taken away. Jhe vlslonary cobbler Mlchael man
ages to trace the culprlt to the next vlllage. Jhe soldler
has been selzed by remorse and, at the encounter ln
the forest, he collapses wlthout Mlchael`s havlng to
ralse hls hand agalnst hlm. Jhls endlng denotes a
dlvlne justlce whlch has nothlng to do wlth earthly ret
rlbutlon.
Nelly Sachs`s wrltlng ls today the most lntense
artlstlc expresslon of the reactlon of the |ewlsh splrlt
to sufferlng, and thus lt can lndeed be sald to fulflll
the humane purpose underlylng Alfred Nobel`s wlll.
Doctor Agnon÷accordlng to the wordlng of the
dlploma, thls year`s Nobel Prlze ln Llterature has
been awarded to you for your 'profoundly dlstlnc
tlve narratlve art wlth motlfs from the llfe of the |ew
lsh people." We should be happy lf you would
conslder thls lnternatlonal dlstlnctlon as a slgn that
your wrltlng need not be lsolated wlthln the bound
ary of lts language, and that lt has proved to have
the power to reach out beyond all conflnlng walls,
and to arouse manklnd`s sympathy, understandlng,
and respect. Jhrough me, the Swedlsh Academy
conveys lts slncere congratulatlons, and I now ask
you to recelve the Prlze from the hands of Hls Maj
esty, the Klng.
Mlss Nelly Sachs÷you have llved a long tlme
ln our country, flrst as an obscure stranger and then
as an honoured guest. Joday the Swedlsh Academy
honours your 'outstandlng lyrlcal and dramatlc
wrltlngs, whlch lnterpret Israel`s destlny wlth touch
lng strength." On an occaslon llke thls lt ls natural
also to recall the lnvaluable lnterest you have shown
ln Swedlsh llterature, a token of frlendshlp whlch, ln
turn, has found a response ln the deslre of our Swed
lsh wrlters to translate your work. Offerlng you the
congratulatlons of the Swedlsh Academy, I ask you
now to recelve thls year`s Nobel Prlze ln Llterature
from the hands of Hls Majesty, the Klng.
|¹Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l966).|

^ÖåçåW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ
fåíêçÇìÅíçêó êÉã~êâë Äó fåÖî~ê ^åÇÉêëëçå çÑ íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜ
^Å~ÇÉãó ~í íÜÉ kçÄÉä _~åèìÉí ~í íÜÉ `áíó e~ää áå píçÅâÜçäãI
NM aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVSSW
Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Nelly Sachs÷Jhls year`s
llterary Prlze goes to you both wlth equal honour
for a llterary productlon whlch records Israel`s vlcls
sltudes ln our tlme and passes on lts message to the
peoples of the world.
Mr. Agnon÷In your wrltlng we meet once
agaln the anclent unlty between llterature and scl
ence, as antlqulty knew lt. In one of your storles you
say that some wlll no doubt read lt as they read falry
tales, others wlll read lt for edlflcatlon. Your great
chronlcle of the |ewlsh people`s splrlt and llfe has
therefore a manlfold message. Ior the hlstorlan lt ls
a preclous source, for the phllosopher an lnsplratlon,
for those who cannot llve wlthout llterature lt ls a
mlne of neverfalllng rlches. We honour ln you a
comblnatlon of tradltlon and prophecy, of saga and
wlsdom.
Mlss Sachs÷About twenty years ago, through
the Swedlsh poet Hjalmar Gullberg, I flrst learned of
your fate and your work. Slnce then you have llved
wlth us ln Sweden and I could talk to you ln our
own language. But lt ls through your mother tongue
that your work reflects a hlstorlcal drama ln whlch
you have partlclpated. Your lyrlcal and dramatlc
wrltlng now belongs to the great laments of lltera
ture, but the feellng of mournlng whlch lnsplred you
ls free from hate and lends subllmlty to the sufferlng
of man. We honour you today as the bearer of a
message of solace to all those who despalr of the fate
of man.
We honour you both thls evenlng as the laurel
crowned heroes of lntellectual creatlon and express
our convlctlon that, ln the words of Alfred Nobel,
you have conferred the greatest beneflt on manklnd,
and that you have glven lt clearslghtedness, wlsdom,
upllft, and beauty. A famous speech at a Nobel ban
quet÷that of Wllllam Iaulkner, held ln thls same hall
slxteen years ago÷contalned an ldea whlch he devel
oped wlth great lntenslty. It ls sultable as a conclud
l7
ai_ POV pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå
lng quotatlon whlch polnts to the future. 'I do not
belleve ln the end of man."
^ÖåçåÛë ëéÉÉÅÜ Eqê~åëä~íáçåF
Our sages of blessed memory have sald that we
must not enjoy any pleasure ln thls world wlthout reclt
lng a blesslng. If we eat any food, or drlnk any bever
age, we must reclte a blesslng over them before and
after. If we breathe the scent of goodly grass, the fra
grance of splces, the aroma of good frults, we pro
nounce a blesslng over the pleasure. Jhe same applles
to the pleasures of slght. when we see the sun ln the
Great Cycle of the Zodlac ln the month of Nlssan, or
the trees flrst burstlng lnto blossom ln the sprlng, or
any flne, sturdy, and beautlful trees, we pronounce a
blesslng. And the same applles to the pleasures of the
ear. Jhrough you, dear slrs, one of the blesslngs con
cerned wlth hearlng has come my way.
It happened when the Swedlsh Chargé d`Affalres
came and brought me the news that the Swedlsh Acad
emy had bestowed the Nobel Prlze upon me. Jhen I
reclted ln full the blesslng that ls enjolned upon one that
hears good tldlngs for hlmself or others. 'Blessed be
He, that ls good and doeth good." 'Good," ln that the
good God put lt lnto the hearts of the sages of the lllus
trlous Academy to bestow that great and esteemed
Prlze upon an author who wrltes ln the sacred tongue;
'that doeth good," ln that He favoured me by causlng
them to choose me. And now that I have come so far, I
wlll reclte one blesslng more, as enjolned upon hlm
who beholds a monarch. 'Blessed art Jhou, O Lord,
our God, Klng of the Lnlverse, Who hast glven of Jhy
glory to a klng of flesh and blood." Over you, too, dls
tlngulshed sages of the Academy, I say the prescrlbed
blesslng. 'Blessed be He, that has glven of Hls wlsdom
to flesh and blood."
It ls sald ln the Jalmud (Jractate Sanhedrln 23a).
'In |erusalem, the men of dlscrlmlnatlon dld not slt
down to dlne ln company untll they knew who thelr
companlons were to be"; so I wlll now tell you who am
I, whom you have agreed to have at your table.
As a result of the hlstorlc catastrophe ln whlch
Jltus of Rome destroyed |erusalem and Israel was
exlled from lts land, I was born ln one of the cltles of
the Exlle. But always I regarded myself as one who was
born ln |erusalem. In a dream, ln a vlslon of the nlght, I
saw myself standlng wlth my brotherLevltes ln the
Holy Jemple, slnglng wlth them the songs of Davld,
Klng of Israel, melodles such as no ear has heard slnce
the day our clty was destroyed and lts people went lnto
exlle. I suspect that the angels ln charge of the Shrlne of
Muslc, fearful lest I slng ln wakefulness what I had sung
ln dream, made me forget by day what I had sung at
nlght; for lf my brethren, the sons of my people, were
to hear, they would be unable to bear thelr grlef over
the happlness they have lost. Jo console me for havlng
prevented me from slnglng wlth my mouth, they enable
me to compose songs ln wrltlng.
(Out of respect for the tlme, the rest of my words
wlll be read ln translatlon only.)
I belong to the Jrlbe of Levl; my forebears and I
are of the mlnstrels that were ln the Jemple, and there
ls a tradltlon ln my father`s famlly that we are of the lln
eage of the Prophet Samuel, whose name I bear.
I was flve years old when I wrote my flrst song. It
was out of longlng for my father that I wrote lt. It hap
pened that my father, of blessed memory, went away
on buslness. I was overcome wlth longlng for hlm and I
made a song. After that I made many songs, but noth
lng has remalned of them all. My father`s house, where
I left a roomful of wrltlngs, was burned down ln the
Ilrst World War and all I had left there was burned
wlth lt. Jhe young artlsans, tallors, and shoemakers,
who used to slng my songs at thelr work, were kllled ln
the Ilrst World War and of those who were not kllled
ln the war, some were burled allve wlth thelr slsters ln
the plts they dug for themselves by order of the enemy,
and most were burned ln the crematorles of Auschwltz
wlth thelr slsters, who had adorned our town wlth thelr
beauty and sung my songs wlth thelr sweet volces.
Jhe fate of the slngers who, llke my songs, went
up ln flame was also the fate of the books whlch I later
wrote. All of them went up ln flame to Heaven ln a flre
whlch broke out one nlght at my home ln Bad Hom
burg as I lay lll ln a hospltal. Among the books that
were burned was a large novel of some seven hundred
pages, the flrst part of whlch the publlsher had
announced he was about to brlng out. Jogether wlth
thls novel, called bíÉêå~ä iáÑÉI was burned everythlng I
had wrltten slnce the day I had gone lnto exlle from the
Land of Israel, lncludlng a book I had wrltten wlth
Martln Buber as well as four thousand Hebrew books,
most of whlch had come down to me from my fore
bears and some of whlch I had bought wlth money set
aslde for my dally bread.
I sald, 'slnce the day I had gone from the Land of
Israel," but I have not yet related that I had dwelt ln the
Land of Israel. Of thls I wlll now speak.
At the age of nlneteen and a half, I went to the
Land of Israel to tlll lts soll and llve by the labour of my
hands. As I dld not flnd work, I sought my llvellhood
elsewhere. I was appolnted Secretary of the Hovevel
Zlon (Lovers of Zlon) Soclety and Secretary of the Pal
estlne Councll÷whlch was a klnd of parllamentlnthe
maklng and I was also the flrst Secretary of the volun
tary |ewlsh Maglstrate`s Court. Jhrough these offlces lt
was my prlvllege to get to know almost every |ewlsh
l8
pÜãìÉä vçëÉÑ ^Öåçå ai_ POV
person, and those whom I dld not come to know
through these offlces I came to know through love and
a deslre to know my brethren, the members of my peo
ple. It ls almost certaln that ln those years there was not
a man, woman, or lnfant ln the Land of Israel whom I
dld not know.
After all my possesslons had been burned, God
gave me the wlsdom to return to |erusalem. I returned
to |erusalem, and lt ls by vlrtue of |erusalem that I have
wrltten all that God has put lnto my heart and lnto my
pen. I have also wrltten a book about the Glvlng of the
Jorah, and a book on the Days of Awe, and a book on
the books of Israel that have been wrltten slnce the day
the Jorah was glven to Israel.
Slnce my return to the Land of Israel, I have left lt
twlce. once ln connectlon wlth the prlntlng of my books
by the late Zalman Schocken, and once I travelled to
Sweden and Norway. Jhelr great poets had lmplanted
love and admlratlon for thelr countrles ln my heart, and
I declded to go and see them. Now I have come a thlrd
tlme, to recelve your blesslng, sages of the Academy.
Durlng the tlme I have dwelt ln |erusalem, I have
wrltten long storles and short ones. Some have been
prlnted; most I stlll have ln manuscrlpt.
I have already told how my flrst songs came out
of longlng for my father. Jhe beglnnlngs of my studles
also came to me from my father, as well as from the
Rabblnlcal |udge of our town. But they were preceded
by three tutors under whom I studled, one after the
other, from the tlme I was three and a half tlll I turned
elght and a half.
Who were my mentors ln poetry and llterature?
Jhat ls a matter of oplnlon. Some see ln my books the
lnfluences of authors whose names, ln my lgnorance, I
have not even heard, whlle others see the lnfluences of
poets whose names I have heard but whose wrltlngs I
have not read. And what ls my oplnlon? Irom whom
dld I recelve nurture? Not every man remembers the
name of the cow whlch supplled hlm wlth each drop of
mllk he has drunk. But ln order not to leave you totally
ln the dark, I wlll try to clarlfy from whom I recelved
whatever I have recelved.
Ilrst and foremost, there are the Sacred Scrlptures,
from whlch I learned how to comblne letters. Jhen there
are the Mlshna and the Jalmud and the Mldrashlm and
Rashl`s commentary on the Jorah. After these come the
mçëâáãÔthe later expllcators of Jalmudlc Law÷and our
sacred poets and the medleval sages, led by our Master
Rabbl Moses, son of Malmon, known as Malmonldes, of
blessed memory.
When I flrst began to comblne letters other than
Hebrew, I read every book ln German that came my
way, and from these I certalnly recelved accordlng to the
nature of my soul. As tlme ls short, I shall not complle a
blbllography or mentlon any names. Why, then, dld I llst
the |ewlsh books? Because lt ls they that gave me my
foundatlons. And my heart tells me that they are respon
slble for my belng honoured wlth the Nobel Prlze.
Jhere ls another klnd of lnfluence, whlch I have
recelved from every man, every woman, every chlld I
have encountered along my way, both |ews and non
|ews. People`s talk and the storles they tell have been
engraved on my heart, and some of them have flown
lnto my pen. It has been the same way wlth the specta
cles of nature. Jhe Dead Sea, whlch I used to see every
mornlng at sunrlse from the roof of my house, the
Arnon Brook ln whlch I used to bathe, the nlghts I used
to spend wlth devout and plous men beslde the Walllng
Wall÷nlghts whlch gave me eyes to see the land of the
Holy One, Blessed be He÷the Wall whlch He gave us,
and the clty ln whlch He establlshed Hls name.
Lest I sllght any creature, I must also mentlon the
domestlc anlmals, the beasts and blrds from whom I
have learned. |ob sald long ago (35.ll). 'Who teacheth
us more than the beasts of the earth, And maketh us
wlser than the fowls of heaven?" Some of what I have
learned from them I have wrltten ln my books, but I fear
that I have not learned as much as I should have, for
when I hear a dog bark, or a blrd twltter, or a cock crow,
I do not know whether they are thanklng me for all I
have told of them, or calllng me to account.
Before I conclude my remarks, I wlll say one more
thlng. If I have pralsed myself too much, lt ls for your
sake that I have done so, ln order to reassure you for
havlng cast your eyes on me. Ior myself, I am very small
lndeed ln my own eyes. Never ln all my llfe have I for
gotten the Psalm (l3l.l) ln whlch Davld sald. 'Lord, my
heart ls not haughty, nor mlne eyes lofty; nelther do I
exerclse myself ln great matters, or ln thlngs too hlgh for
me." If I am proud of anythlng, lt ls that I have been
granted the prlvllege of llvlng ln the land whlch God
promlsed our forefathers to glve us, as lt ls wrltten (Ezek
lel 37.25). 'And they shall dwell ln the land that I have
glven unto |acob my servant, whereln your fathers have
dwelt; and they shall dwell thereln, even they, and thelr
chlldren, and thelr chlldren`s chlldren forever."
Before concludlng, I would say a brlef prayer. He
who glveth wlsdom unto the wlse and salvatlon unto
klngs, may He lncrease your wlsdom beyond measure
and exalt your soverelgn. In hls days and ln ours may
|udah be redeemed and Israel dwell ln safety. May a
redeemer come to Zlon, may the earth be fllled wlth
knowledge and eternal joy for all who dwell thereln, and
may they enjoy much peace. May all thls be God`s wlll.
Amen.
| ¹Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l966. Shmuel Yosef Agnon
ls the sole author of hls speech.|
l9
sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉ
(26 Zpril 1S9S - 14 Dcccmbcr 19S4)
p~åíá~Öç a~óÇ∞Jqçäëçå
Uvivcrsity of Tcxos ot Sov Zvtovio
Jhls entry was expanded by Dayd∞Jolson from hls
Alelxandre entry ln DIß 10S: Twcvtictl-Ccvtury Spovisl
Iocts, Iirst Scrics.
BOOKS. Zmbito (M•laga. Lltoral, l928);
Ispodos como lobios (Madrld. EspasaCalpe, l932);
Iosiov dc lo ticrro (Mexlco Clty. I•bula, l935);
Io dcstrucciov o cl omor (Madrld. Slgno, l935; revlsed,
l911); selectlons translated by Stephen Kessler as
Dcstructiov or Iovc (Santa Cruz, Cal.. Green Horse
Jhree, l976);
Sombro dcl poro∞so (Madrld. Ad•n, l911); translated by
Hugh A. Harter as Slodow of Iorodisc (Berkeley.
Lnlverslty of Callfornla Press, l987);
!ido dcl pocto: Il omor y lo pocs∞o (Madrld. Real Academla
Española, l950);
Muvdo o solos (Madrld. Clan, l950); translated by Lewls
Hyde and Davld Lnger as !orld Zlovc (Great
Barrlngton, Mass.. Penmaen Press, l982);
`ocimicvto ∫ltimo (Madrld. Ínsula, l953);
Historio dcl coro·ov (Madrld. EspasaCalpe, l951);
Zlguvos coroctcrcs dc lo vucvo pocs∞o cspovolo (Madrld. Instl
tuto de España/Góngora, l955);
Mis pocmos mcjorcs (Madrld. Gredos, l956; augmented,
l968);
Ios cvcucvtros (Madrld. Guadarrama, l958);
Iocs∞os complctos (Madrld. Agullar, l960);
Iocmos omorosos (Buenos Alres. Losada, l960; enlarged,
l970);
Iicosso (M•laga. Guadalhorce, l96l);
Iv uv vosto domivio (Madrld. Revlsta de Occldente,
l962);
Ircscvcios (Barcelona. Selx Barral, l965);
Ictrotos cov vombrc (Barcelona. Bardo, l965);
Dos vidos (M•laga. Guadalhorce, l967);
Iocmos dc lo covsumociov (Barcelona. Plaza × |anés, l968);
Ubros complctos (Madrld. Agullar, l968; revlsed and
enlarged, 2 volumes, l978);
Zvtolog∞o dcl mor y lo voclc, edlted by |avler Lostalé
(Madrld. AlBorak, l97l);
Iocs∞o supcrrcolisto: Zvtolog∞o (Barcelona. Barral, l97l);
Sovido dc lo gucrro (Valencla. Iomento de Cultura,
l972);
Di•logos dcl covocimicvto (Barcelona. Plaza × |anés, l971);
Zvtolog∞o totol, edlted by Pere Glmferrer (Barcelona. Selx
Barral, l975);
sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉ E Ñêçã lÄê~ë ÅçãéäÉí~ëI îçäìãÉ N xNVTTzX
qÜçã~ë `ççéÉê iáÄê~êóI råáîÉêëáíó çÑ pçìíÜ `~êçäáå~F
20
sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉ ai_ POV
^åíçäçÖ∞~ éç¨íáÅ~I edlted by Leopoldo de Luls (Madrld.
Allanza, l977);
mçÉã~ë é~ê~Çáëá~ÅçëI edlted by |osé Luls Cano (Madrld.
C•tedra, l977);
mçÉë∞~ ENVOQÓNVSTF (Madrld. Agullar, l977);
^åíçäçÖ∞~W sÉêëç ó éêçë~ (Barcelona. Planeta, l979);
^åíçäçÖ∞~ ÉëÉåÅá~äI edlted by Alejandro Duque Amusco
(Barcelona. Orbls, l983);
kìÉîçë éçÉã~ë î~êáçëI edlted by Irma Emlllozzl and
Amusco (Barcelona. Plaza × |anés, l987);
mêçë~ë êÉÅçÄê~Ç~ëI edlted by Amusco (Barcelona. Plaza ×
|anés, l987);
bå Öê~å åçÅÜÉW räíáãçë éçÉã~ëI edlted by Carlos Bousoño
and Amusco (Barcelona. Selx Barral, l99l);
jáê¨ äçë ãìêçëW qÉñíçë áå¨Çáíçë ó çäîáÇ~ÇçëI edlted by Marlo
Hern•ndez and Drlss ElIakhour (Madrld. Edl
clones de la Lnlversldad Autónoma de Madrld,
l99l);
mçÉë∞~ë ÅçãéäÉí~ëI edlted by Amusco (M•laga. Vlsor
Llbros, 200l);
mêçë~ë ÅçãéäÉí~ëI edlted by Amusco (M•laga. Vlsor
Llbros, 2002).
bÇáíáçåë áå båÖäáëÜW qïÉåíó mçÉãëI translated by Lewls
Hyde and Robert Bly (Madlson, Mlnn.. Seventles
Press, l977);
^ içåÖáåÖ Ñçê íÜÉ iáÖÜíW pÉäÉÅíÉÇ mçÉãë çÑ sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉI
translated by Hyde (New York. Harper × Row,
l979);
qÜÉ `ê~ÅâäáåÖ pìåI translated by Louls Bourne (Madrld.
Socledad General Española de Llbrer∞a, l98l);
^ _áêÇ çÑ m~éÉêI translated by Wlllls Barnstone and
Davld Garrlson (Athens. Ohlo Lnlverslty Press,
l982);
aÉëíêìÅíáçå çê içîÉI translated by Robert G. Mowry
(Sellnsgrove, Pa.. Susquehanna Lnlverslty Press,
2000).
OJHER. Gerardo Dlego, ed., mçÉë∞~ Éëé~¥çä~I lntroduc
tlon by Alelxandre (Madrld. Slgnos, l932;
revlsed, l931).
Jhe l977 Nobel Prlze ln Llterature was awarded
to Vlcente Alelxandre for 'a creatlve poetlc wrltlng
whlch lllumlnates man`s condltlon ln the cosmos and ln
presentday soclety, at the same tlme representlng the
great renewal of the tradltlons of Spanlsh poetry
between the wars," as the cltatlon read. Jhese words
contlnue to be a valld representatlon of what ls essentlal
ln Alelxandre`s contrlbutlon to llterature as a twentleth
century Spanlsh author. At the tlme of the awardlng of
the Nobel Prlze, Alelxandre`s name was llttle known
outslde Hlspanlc llterary clrcles; hls poetlc work was
seen as styllstlcally and conceptually too complex, and
consequently too dlfflcult to understand, by the general
readlng publlc. Jhls percelved dlfflculty constltutes a
characterlzlng factor ln the current appreclatlon of the
poet as a flgure of exceptlonal poetlc quallty. An undls
puted master of the prevlous century, Alelxandre ls
well recognlzed by crltlcs and by the newer generatlon
of Spanlsh poets as an lnfluentlal volce. Ior most peo
ple, though, the Spanlsh 'Generatlon of l927," of
whlch Alelxandre ls a representatlve member, ls most
often assoclated wlth the much more popular flgure of
Iederlco Garc∞a Lorca, whose surreallstlc book mçÉí~ Éå
kìÉî~ vçêâ (l910; translated ln qÜÉ mçÉí áå kÉï vçêâ ~åÇ
líÜÉê mçÉãë çÑ cÉÇÉêáÅç d~êÅ∞~ içêÅ~I l910) has much ln
common wlth Alelxandre`s poetlc vlews, objectlves,
and technlques.
Slnce the l920s, when he began to frequent the
llterary íÉêíìäá~ë (conversatlonal gatherlngs) ln Madrld,
Alelxandre was always an lmportant part of Spaln`s llt
erary scene, although not a poet for the general publlc.
Because hls health was poor, he had to malntaln perma
nent resldence ln Madrld, wlth only a few short trlps,
mostly wlthln Spaln; hls home ln the nelghborhood of
the Cludad Lnlversltarla (Lnlverslty Campus) became
the meetlng place for Spanlsh and Spanlsh Amerlcan
wrlters for several years before the Spanlsh Clvll War
(l936-l939). Garc∞a Lorca and Pablo Neruda were reg
ular vlsltors and close frlends of the poet. As one of the
members of the prestlglous Generatlon of l927, Alelx
andre was lnvolved ln the lnnovatlve changes that char
acterlzed the best poetry ln Spaln durlng the confllct
fllled last years of the monarchy and the short perlod of
the Republlc. He survlved the clvll war, and, unllke
other survlvlng poets of the generatlon, he dld not leave
Spaln for a llfe of exlle ln a forelgn country. He llved,
durlng Iranclsco Iranco`s reglme, the lnterlor exlle of
an lntellectual who was opposed to the polltlcal dlcta
torshlp.
After the clvll war, Alelxandre became agaln a
central flgure ln Spanlsh llterary clrcles. poets and crlt
lcs began to vlslt the alllng master, whose house
resumed lts functlon as a meetlng place for wrlters and
lntellectuals. Jhe younger generatlon saw ln Alelxan
dre a connectlng llnk wlth the older, preclvllwar poets
who had dled or were llvlng ln exlle. He was seen as a
model by those who began to wrlte durlng the flrst
years of dlctatorshlp. he represented the contlnulty of
llterary excellence ln postwar Spaln. Because he always
consldered hlmself part of a larger scheme, the Nobel
Prlze awarded to hlm may be seen to represent lnterna
tlonal recognltlon not only of hls personal work but
also of the best llterature wrltten ln Spaln slnce the great
perlod before the war.
In hls Nobel Prlze acceptance speech, a text that
summarlzes aptly Alelxandre`s maln ldeas about hls art,
he states that poetry ls, above all, tradltlon. the poet ls a
2l
ai_ POV sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉ
llnk between past and future÷a trulsm made evldent ln
hls own case. Hls llfe covers a perlod of Spanlsh llterary
hlstory that extends from the masterful Generatlon of
l898 to the developments of the l980s, lncludlng a
perlod of poetry akln to the polltlclzed soclal poetry
preferred ln Spaln ln the l950s and l960s. As a young
man he was lnvolved ln a group of poets lncludlng,
besldes Garc∞a Lorca and Neruda, Luls Cernuda,
Pedro Sallnas, Rafael Albertl, and Mlguel Hern•ndez.
As a mature wrlter Alelxandre was glven the opportu
nlty and the responslblllty of helplng the younger gen
eratlons searchlng for a poetlc lnherltance half lost after
the clvll war. In hls old age he acqulred the lnsplrlng
presence of a master, the consecrated poet ln whom tra
dltlon flnds lts contlnulty.
Alelxandre`s works are the poetlc reflectlon of the
clrcumstances ln whlch he llved. Irom hls flrst pub
llshed poems, wrltten durlng a perlod of hlghly technl
cal and aesthetlcally demandlng llterature, to hls last
collectlon of dramatlc monologues, aá•äçÖçë ÇÉä ÅçåçJ
ÅáãáÉåíç (l971, Dlalogues of Knowledge), hls poetry
evolved ln harmonlous correspondence wlth the maln
transformatlons ln Spanlsh lyrlc poetry. He had a clear
understandlng of the hlstorlcal character of all artlstlc
creatlon, and hls own wrltlng reflects hls recognltlon of
what was essentlal ln the maln currents of Spanlsh
poetlc art at dlfferent hlstorlcal moments. Jhls ablllty to
transform hls poetlc dlctlon ln accordance wlth the
tlmes was not the result of an lnordlnate lnterest ln aes
thetlc fashlon, but lt was the natural consequence of hls
conceptlon of poetry and the poet.
Irom a theoretlcal posltlon well wlthln a tradltlon
of contemporary poetry, Alelxandre deflned the poet as
a prophet or a seer. Remlnlscent of the Platonlc ldea of
poetlc lnsplratlon, thls conceptlon and the practlce lt
condones have thelr most lmmedlate antecedent ln Sur
reallsm, although they can be traced back to early
Romantlclsm. Jhls vlslonary lnterpretatlon of the poet
as a means for other volces to express themselves, as a
splrltually superlor belng who can be ln touch wlth the
cosmos and wlth humanklnd`s essence, ls dlrectly
related to the total lmmerslon of the lndlvldual wrlter ln
a tradltlon. Jhus, ln theoretlcal terms, Alelxandre saw
hlmself as íÜÉ éçÉíI the nameless speaker through whom
all humanlty talks; ln hls wrltlngs he even refers
dlrectly to hlmself as 'the poet," lnstead of uslng the
flrstperson pronoun. Many of hls works convey a
degree of anonymlty, a feellng that the lyrlcal volce ln
hls poems does not belong to any deflnlte persona,
much less to the author. Jhls absence of an ldentlflable
speaker ls a central characterlstlc of hls poetlc dlscourse
and deflnes much of lts orlglnallty wlthln the develop
ment of contemporary Spanlsh poetry.
Born ln Sevllle on 26 Aprll l898, Vlcente Alelx
andre Merlo grew up ln a perlod of extremely actlve
polltlcal and lntellectual llfe ln hls country. He spent hls
boyhood ln M•laga, a fact that explalns hls later lmages
of the sea and the paradlslacal world of lnfancy ln an
old provlnclal town on the Medlterranean. In l909,
when he was eleven years old, hls parents, Clrllo and
Elvlra Merlo Alelxandre, moved the famlly (lncludlng
Vlcente`s slster) to Madrld, where Vlcente completed
hls hlghschool and unlverslty studles.
Although durlng hls school years he was an avld
reader, he avolded readlng poetry; he was then under
the lmpresslon that such a form of llterature nelther
provlded much enjoyment nor had much lntellectual
value. But by the age of elghteen he had become a fer
vent enthuslast of poetry. Hls acqualntance wlth
another young poet, D•maso Alonso, whom he met the
summer of l9l7 whlle vacatlonlng ln žvlla, had
changed hls attltude. Alonso, who would not accept hls
frlend`s refusal to read poetry, lntroduced hlm to the
work of Rubén Dar∞o, the Latln Amerlcan master of
modernlsm. Many years later, ln a prologue to the sec
ond edltlon of i~ ÇÉëíêìÅÅáµå ç Éä ~ãçê (l935, selectlons
translated as aÉëíêìÅíáçå çê içîÉI l976), Alelxandre
recalled that the readlng of Dar∞o`s poems produced a
revolutlon ln hls splrlt. He had dlscovered true poetry
and felt lnfused wlth hls great passlon, one that never
abandoned hlm throughout the remalnder of hls llfe.
Durlng that same summer vacatlon he began to wrlte,
but hls flrst publlcatlons dld not appear untll ten years
later. Whlle studylng for hls professlonal degrees ln
buslness and law at the Lnlverslty of Madrld, he cultl
vated ln sllence hls personal vocatlon, probably
unaware of hls talents. In l9l9, after graduatlng from
the unlverslty, he began to teach at the school of busl
ness there. Ior a whlle he devoted hlmself to hls profes
slon and wrote on economlc subjects. A trlp ln l923 to
Parls and London was of llttle consequence to hls llter
ary career. He never marrled or had chlldren.
When he began to wrlte hls flrst book ln the
l920s, the masters of the Generatlon of l898 were at
the peak of thelr careers, and among the younger wrlt
ers one could already flnd sallent names, such as |orge
Gulllén, Albertl, and Cernuda. Hls own generatlon,
whlch would be known as the Generatlon of l927, was
bewlldered by the new aesthetlc, phllosophlcal, and scl
entlflc ldeas of post-World War I Europe. Jhe cllmate
ln the llterary clrcles frequented by Alelxandre ln those
days was one of curloslty, renovatlon, and actlvlty. In
Madrld the llterary cafés, theaters, art gallerles, the Ate
neo, and the lmportant Resldencla de Estudlantes were
the meetlng places for wrlters, artlsts, and phllosophers
from Spaln and abroad. In the frlendly atmosphere of
common lntellectual and aesthetlc lnterest, Alelxandre
22
sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉ ai_ POV
found hls flrst admlrlng readers and the motlvatlon to
become a wrlter.
It ls partlcularly reveallng that Alelxandre was
awakened to hls own poetlc glfts after readlng Dar∞o`s
poems, because a splrltual correspondence exlsted
between the two wrlters. Ior the young poettobe,
Dar∞o`s works represented not only the manlfold possl
bllltles of language but most of all the poetlc vlew that
deflnes man as a passlonate creature consumed by love.
In Dar∞o`s wrltlngs poetlc language reaches a level of
communlcatlveness dlrectly related to the poet`s ablllty
to create a purely flctlonal reallty representlng, ln meta
phorlcal terms, an otherwlse lnexpresslble understand
lng of man and exlstence. No less lmportant for such
poetlc effectlveness of language ln Dar∞o`s works ls the
general tone of passlonate materlallsm, an essentlal sen
suallty not at all allen to an unquenchable deslre for
splrltual transcendence. Jhese aspects of Dar∞o`s llter
ary accompllshments lnsplred Alelxandre.
But the lnfluence of the Latln Amerlcan modern
lst ls not seen ln Alelxandre`s flrst publlshed poems.
Jhese works were the result of a more lmmedlate lnflu
ence. Alelxandre wrote them when he had an lntense
llterary relatlonshlp wlth other young poets who
declared thelr lnterest ln |uan Ramón |lménez and the
theorles of 'pure" poetry. Alelxandre`s partlclpatlon ln
the group`s llterary experlmentatlon and theoretlcal dls
cusslons explalns the lnfluence of thelr taste on ^ãÄáíç
(Amblt), hls flrst collectlon of poems, publlshed ln l928.
Alelxandre`s career as a poet began ln l926 when a few
of hls frlends sent to oÉîáëí~ ÇÉ lÅÅáÇÉåíÉ (Western
Revlew), the new perlodlcal founded by |osé Ortega y
Gasset, the poems Alelxandre hlmself dld not care to
publlsh. Jhey appeared that same year; the book, con
slstlng of a tlghtly knlt collectlon of lnterrelated poems,
soon followed.
^ãÄáíç constltutes a basls for later developments
ln hls art. A careful crltlcal readlng demonstrates that,
although ^ãÄáíç has many debts to other poets
respected hlghly at the tlme, thls flrst collectlon dlsplays
some of the pecullar characterlstlcs of Alelxandre`s
work. In comparlson wlth hls later books, ^ãÄáíç seems
at flrst partlcularly dlfferent÷lts external characterlstlcs
are a good lmltatlon of |lménez`s technlques. Llke many
other young poets of hls generatlon, Alelxandre wrote
under the dlctates of a rlgorous concept of style and
composltlon. Most of the thlrtyflve poems ln ^ãÄáíç are
wrltten ln tradltlonal verse; but the comblnatlon of dlf
ferent meters ln some poems ls the flrst lndlcatlon of the
poet`s lncllnatlon toward free verse, a form that came to
characterlze hls personal style.
Jhe other lmportant aspect of the book ls lts lrra
tlonal lmagery, suggestlve of Surreallsm and dlrectly
communlcatlve of a cosmlc vlslon of man and nature as
ldentlcal ln essence. Love ln lts wldest sense ls central to
these composltlons; lt constltutes, ln the poet`s vlew, the
only posslble way for man to achleve the deslred fuslon
wlth all matter. ^ãÄáíç represents Alelxandre`s flrst
attempt to conform to the requlsltes of belng a poet of
hls tlme; lt ls the product of several years of apprentlce
shlp ln the actlve workshop of hls generatlon÷the cul
tural llfe of Madrld. But lt ls also the result of the poet`s
secluslon and dedlcatlon to poetry after contractlng
tubercular nephrltls, a chronlc lllness that curtalled hls
actlvltles startlng ln l925.
m~ëáµå ÇÉ ä~ íáÉêê~ (l935, Earth Passlon), the flrst
good example of Alelxandre`s characterlstlc poetlc lan
guage, ls even more the result of the serlous lllness. It
represents a new awareness of the mysterlous character
of human nature, galned through personal experlence
and study. By l928 Alelxandre was readlng the works
of Slgmund Ireud and |ames |oyce, two authors lnflu
entlal ln hls own declslon to look for a new form of llt
erary experlmentatlon. Although m~ëáµå ÇÉ ä~ íáÉêê~ was
flnlshed ln l929, lt remalned practlcally unknown untll
l916, by whlch tlme Alelxandre was establlshed as the
most representatlve member of hls generatlon stlll llv
lng ln Spaln. Only a few coples of the l935 Mexlcan
flrst edltlon reached Spaln before the clvll war, and con
sequently, ln splte of lts revolutlonary nature, the book
dld not have any notlceable lnfluence on the llterary
developments of the perlod lt represents so well. Had lt
been publlshed lmmedlately after Alelxandre flnlshed
wrltlng lt, m~ëáµå ÇÉ ä~ íáÉêê~ would llkely have become
one of the major Surreallst books ln Spanlsh llterature.
In ^ãÄáíçI Alelxandre was able to resolve every
styllstlc problem by uslng the wellknown and already
establlshed solutlons÷he was worklng wlthln the prede
termlned patterns of a tradltlon. In m~ëáµå ÇÉ ä~ íáÉêê~ the
flxed channels of poetlc expresslon were totally dls
rupted. language ltself lacks the normal semantlc values
that render lt meanlngful. Jhese seemlngly lncoherent
prose poems express wlthln the llmltatlons lmposed by
language the new reallty revealed by psychoanalysls
and by wrlters such as |eanNlcolasArthur Rlmbaud
and |oyce. ^ãÄáíç and m~ëáµå ÇÉ ä~ íáÉêê~ appear to be the
works of two completely dlfferent poets, one a 'purlst"
poet of aesthetlc restralnt and technlcal control, the
other a vanguardlst wrlter who follows the Surreallst
practlce of automatlc wrltlng. Jhe declslon to adopt a
Surreallstlc form of expresslon came as a result of Alelx
andre`s welllnformed confldence ln the value of psy
choanalytlcal theorles and ln the effectlveness of
automatlc wrltlng. By acceptlng the theoretlcal prlncl
ples behlnd the Surreallstlc method, he was statlng hls
revolt agalnst establlshed poetlc objectlves and meth
ods. Hls lnterest ln aesthetlc experlmentatlon common
23
ai_ POV sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉ
to the perlod was ln response to the need for new tech
nlques to express hls new awareness of hlmself.
Between the carefully measured and wellcomblned
verses of ^ãÄáíç and the entlrely loose prose poetry of
m~ëáµå ÇÉ ä~ íáÉêê~I there ls a dlfference not only ln exter
nal form and poetlc technlques but more slgnlflcantly ln
the perspectlve of the speaker, hls attltude, and tone of
volce. Once tradltlonal dlctlon ls attacked, the attltude
of the speaker changes from dutlful acceptance of the
norm to rebelllous freedom. In m~ëáµå ÇÉ ä~ íáÉêê~ thls
freelng force appears ln the external form of prose,
releaslng the new verbal flux. Jhe model for thls form
had already been set forth convlnclngly by |oyce; Alelx
andre adapted lt to a stlll deeper search lnto the human
psyche and lts world of fasclnatlng dreams, fears, and
deslres. Jhe reasons for wrltlng poetry ln such a man
ner are to be found ln hls emotlonal experlences at the
tlme. Hls llfe was centered around hls lnnermost experl
ences, as lllness had made hlm more aware of mortallty.
Compelled by thls reallzatlon, he began a desperate and
obsesslve search wlthln hlmself for llfe and lts meanlng.
Surreallsm offered a theoretlcal basls and more
effectlve ways to express hls new awareness. Jhe ldeal
lzed experlence of cosmlc unlon presented ln ^ãÄáíç
lacks the powerful convlctlon found ln m~ëáµå ÇÉ ä~ íáÉêê~.
In the flrst book the perspectlve and the attltude of the
poet are constralned by tradltlonal prlnclples, whereas
they are free from any llmltatlons ln the latter.
Prose ls the form that best reproduces the free
flow of speech, the uncontrolled stream of onelrlc
vlslons created by a web of apparently unrelated
lmages. A return to verslflcatlon ln Alelxandre`s next
book, bëé~Ç~ë Åçãç ä~Äáçë (l932, Swords llke Llps), ls a
slgnlflcant change. Jhe transcrlptlon of the Surreallstlc,
assoclatlve lmages lnto verse suggests that he was stlll
hesltant about whlch form best sulted hls expresslve
needs. He never agaln used prose for poetlc purposes,
but the experlment wlth lt ln m~ëáµå ÇÉ ä~ íáÉêê~ left hlm
wlth a keener sense of prosody. Jhe shorter composl
tlons ln bëé~Ç~ë Åçãç ä~Äáçë are ln tradltlonal metrlcs. Jhe
maln rhythmlc patterns and the general tone are not
new; they lack the strangeness and novelty of m~ëáµå ÇÉ
ä~ íáÉêê~. Jhese poems are the products of controlled
wrltlng and reproduce a measured attltude even when
the lmages allude to strong emotlons; from thls duallty
emerges a feellng of tenslon. Jhe longer poems lnstead
use a freer form of verslflcatlon ln accordance wlth a
freer attltude of the speaker, who allows hls emotlonal
state to appear ln the poem. Jhls second type of com
posltlon, akln to both verse and prose, was lmproved ln
Alelxandre`s next book, i~ ÇÉëíêìÅÅáµå ç Éä ~ãçêI and
became characterlstlc of most of Alelxandre`s subse
quent works.
Alelxandre`s free verse, or verslcle, ls constltuted
by several types of repetltlons, wlth the exceptlon of
regular rhyme and lsosyllablsm. Repetltlon ls found ln
the phonlc, the syntactlcal, and the semantlc levels of
the poems, and observable correspondences wlth the
tradltlonally establlshed meters are only clrcumstantlal.
Essentlal to Alelxandre`s verse are several styllstlc
devlces, whlch, by stresslng repetltlon, underllne the
value of resonance and rhythm. bëé~Ç~ë Åçãç ä~Äáçë
lncludes some of them, and ln i~ ÇÉëíêìÅÅáµå ç Éä ~ãçê
they become deflnlng characterlstlcs. Jhese relteratlve
technlques lnclude anaphora, alllteratlon, and asso
nance; another technlque used for the same effect ls
apposltlon. Jhese rlchly rhythmlc, duallstlc patterns
convey the lndeclslveness of the speaker ln namlng
thlngs. In some cases the poet seems to stutter ln confu
slon, or trles unsuccessfully to put hls vlslon lnto words
ln dlfferent ways. Behlnd thls attltude of bewllderment
there ls a clear sense of the mysterlous lnterrelatlon of
all aspects of reallty. Jhus, the most characterlstlcally
Alelxandrlan of all these devlces ls the use of the con
junctlon çêI not as a dlsjunctlve but as a means of con
nectlng two terms. Jhe constant use of thls
conjunctlon÷present even ln the tltle of the book÷pro
vldes many palrlngs. Duallty becomes ldentlty, and
varlety ls a slgn of unlty.
Only a detalled analysls of the poems would glve
an adequate ldea of all the posslbllltles of free verse ln
expresslng the varlous attltudes and emotlonal states of
the speaker. Jhls type of verslflcatlon has lts flrst ante
cedent ln the comblnatlon of tradltlonal verses used ln
^ãÄáíçX the experlence wlth prose ln m~ëáµå ÇÉ ä~ íáÉêê~
taught the poet how to extend the common Spanlsh
metrlc patterns lnto a much more flexlble rhythmlc use
of the language. Iree verse became for Alelxandre the
best medlum to communlcate hls partlcular conceptlon
of humanklnd and destlny. In i~ ÇÉëíêìÅÅáµå ç Éä ~ãçê one
flnds the appllcatlon of Alelxandre`s ldeas about poetry
as he stated them ln hls commentary for the l931 edl
tlon of Gerardo Dlego`s mçÉë∞~ Éëé~¥çä~. In the flrst edl
tlon, publlshed ln l932, Alelxandre had expressed hls
doubts about the functlon and value of poetry ln mod
ern soclety; two years later he had a more posltlve out
look. Wlthout lntendlng an explanatlon of poetry,
Alelxandre offers a few prlnclples of a coherent poetlc
theory closely related to a general cosmlc vlslon of
humanklnd and nature. Ior hlm all elements of cre
atlon are only dlfferent manlfestatlons of the one and
only unlversal entlty. In i~ ÇÉëíêìÅÅáµå ç Éä ~ãçê he under
llnes thls meanlng through chaotlc enumeratlons
lncludlng terms referrlng to human aspects as well as to
anlmate and lnanlmate nature. 'Ilor, rlsco o duda, o
sed o sol o l•tlgo. / el mundo todo es uno, la rlbera y el
p•rpado" (Ilower, rock or doubt, or thlrst or whlp. / all
21
sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉ ai_ POV
ln the world ls one, the rlverbank and the eyelld). Alelx
andre`s conceptlon of the unlty of all exlstlng matter
and of the power of love to effect thls unlflcatlon flnds
lts contemporary equlvalents ln phllosophy, theology,
psychology, and natural sclences.
As ln m~ëáµå ÇÉ ä~ íáÉêê~I Alelxandre ls drlven ln i~
ÇÉëíêìÅÅáµå ç Éä ~ãçê by the deslre for authentlclty; he
looks for poetlc revelatlon ln the subconsclous, where
words change thelr everyday meanlng. It ls the poet`s
duty to llsten to the messages of the cosmos and to
make of them a senslble and communlcatlng expres
slon.
In i~ ÇÉëíêìÅÅáµå ç Éä ~ãçêI Alelxandre ls stlll uslng a
form of automatlc wrltlng, except that ln thls case he no
longer wrltes the utterances of an unconsclous self but
rather has become the mouthplece for all llfe and mat
ter communlcatlng ltself through the deep consclous
ness of a man who acts under lnsplratlon as a slbyl, a
brldge between human understandlng and the cosmos.
In i~ ÇÉëíêìÅÅáµå ç Éä ~ãçêI Alelxandre`s poetry reaches a
vaguely anclent tone of pagan panthelsm wlth mythlcal
overtones. Jhe poet`s journey toward the attalnment of
the ldeal takes hlm to the depths of exlstence as llved
and experlenced by the lnner man. At thls polnt the
emotlonally cautlous and aesthetlcally restralned songs
of ^ãÄáíç have changed drastlcally to prlmal screams.
Jhe poet`s conceptlon of reallty ls clearly stated
ln i~ ÇÉëíêìÅÅáµå ç Éä ~ãçê. Jhe personal vlew of Alelxan
dre ln thls epoch of hls llfe ls the poetlcally coherent
exposltlon of hls Surreallstlc approach to knowledge. In
thls book Alelxandre has concelved a metaphorlcal
world, a purely llterary constructlon, through whlch hls
own lnterpretatlve vlew becomes evldent. Jhls world
of prlmltlve nature and onelrlc lmages ls remlnlscent of
m~ëáµå ÇÉ ä~ íáÉêê~I but i~ ÇÉëíêìÅÅáµå ç Éä ~ãçê has a more
loglcal structure and a clearer language. By thls tlme
Alelxandre was movlng toward a more easlly under
standable lyrlc language. thls new dlctlon reflects not
only the deeper levels of subconsclous knowledge but
also the consclous need for order and lntelllglble com
munlcatlon.
By l936, at the beglnnlng of the Spanlsh Clvll
War, Alelxandre was thlrtyelght years old and had sur
vlved a dangerous lllness. Ior ten years he had suffered
physlcal shortcomlngs; llfe and death, pleasure and
paln, and deslre and fear had been for hlm omnlpresent
opposltes that had to affect hls outlook. As a chronlcally
lll man he was more aware than others of blologlcal
determlnants; he could see ln hls own body the slow
and unremlttlng process of decay and dlssolutlon. He
contemplated the dlfferent avallable explanatlons for
human llfe and death. Alelxandre`s flrst books, the ones
wrltten before the war, are lmbued wlth an angulshed
search for a meanlngful explanatlon for exlstence. Irra
tlonallsm ln thls case ls more a method than an objec
tlve ln ltself. Confuslon and chaos are the condltlons of
a mlnd ln a state of total uncertalnty, but ln the mass of
lmages that flll these Surreallstlc books lt ls posslble to
dlscern the elements that ln further works develop lnto
a more loglcal understandlng. Wlth a more mature
sense of hls accompllshments, and aware of the clrcum
stances surroundlng hlm, Alelxandre had begun, ln
l931, a new book, jìåÇç ~ ëçä~ë (publlshed ln l950;
translated as tçêäÇ ^äçåÉI l982). It ls a sad and pesslmls
tlc book ln whlch he deplcts humanklnd`s loss of the
prlmeval elemental state.
Durlng the three years of the clvll war, Alelxan
dre wrote sparlngly, although he contrlbuted war
poems to Republlcan publlcatlons. It was a tlme of sor
row and devastatlon; hls own house was half destroyed
ln the flghtlng ln Madrld. At the end of the confllct,
peace brought llfe back to the shattered garden and
rooms of the house, but many of those who frequented
lt ln the prewar years were gone. Garc∞a Lorca was
dead; Cernuda, Gulllén, Neruda, and many others had
left Spaln; and Hern•ndez was ln prlson, where he dled
a few years later. Stlll falthful to hls old frlends and lde
als, Alelxandre wrote a poem to Hern•ndez`s memory,
a taclt crltlclsm of the new polltlcal reglme. But whlle
the memorles of those who had gone llngered ln the
renovated house where Alelxandre contlnued llvlng hls
recluslve llfe, a new group of wrlters started to replace
them and came to vlslt the poet. Jhey dld not form a
generatlonal group, nor a school followlng the dlctates
of a leader; these new vlsltors were the flrst among
many postwar Spanlsh poets who saw ln Alelxandre
the lnsplratlon of the master. Jhe author of revolutlon
ary Surreallst books had reached maturlty. Colnclden
tally, ln l911, an lmportant year for the hlstory of
postwar Spanlsh poetry because of the publlcatlon of
eáàçë ÇÉ ä~ áê~ (Chlldren of Wrath) by Alonso, Alelxan
dre publlshed hls flrst book ln almost ten years, pçãÄê~
ÇÉä é~ê~∞ëç (translated as pÜ~Ççï çÑ m~ê~ÇáëÉI l987).
Sonnets and other neoclasslcal pastlches, lnsplred
by the stale deslre to belleve ln the reborn greatness of
the emplre, were the maln expresslons of poetry ln the
early days of the Iranco reglme. Jhe long free verses,
the sensuous lmages, and the muslcally ample rhythms
of Alelxandre`s new book were a muchneeded excep
tlon. Hls worldvlew was made concrete ln the lmagery
of the poems. Wlth jìåÇç ~ ëçä~ëI whlch only appeared
ln l950 as a document of past experlences, Alelxandre
wanted to express hls sad reallzatlon that humans llved
ln a fallen state; thls same ldea, remlnlscent of rellglous
explanatlons for human lnadequacy ln nature, ls fully
developed ln pçãÄê~ ÇÉä é~ê~∞ëçI but wlth lmportant dlf
ferences. Jhe flrst volume conveys ln vlolent overtones
a negatlve vlew; the domlnant chord ln pçãÄê~ ÇÉä
25
ai_ POV sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉ
é~ê~∞ëç ls a more complex and rlchly evocatlve feellng of
human totallty. Jhls dlfference between the two books,
one wrltten lmmedlately before the war, the other dur
lng the flrst years of peace, ls lndlcatlve of two stages ln
Alelxandre`s understandlng of reallty. Jhe flrst stage
lncludes the flve books wrltten ln the prewar years;
they are the work of youth and convey an lmpresslon
of dlsorder and confuslon. Jhe second stage, whlch
beglns wlth pçãÄê~ ÇÉä é~ê~∞ëçI lntroduces a more harmo
nlous, lf nostalglc, vlew of the unlverse and corre
sponds to the mature years of the poet.
Jhls change ln Alelxandre`s outlook dld not hap
pen suddenly because of the war, nor dld lt come as a
total surprlse÷lt ls a slgn of the wrlter`s maturlty
reached after years of poetlc medltatlon on llfe and
death. Essentlal to thls new understandlng of the rela
tlonshlp between humanklnd and the unlverse are
Alelxandre`s conceptlons of poetry and the poet.
Although ln essence they are the same ones he pro
fessed ln l931, the lntenslty of the convlctlon and lts
purposefulness make them appear new. What years
before had been a supposltlon and a wlsh was now an
accepted fact, a deflnlte orderlng of the multlple compo
nents. Jhe poet, for Alelxandre, contlnues to be a seer,
a person who can reveal to others that ultlmate knowl
edge of the otherwlse lnexpresslble truth. Alelxandre
represents the poet as a glgantlc belng whose feet are
deep lnslde the earth and whose head ls up above,
touchlng the sky.
pçãÄê~ ÇÉä é~ê~∞ëç can be compared wlth Romantlc
works. Everythlng ln lt ls deslgned to underllne the
emotlon of remembrance and the hope of recoverlng a
lost paradlslacal state. Irom the conceptlon of poetry
and the poet to the lmages and verslflcatlon, pçãÄê~ ÇÉä
é~ê~∞ëç stands out ln contemporary Spanlsh letters as a
document of people`s eager acceptance of a degraded
exlstence that ls only a pale shadow of the orlglnal one.
Jhe speaker addresses nature, the cosmos, and other
men as lf he were lndeed the glgantlc poet of magnlfl
cent volce deplcted ln hls own Surreallstlc lmage.
At thls polnt ln Alelxandre`s llterary career hls
work had reached lts orlglnallty by a constant effort to
relate poetry and the personal search for meanlng. He
had applled wlth convlctlon the theory of poetlc knowl
edge as learned from Surreallsm and lts predecessors.
i~ ÇÉëíêìÅÅáµå ç Éä ~ãçê and pçãÄê~ ÇÉä é~ê~∞ëç are two
examples of poetry understood as a splrltual vocatlon,
as a method to reach a hlgher form of consclousness.
Partly because of hls dellcate health and hls lnablllty to
lead a normal, actlve llfe, Alelxandre had not had other
lnterests or devotlons outslde poetry; everythlng ln hls
recluslve llfe depended on lt and found meanlng ln lt.
As ln the case of a rellglous bellever, Alelxandre`s par
tlcular bellef provlded an order and lnterpretatlon to all
creatlon. Jhls vlrtually rellglous convlctlon does not
correspond ln Alelxandre`s case to an already provlded
answer that the lndlvldual readlly accepts and
embraces. He went stepbystep ln a personal search for
an explanatlon of exlstence; thls splrltual journey he
descrlbed metaphorlcally ln hls commentary for jáë
éçÉã~ë ãÉàçêÉë (l956, My Best Poems) as an asplratlon
toward llght.
Lp to the publlcatlon of pçãÄê~ ÇÉä é~ê~∞ëç the
lmage of llght pervades all Alelxandre`s work and car
rles wlth lt a meanlng of knowledge representatlve of
the wrlter`s own deflnltlon of hls poetlc alm. Jhls pre
domlnance of llght flnds lts correspondence ln hls prose
texts about poetry ln whlch the poet ls descrlbed as
'lllumlnator, provlder of llght." Alelxandre`s books are
closely related to each other; together they form an
extended structure ln whlch there ls a contlnulty of pur
pose, a slow development ln hls vlew of reallty and lts
poetlc manlfestatlon, both represented by a growlng
lumlnoslty. Jhls llght ls partlcularly brlght ln pçãÄê~ ÇÉä
é~ê~∞ëçI the collectlon standlng at the center of Alelxan
dre`s whole productlon. lt ls the culmlnatlon of a pro
cess but also provldes the basls for the developments
that follow ln the subsequent collectlons.
Jhe novelty of the next book Alelxandre wrote,
eáëíçêá~ ÇÉä Åçê~òµå (l951, Jhe Heart`s Hlstory), whlch
took almost ten years to flnlsh, lles ln lts central sub
ject÷concrete, everyday reallty. Hls ldeas about the cos
mlc lndlstlnctness of all thlngs and of the equallzlng
powers of love are applled ln thls book ln a much more
restrlcted way÷they refer only to people ln soclety.
Alelxandre explalns thls transformatlon by saylng that
eáëíçêá~ ÇÉä Åçê~òµå presupposes a new vlew and a new
conceptlon. But, more than a new conceptlon, the book
lllustrates the last stage ln the developmental process
that Alelxandre`s poetry had been followlng from the
flrst composltlons he wrote under the lnfluence of
|lménez to the poems of pçãÄê~ ÇÉä é~ê~∞ëç. Jhat process
was one of clarlflcatlon, the journey to llght that takes
the poet from the unlversallty of a cosmlc vlew to the
reallzatlon of the most lmmedlate destlny of human
klnd.
In the l950s Alelxandre achleved harmony wlth
hls world and wlth hlmself. Love, on the other hand,
the allencompasslng force of ldentlflcatlon, took on the
form of soclal love. And hls volce became the volce of
collectlve humanklnd, as ls clearly stated ln the tltle of
hls poem 'El poeta canta por todos" (Jhe Poet Slngs
for Everyone). An obvlous consequence of thls attltude
ls the need to stress the lmportance of communlcatlon,
a convlctlon sustalned also by the soclal poets of the
same perlod.
Wlth the abandonment of the vlslonary lmages
found ln hls prewar books, the vague feellng of awe
26
sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉ ai_ POV
before the mystery of llfe and the almostsacred tone of
the oracle also vanlshed. Hls lnterest ln humanklnd,
common people, brought other aspects of everyday
reallty lnto Alelxandre`s perspectlve and affected
greatly hls lnsplratlon and dlscourse. Jhe lmaglned
reader or llstener, the poetlc personae, and the settlngs
of the poems all polnt to a dlfferent attltude. Jhey also
brlng to the forefront a factor Alelxandre started to con
slder only ln relatlon to human llfe÷the daytoday pas
sage of tlme. Jhe attentlon focused on purely reallstlc
aspects had to be complemented by an lnterest ln realls
tlc language÷a language much nearer to everyday dls
course whlle stlll malntalnlng a poetlc force. Vlslonary
lmagery comes to be replaced ln eáëíçêá~ ÇÉä Åçê~òµå by
common lmages lmbued wlth a profoundly emotlonal
understandlng, acceptance, and exaltatlon of human llfe
ln a communal world.
Aqu∞ tamblén entré, es esta casa.
Aqu∞ vl a la madre cómo cos∞a.
Lna nlña, casl una mujer (algulen dlr∞a. qué alta, qué
guapa se est• ponlendo),
alzó sus grandes ojos oscuros, que no me mlraban.
Otro chlqulllo, una menuda sombra, apenas un grlto, un
ruldlllo por el suelo,
tocó mls plernas suavemente, sln verme.
Fuera, a la entrada, un hombre golpeaba, conflado, en un
hlerro.
(Here I also went lnto thls house.
Here I saw how the mother was sewlng.
A glrl, almost a woman |someone would say. how tall she
ls, how beautlful she ls becomlng|
ralsed her large dark eyes that dld not look at me.
Another chlld, a llttle shadow, only a cry, a subtle nolse
around the floor,
touched my legs, softly, not seelng me.
Outslde, at the entrance, a man was beatlng, confldently, a
plece of metal.)
Jhe baslc prlnclples of free verse agaln constltute the
styllstlc basls for these new composltlons. Every form
of repetltlon ls trled ln order to create the approprlate
tone of chants, hymns, elegles, and songs. Jhe poems
cover the complete range of subjects llsted by Alelxan
dre ln the prologue to the l911 edltlon of i~ ÇÉëíêìÅÅáµå
ç Éä ~ãçê as those that every poet wrltlng for the major
lty of people should embrace as central. the essentlally
unlfylng aspects of love, sadness, hate, and death. He
dld not lnclude ln hls llst, as he certalnly does ln hls
poetry, the joy of llvlng and the sensuous awareness
of the real.
At the tlme of wrltlng eáëíçêá~ ÇÉä Åçê~òµåI Alelx
andre had reached hls full emotlonal and lntellectual
maturlty. Publlc recognltlon, underllned by hls elec
tlon to the Spanlsh Royal Academy ln l950, ls also an
lndlcatlon of hls complete adjustment to clrcumstances
and of hls lnvolvement ln llterary actlvltles. He had
become more of a publlc man as he was lnvlted to glve
lectures and read hls poems. He publlshed some of hls
nearly forgotten works, prepared anthologles and new
edltlons of hls works, contrlbuted to poetlcal publlca
tlons, and was extenslvely lntervlewed and honored.
Some of Alelxandre`s most lmportant theoretlcal texts
are from thls perlod and lnclude ^äÖìåçë Å~ê~ÅíÉêÉë ÇÉ ä~
åìÉî~ éçÉë∞~ Éëé~¥çä~ (l955, Some Characterlstlcs of the
New Spanlsh Poetry) and the notes to the anthology
jáë éçÉã~ë ãÉàçêÉë.
Hls polnt of vlew on poetlcs became a guldlng
prlnclple among Spanlsh poets. Alelxandre knew how
to lnterpret the tlmes, and hls prlnclples appeared as
approprlate to the clrcumstances and the needs of that
partlcular hlstorlcal tlme. In hls prologue to jáë éçÉã~ë
ãÉàçêÉëI Alelxandre explalns that, startlng wlth eáëíçêá~
ÇÉä Åçê~òµåI he belleved the poet was the expresslon of
dlfflcult human llfe and that the poet`s volce elther
comes from hls extended communltarlan heart, com
forted by love, or ls gathered from the mass of the
people. Alelxandre had followed a slmllar path÷only
at a slower pace÷to the one taken by other wrlters of
hls generatlon who, havlng practlced Surreallsm ln the
years before World War II, had later wrltten a poetry
commltted to thelr lmmedlate soclal sltuatlon.
Another Nobel Prlze wlnner comes to mlnd ln thls
regard÷the Chllean Neruda, who was one of Alelxan
dre`s close frlends whlle llvlng ln Madrld as a dlplo
mat. Ior hlm the evolutlon from vlslonary to reallstlc
poetry was sudden and ldeologlcally lnsplred. A com
parlson of these poets shows many dlfferences, but
they have ln common thelr awareness of nature and
cosmos, people and soclety, love and death, and the
neverforgotten vlslonary orlgln of thelr understand
lng of reallty. Only poets such as they, modernday
seers and lnherltors of a lyrlc tradltlon, could have
wrltten fully poetlc reallst works. In postclvllwar
Spaln, Alelxandre`s eáëíçêá~ ÇÉä Åçê~òµåI bå ìå î~ëíç
Ççãáåáç (l962, In a Vast Domaln), and oÉíê~íçë Åçå åçãJ
ÄêÉ (l965, Portralts wlth Names) are good examples of
thls new soclal senslblllty caused by polltlcal clrcum
stances.
bå ìå î~ëíç Ççãáåáç has an lntroductory poem
that, mlrrorlng a growlng concern among the poets of
the day, offers another declaratlon of poetlc prlnclples.
Jhe attractlon poets have toward ~êë éçÉíáÅ~ seems
unusually consplcuous ln postclvllwar Spanlsh
poetry, partlcularly durlng the perlod when the soclal
reallst style was predomlnant. Alelxandre hlmself pald
less attentlon to the subject ln hls books prlor to pçãJ
Äê~ ÇÉä é~ê~∞ëç. Jhe preoccupatlon wlth poetlcs can be
accounted for, at least ln thls brlef perlod, by the
27
ai_ POV sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉ
nature of llterary creatlvlty under a dlctatorshlp. Real
lstlc poets, whose manlfest soclal awareness was llm
lted at the most to a personal testlmony of thelr
attltude toward the troubled world, felt the psycholog
lcal need to explaln thelr soclal value as poets to them
selves and to others. Alelxandre was sensltlve to the
fact that there are unavoldable llmltatlons ln commu
nlcatlon wlth all people through poetry, but he dld not
seem to see these facts changlng the essentlally com
munal character of the authentlc poet, who contlnues
to be the same as the one he had descrlbed years
before. Hls keeplng lntact the prevlous conceptlon of
the poet as a bard of cosmlc dlmenslons had an lnflu
ence on hls understandlng of reallsm and lts soclal
functlon. Lnllke the poets who confused the levels of
poetlc understandlng wlth the most obvlous everyday
soclal and lndlvldual experlences, he saw reallty ln a
wlder perspectlve.
'Para qulen escrlbo" (Jo Whom I Wrlte), the
lntroductory poem ln bå ìå î~ëíç ÇçãáåáçI uses slmple,
dlrect language, as beflts the style of reallstlc wrltlng;
most of the emotlonal lmpact comes from the rhyth
mlc organlzatlon of the plaln dlscourse. Jhe long llnes
are separated from one another ln stanzallke unlts
characterlzed by enumeratlon and repetltlons.
'Escrlbo para el enamorado para el que pasó con su
angustla en los ojos; para el que le oyó para el que al
pasar no mlró para el que flnalmente cayó cuando pre
guntó y no le oyeron" (I wrlte for the one ln love for
the one who walked by wlth angulsh ln hls eyes; for
the one who heard hlm; for the one who passed by
and dld not look; for the one who fell at last when he
asked and no one llstened). Jhe slmllarltles of the
composltlons ln the book to some of Walt Whltman`s
can be attrlbuted not solely to the metrlcal form but
also the lnsplred conceptlon of poetry and worldvlew
that ln both wrlters leads to a comparable expresslon.
By llstlng the dlfferent types of people to whom he
wrltes or does not lntend to wrlte, Alelxandre conveys
ln hls flrst poem hls baslc tenets. Jwo of those for
whom he does not wrlte are 'the gentleman wlth the
stlff jacket" who has 'furlous moustaches" and ralses
hls dlsapprovlng flnger 'among the sad waves of
muslc," and the lady hldden lnslde a car, her lor
gnettes shlnlng 'llke cold llghtnlng." Jhese are
unequlvocal references to a false world of soclal dls
gulse and cruel lack of senslblllty, a constant motlf ln
Alelxandre`s vlew of creatlon. some forms of llfe are
false, and, therefore, to hlm nonexlstent. On the other
hand, he wrltes for people who perhaps wlll never
have the opportunlty, nor the lnterest, to read hls
work. 'Para todos escrlbo. Para los que no me leen
sobre / Jodo escrlbo" (I wrlte for everybody. I wrlte
partlcularly for those who do not read my poetry).
Jhls comment colncldes wlth a common concern
among soclal poets who knew that they were wrltlng
for those who by educatlon and soclal standlng would
never read thelr poetry. Jhls awareness ls not the full
j~åìëÅêáéí çÑ çåÉ çÑ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉÛë ä~ëí éçÉãë E Ñêçã ðåëìä~ xg~åì~êóÓcÉÄêì~êó NVURzI qÜçã~ë `ççéÉê iáÄê~êóI
råáîÉêëáíó çÑ pçìíÜ `~êçäáå~X Äó éÉêãáëëáçå çÑ íÜÉ bëí~íÉ çÑ sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉF
28
sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉ ai_ POV
ldea behlnd Alelxandre`s verse; he was statlng once
more hls longsustalned bellef ln the unlversal charac
ter of the poet who ls fused lnto the totallty of human
klnd. Jhus, to tle thls lnterpretatlon ln wlth the cosmlc
vlslon of hls earller books, natural elements are also
lncluded ln the llst of those for whom he wrltes.
Joward the end of the l960s Alelxandre aban
doned most of the elements that characterlze hls realls
tlc work. Soclal and polltlcal clrcumstances had
changed ln Spaln, maklng lt unnecessary to slng any
longer the hymns of human solldarlty. Iurthermore,
old age had flnally come to hlm, and wlth lt came also
more of the lumlnoslty so cherlshed from the begln
nlng. A more medltatlve attltude set the tone of hls
poems. Jhey are grouped ln two major books. mçÉã~ë
ÇÉ ä~ Åçåëìã~Åáµå (l968, Poems of Consummatlon) and
aá•äçÖçë ÇÉä ÅçåçÅáãáÉåíç. Jhese collectlons constltute a
flnal development ln the long process of the poet`s
growlng understandlng of the world. Jhey are at the
same tlme undenlably hls and so novel that they fall
well wlthln the parameters of the new Spanlsh poetry.
In hls old age the master was able to renew hlmself
because hls experlence had taught hlm the need to be
open to lnsplratlon. Jhls lnsplratlon came ln dlfferent
forms as he was able to grasp new meanlngs and lnter
pret anew the presence of the world.
mçÉã~ë ÇÉ ä~ Åçåëìã~Åáµå and aá•äçÖçë ÇÉä ÅçåçJ
ÅáãáÉåíç relntroduce as a poetlc method the almost her
metlc lmage of hls Surreallst perlod that had been
abandoned by the mature poet ln order to attaln the
muchdeslred ldeal of communlcatlon. Alelxandre
brought together ln hls last books all hls capacltles as a
wrlter. He found hlmself ln possesslon of revealed
truth and could not pass the opportunlty to try for the
last tlme to put hls lnner vlslons lnto words. Irom the
tlme of hls lnltlal experlments ln ^ãÄáíçI he had been
deallng wlth poetry as a form of knowledge, as a
method of apprehendlng the essences lost to sclence.
He trled from the beglnnlng to construct a worldvlew,
a system of poetlc ldeas to account for reallty. Conse
quently most of the crltlcal approaches to hls work
had trled to explaln, dlscuss, compare, or lnterpret lts
phllosophlcal aspects. mçÉã~ë ÇÉ ä~ Åçåëìã~Åáµå and aá•J
äçÖçë ÇÉä ÅçåçÅáãáÉåíç add a new, stlll more complex
chapter to the already comprehenslve system.
mçÉã~ë ÇÉ ä~ Åçåëìã~Åáµå lncludes several brlef
poems ln short, almost tradltlonal hendecasyllablc
meter. Jhls style of conclslon reproduces the succlnct
dlscourse of a wlse man who does not need many
words to state hls ldeas. Llght and darkness÷day and
nlght÷are once more central to Alelxandre`s concep
tlon and flnd thelr correlatlves ln the polarltles of
youth and old age, the polnt of reallzatlon from whlch
the book develops as a medltatlon on man`s temporal
condltlon. Jhe poems are for the most part a serles of
short, aphorlstlc sentences as expressed by a detached
speaker. Jhe poet, who to a certaln extent ls an objec
tlve volce, transmlts the emotlonal feellng of ultlmate,
wlstful wlsdom.
Jhls objectlve volce of knowledge changes to
speclflc volces ln aá•äçÖçë ÇÉä ÅçåçÅáãáÉåíçI as the poems
are made up of the contrastlng speeches of dlfferent
characters. Jhe structural polarlty seen ln mçÉã~ë ÇÉ ä~
Åçåëìã~Åáµå assumes ln thls volume the form of long
composltlons that reproduce the words of two, ln
some cases three, speakers who sustaln opposlng
vlews but do not seem to pay attentlon to each other`s
monologues. As lf they were entranced by thelr own
lntellectual and emotlve convlctlons, they talk ln the
same eplgrammatlc manner that the unspeclfled
speaker uses ln mçÉã~ë ÇÉ ä~ Åçåëìã~Åáµå. In both cases
the attltudes of the speakers and thelr tones of volce
glve the lmpresslon of anclent oracles. Several other
factors help to produce ln aá•äçÖçë ÇÉä ÅçåçÅáãáÉåíç the
effect of entrancement. Ilrst ln lmportance ls the phllo
sophlcal character of the book, whlch explalns the
abundance of apothegmatlc statements. Images are
also used ln a slmllar axlomatlc way. Many statements
are contradlctory or hermetlc, and lmages are lrra
tlonal, addlng stlll more to the mysterlous and gno
mlc tone. Relteratlons glve denslty and rhythm to
the book; of partlcular lnterest are the several refer
ences to earller texts by Alelxandre, whose work
acqulres ln such a way the fullness of a complete
and selfcontalned system.
After a flurry of journallstlc lnterest caused by
hls l977 Nobel Prlze, Alelxandre returned to a less
vlslble posltlon, although he malntalned hls proflle as
one of the masters of Spanlsh lyrlcal poetry. By the
tlme he recelved the Nobel Prlze, Alelxandre was old
(lll health prevented hlm from attendlng the cere
mony), and the award had llttle effect on hls llfe. Jhe
lnltlal medla exposure dld not lead to lncreased crltlcal
attentlon, partlcularly outslde Spaln, and he dld not
wrlte much more. He dled on l1 December l981.
Jhe analysls and evaluatlon of Vlcente Alelxan
dre`s contrlbutlon to Spanlsh and unlversal letters ls
an ongolng process; as crltlcal readlngs enhance wlth
tlme the quallty of hls art, Alelxandre`s poetry
becomes an essentlal component of Spanlsh culture.
Crltlcs have most often admlred ln hlm hls ablllty to
put lnto hlghly emotlonal poetlc language a few basl
cally profound ldeas about belng. A poet wlth an
almost rellglous penchant for medltatlon and hymn
slnglng, Alelxandre has been pralsed for hls under
standlng of the mysterlous, for the poetlc knowledge
underllnlng hls poetry, and for hls capaclty to commu
nlcate hls lumlnous vlslons through verbal lmages.
29
ai_ POV sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉ
iÉííÉêëW
Ipistolorio, edlted by |osé Luls Cano (Madrld. Allanza,
l986);
Corrcspovdcvcio o lo gcvcrociov dcl 27 (192S-19S4), edlted
by Irma Emlllozzl (Madrld. Castalla, 200l);
Cortos dc !iccvtc Zlcixovdrc o ¸osc Zvtovio Muvo· Iojos
(19J7-19S4), edlted by Emlllozzl, transcrlbed by
Mar∞a del Carmen Mart∞nez Perelra (Valencla.
PreJextos, 2005).
_áçÖê~éÜáÉëW
Antonlo Collnas, Covoccr: !iccvtc Zlcixovdrc y su obro
(Barcelona. Dopesa, l977);
Leopoldo de Luls, !ido y obro dc !iccvtc Zlcixovdrc
(Madrld. EspasaCalpe, l978);
|osé Luls Cano, Ios cuodcrvos dc !clivtovio: Covvcrsociovcs
cov !iccvtc Zlcixovdrc (Barcelona. Selx Barral,
l986).
oÉÑÉêÉåÅÉëW
Carlos Bousoño, Io pocs∞o dc !iccvtc Zlcixovdrc, thlrd edl
tlon, revlsed (Madrld. Gredos, l977);
Vlcente Cabrera and Harrlet Boyer, eds., Criticol !icws
ov !iccvtc Zlcixovdrc`s Ioctry (Llncoln, Nebr.. Socl
ety of Spanlsh and SpanlshAmerlcan Studles,
l979);
|osé Luls Cano, ed., !iccvtc Zlcixovdrc (Madrld. Jaurus,
l977);
Santlago Dayd∞Jolson, ed., !iccvtc Zlcixovdrc: Z Criticol
Zpproisol (Ypsllantl, Mlch.. Blllngual Press/Edlto
rlal BlllngΩe, l98l);
Glancarlo Depretls, Io ·oo di spccli (Il pcrccptivc ombi-
volcvtc vcllo pocsio dc !. Zlcixovdrc) (Jurln. Iacolta
dl Maglsterlo, l976);
Iranclsco |avler D∞ez de Revenga, Io pocs∞o dc !iccvtc
Zlcixovdrc: Tcstimovio y covcicvcio (M•laga. Centro
Cultural Generaclón del 27, l999);
Hern•n Galllea, Io pocs∞o supcrrcolisto dc !iccvtc Zlcixovdrc
(Santlago, Chlle. Edltorlal Lnlversltarla, l97l);
Vlcente Granados, Io pocs∞o dc !iccvtc Zlcixovdrc (Ior-
mociov y cvoluciov) (Madrld. Cupsa, l977);
Robert Havart, ed., Z Compoviov to Spovisl Surrcolism
(London. Jamesls, 2001);
|osé Ollvlo |lménez, !iccvtc Zlcixovdrc: Uvo ovcvturo locio
cl covocimicvto (Madrld. |∫car, l982);
Gabrlelll Morelll, Iivguoggio poctico dcl primo Zlcixovdrc
(Mllan. GllardlnoGlolardlca, l972);
Danlel Murphy, !iccvtc Zlcixovdrc`s Strcom of Covsciousvcss
(Lewlsburg, Pa.. Bucknell Lnlverslty Press,
200l);
Dar∞o Pucclnl, Io polobro poctico dc !iccvtc Zlcixovdrc
(Barcelona. Arlel, l979);
Kessel Schwartz, !iccvtc Zlcixovdrc (New York. Jwayne,
l970).

NVTT kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ
mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ
by Dr. Iorl Iogvor Cicrow, of tlc Swcdisl Zcodcmy
(Trovslotiov from tlc Swcdisl)
Your Majestles, Your Royal Hlghnesses, Ladles and
Gentlemen,
Jhls year`s Nobel Prlze wlnner ln Llterature,
Vlcente Alelxandre, ls hard to understand and ln one way
controverslal. Jhe latter may be due to the former. Ior
even hls devoted admlrers offer varylng lnterpretatlons of
hls poetry. It ls doubtful lf anyone has yet been able to sum
lt up properly, one reason belng that flfty years after Alelx
andre`s debut hls wrltlng stlll seems to be forglng ahead.
Hls two most remarkable collectlons of poems, the twln
crowns of hls career to date, appeared ln l968 (Iocmos dc lo
covsumociov) and l971 (Di•logos dcl covocimicvto).
On one polnt, however, all are agreed. Alelxandre`s
place and lmportance ln the splrltual llfe of Spaln. In the
hlstory of llterature he ls part of the current that broke lnto
Spanlsh poetry ln the l920s wlth unequalled breadth and
force. One of the names of the vlgorous avant garde was
the Plelades. It ls all the more sultable as no one wlth the
naked eye can make out the correct number ln the group
of stars that we colloqulally call Jhe Seven Slsters. Jhere
are many more of them, and ln the flrmament of Spanlsh
poetry these Plelades are usually numbered at around
twentyflve÷a brllllant cluster of lyrlc talent. Among those
who came to shlne the brlghtest and the longest ls Vlcente
Alelxandre.
Jhe afflnlty of the new style wlth Irench surreallsm
ls strlklng. Jhere are those ln Spaln who prefer to call lt
apparent. Jhey are sometlmes reluctant to stress the polnts
ln common, assertlng thelr unconformlty all the more
strongly. Jhe Spanlsh declaratlon of lndependence ls not
wlthout ground. Jhe Second Golden Age, whlch ls
another name for the breakthrough and epoch of the Plela
des, referred dlrectly and expressly to the flrst, Spaln`s cen
turylong age of greatness, the baroque. When the young
guard banded together to strlke thelr blg blow they chose
as a standard to celebrate the 300th annlversary of Luls de
Góngora, the creator of the halrspllttlng 'estllo culto"
who orlglnated and gave hls name to the lngenlously and
extravagantly ornamented gongorlsm. Vlrtuoso pastlches
on Spanlsh baroque poetry ln frllls, and beslde them folk
song varlatlons of rustlc themes, were characterlstlc ele
ments ln the renewal durlng the l920s south of the
Pyrenees, and they dlstlngulsh lt undenlably from the
manlfestos up by the Selne.
30
sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉ ai_ POV
When thls vltal generatlon of poets, wlth Lorca at
the head, stormed the Spanlsh Parnassus, Alelxandre too
was busy wlth hls pen. He was then wrltlng about the
need of ratlonallzatlon and penslon and lnsurance prob
lems on the Spanlsh rallways, where he was employed.
But ln l925 somethlng happened whlch was to determlne
the whole of hls exlstence and stlll does today. He was
taken serlously lll wlth renal tuberculosls. It changed hls
llfe ln two ways. He had to leave hls employment and he
could take another posltlon wlth communlcatlons of a dlf
ferent klnd. those of poetry. When the Góngora annlver
sary was celebrated he had not yet publlshed hls flrst
volume of verse, but he had prlnted poems ln the Plelades`
magazlnes and was already a member of the group. He
was perhaps the one least concerned about the connexlon
wlth 'the golden century" and to that extent also the one
who came closest to the new doctrlnes from Parls. Jhls
may be the background to a somewhat deflant declaratlon
by one of hls poet frlends that Spanlsh surreallsm had
glven Irench surreallsm what lt had always lacked÷a great
poet. Vlcente Alelxandre. But he has never been a medla
tor ln thls llterary frontler dlspute. Agalnst the baslc artlcle
of falth 'l`ecrlture automatlque" he has relterated hls bellef
ln 'la conclencla creadora," creatlve consclousness. He
went hls own way.
In extremely slmpllfled terms lt ls the way from a
cosmlc vlslon to a reallstlc closeup. One of Alelxandre`s
concluslve collectlons of poems ls called Io dcstrucciov o cl
omor (Destructlon or Love). Jhe tltle ls thematlcally preg
nant wlth meanlng and certaln Alelxandre connolsseurs
have taken lt to mean an EltherOr, to quote Klerkegaard.
wlthout love all that ls left to us ls destructlon. But the
word 'or" can mean not only two alternatlve contrasts but
also an explanatory addltlon, and what the tltle then says
ls. Destructlon, ln other words love. It would agree better
wlth the perspectlve of creatlon ln lts entlrety that these
poems, and those that followed, alm at deplctlng and that
Alelxandre has been strlvlng for ever slnce hls debut wlth
Zmbito. 'Man ls an element ln the cosmos and ln hls belng
does not dlffer from lt," as he hlmself says. Love ls destruc
tlon, but destructlon ls a result of or an act of love, of self
effacement, of man`s lnnate yearnlng to be recelved back
lnto the world order from whlch, as a llvlng belng, he has
been separated and cast out÷'segregado÷degradado." Hls
decease therefore has nothlng of despalr at a meanlngful
llfe meetlng wlth a meanlngless death. Only wlth death
does llfe acqulre lts meanlng and ls complete; lt ls the last
blrth, `ocimicvto ∫ltimo, as one of the later collectlons of
poems ls called. Alelxandre does not hesltate to carry hls
vlslon to the paradoxlcal extreme. 'Man does not exlst."
In other words. so long as he ls allve, he ls actually
unborn.
But out of the convlctlon that man ls an element ln a
cosmlc whole grows of necesslty the awareness that our
short llfe on earth ls also a part of the same course of
events. It ls that knowledge whlch has brought Alelxandre
back to 'the tellurlan world," as he calls lt, glven hls con
tlnued wrltlngs a proxlmlty to llfe, an openness and dlrect
ness whlch formerly he was not capable of or dld not
strlve for, and has made hls last two books, mentloned ln
the lntroductlon to thls presentatlon, the peak of hls work
hltherto. On hls way there, but consclous of where he was
headlng, he wrote ln Historio dcl coro·ov a poem called
'Entre dos oscurldades un rel•mpago," A Llghtnlng
Between Jwo Darknesses. In lt ls the earth, ln lt ls man,
and llfe must be afflrmed so long as we have lt. Intentlon
ally or not one of the glfted dreamers of our tlme here
quotes the words of another vlslonary when the meanlng
of the play ls to be explalned.
'We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our llttle
llfe ls rounded wlth a sleep."
Outwardly too Alelxandre went hls own way. When the
clvll war came he was bedrldden and llstened to the
bombs explodlng. Lorca was murdered, other poet
frlends dled ln prlson, and when the remalnder went lnto
exlle at the end of the war, a constellatlon scattered to the
four wlnds, they had to leave the lnvalld behlnd. But
mentally as well Alelxandre survlved the reglme. He
never submltted to lt and went on wlth hls wrltlng, frall
but unbroken, thereby becomlng the rallylngpolnt and
source of power ln Spaln`s splrltual llfe that we today
have the pleasure of honourlng.
Jhe Swedlsh Academy deeply regrets that owlng
to hls state of health Mr. Alelxandre can`t be here today.
But as hls representatlve we greet hls frlend and younger
colleague, Mr. |usto |orge Padrón, and I ask you, Mr.
Padrón, to convey to Mr. Alelxandre our warmest con
gratulatlons and to recelve the Nobel Prlze for Llterature,
awarded to hlm, from the hands of Hls Majesty the Klng.
|¹ Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l977.|

^äÉáñ~åÇêÉW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ
Zs Zlcixovdrc wos uvoblc to bc prcscvt ot tlc `obcl ßov-
quct, 10 Dcccmbcr 1977, tlc spcccl of tlovls wos rcod by Mr.
¸orgc Iodrov (iv Spovisl):
Majestades, Altezas Reales, Señoras y Señores,
En esta reunlón tan grata para todos, unos, la
mayor∞a, est•n aqu∞ son su presencla f∞slca; alguna
3l
ai_ POV sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉ
como yo con su aslstencla esplrltual. La voz me la
presta dlgnamente |usto |orge Padrón, a qulen doy las
graclas muy slnceras. En una reunlón como ésta en que
nos congregamos, de un modo u otro hombres de pro
cedenclas dlversas, todos en la convocatorla del Nobel
y su llamamlento radlcalmente humanlsta, yo slenta
m•s que nunca lo que en otra parte he expresado. que
dlcha alta dlstlnclon es antes que nada un slmbolo de la
solldarldad humana. El qulere colaborar en el progreso
humano subrayando los pasos que los hombres dan en
las m•s dlferentes actlvldades, todas conducentes al
adelantamlento de la comunlcaclón y de la solldarldad
en un destlno com∫n.
En este alto propóslto de Nobel, bajo techo com
partldo que aqu∞ nos re∫ne, yo alzo esplrltualmente ml
copa por el pueblo que lo ha hecho poslble por todos los
que lo componen. Sea pues ml brlndls por este faro de
Europa, ejemplo en el esfuerzo por la llbertad, justlcla y
progreso. Levanto pues ml vaso, en la companla de uste
des, por el pueblo sueco y, con él, por qulen altamente lo
representa en este lnstante. la Academla Sueca.
|¹ Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l977. Vlcente Alelxandre ls
the sole author of hls speech.|
qê~åëä~íáçå Äó `~êä~ _êÉáÇÉåÄ~ÅÜW
Your Majestles, Your Royal Hlghnesses, Ladles and
Gentlemen,
At such an event so pleasant for all, some, the
majorlty are physlcally present; others, llke me, are wlth
you ln splrlt. Jhe honorable |orge Padrón dellvers thls
speech ln my absence, and for thls I send hlm my most
slncere thanks. In a gatherlng such as thls at whlch we all
congregate ln one way or another, men from dlverse
backgrounds, all at the summons of the Nobel and lts
radlcally humanlstlc calllng, I feel more than ever that
whlch I have expressed elsewhere. that thls great dlstlnc
tlon ls more than anythlng a symbol of human solldarlty.
Jhe deslre to collaborate ln human progress underllnes
the steps that man takes ln hls dlfferent endeavors, all
conduclve to the advancement of communlcatlon and
solldarlty toward a common goal.
In thls great purpose of the Nobel, under the
roof that unltes us here today, I, ln splrlt, ralse my
glass to all the people who have made thls posslble.
Let my toast be for the beacon that ls Europe, exam
ple ln the quest for llberty, justlce, and progress. I llft
my glass, ln your company, for the Swedlsh natlon
and, wlth lt, for those who represent lt so hlghly at thls
moment. the Swedlsh Academy.

mêÉëë oÉäÉ~ëÉW qÜÉ kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå
iáíÉê~íìêÉ NVTT
Ñêçã íÜÉ lÑÑáÅÉ çÑ íÜÉ mÉêã~åÉåí pÉÅêÉí~êó çÑ íÜÉ
pïÉÇáëÜ ^Å~ÇÉãó
When Vlcente Alelxandre publlshed hls flrst vol
ume of verse ln l928, ^ãÄáíçI he was already closely
assoclated personally wlth the greatly glfted Spanlsh
poets who have glven thls epoch ln Spanlsh llterature
the name, 'Jhe Second Golden Age." In lts conceptlon
of poetry`s essence and mode of expresslon, the vlgor
ous group had somethlng ln common wlth the surreal
lsm that had appeared ln Irance and spread lts
manlfestatlons from there. Iberlan llterary clrcles, how
ever, preferred to assert thelr lndependence and drew a
llterary borderllne along the Pyrenees. Jhey were kln
dred but not allled, and south of the border, the dlffer
ences were stressed by glvlng other names to the
correspondlng lmpulses ln style÷ultralsm, creatlonlsm.
It has also happened that the slmllarltles have been rec
ognlzed and the Galllc term accepted, but the admlsslon
has been worded ln a challenglng way. Spanlsh surreal
lsm has glven the Irench surreallsm what lt has lacked÷
a poet. Jhe poet referred to was Vlcente Alelxandre.
Jhere was ln fact good reason for the llterary
frontler dlspute. It could be clalmed that the Spanlsh
current had not only taken a dlvergent course but also
had another orlgln. When thls unusually promlslng
generatlon of Spanlsh wrlters banded together to strlke
thelr blg blow, lt was no colncldence that they dld so at
a spectacular ceremony they themselves had staged on
the three hundredth annlversary of Góngora`s death.
Jhey share the extravagantly ornamented lmagery and
the abrupt alluslon technlque wlth the Irench surreal
lsts, but to an equal degree, wlth the baroque style,
especlally ln lts Spanlsh varlant. Iurthermore, the pen
chant for halrspllttlng and clearcut antltheses on the
one hand, and for motlfs from everyday llfe on the
other, whlch characterlzes much ln Spanlsh modernlsm
and bullds on lts tradltlon from the flrst golden age, ls
actually lncompatlble wlth 'l`écrlture automatlque," the
baslc artlcle of falth ln the new doctrlne from the Selne.
And some of the Spanlards dld volce thelr mlstrust ln
thls form of lnsplratlon and communlcatlon; one of
them was, and ls, Alelxandre.
Hls flrst collectlon of poems appeared the year
after the Góngora annlversary. Jhls means that he was
not one of the standardbearers for the reorlentatlon of
Spanlsh poetry; that march was well on the move. But
32
sáÅÉåíÉ ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉ ai_ POV
he was already one of the company. He had contrlb
uted to thelr magazlnes and he was thelr contemporary.
Precoclty ls hardly Alelxandre`s llterary characterlstlc,
whereas constant renewal ls. He won hls place ln the
group lmmedlately, and lt was hls own. It was con
flrmed as tlme went on, and hls posltlon became more
and more promlnent, founded on a prollflc productlon
wlth masterpleces such as i~ ÇÉëíêìÅÅáµå ç Éä ~ãçêI l935
(Destructlon or Love), pçãÄê~ ÇÉä é~ê~áëçI l911 (Jhe
Shadow of Paradlse), k~ÅáãáÉåíç ∫äíáãçI l953 (Jhe Last
Blrth), and bå ìå î~ëíç ÇçãáåáçI l962 (In a Vast Domln
lon), as perhaps the most lmportant.
Jhere ls no formula that sums up thls contlnu
ously developlng poetry, extenslve both ln tlme and
cholce of subject. But lf we seek a recurrent lmpresslon,
a theme whlch manlfests ltself ln Alelxandre`s work at
dlfferent stages and ln varlous ways, we can call lt. the
strength to survlve. It ls true also of hls physlcal llfe, hls
personal exlstence. In l925, three years before hls
début, he fell lll wlth severe and nevercured renal
tuberculosls; slnce then he has, ln brlef, been bedrldden
or a captlve at hls desk. Jhe clvll war came, and from
hls bed he llstened to the bombs explodlng. When lt
was over and hls frlends and fellowwrlters went lnto
exlle, they had to leave the lnvalld behlnd. But men
tally, too, he survlved the Iranco reglme, never submlt
tlng, and thus becomlng a rallylngpolnt and key flgure
ln what remalned of Spaln`s splrltual llfe.
Exemplary, revered, and a gulde, frall but unbro
ken, Alelxandre showed even ln hls wrltlngs the same
strength to survlve and, what ls more, always to renew
hlmself, to explore other means and motlfs. Hls lnsplra
tlon has nelther weakened nor drled up÷on the con
trary, he has attalned a slmpllclty of expresslon and a
warm openness both to exlstence and to the reader,
whlch formerly he was not capable of or dld not strlve
for. In thls way, strangely enough, hls two most recent
collectlons of poems÷mçÉã~ë ÇÉ ä~ Åçåëìã~Åáµå (Poems
about Perfectlon) from l968, and perhaps, above all,
aá•äçÖçë ÇÉä ÅçåçÅáãáÉåíç (Dlalogues of Inslght), publlshed
as recently as three years ago÷form the peak hltherto of
Vlcente Alelxandre`s half centurylong wrltlng career.
|¹ Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l977.|
33
^äÉáñ~åÇêÉW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI NO aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVTT
Eqê~åëä~íáçåF
At a moment llke thls, so lmportant ln the llfe of a
man of letters, I should llke to express ln the most elo
quent words at my command the emotlon that a human
belng feels and the gratltude he experlences ln the face
of an event such as that whlch ls taklng place today. I
was born ln a mlddleclass famlly, but I had the beneflt
of lts emlnently open and llberal outlook. My restless
splrlt led me to practlse contradlctory professlons. I was
a teacher of mercantlle law, an employee ln a rallway
company, a flnanclal journallst. Irom early youth thls
restlessness of whlch I have spoken llfted me to one par
tlcular dellght. readlng and, ln tlme, wrltlng. At the age
of l8 the apprentlce poet began to wrlte hls flrst verses,
sketched out ln secret amld the turmoll of a llfe whlch,
because lt had not yet found lts true axls, I mlght call
adventurous. Jhe destlny of my llfe, lts dlrectlon, was
determlned by a bodlly weakness. I became serlously lll
of a chronlc complalnt. I had to abandon all my other
concerns, those whlch I mlght call corporal, and to
retreat to the countryslde far from my former actlvltles.
Jhe vacuum thus created was soon lnvaded by another
actlvlty whlch dld not call for physlcal exertlon and
could easlly be comblned wlth the rest that the doctors
had ordered me to take. Jhls unforgettable, allcon
querlng lnvaslon was the practlce of letters; poetry
occupled to the full the gap ln actlvlty. I began to wrlte
wlth complete dedlcatlon and lt was then, only then,
that I became possessed by the passlon whlch was
never to leave me.
Hours of solltude, hours of creatlon, hours of
medltatlon. Solltude and medltatlon gave me an aware
ness, a perspectlve whlch I have never lost. that of soll
darlty wlth the rest of manklnd. Slnce that tlme I have
always proclalmed that poetry ls communlcatlon, ln the
exact sense of that word.
Poetry ls a successlon of questlons whlch the poet
constantly poses. Each poem, each book ls a demand, a
sollcltatlon, an lnterrogatlon, and the answer ls taclt,
lmpllclt, but also contlnuous, and the reader glves lt to
hlmself through hls readlng. It ls an exqulslte dlalogue
ln whlch the poet questlons and the reader sllently glves
hls full answer.
I wlsh I could flnd flttlng words to descrlbe what
a Nobel Prlze means to the poet. It cannot be done; I
can only assure you that I am wlth you body and soul,
and that the Nobel Prlze ls as lt were the response, not
gradual, not taclt, but collected and slmultaneous, sud
den, of a general volce whlch generously and mlracu
lously becomes one and ltself answers the unceaslng
questlon whlch lt has come to address to manklnd.
Hence my gratltude for thls symbol of the collected and
slmultaneous volce to whlch the Swedlsh Academy has
enabled me to llsten wlth the senses of the soul for
whlch I here publlcly render my devoted thanks.
On the other hand, I conslder that a prlze such as
I have recelved today ls, ln all clrcumstances, and I
belleve wlthout exceptlon, a prlze dlrected to the llter
ary tradltlon ln whlch the author concerned÷ln thls
case myself÷has been formed. Ior there can be no
doubt that poetry, art, are always and above all tradl
tlon, and ln that tradltlon each lndlvldual author repre
sents at most a modest llnk ln the chaln leadlng to a
new klnd of aesthetlc expresslon; hls fundamental mls
slon ls, to use a dlfferent metaphor, to pass on a llvlng
torch to the younger generatlon whlch has to contlnue
the arduous struggle. We can concelve of a poet who
has been born wlth the hlghest talents to accompllsh a
destlny. He wlll be able to do llttle or nothlng unless he
has the good fortune to flnd hlmself placed ln an artlstlc
current of sufflclent strength and valldlty. Conversely, I
thlnk that a less glfted poet may perhaps play a more
successful role lf he ls lucky enough to be able to
develop hlmself wlthln a llterary movement whlch ls
truly creatlve and allve. In thls respect I was born under
the protectlon of benlgn stars lnasmuch as, durlng a suf
flclently long perlod before my blrth, Spanlsh culture
had undergone an extremely lmportant process of swlft
renewal, a development whlch I thlnk ls no secret to
anyone. Novellsts such as Galdós; poets llke Machado,
Lnamuno, |uan Ramón |lménez and, earller, Becquer;
phllosophers llke Ortega y Gasset; prose wrlters such as
Azor∞n and Baroja; dramatlsts such as ValleIncl•n;
palnters llke Plcasso and Mlró; composers such as de
Ialla. such flgures do not just conjure themselves up,
31
^äÉáñ~åÇêÉW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI NO aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVTT ai_ POV
nor are they the products of chance. My generatlon saw
ltself alded and enrlched by thls warm envlronment, by
thls source, by thls enormously fertlle cultural soll,
wlthout whlch perhaps none of us would have become
anythlng.
Irom the trlbune ln whlch I now address you I
should llke therefore to assoclate my words wlth thls
generous nursery ground of my compatrlots who from
another era and ln the most dlverse ways formed us
and enabled us, myself and my frlends of the same gen
eratlon, to reach a place from whlch we could speak
wlth a volce whlch perhaps was genulne or was pecullar
to ourselves.
And I do not refer only to these flgures whlch
constltute the lmmedlate tradltlon, whlch ls always the
one most vlslble and determlnatlve. I allude also to the
other tradltlon, the one of the day before yesterday,
whlch though more dlstant ln tlme was yet capable of
establlshlng close tles wlth ourselves; the tradltlon
formed by our classlcs from the Golden Age, Garcllaso,
Iray Luls de León, San |uan de la Cruz, Gongora, _ue
vedo, Lope de Vega, to whlch we have also felt llnked
and from whlch we have recelved no llttle stlmulatlon.
Spaln was able to revlve and renew herself thanks to
the fact that, through the generatlon of Galdós, and
later through the generatlon of l898, she as lt were
opened herself, made herself avallable, and as a result
of thls the whole of the nourlshlng sap from the dlstant
past came flowlng towards us ln overwhelmlng abun
dance. Jhe generatlon of l927 dld not wlsh to spurn
anythlng of the great deal that remalned allve ln thls
splendld world of the past whlch suddenly lay revealed
to our eyes ln a llghtnlng flash of unlnterrupted beauty.
We rejected nothlng, except what was medlocre; our
generatlon tended towards afflrmatlon and enthuslasm,
not to sceptlclsm or taclturn restralnt.
Everythlng that was of value was of lnterest to us,
no matter whence lt came. And lf we were revolutlonar
les, lf we were able to be that, lt was because we had
once loved and absorbed even those values agalnst
whlch we now reacted. We supported ourselves flrmly
on them ln order to brace ourselves for the perllous
leap forward to meet our destlny. Jhus lt should not
surprlse you that a poet who began as a surreallst today
presents a defence of tradltlon. Jradltlon and revolu
tlon÷here are two words whlch are ldentlcal.
And then there was the tradltlon, not vertlcal but
horlzontal, whlch came to help us ln the form of a stlm
ulatlng and fraternal competltlon from our flanks, from
the slde of the road we were pursulng. I refer to that
other group of young people (when I too was young)
who ran wlth us ln the same race. How fortunate I was
to be able to llve and perform, to mould myself ln the
company of poets so admlrable as those I came to know
and devote myself to wlth the rlght of a contemporary!
I loved them dearly, every one. I loved them preclsely
because I was seeklng somethlng dlfferent, somethlng
whlch lt was only posslble to flnd through dlfferences
and contrast ln relatlon to these poets, my comrades.
Our nature achleves lts true lndlvlduallty only ln com
munlty wlth others, face to face wlth our nelghbours.
Jhe hlgher the quallty of the human envlronment ln
whlch our personallty ls formed, the better lt ls for us. I
can say that here, too, I have had the good fortune to be
able to reallze my destlny through communlon wlth one
of the best companles of men of whlch lt ls posslble to
concelve. Jhe tlme has come to name thls company ln
all lts multlpllclty. Iederlco Garc∞a Lorca, Rafael
Albertl, |orge Gulllén, Pedro Sallnas, Manuel Altolagul
rre, Emlllo Prados, D•maso Alonso, Gerardo Dlego,
Luls Cernuda.
I speak then of solldarlty, of communlon, as well
as of contrast. If I do so, lt ls because such has been the
feellng that has been most deeply lmplanted on my
soul, and lt ls lts heartbeat that, ln one way or another,
can be heard most clearly behlnd the greater part of my
verse. It ls therefore natural that the very way ln whlch
I look upon humanlty and poetry has much to do wlth
thls feellng. Jhe poet, the truly determlnatlve poet, ls
always a revealer; he ls, essentlally, a seer, a prophet.
But hls 'prophecy" ls of course not a prophecy about
the future; for lt may have to do wlth the past. lt ls a
prophecy wlthout tlme. Illumlnator, almer of llght, chas
tlser of manklnd, the poet ls the possessor of a Sesame
whlch ln a mysterlous way ls, so to speak, the word of
hls destlny.
Jo sum up, then, the poet ls a man who was able
to be more than a man. for he ls ln addltlon a poet. Jhe
poet ls full of 'wlsdom"; but thls he cannot prlde hlm
self on, for perhaps lt ls not hls own. A power whlch
cannot be explalned, a splrlt, speaks through hls mouth.
the splrlt of hls race, of hls pecullar tradltlon. He stands
wlth hls feet flrmly planted on the ground, but beneath
the soles of hls feet a mlghty current gathers and ls
lntenslfled, flowlng through hls body and flndlng lts
way out through hls tongue. Jhen lt ls the earth ltself,
the deep earth, that flames from hls glowlng body. But
at other tlmes the poet has grown, and now towards the
helghts, and wlth hls brow reachlng lnto the heavens,
he speaks wlth a starry volce, wlth cosmlc resonance,
whlle he feels the very wlnd from the stars fannlng hls
breast. All ls then brotherhood and communlon. Jhe
tlny ant, the soft blade of grass agalnst whlch hls cheek
sometlmes rests, these are not dlstlnct from hlmself.
And he can understand them and spy out thelr secret
sound, whose dellcate note can be heard amldst the roll
lng of the thunder.
35
ai_ POV ^äÉáñ~åÇêÉW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI NO aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVTT
I do not thlnk that the poet ls prlmarlly deter
mlned by hls goldsmlth`s work. Perfectlon ln hls work ls
somethlng whlch he hopes gradually to achleve, and hls
message wlll be worth nothlng lf he offers manklnd a
coarse and lnadequate surface. But emptlness cannot be
covered up by the efforts of a pollsher, however untlrlng
he may be.
Some poets÷thls ls another problem and one
whlch does not concern expresslon but the polnt of
departure÷are poets of 'mlnorltles." Jhey are artlsts
(how great they are does not matter) who owe thelr
lndlvlduallty to devotlng themselves to exqulslte and
llmlted subjects, to reflned detalls (how dellcate and
profound were the poems that Mallarmé devoted to
fans!), to the mlnutely savoured essences ln lndlvlduals
expresslve of our detallburdened clvlllzatlon.
Other poets (here, too, thelr stature ls of no
lmportance) turn to what ls endurlng ln man. Not to
that whlch subtly dlstlngulshes but to that whlch essen
tlally unltes. And even though they see man ln the
mldst of the clvlllzatlon of hls own tlmes, they sense all
hls pure nakedness radlatlng lmmutably from beneath
hls tlred vestments. Love, sorrow, hate or death are
unchanglng. Jhese poets are radlcal poets and they
speak to the prlmary, the elemental ln man. Jhey can
not feel themselves to be the poets of 'mlnorltles."
Among them I count myself.
And therefore a poet of my klnd has what I would
call a communlcatlve vocatlon. He wants to make hlm
self heard from wlthln each human breast, slnce hls
volce ls ln a way the volce of the collectlve, the collec
tlve to whlch the poet for a moment lends hls passlon
ate volce. Hence the necesslty of belng understood ln
languages other than hls own. Poetry can only ln part
be translated. But from thls zone of authentlc lnterpreta
tlon the poet has the truly extraordlnary experlence of
speaklng ln another way to other people and belng
understood by them. And then somethlng unexpected
occurs. the reader ls lnstalled, as through a mlracle, ln a
culture whlch ln large measure ls not hls own but ln
whlch he can nevertheless feel wlthout dlfflculty the
beatlng of hls own heart, whlch ln thls way communl
cates and llves ln two dlmenslons of reallty. lts own and
that conferred on lt by the new home ln whlch lt has
been recelved. What has been sald remalns equally true
lf we turn lt round and apply lt not to the reader but to
the poet who has been translated lnto another language.
Jhe poet, too, feels hlmself to be llke one of those flg
ures encountered ln dreams, whlch exhlblt, perfectly
ldentlfled, two dlstlnct personalltles. Jhus lt ls wlth the
translated author, who feels wlthln hlmself two perso
nae. the one conferred on hlm by the new verbal attlre
whlch now covers hlm and hls own genulne personae
whlch, beneath the other, stlll exlsts and asserts ltself.
Jhus I conclude by clalmlng for the poet a role of
symbollc representatlon, enshrlnlng as he does ln hls
own person that longlng for solldarlty wlth humanklnd
for whlch preclsely the Nobel Prlze was founded.
|¹Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l977. Vlcente Alelxandre ls
the sole author of the text.|
36
fîç ^åÇêáć
(9 Uctobcr 1S92 - 1J Morcl 197á)
s~ë~ aK jáÜ~áäçîáÅÜ
Uvivcrsity of `ortl Corolivo
See also the Andrlć entry ln DIß 147: Soutl Slovic
!ritcrs ßcforc !orld !or II.
BOOKS. Ix Iovto (Zagreb. Knjlževnl jug, l9l8);
`cmiri (Zagreb. Sv. Kugll, l920);
Iut Zlijc Djcr·clc·o (Belgrade. S. B. Cvljanovlć, l920);
Iripovctlc I (Belgrade. Srpska knjlževna zadruga, l921);
Iripovctlc (Belgrade. Srpska knjlževna zadruga, l93l);
Iripovctlc II (Belgrade. Srpska knjlževna zadruga,
l936);
I·obrovc pripovctlc (Sarajevo. Svjetlost, l915);
`o Drivi ćuprijo (Belgrade. Prosveta, l915); translated
by Lovett I. Edwards as Tlc ßridgc ov tlc Drivo
(New York. Macmlllan, l959; London. Allen ×
Lnwln, l959);
Trovvičlo lrovilo (Belgrade. Državnl lzdavačkl zavod
|ugoslavlje, l915); translated by Kenneth
|ohnstone as ßosviov Story (London. Llncolns
Prager / New York. London House × Maxwell,
l959);
Cospodjico (Sarajevo. Svjetlost, l915); translated by
|oseph Hltrec as Tlc !omov from Sorojcvo (New
York. Knopf, l965; London. Calder × Boyars,
l966);
Most vo Žcpi: Iripovctlc (Belgrade. Prosveta, l917);
Iripovijctlc (Zagreb. Matlca Hrvatska, l917);
`ovc pripovctlc (Belgrade. Kultura, l918);
Iričo o vc·irovom slovu (Zagreb. Nakladnl zavod Hrvatske,
l918); expanded as Iričo o vc·irovom slovu, i drugc
pripovctlc (Belgrade. Rad, l960);
Iričo o lmctu Simovu (Zagreb. Novo pokoljenje, l919;
expanded edltlon, Sarajevo. Svjetlost, l960);
Iod grodićcm: Iripovctlc o ·ivotu bosovslog sclo (Sarajevo.
Seljačka knjlga, l952);
Irollcto ovlijo (Novl Sad. Matlca srpska, l951); trans
lated by |ohnstone as Dcvil`s Jord (New York.
Grove, l962; London. Calder, l961);
Iovoromo (Belgrade. Prosveta, l958);
Sobrovo djclo Ivc Zvdrićo, l6 volumes, edlted by Vera
Stojlć, Petar Džadžlć, Muharem Pervlć, and
Radovan Vučkovlć (Belgrade. Prosveta / Zagreb.
Mladost / Sarajevo. Svjetlost, l963-l976)÷com
prlses volume l, `o Drivi ćuprijo; volume 2,
Trovvičlo lrovilo; volume 3, Cospodjico; volume 1,
Irollcto ovlijo; volume 5, `cmirvo godivo; volume 6,
Žcđ; volume 7, ¸clcvo, žcvo lojc vcmo; volume 8,
¸volovi; volume 9, Dcco; volume l0, Sto·c, lico, prc-
dcli; volume ll, Ix Iovto, `cmiri, Iirilo; volume
l2, Istorijo i lcgcvdo: Iscji, oglcdi i človci; volume l3,
Umctvil i vjcgovo dclo; volume l1, ¸volovi porcd
puto; volume l5, Iućo vo osomi i drugc pripovctlc;
and volume l6, Umcr poso Iotos;
fîç ^åÇêáć EêáÖÜíF êÉÅÉáîáåÖ íÜÉ NVSN kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ Ñêçã
háåÖ dìëí~î sf ^ÇçäÑ çÑ pïÉÇÉå E^m tçêäÇ táÇÉF
37
ai_ POV fîç ^åÇêáć
iàìÄ~î ì â~ë~ÄáW mêáéçîÉíâÉ (Belgrade. Nollt, l966);
^ëâ~ á îìâW mêáéçîÉíâÉ (Belgrade. Prosveta, l968);
bëÉàá á âêáíáâÉI edlted by Ljubo |andrlć (Sarajevo. Svjet
lost, l976);
pîÉëâÉI volume l7 of p~Äê~å~ ÇàÉä~ fîÉ ^åÇêáć~ (Sarajevo.
Svjetlost, l982).
bÇáíáçåë áå båÖäáëÜW 'Jhe Žepa Brldge," translated by
L. Vldakovlć, pä~îçåáÅ oÉîáÉïI l1 (l926). 398-105;
'Gjerzelez at the Inn," translated by N. B. |opson,
pä~îçåáÅ ~åÇ b~ëí bìêçéÉ~å oÉîáÉïI l1 ( |uly l935).
l3-l9;
'Gerzelez at the Gypsy Ialr," translated by |opson,
pä~îçåáÅ ~åÇ b~ëí bìêçéÉ~å oÉîáÉïI l1 (Aprll l936).
556-563;
qÜÉ sáòáÉêÛë bäÉéÜ~åíW qÜêÉÉ kçîÉää~ëI translated by Drenka
Wlllen (New York. Harcourt, Brace × World,
l962);
_çëåá~å `ÜêçåáÅäÉI translated by |oseph Hltrec (New York.
Knopf, l963);
'Jhe Story of a Brldge," 'Mlracle at Olovo," and
'Nelghbors," translated by Mlchael Scammel ln
aÉ~íÜ çÑ ~ páãéäÉ dá~åí ~åÇ líÜÉê jçÇÉêå vìÖçëä~î
píçêáÉëI edlted by Branko Alan Lenskl (New York.
Vanguard, l965), pp. l9-53;
'Jhe Cllmbers" and 'Jhe Brldge on the Žepa," ln
vìÖçëä~î pÜçêí píçêáÉëI translated by Svetozar Kol
jevlć (London × New York. Oxford Lnlverslty
Press, l966), pp. l85-236;
qÜÉ m~ëÜ~Ûë `çåÅìÄáåÉ ~åÇ líÜÉê q~äÉëI translated by Hltrec
(New York. Knopf, l968);
'Death ln Slnan`s Monastery," translated by |ames Bar
ham, pçìíÜÉêå eìã~åáíáÉë oÉîáÉïI 2l, no. 1 (l987).
329-339;
qÜÉ aÉîÉäçéãÉåí çÑ péáêáíì~ä iáÑÉ áå _çëåá~ ìåÇÉê íÜÉ fåÑäìÉåÅÉ
çÑ qìêâáëÜ oìäÉI translated by Žellmlr B. |urlčlć and
|ohn I. Loud (Durham, N.C.. Duke Lnlverslty
Press, l990);
`çåîÉêë~íáçå ïáíÜ dçó~X _êáÇÖÉëX páÖåëI translated by Cella
Hawkesworth and Andrew Harvey (London.
Menard Press wlth the School of Slavonlc and
East European Studles, Lnlverslty of London,
l992);
qÜÉ a~ãåÉÇ v~êÇ ~åÇ líÜÉê píçêáÉëI translated by Hawkes
worth and others (London × Boston. Iorest
Books, l992)÷lncludes 'A Letter from the Year
l920," translated by Lenore Grenoble;
qÜÉ a~óë çÑ íÜÉ `çåëìäëI translated by Hawkesworth and
Bogdan Raklć (London × Boston. Iorest Books,
l992).
Ivo Andrlć ls one of the bestknown wrlters ln the
South Slav llteratures. In short storles and several nov
els he presents the people of Bosnla, a small area ln the
heart of Europe, wlth several natlonalltles and four rell
glons. He documents lts long, mostly turbulent hlstory
wlth a plethora of remarkable characters. By lmmortal
lzlng them, he has thrown llght on thls reglon that has
so often erupted ln vlolence and lnterneclne struggle.
Andrlć was able to couch these events and characters ln
hlghly artlstlc forms that have fasclnated readers all
over the world and earned hlm a Nobel Prlze ln Lltera
ture, whlch he recelved ln l96l.
He was born Ivan Andrlć on 9 October l892 ln
Dolac, a small town near Jravnlk ln central Bosnla.
Both hls parents were Cathollcs. Hls father, Ivan Antun
Andrlć, a coppersmlth, moved hls famlly to Sarajevo
soon after Andrlć`s blrth. When hls father dled of
tuberculosls ln l891, hls lmpoverlshed mother, Kata
rlna Andrlć (née Pejlć), moved wlth her only chlld to
Vlsegrad, a town on the Drlna Rlver. Andrlć completed
elementary school ln Vlsegrad and hlgh school ln Sara
jevo. He attended unlversltles ln Zagreb, Vlenna, and
Kraków, sponsored by Hrvatsko Kulturno Drustvo
'Naprednok" ln Sarajevo. Because of hls radlcal natlon
allstlc actlvltles, he was arrested by the Austrlans as a
member of the revolutlonary group Young Bosnla and
spent three years ln prlson. He was released ln l9l7
because of poor health and a lack of evldence agalnst
hlm. In prlson he wrote hls flrst work, a book of prose
poems, bñ mçåíç (l9l8), followed two years later by a
slmllar volume, kÉãáêá (Lnrest).
After World War I, Andrlć entered the dlplomatlc
servlce of the new Klngdom of Yugoslavla and served
for two decades ln varlous capltals. In l923 he was a
vlce consul ln Graz but was ln danger of loslng hls posl
tlon because he had not completed hls unlverslty stud
les. He enrolled that fall at the Lnlverslty of Graz, and
ln l921 he recelved hls doctorate after defendlng hls
dlssertatlon, wrltten ln German. 'Dle Entwlcklung des
gelstlgen Lebens ln Bosnlen unter der Elnwlrkung der
tΩrklschen Herrschaft" (translated as qÜÉ aÉîÉäçéãÉåí çÑ
péáêáíì~ä iáÑÉ áå _çëåá~ ìåÇÉê íÜÉ fåÑäìÉåÅÉ çÑ qìêâáëÜ oìäÉI
l990). He returned to dlplomatlc servlce, throughout
whlch he contlnued to wrlte.
In the flrst twenty years of hls llterary career, he
wrote almost excluslvely short flctlon, settllng early
upon the short story as the genre most approprlate to
hlm. Jhe maln features of hls narratlve style are
already dlscernlble ln hls flrst storles, and there ls rela
tlvely llttle change ln hls baslc worldvlew or ln hls llter
ary craftsmanshlp durlng the flve decades of hls
development.
Jhe settlng of Andrlć`s work ls most frequently
Bosnla, wlth lts plethora of races, natlonalltles, rell
glons, and creeds. Jhe narrow reglon of Bosnla, how
ever, wldens by lmpllcatlon lnto the whole country,
lndeed the entlre world. Although Andrlć frequently
concentrates on the Jurklsh or Islamlc element, he
38
fîç ^åÇêáć ai_ POV
encompasses all natlonalltles and falths. He often por
trays Cathollc characters also, whereas the thlrd large
group, the Orthodox |ews, remalns somewhat ln the
background.
Andrlć prefers to dwell on the dlstant past. Ior
that reason many of hls storles, as well as hls novels, are
called chronlcles. In hls treatment of mlnute detall he ls
scrupulously falthful to the hlstorlcal sources, but he
glves them artlstlc form. In storles deallng wlth the
present, Andrlć loses some of hls ablllty to create lastlng
characters or convlnclng narratlves. He ls trylng to
solve the rlddles of human exlstence by reference to the
legends of the past. Hls constant journeys lnto the past
do not slgnlfy an escape from the present reallty but
rather a keen understandlng of the unlty of tlme and
space ln the hlstory of the Bosnlan people.
Andrlć`s characters dlsplay an acute sense of lone
llness and are lmbued wlth a pervaslve sllence about
themselves. Jhey seem to have dlfflculty ln comlng to
an understandlng wlth thelr fellowman. A typlcal
Andrlć character spends hls llfe ln the search for lost
ldentlty and ln trylng to flnd hls rlghtful place. As a
symbol of the utter lonellness of hls characters, Andrlć
uses the â~ë~Ä~ (a small, forsaken Bosnlan town off the
maln roads). Llfe ln a â~ë~Ä~ ls torpld, desolate, and
bleak. Strong lndlvlduals are condemned to futlllty and
wltherlng away. When thelr pentup passlon or frustra
tlon erupts, these lndlvlduals come to a traglc end, pull
lng others lnto the abyss as well.
Baslcally, llfe ln Andrlć`s world ls a reflectlon of
the traglc element ln human exlstence. Hls characters
show an lmmense capaclty for sufferlng. Sporadlc hap
plness ls but an llluslon. Weak men vegetate under the
spell of the strong, and strong men (ln whom Andrlć ls
most lnterested) are ln constant rebelllon agalnst thelr
lot. Jhe dlsparlty between thelr powers and the llmlted
opportunltles provlded by thelr surroundlngs drlves
them mad. In hls flrst story, mìí ^äáàÉ aàÉêòÉäÉò~ (l920;
translated as 'Jhe |ourney of All Djerzelez," l968),
Andrlć lmmedlately ralses the questlon of the meanlng
of human exlstence amld evll and sufferlng, a theme on
whlch he wlll expound ln many of hls works. A legend
ary Bosnlan flgure (a hero of popular Musllm ballads),
Allja vaclllates between reallty and dream, actlon and
futlllty. Jhls amblvalence results from Allja`s deslre to
elevate hlmself from the torpor of conflnement lnto a
world of feellng and beauty to whlch he thlnks he
belongs. But the pragmatlc llfe takes lts revenge. Allja
becomes 'rldlculous and glorlous" at the same tlme.
Jhe fact that he subjugates everythlng to hls lnsatlable
sexual drlve underscores the frustratlon of hls strong
personallty. In the merclless rldlcule that vengeful weak
llngs heap upon Allja, and ln the rejectlon of hls passlon
by the women of hls cholce, Andrlć sees the traglc
aspect of human destlny.
In another early story, 'Ćorkan l Svablca" (l92l,
Ćorkan and a German Glrl), Andrlć agaln stresses a
dlvergence of the two worlds ln an lndlvldual. In most
people`s eyes Ćorkan, a grave and dltchdlgger, ls a hap
less fool, a target of practlcal jokes ln the â~ë~Ä~X ln hls
own eyes, however, he ls a thwarted poet of lofty sentl
ments, an lncorrlglble dreamer, and an admlrer of feml
nlne charms and beauty. Jhus, stark, drab reallty
clashes once more wlth the dellcate, pecullarly reflned
world of a Bosnlan Don _ulxote who, almost lnvarl
ably, ends up mlsunderstood and mlserable.
Jhe efforts of people llke Allja and Ćorkan to
extrlcate themselves from thelr conflnement are almost
never successful. One by one they succumb to thelr
fate, although not wlthout a flerce struggle. Belng pltted
agalnst an unknown adversary produces ln Andrlć`s
characters a twofold reactlon. ln many of them lt has
called forth a deepseated fear of llfe and people; ln oth
ers lt has engendered a venomous hatred agalnst llfe
and one`s fellowman. Jhe fear ls found even among
the chlldren, whom Andrlć often deplcts, as lf to show
the prlmordlal orlgln of thls crlppllng sentlment. As
Andrlć mentlons ln 'Mlla l Prelac" (l936, Mlla and
Prelac), 'Man has only to be born lnto thls world and
to open hls eyes, and there ls no end to what could hap
pen to hlm." And ln 'Ćlllm" (l918, Jhe Rug) he wrltes,
'Iear trlumphs, bendlng man llke grass whenever pos
slble."
Jhls fear ls often coupled wlth a vague feellng of
gullt for havlng been born and for belng what one ls.
Andrlć`s storles often feature people who are mentally
or physlcally handlcapped or are otherwlse sufferlng,
who all carry deep ln themselves a heavy burden of
gullt, as lf lmposed upon them by fate. Jhe gullt com
plex assumes many forms. It may be gullt because the
character possesses an lrreslstlble power of seductlon, as
ln the case of the vlllage beauty Anlka ln 'Anlklna vre
mena" (l93l; translated as 'Anlka`s Jlmes," l962), a
power that ultlmately leads to collectlve destructlon. Or
the gullt may arlse from one`s lnablllty to suppress effec
tlvely the call of the flesh, as ln 'Smrt u Slnanovoj
tekljl" (l936; translated as 'Death ln Slnan`s Monas
tery," l987). Jhe source of gullt may go back for gener
atlons and transcend loglcal boundarles, as ln the story
'Ekskurzlja" (l955, Excurslon). It ls often an underly
lng feellng of lnextrlcable debt to some unknown power
for bestowlng joy and sorrow, love and hatred÷a feellng
that only adds to the helplessness of Andrlć`s charac
ters.
Jhls fear of llfe and feellng of gullt often result
from the unjust persecutlon and needless sufferlng of
Andrlć`s characters. Entlrely blameless people are pun
39
ai_ POV fîç ^åÇêáć
lshed, sometlmes even only for thlnklng about an evll
deed or for trylng to avold lt. Ior example, a boy whose
revengeseeklng frlends damage hls house ls punlshed
by hls father wlthout lnvestlgatlon ln 'Prozor" (l953,
Jhe Wlndow).
Hatred ln the people of Bosnla sometlmes reaches
pathologlcal proportlons. In 'Mustafa Madžar" (l923;
translated as 'Mustapha Magyar," l968), one of
Andrlć`s most strlklng characters repeats vltrlollcally
that 'the world ls full of rot." A fearless warrlor, he
hates everyone and ls, ln turn, hated and feared by
everybody. He ultlmately dles a senseless death at the
hands of a decreplt gypsy. Jhe hatred ls not always so
spontaneous and lrratlonal. Sometlmes lt ls dellber
ately fostered by the confllctlng varlety of natlonall
tles, races, and rellglons, whlch, under speclflc
hlstorlcal clrcumstances, plts one segment of the popu
latlon agalnst another or agalnst all the rest. In Andrlć`s
words, Bosnla ls a land of hatred. It appears, as he
wrltes ln 'Plsmo lz godlne l920" (l916; translated as
'A Letter from l920," l992), 'as a selfsustalned force
that has an end ln ltself. . . . It ls slmply an agent of
selfdestructlon."
Andrlć`s baslc phllosophy seems extremely skep
tlcal and pesslmlstlc; yet, Andrlć does not negate llfe,
desplte lts shortcomlngs. He flrmly belleves that there
exlsts an unknown formula that governs the relatlon
shlp between joys and sorrows. He concelves of llfe as a
constant struggle between the opposltes ln nature, espe
clally ln the human soul. He sald ln one of hls prose
poems from bñ mçåíçI 'I am constantly watchlng the
flower and the bloom and yet cannot help thlnklng
about man." Lblqultous enmltles and contradlctlons
may, and often do, lead to lndlvldual tragedles but not
to an unequlvocal denlal of llfe. If a clarlflcatlon of the
apparent senselessness of human exlstence cannot be
obtalned, there ls stlll hope ln a struggle agalnst evll, no
matter how futlle such efforts may seem.
Andrlć attempts to solve the problem of the
meanlng of llfe ontologlcally. Hls favorlte metaphor ln
thls respect ls a brldge that connects opposltes. myth
and reallty, the unllmlted and llmlted, East and West. A
manlfest proof of human vltallty and lndestructlblllty
amld apparent contradlctlon and decay ln nature, a
brldge ls also a lastlng monument of the human quest
for art and beauty. It ls not by reason and force that
man conquers fate but by synthesls, sllence, and beauty.
Jhe whlte, slender sllhouette of a brldge represents for
Andrlć 'an unusual thought gone astray and arrested ln
thls strange wllderness," whlch thus becomes at the
same tlme a conqueror of evll and chaos, as he wrltes ln
'Most na Žepl" (l925; translated as 'Jhe Žepa
Brldge," l926).
Another lllustratlon of Andrlć`s attempt to solve
the baslc problem of the meanlng of man`s exlstence ls
found ln an unusual allegorlcal story, 'Aska l vuk"
(l953, Aska and the Wolf ). Aska, a young lamb, has
lost lts way ln the woods and ls confronted by a hungry
wolf. Jhe lamb beglns to dance a hlghly artlstlc panto
mlme, whlch so lntrlgues the wolf that he not only for
gets to eat the lamb but remalns transflxed untll he ls
ultlmately slaln. Jhls dance from fear of death ls trans
formed lnto a dance for llfe, thus symbollzlng Andrlć`s
bellef that as long as man trles to llve fully, hls nothlng
ness remalns lrrelevant. In hls own words, 'art and wlll
to reslst are vlctorlous over all evll, and even death."
When World War II began, Andrlć was an
ambassador ln Berlln. Because he dlsagreed wlth the
Yugoslav government`s jolnlng Adolf Hltler`s trlpartlte
pact, he reslgned ln March l91l, thus endlng hls dlplo
matlc career. Hltler captured Yugoslavla ln less than two
weeks. Andrlć spent the entlre occupatlon ln Belgrade,
turnlng to wrltlng novels ln qulet and lsolatlon. Jhese
four years, permeated by wholesale death and destruc
tlon, were the most productlve ln Andrlć`s llterary
career. He completed three novels and publlshed them
ln l915, the flrst postwar Yugoslav publlcatlons after
the vlctory over the Germans.
Perhaps hls most lmportant work, the novel k~
aêáåá ćìéêáà~ (l915; translated as qÜÉ _êáÇÖÉ çå íÜÉ aêáå~I
l959), ls an encompasslng saga coverlng the hlstory of
Bosnla between l566 and l9l1. However, Andrlć
wrote the novel not as hlstory but as a chronlcle of llfe
ln Bosnla and of characters of several generatlons. Jhe
novel ls replete wlth detalls about the llfe of the Bos
nlans under the Jurklsh occupatlon. Jhe most lmpor
tant ls the socalled blood trlbute, a practlce of the
Jurklsh rulers durlng the several hundred years of thelr
occupatlon of the Balkans. It meant taklng boys away
from thelr parents and ralslng them as the sultan`s obe
dlent servants, called janlssarles. One such boy, taken
from the Serblan vlllage of Sokolovlćl ln Bosnla ln l5l6
when he was only ten years old, later became Mehmed
Pasha Sokolll and rose to the tltle of grand vlzler÷the
hlghest posltlon a nonJurk could attaln ln the Ottoman
Emplre. In memory of hls chlldhood, he declded to
bulld a brldge across the Drlna Rlver by the town of
Vlsegrad, the last place where he had seen hls mother
when he was taken away.
Jhe bulldlng of the brldge began ln l566, uslng
slave labor conscrlpted ln the Serblan vlllages nearby.
Jhe peasants not only resented havlng to work as
slaves but also saw ln the bulldlng of the brldge a slnls
ter symbol of the Jurklsh mlght. Ior that reason they
reslsted lts progress, often destroylng at nlght what was
bullt durlng the day. Jo frlghten the dlstrustlng and
rebelllous populace lnto submlsslon and obedlence, the
10
fîç ^åÇêáć ai_ POV
bullder Abldaga caught one of them, Radlsav, and had
hlm lmpaled at the slte of the brldge. Jhe excruclat
lngly palnful process lasted several days.
Jhe brldge was completed ln l57l, a beautlful
structure of eleven arches rlslng above the turbulent
Drlna, wlth a â~éá~Ôan elevated flxture ln the mlddle of
the brldge where people can slt and talk whlle drlnklng
coffee÷as a focal polnt. A caravansary was also bullt
next to the brldge for tlred travelers. Jhus began the
long lnfluence of the brldge on every aspect of the llves
of the people on the shores, who flnally reslgned them
selves to lt and learned even to llke lt because of lts use
fulness and lts uncommon beauty. Mehmed Pasha was
stabbed to death by a deranged dervlsh only a few
years after the completlon. Although he had accom
pllshed many other thlngs as a vlzler, hls name ln Bos
nla wlll forever be remembered by thls brldge.
As the years and decades pass, llfe among the
Musllms, Chrlstlans, and |ews keeps changlng, but the
brldge survlves everythlng, shlnlng 'clean, young and
unalterable, strong and lovely ln lts perfectlon, stronger
than all that tlme mlght brlng and men lmaglne to do."
Jhe novel chronlcles events both on a larger scale÷
cholera and plague ln the nlneteenth century, the Aus
trlan annexatlon of Bosnla ln l908, and the flrst bombs
of World War I÷and on an lndlvldual level, as when a
beautlful glrl, Iata, jumps from the â~éá~ to her death
durlng her weddlng processlon because her father ls
forclng her to marry a man she does not love. No mat
ter how unqulet the waters that pass beneath the
smooth and perfect arches of the brldge, nothlng
changes the brldge ltself. It becomes a focal polnt of llfe
ln the town and surroundlng vlllages.
Jhe story ls completely hlstorlcal. Jhe brldge
was blown up durlng World War I, but lt was rebullt
just as lt was, and stlll stands. As a llfelong dlplomat of
the Klngdom of Yugoslavla, Andrlć was also an astute
student of hlstory, and he often studled hlstorlcal docu
ments ln preparatlon for wrltlng hls works. Even hls
doctoral thesls reveals hls passlon for hlstory. k~ aêáåá
ćìéêáà~ encompasses the entlre perlod of the Jurklsh
rule of the Balkans, mlrrorlng the blrth and death of the
Ottoman occupatlon of Bosnla. It ls a broadly con
celved panorama of cultural changes brought about by
the Jurklsh relgn and of the multlcultural and multlrell
glous state resultlng from lt. It also deplcts lnevltable
and multlfaceted confllcts ln the area. Jhe novel ls,
therefore, a good source of general lnformatlon about
Bosnla, although not a substltute for a scholarly hlstory.
Andrlć concludes half of the chapters wlth a short
paragraph extolllng the brldge as a symbol of the per
manence of all llfe. Conslderlng the constant changes
taklng place around the brldge, lts permanence serves
as a comfortlng and llfeafflrmlng value. Andrlć lmparts
another symbollc meanlng to the brldge by calllng lt a
thlng of beauty, a reflectlon of man`s ageold deslre to
create beauty and enrlch llfe. Jhe lnborn need of man
to express hlmself ln arts found lts fulflllment ln the cre
atlon of thls beautlful edlflce that defles translence. Jhe
flnal symbollc lnterpretatlon of the brldge lles ln lts
spannlng the two shores, as lf connectlng two worlds,
the East and the West, and dlfferent natlonalltles, rell
glons, and cultures of Bosnla. As a dlplomat who saw
the maln key to success ln the art of compromlse,
Andrlć used the metaphor of the brldge to underllne
the need for mlnlmlzlng the dlfferences for the sake of
llvlng ln harmony. Jhe strlfe ln Bosnla ln the l990s
clearly shows what happens when the plea that Andrlć
bullt lnto hls novel ls unheeded.
qê~îåáčâ~ Üêçåáâ~ (l915, Jhe Jravnlk Chronlcle);
translated as _çëåá~å píçêóI l959; as _çëåá~å `ÜêçåáÅäÉI
l963; and as qÜÉ a~óë çÑ íÜÉ `çåëìäëI l992) ls a chronlcle
of llfe ln Jravnlk, a provlnclal Jurklsh capltal ln Bosnla,
ln the flrst two decades of the nlneteenth century.
Jravnlk was an admlnlstratlve seat at the westernmost
border of the Ottoman Emplre and the resldence of a
vlzler. Jhe facts that the Irench had occupled nearby
Dalmatla and that the Jurks had been forced to retreat
from Hungary made Jravnlk lmportant beyond lts true
polltlcal and strateglc value. Jhe Irench sent ln l806 a
consul, |ean BaptlsteEtlenne Davllle, to keep an eye on
the Jurks. Jhls act, ln turn, prompted the Austrlans to
send thelr own consul, |osef von Mltterer. Both flnd
themselves under the constant vlgll of the dlstrustful
Jurks. NonJurklsh lnhabltants welcome them ln thelr
own ways. Cathollc Croats are frlendly toward thelr
nelghbor, von Mltterer, whlle shunnlng Davllle; the
|ews, of whom there ls a small number, llke Davllle;
whlle the Orthodox Serbs dlstrust both, plnnlng thelr
hopes on Russla, whlch ls expected to send thelr consul
also. Yet, they are all powerless under the Jurklsh dom
lnatlon. Davllle, a mlddleaged dlplomat who wrltes
classlcal poetry and trles to keep the semblance of clvlll
zatlon ln a backwater town where the llfestyle resembles
that of the Mlddle Ages, flnds lt dlfflcult to functlon, yet
he endures for the sake of hls ldol Napoleon Bonaparte
and for the glory of Irance. Von Mltterer has lt some
what easler slnce Bosnla ls closer to Austrla, and the
nonJurklsh populatlon ls more sympathetlc. Both of
them, however, have to deal prlmarlly wlth Jurklsh
vlzlers, who wleld all power and can thwart all thelr
efforts by varlous means. Jhe work of the two Western
consuls ls further compllcated by the necesslty of play
lng agalnst each other. Jhe entlre novel chronlcles the
llves and endeavors of these partlclpants ln world poll
tlcs ln a most unllkely place.
Even though the two consuls and thelr famllles
eventually adjust to the unusual llfe ln Jravnlk, both
1l
ai_ POV fîç ^åÇêáć
have dlfflcultles leadlng a normal llfe, especlally
Davllle`s gentle wlfe, who durlng thelr stay loses a chlld
and glves blrth to two others. Yet, belng more practlcal
and more rellglous than her husband, she ls better
equlpped to cope wlth llfe ln a forelgn land. When,
flnally, Napoleon`s fortunes turn sour and Davllle`s mls
slon ls termlnated, both he and hls wlfe are glad to
leave, as are von Mltterer and hls famlly. Jhe chronlcle
of the attempts of the Western powers to lntrude ln the
llfe of thls strange but fasclnatlng country comes to an
end, and Jravnlk agaln recedes lnto the darkness of a
llfe outslde of hlstory, leavlng lts people to remember
for a long tlme 'the days of the consuls."
Jhe maln theme of the novel ls the contrast
between the West and the East. Jhe comparatlvely
enllghtened world of the West, represented by the con
suls, ls countered by the backward, mysterlous, dark
world of the East as lt exlsted ln the Jurklsh emplre.
Even though the opposlng sldes are not ln an open con
fllct, the behavlor of the players lnvolved polnts to a
taclt rlvalry that ls just as lntense. Jhe dlstrust wlth
whlch the Westerners are met, not only by the Jurklsh
offlclals but also by the people on the street, can only be
explalned by a deepseated enmlty. Jhe antagonlsm
goes beyond the polltlcal and natlonal dlfferences; lt
goes to the core of the way of llfe and thlnklng of the
two worlds. Phllosophlcal fatallsm, reslgnatlon, deep
mlstrust of everythlng forelgn, and a baslc dlsregard for
the rlghts of lndlvlduals÷consldered normal among the
people of the East and the Jurklsh Emplre÷are pltted
agalnst the more open, compasslonate, ratlonal, and
laworlented ways of the West.
Andrlć presents thls drama not so much by mus
lngs and dlscusslons about hlstory but through the
lnterplay of the characters, who are forced lnto sltua
tlons beyond anythlng they have experlenced before.
Jhls focus, ln turn, adds a speclal dlmenslon to the
novel. Jhat thls novel ls not slmply an hlstorlcal chronl
cle but prlmarlly a story of the people caught ln the
maelstrom of hlstory ls further demonstrated by the
psychologlcal studles Andrlć provldes for most of hls
characters. In all of hls works he ls at hls best when he
lllumlnates the deepest recesses of the mlnds and hearts
of hls protagonlsts, no matter to what race, natlonallty,
class, or creed they belong. Jhls approach makes the
novel more lnterestlng than lf lt were strlctly an hlstorl
cal chronlcle. Jhus, Jravnlk, lts hlstorlcal slgnlflcance
at the tlme notwlthstandlng, becomes a backdrop for
several human dramas that make up the core of the
novel. Even though almost all events and personalltles
can be traced back to hlstorlcal sources, whlch Andrlć
had researched dlllgently, the hlstorlcal events÷the
Napoleonlc Wars, the reforms of Sellm the Jhlrd, and
the flrst Serblan uprlslng÷are never ln the forefront. In
the last analysls, however, the actlons of the characters
are futlle, because everythlng ls declded for them else
where; the actors are llke puppets dlrected by remote
control, so to speak, achlevlng llttle by themselves as far
as hlstory ls concerned.
Another lmportant theme ls the role of women ln
the novel. Lnllke ln many of hls other works, Andrlć
sharply dlfferentlates between orlental women, who are
llttle more than objects of men`s pleasure, and the
emanclpated Western women, who are equal partners,
wlth thelr own rlghts. Iurthermore, the unlversal mean
lng of the novel can be seen as the need for persever
ance ln a hopeless, deadend sltuatlon. Jhls theme ls
symbollzed by Davllle`s hope at the end of the novel,
before leavlng Jravnlk, that 'the rlght road" wlll even
tually be found, hls contrary Bosnlan experlence not
wlthstandlng.
Llke many other works, thls novel serves Andrlć
ln part as a vehlcle for hls own thoughts and ldeas
about llfe and hlstory. Iurthermore, just as the brldge
on the Drlna ls the symbol of brldglng the dlfferences
between worlds, Jravnlk ls a symbol of the â~ë~Ä~ ln
the backwaters of an emplre, where llttle ls happenlng,
yet people contlnue to strlve agalnst all odds. Jhus,
even though the plcture Andrlć presents ls often bleak
and melancholy, llfe pulses beneath the surface wlth full
vlgor. Hls mastery of a penetratlng psychologlcal study
of hls characters agalnst the backdrop of events over
whlch they have llttle control, yet somehow survlve and
move forward, has reached ln qê~îåáčâ~ Üêçåáâ~ lts hlgh
est peak.
Hls next novel, dçëéçÇàáÅ~ (l915, Mlss; translated
as qÜÉ tçã~å Ñêçã p~ê~àÉîçI l965), has several fasclnat
lng aspects. Andrlć`s concentratlon on one character
and the resultlng depth of portralture; the brllllant pene
tratlon lnto the psyche of a woman unusual ln many
ways; the author`s strange attachment to thls character,
an attltude Andrlć has shown ln few other works; and
the settlng ln a more modern tlme rather than the dls
tant past. Ior these reasons, dçëéçÇàáÅ~I though less
acclalmed crltlcally than most of Andrlć`s other works,
has a slgnlflcance of lts own.
At the beglnnlng of the novel, Rajka Radakovlć, a
mlddleaged splnster, llves ln Belgrade, where she has
moved after World War I from her natlve Sarajevo. She
has llved alone wlth her mother slnce she was flfteen,
when her beloved father, a wellknown buslnessman
from Sarajevo, dled bankrupt and ln dlsgrace. Jhe
story of her happy chlldhood and unhappy youth ls
told ln flashbacks. An only chlld, wlthdrawn and overly
serlous for her age, she felt secure whlle her father was
allve. |ust before he dled prematurely, he warned her to
'save, save always, everywhere and ln everythlng" and
not to trust people because 'all our feellngs and con
12
fîç ^åÇêáć ai_ POV
cerns for others show our weaknesses only." Jhls
admonltlon marks the beglnnlng of an aberratlon ln the
character of llttle Rajka that eventually grows to mon
strous proportlons. She takes her father`s advlce llter
ally and from an early age beglns a llfe of excesslve
thrlft and selfdenlal borderlng on obsesslon.
As soon as she becomes of age, Rajka takes over
her father`s buslness and wlth a remarkable dexterlty
rebullds the famlly fortune, malnly through lendlng
money at exorbltant rates. She denles her mother and
herself all normal pleasures save for the most baslc
needs. She lsolates herself and, llttle by llttle, turns away
all famlly frlends and most of the relatlves. Her llfe cen
ters excluslvely on money matters, out of a pathologlcal
fear that she wlll suffer the same flnanclal ruln as her
father. Jhat lnsecurlty, coupled wlth some pecullar
stralns ln her character÷excesslve egotlsm, selflshness,
mlserllness, lnsensltlvlty to the needs of others, and a
lack of normal human drlves÷follows her throughout
her llfe untll she rulns everyone she assoclates wlth and,
ultlmately, herself.
Jhere ls only one occaslon when she lets her
guard down and allows herself to be sldetracked from
her slnglemlnded dlrectlon. An attractlve and pleasant
young man, a war hero, needs money to obtaln an
automoblle dealershlp and asks Rajka for lt. Because he
resembles her younger uncle, whom she loved and who
had dled young and pennlless malnly because of hls
lrresponslblllty, Rajka lends hlm a slzable amount of
money agalnst her better judgment. When, after
patlently waltlng for hlm to return the money, she dls
covers that he has been squanderlng lt on women and
the easy llfe, she ls almost crushed, but she recovers.
She ls also reafflrmed ln her bellef that no one ls to be
trusted and that one must thlnk of oneself excluslvely.
Jhe most dlsturblng aspect of thls affalr ls her reallza
tlon that she let her emotlons gulde her even after so
many years of condltlonlng herself to the opposlte. Jhls
experlence makes Rajka even more susplclous of every
thlng, so much so that she develops a persecutlon
manla. She ls ultlmately frlghtened to death when she
lmaglnes an lntruder has come to rob her, and she dles
of a heart attack, all alone. Her body ls dlscovered two
days later by a mallman.
Jhe greatest merlt of the novel lles ln the focused
portralt of the protagonlst. Rajka ls an archetype, the
qulntessentlal mlser, ln a long llne of slmllar characters
ln world llterature, such as Plautus`s ^ìäìä~êá~I Mollere`s
iÛ^î~êÉ (l668, Jhe Mlser), and |ovan Sterlja Popovlć`s
háê g~åà~ (l837), wlth some lnevltable dlfferences. Her
pathologlcal mlserllness derlves from a sense of lnsecu
rlty, whlch came about prlmarlly from her father`s fall
ure ln buslness. Rajka apparently has no redeemlng
qualltles; Andrlć seems to want to soften such a harsh
concluslon, however, by offerlng an explanatlon for her
affllctlon. She deslres to avenge and redeem her father,
who was rulned flnanclally and eventually dled from
grlef because hls buslness morallty was based on trust
ln others and on a deslre to help rather than to amass
wealth. Rajka`s justlflcatlon for her behavlor, stemmlng
from the experlence of her father as she understood lt,
ls rather slmple. the world ls baslcally evll, selflsh,
lnsensltlve, even cruel; lt kllls soft and honest people
llke her father but ls subservlent before hard and
unscrupulous people llke herself. Jherefore, she has
become avarlclous, lnsensltlve, and even cruel only to
protect herself from an evll world. And lf she avenges
her father`s untlmely death ln the process, lt would glve
her an added satlsfactlon.
Jhese two tralts÷her deslre for revenge and her
lnsecurlty complex÷have comblned to create a monster
of a human belng. Stlll, Andrlć ultlmately does not
leave her wlthout some posltlve qualltles. Jhe need to
avenge her father ls an understandable human quallty
after all, and her lnsecurlty ls also all too human. More
over, when the young man needs help, she for once
shows understandlng and compasslon; yet, she ls blt
terly decelved, thus conflrmlng her dlstrust and forclng
her to shun people for the rest of her llfe.
Andrlć approaches the theme of avarlce from a
purely psychologlcal angle, as a character tralt of one
person only and not of a soclal class, race, or natlonal
lty. Rajka`s tralt ls not an easlly recognlzable stereotype,
as wlth Wllllam Shakespeare`s Shylock ln qÜÉ jÉêÅÜ~åí
çÑ sÉåáÅÉ (l600), for example. Hers ls an lndlvldual aber
ratlon, and as such, ls all the more convlnclng. It ls also
lnterestlng that she ls the only woman among the proto
types of a mlser and the only herolne of a novel, whlle
all the others are dramatls personae. Ilnally, Rajka has
a few more sympathetlc qualltles than other archetypal
mlsers, thus she ls developed more fully as an lndlvld
ual.
Jhe change of polltlcal system ln Yugoslavla ln
l915 presented Andrlć wlth a problem. Even though he
was always lnterested ln polltlcs, he was by nature reclu
slve and cautlous, and as a dlplomatlc servant he was
reluctant to make publlc hls oplnlons and preferences.
Yet, the new reglme lnslsted that everyone who was not
antlcommunlst should render hls or her servlces ln the
rebulldlng of the country after enormous destructlon,
so Andrlć agreed. Honored and feted, he served ln
many publlc posts, even though lt was agalnst hls
nature. Jo be sure, Andrlć was careful not to step over
the boundarles of decency. At the same tlme, the reglme
was careful not to press hlm more than necessary. Jhe
relatlonshlp of mutual understandlng lasted for the rest
of hls llfe.
13
ai_ POV fîç ^åÇêáć
Andrlć`s short novel (treated by some crltlcs as a
novella) mêçâäÉí~ ~îäáà~ (l951; translated as aÉîáäÛë v~êÇI
l962; as a~ãåÉÇ v~êÇI l992) ls one of the best of hls
post-World War II works. Jhe yard, actually the Jurk
lsh prlson near Istanbul, ls envlsloned as a mlcrocosm.
Its lnhabltants, both the rulers and the ruled, represent
the full scale of man`s dlverslty and of hls problems.
Amld the cruel world of the warden, Karadjoz, and hls
perverse notlon that lt ls easler to release an lnnocent
man from the prlson than to hunt hlm, lf necessary, ln
the dark corners of Istanbul, there llves as a prlsoner a
young scholar and a dreamer, Ćamll, whose only crlme
ls hls 'subverslve" lnterest ln an authorltarlan hlstorlcal
flgure. In the clash between the ruthless wlelder of
naked force and the gentle champlon of pure splrlt, the
warden clalms the head of the lmprlsoned scholar, but
the latter emerges as moral vlctor. Jhe temptlng allu
slons to presentday polltlcs notwlthstandlng, Andrlć`s
phllosophy here tends to transcend the real and the
obvlous and to elevate the questlon of the meanlng of
human exlstence to a unlversal level. Iear, gullt, hatred,
lonellness, lndeed all evll, are conquered wlthln the
walls of human lmprlsonment. Jhough llfe may be
accursed and walled ln, lts creatlve forces emerge as
much stronger than the adversltles or the adversarles.
Among Andrlć`s late short storles, 'Prlča o
vezlrovom slonu" (l917; translated as 'Jhe Vlzler`s
Elephant," l962) stands out. Jhe sultan`s vlzler ls never
seen ln publlc; lnstead, hls elephant, an anlmal unheard
of ln Bosnla save ln a clrcus, parades every day through
the town, dlsplaylng a blatant proof of the vlzler`s terrl
fylng presence. Jhe anlmal ls not really responslble for
lts varlous pranks among the townspeople, nor ls the
vlzler ln the town of hls own wlll. Jhe chaln of respon
slblllty ls extended lnto lnflnlty, reveallng the absurdlty
of the entlre sltuatlon. Jhls vlvld metaphor of ruthless
j~åìëÅêáéí é~ÖÉ Ñêçã ^åÇêáćÛë NVQR ÜáëíçêáÅ~ä åçîÉä qê~îåáÅâ~ Üêçåáâ~ Eíê~åëä~íÉÇ ~ë _çëåá~å píçêóI NVRVFI ïÜáÅÜ ÇÉéáÅíë
íÜÉ äáîÉë çÑ íïç ÑçêÉáÖå Åçåëìäë áå íÜÉ åáåÉíÉÉåíÜJÅÉåíìêó éêçîáåÅá~ä qìêâáëÜ Å~éáí~ä çÑ qê~îåáâI áå _çëåá~
Efîç ^åÇêáć cçìåÇ~íáçåI _ÉäÖê~ÇÉX Ñêçã o~Ççî~å mçéçîáÅI fîç ^åÇêáćÔ^ têáíÉêÛë iáÑÉI NVUVX
a~îáë iáÄê~êóI råáîÉêëáíó çÑ kçêíÜ `~êçäáå~Ô`Ü~éÉä eáääF
11
fîç ^åÇêáć ai_ POV
authorltarlanlsm also lends ltself posslbly to the alle
gory pertalnlng to the present.
In l958 Andrlć marrled Mlllca Bablć, a wldowed
costume deslgner for the Natlonal Jheatre ln Belgrade
wlth whom he had been ln love for many years. Jhe
marrlage lasted untll her death ten years later.
Wlnnlng the Nobel Prlze ln Llterature ln l96l
had an enormous effect upon Andrlć the man and the
artlst. As he was the only South Slav wrlter to recelve
thls prestlglous award, lt was hlghly gratlfylng for hlm.
Jhe outpourlng of congratulatlons and respect attested
that he now truly belonged to world llterature. He was
already famous, but after the Nobel Prlze he became
even more useful to the reglme, whlch enhanced lts rep
utatlon by taklng credlt for any cltlzen`s success. How
ever, as modest and wlthdrawn as he was for hls entlre
llfe and career, he took the prlze ln strlde. He contlnued
to wrlte as before, at a somewhat lesser pace, but the
publlcatlon and republlcatlon of hls works skyrocketed
not only ln hls home country but also around the
world. Andrlć’s Nobel Prize also spurred a larger
interest in all Serbian literature, and translations
into other languages increased significantly. Andrić
donated his prize money to several local libraries.
Andrlć spent the last years of hls llfe struggllng
wlth poor health but contlnulng to wrlte. He suc
cumbed to lllness on l3 March l975. Of all of hls late
works, one stands out. the novel Umcr poso Iotos
(Omerpasa Latas), publlshed posthumously ln l976.
It was envlsloned as a concludlng part of the 'Bos
nlan trllogy," together wlth `o Drivi ćuprijo and
Trovvičlo lrovilo. It was supposed to be the story of a
famous Jurklsh mllltary leader of Serblan descent,
who was uncommonly brave and who crushed many
rebelllons ln the Ottoman Emplre. Andrlć never
completed lt, however, and slnce lt was left unfln
lshed, lt ls dlfflcult to pass any deflnltlve judgment
about lt. Slnce Andrlć used hls favorlte method of
golng metlculously through hlstorlc documents to
lend hls work the utmost authentlclty, one can only
guess what Umcr poso Iotos would have added to the
trllogy. conflrmatlon of earller standpolnts or thelr
revlslon. Knowlng hls attachment to hls beloved Bos
nla, lt ls posslble that thls novel would have been a
flnlshlng touch on a grand llterary edlflce.
Jwo other unflnlshed works publlshed posthu
mously, ¸volovi porcd puto (l976, Slgns by the Roadslde)
and Iućo vo osomi (l976, Jhe House by Itself ), are col
lectlons of short storles and medltatlve pleces. Although
lnterestlng ln themselves, they represent only gllmpses
of what they could have been had they been completed.
When Andrlć recelved the Nobel Prlze, the
cltatlon pralsed 'the eplc force wlth whlch he has
traced themes and deplcted human destlnles from hls
country`s hlstory." In hls banquet speech he com
mented that 'the storyteller and hls work serve no
purpose unless they serve, ln one way or another,
man and humanlty." Jhese words sum up Andrlć`s
phllosophy concernlng hls llterary output. It can be
safely sald that he has fulfllled hls mlsslon of a wlt
ness to the exlstence and hlstory of hls country, small
by space and numbers, but lmportant to Andrlć
wlthln hls artlstlc vlslon.
iÉííÉêëW
Icttcrs, translated and edlted by Žellmlr B. |urlčlć
(Joronto. Serblan Herltage Academy, l981);
Iismo (1912-197J): Irivotvo posto, edlted by Mlroslav
Karaulac (Novl Sad. Matlca srpska, 2000).
_áÄäáçÖê~éÜáÉëW
Gordana Popovlć, Ivo Zvdrić: ßibliogrofijo dclo, prcvodo i
litcroturc (Belgrade. Srpska akademlja nauka l
umetnostl, l971);
Vasa D. Mlhallovlch and Mateja Matejlc, Z Comprclcv-
sivc ßibliogroply of Jugoslov Iitcroturc iv Ivglisl
1á9J-19S0 (Columbus, Ohlo. Slavlca, l981), pp.
38-1l; supplements, (l988), p. 26; (l992), pp.
26-27; (l999), pp. l6-l7.
_áçÖê~éÜáÉëW
Petar Džadžlć, Ivo Zvdrić (Belgrade. Nollt, l957); trans
lated lnto Engllsh by Marlja StansflldPopovlć
(Belgrade. Commlttee for Iorelgn Relatlons of
the IPR Yugoslavla, l960);
Mlroslav Karaulac, Iovi Zvdrić (Belgrade. Prosveta /
Sarajevo. Svjetlost, l980);
Radovan Popovlć, Ivo Zvdrić: Život (Belgrade. |ugoslo
venska Revlja, l989); translated by Karln Rado
vanovlć as Ivo Zvdrić÷Z !ritcr`s Iifc (Belgrade.
|ugoslovenska Revlja, l989);
Vanlta Slngh Mukerjl, Ivo Zvdrić: Z Criticol ßiogroply
( |efferson, N.C. × London. McIarland, l990).
oÉÑÉêÉåÅÉëW
Mllos I. Bandlć, Ivo Zvdrić: ¸ogovctlo vcdrivc (Novl Sad.
Matlca srpska, l963);
Gun Bergman,Turlisms iv Ivo Zvdrić`s '`o Drivi Ćuprijo`
Ixomivcd from tlc Ioivts of !icw of Iitcrory Stylc (Lpp
sala. Almqulst × Wlksells, l969);
Jhomas Butler, 'Reflectlons of Ottoman Rule ln the
Works of Petar Kočlć, Ivo Andrlć and Mesa Sell
movlć," Scrbiov Studics, ll (l997). 66-75;
Mary P. Coote, 'Narratlve and Narratlve Structure ln
Ivo Andrlć`s Dcvil`s Jord," Slovic ovd Iost Iuropcov
¸ourvol, 2l (Sprlng l977). 56-63;
15
ai_ POV fîç ^åÇêáć
|ovan Deretlć, 'Jematska sredlsta u strukturl
Andrlćeve prlpovetke," Ivjižcvvo istorijo, 5 (l972).
208-233;
Vojlslav Djurlć, ed., Ivo Zvdrić (Belgrade. Instltut za
teorlju knjlževnostl l umetnostl, l962);
Jhomas Eekman, 'Jhe Later Storles of Ivo Andrlć,"
Slovovic ovd Iost Iuropcov Icvicw, 18 ( |uly l970).
31l-356;
Alan Ierguson, 'Publlc and Prlvate Worlds ln Trovvil
Clroviclc," Modcrv Iovguogc Icvicw, 70 (October
l975). 830-838;
E. D. Goy, 'Jhe Work of Ivo Andrlć," Slovovic ovd Iost
Iuropcov Icvicw, 1l ( |une l963). 30l-326;
Cella Hawkesworth, Ivo Zvdrić: ßridgc bctwccv Iost ovd
!cst (London. Athlone Press, l981);
Hawkesworth, 'Ivo Andrlć`s Lnobtruslve Narratlve
Jechnlque wlth Speclal Reference to Iućo vo
osomi," Zvvoli dcll` Istituto Uricvtolc di `opoli, 20, no.
l (l979). l3l-l53;
Žellmlr B. |urlčlć, Tlc Mov ovd tlc Zrtist: Issoys ov Ivo
Zvdrić (Lanham, Md.. Lnlverslty Press of Amer
lca, l986);
Ante Kadlć, 'Jhe Irench ln Tlc Clroviclc of Trovvil,"
Coliforvio Slovic Studics, l (l960). l31-l69;
|. Kragalott, 'Jurklsh Loanwords as an Element of Ivo
Andrlć`s Llterary Style ln `o Drivi ćuprijo," ßol-
lovistico, 2 (l975). 65-82;
Albert Lord, 'Ivo Andrlć ln Engllsh Jranslatlon," Zmcr-
icov Slovic ovd Iost Iuropcov Icvicw, 23 (September
l961). 563-573;
|ohn Loud, 'Between Jwo Worlds. Andrlć the Story
teller," Icvicw of `otiovol Iitcroturcs, 5, no. l (l971).
ll2-l26;
Loud, '¸ovos ln the Early Storles of Ivo Andrlć," dlsser
tatlon, Harvard Lnlverslty, l97l;
Claudlo Marablnl, 'La Narratlva dl Ivo Andrlć," `uovo
ovtologio di lcttcrc, orti c scicv·c, 199 (l967). 171-190;
Vasa D. Mlhallovlch, 'Jhe Baslc World Vlew ln the
Short Storles of Ivo Andrlć," Slovic ovd Iost Iuro-
pcov ¸ourvol, l0 (Summer l966). l73-l77;
Mlhallovlch, 'Jhe Receptlon of the Works of Ivo
Andrlć ln the EngllshSpeaklng World," Soutlcost-
crv Iuropc, 9 (l982). 1l-52;
Reglna Mlnde, Ivo Zvdrić. Studicv ucbcr scivc Ir·ocllluvst
(Munlch. Otto Sagner, l962);
Dragan Nedeljkovlć, ed., Dclo Ivc Zvdrićo u lovtclstu
cvropslc lvjižcvvosti i lulturc (Belgrade. Zadužblna
I`ve Andrlća, l98l);
Predrag Palavestra, Ivjigo o Zvdriću (Belgrade. BIGZ ×
SKZ, l992);
Lorna Mlntz Peterson, 'Jhe Development of Narratlve
Jechnlque ln Ivo Andrlć," dlssertatlon, Yale Lnl
verslty, l973;
Njegos M. Petrovlć, Ivo Zvdrić, I`lommc ct l`ocuvrc
(Ottawa. Les Edltlons Lemeac, l969);
Branko Popovlć, 'Istorlja l poezlja u Andrlćevom delu,"
Ivjižcvvo istorijo, 5 (l972). l93-207;
Iellclty Rosslyn, 'Jhe Short Storles of Ivo Andrlć.
Autoblography and the Chaln of Proof," Slovovic
ovd Iost Iuropcov Icvicw, 67 ( |anuary l989). 29-
1l;
Isldora Sekullć, 'Istok u prlpovetkama Iva Andrlća,"
Srpsli lvjižcvvi glosvil, l0 (l923). 502-5ll;
Dragoljub Stojadlnovlć, Iomovi Ivo Zvdrićo (Prlstlna.
|edlnstvo, l970);
Vlda Jaranovskl|ohnson, 'Bosnla Demythologlzed.
Character and Motlvatlon ln Ivo Andrlć`s Storles
'Mara Mllosnlca` and 'O starlm l mladlm Pamu
kovlćlma,`" Dic !clt dcr Slovcv, 25 (l98l). 98-l08;
Jaranovskl|ohnson, 'Ivo Andrlć`s Iućo vo osomi: Mem
orles and Ghosts of the Wrlter`s Past," ln Iictiov
ovd Dromo iv Iostcrv ovd Soutlcostcrv Iuropc, edlted
by Henrlk Blrnbaum and Eekman (Columbus,
Ohlo. Slavlca, l980), pp. 239-250;
Wayne S. Vuclnlch, ed., Ivo Zvdrić Icvisitcd: Tlc ßridgc
Still Stovds (Berkeley, Cal.. Internatlonal and Area
Studles Publlcatlons, l995);
Radovan Vučkovlć, !clilo sivtc·o (Sarajevo. Svjetlost,
l971);
|an Wlerzblckl, Ivo Zvdrić (Warsaw. Wledza Pows
zechna, l965).
m~éÉêëW
Ivo Andrlć`s manuscrlpts and correspondence are
housed at the Serblan Academy of Sclence and Art and
at the Documentatlon Center of the Ivo Andrlć Ioun
datlon ln Belgrade, Serbla. Hls apartment ln Belgrade ls
now a memorlal museum.

NVSN kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ
mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ
by Zvdcrs Ústcrlivg, Icrmovcvt Sccrctory
of tlc Swcdisl Zcodcmy
Jhe Nobel Prlze ln Llterature has been awarded
thls year to the Yugoslav wrlter, Ivo Andrlć, who has
been acknowledged ln hls own country as a novellst of
unusual stature, and who ln recent years has found an
lncreaslngly wlde audlence as more and more of hls
works have come to be translated. He was born ln l892
to a famlly of artlsans that had settled ln Bosnla, a prov
lnce stlll under Austrlan rule when he was a chlld.
As a young Serblan student, he jolned the natlonal
revolutlonary movement, suffered persecutlon, and was
16
fîç ^åÇêáć ai_ POV
lmprlsoned ln l9l1 when the war broke out. Neverthe
less, he studled at several unlversltles, flnally obtalnlng
hls degree from Graz. Ior several years he served hls
country ln the dlplomatlc servlce; at the outbreak of the
Second World War he was the Yugoslav ambassador ln
Berlln. Only a few hours after hls return to Belgrade, the
clty was bombed by German planes. Iorced to retreat
durlng the German occupatlon, Andrlć nevertheless
managed to survlve and to wrlte three remarkable nov
els. Jhese are generally called the Bosnlan trllogy,
although they have nothlng ln common but thelr hlstorl
cal settlng, whlch ls symbollzed by the crescent and the
cross. Jhe creatlon of thls work, ln the deafenlng roar of
guns and ln the shadow of a natlonal catastrophe whose
scope then seemed beyond calculatlon, ls a slngularly
strlklng llterary achlevement. Jhe publlcatlon of the trll
ogy dld not take place untll l915.
Jhe eplc maturlty of these chronlcles ln novel
form, especlally of hls masterplece k~ aêáåá ćìéêáà~ (Jhe
Brldge on the Drlna), l915, was preceded by a phase
durlng whlch Andrlć, speaklng ln the flrst person of the
lyrlc poet, sought to express the harsh pesslmlsm of hls
young heart. It ls slgnlflcant that ln the lsolatlon of hls
years ln prlson he had found the greatest consolatlon ln
Klerkegaard. Later, ln the ascetlclsm of strlct selfdlscl
pllne, he dlscovered the way that could lead hlm back to
what he called 'the eternal unconsclous and blessed pat
rlmony," a dlscovery that also slgnlfled the lntroductlon
lnto hls work of the objectlve eplc form whlch he hence
forth cultlvated, maklng hlmself the lnterpreter of those
ancestral experlences that make a people consclous of
what lt ls.
k~ aêáåá ćìéêáà~ ls the herolc story of the famous
brldge whlch the vlzler Mehmed Pasha had bullt durlng
the mlddle of the slxteenth century near the Bosnlan clty
of Vlsegrad. Ilrmly placed on lts eleven arches of llght
coloured stone, rlchly ornamented, and ralsed ln the
mlddle by a superstructure, lt proudly perpetuated the
memory of an era throughout the followlng eventful
centurles untll lt was blown up ln the Ilrst World War.
Jhe vlzler had wanted lt to be a passage that would
unlte East and West ln the centre of the Ottoman
Emplre. Armles and caravans would cross the Drlna on
thls brldge, whlch for many generatlons symbollzed per
manence and contlnulty underneath the contlngencles
of hlstory. Jhls brldge became the scene for every
lmportant event ln thls strange corner of the world.
Andrlć`s local chronlcle ls ampllfled by the powerful
volce of the rlver, and lt ls, flnally, a herolc and bloody
act ln world hlstory that ls played here.
In the followlng work, qê~îåáčâ~ Üêçåáâ~ (Bosnlan
Story), l915, the actlon takes place at the tlme of the
Napoleonlc Wars. Here we wltness the rlvalry between
the Austrlan and Irench consuls ln a desolated, oldfash
loned clty where a Jurklsh vlzler has establlshed hls res
ldence. We flnd ourselves ln the mldst of events whlch
brlng together traglc destlnles. Jhe dlscontent whlch
stlrs among the bazaars ln the alleys of Jravnlk; the
revolts of the SerboCroatlan peasants; the rellglous
wars between Mohammedans, Chrlstlans, and |ews÷all
of thls contrlbutes to create the atmosphere that, after a
century of tenslon, was golng to be rent by the llghtnlng
at Sarajevo. Agaln, Andrlć`s power ls revealed ln the
breadth of hls vlslon and the masterly control of hls
complex subject matter.
Jhe thlrd volume, dçëéçÇàáÅ~ (Jhe Woman from
Sarajevo), l915, ls dlfferent; lt ls a purely psychologl
cal study of avarlce ln lts pathologlcal and demonlac
aspect. It tells the story of a merchant`s daughter who
llves alone ln Sarajevo. Her bankrupt father had told
her on hls deathbed to defend her lnterests ruthlessly,
slnce wealth ls the only means of escape from the cru
eltles of exlstence. Although the portralt ls strlklngly
successful, Andrlć here conflnes hlmself to a subject
that does not permlt hlm a full dlsplay of hls great nar
ratlve glfts. Jhey are revealed fully, however, ln a
mlnor work that should recelve at least a brlef men
tlon. mêçâäÉí~ ~îäáà~ (Devll`s Yard), l951. A story set ln
an Istanbul prlson, lt ls as colourful ln lts pattern as an
Orlental tale and yet reallstlc and convlnclng.
Generally speaklng, Andrlć comblnes modern
psychologlcal lnslght wlth the fatallsm of the ^ê~Äá~å
káÖÜíëK He feels a great tenderness for manklnd, but he
does not shrlnk from horror and vlolence, the most
vlslble proof to hlm of the real presence of evll ln the
world. As a wrlter he possesses a whole network of
orlglnal themes that belong only to hlm; he opens the
chronlcle of the world, so to speak, at an unknown
page, and from the depth of the sufferlng souls of the
Balkan slaves he appeals to our senslblllty.
In one of hls novellas, a young doctor recount
lng hls experlences ln the Bosnla of the l920s says, 'If
you lle awake one whole nlght ln Sarajevo, you learn
to dlstlngulsh the volces of the Sarajevlan nlght. Wlth
lts rlch and flrm strokes the clock of the Cathollc
cathedral marks the hour of two. A long mlnute
elapses; then you hear, a llttle more feeble, but shrlll,
the volce of the Orthodox Church, whlch also sounds
lts two strokes. Jhen, a llttle more harsh and far away,
there ls the volce of the Beg Mosque clock; lt sounds
eleven strokes, eleven ghostly Jurklsh hours, counted
after the strange dlvlslon of tlme ln those faroff
reglons. Jhe |ews have no bell to toll thelr hours, and
God alone knows what tlme lt ls for them, God alone
knows the number lndlcated on the calendar of the
Sephardlms and the Ashkenazlms. Jhus, even ln the
deep of the nlght, when everybody sleeps, the world ls
17
ai_ POV fîç ^åÇêáć
dlvlded; lt ls dlvlded over the countlng of the lost
hours of a nlght that ls comlng to an end."
Perhaps thls suggestlve nocturnal atmosphere
also glves a key to the chlef problems that have doml
nated Andrlć`s work. Jhe study of hlstory and phllos
ophy has lnevltably led hlm to ask what forces, ln the
blows and bltterness of antagonlsms and confllcts, act
to fashlon a people and a natlon. Hls own splrltual
attltude ls cruclal ln that respect. Conslderlng these
antagonlsms wlth a dellberate and acqulred serenlty,
he endeavours to see them all ln the llght of reason
and wlth a profoundly human splrlt. Hereln lles, ln
the last analysls, the major theme of all hls work; from
the Balkans lt brlngs to the entlre world a stolc mes
sage, as our generatlon has experlenced lt.
Dear Slr÷It ls wrltten on your dlploma that the
Nobel Prlze has been bestowed upon you 'for the eplc
force wlth whlch you have traced themes and deplcted
human destlnles from your country`s hlstory." It ls
wlth great satlsfactlon that the Swedlsh Academy
honours ln you a worthy representatlve of a llngulstlc
area whlch, up to now, has not appeared on the llst of
laureates. Extendlng to you our most slncere congrat
ulatlons, I ask you to recelve from the hands of Hls
Majesty, the Klng, the Prlze awarded to you.
| ¹ Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l96l.|

^åÇêáćW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ
Ivtroductory rcmorls by C. Iiljcstrovd, Mcmbcr of tlc
Ioyol Zcodcmy of Scicvccs, ot tlc `obcl ßovquct ot tlc City
Holl iv Stocllolm, 10 Dcccmbcr 1961:
Dr. Andrlć, as a chronlcler and a novellst, you
have told us about your countrymen, thelr llfe and toll,
thelr mlsfortunes and endurance, ln peace as well as ln
war. You have yourself fought for thelr freedom and
rlght to llve thelr own llfe. |ust as the brldge on the
Drlna brought East and West together, so your work
has acted as a llnk, comblnlng the culture of your coun
try wlth that of other parts of our planet, a task, well
worthy of a dlplomat, who ls also a great author.
Zvdrić`s spcccl (Trovslotiov)
In carrylng out the hlgh dutles entrusted to lt, the
Nobel Commlttee of the Swedlsh Academy has thls year
awarded the Nobel Prlze ln Llterature, a slgnal mark of
honour on the lnternatlonal scene, to a wrlter from a
small country, as lt ls commonly called. In recelvlng thls
honour, I should llke to make a few remarks about thls
country and to add a few conslderatlons of a more gen
eral character about the storyteller`s work to whlch you
have graclously awarded your Prlze.
My country ls lndeed a 'small country between the
worlds," as lt has aptly been characterlzed by one of our
wrlters, a country whlch, at breakneck speed and at the
cost of great sacrlflces and prodlglous efforts, ls trylng ln
all flelds, lncludlng the fleld of culture, to make up for
those thlngs of whlch lt has been deprlved by a slngularly
turbulent and hostlle past. In chooslng the reclplent of
thls award you have cast a shlnlng llght upon the llterary
actlvlty of that country, at the very moment when,
thanks to a number of new names and orlglnal works,
that country`s llterature ls beglnnlng to galn recognltlon
through an honest endeavour to make lts contrlbutlon to
world llterature. Jhere ls no doubt that your dlstlnctlon
of a wrlter of thls country ls an encouragement whlch
calls for our gratltude; I am happy to have the opportu
nlty to express thls gratltude to you ln thls place and at
thls tlme, slmply but slncerely.
It ls a more dlfflcult and more dellcate task to tell
you about the storyteller`s work whlch you have
honoured wlth your Prlze. In fact, when lt comes down
to a wrlter and hls work, can we expect hlm to be able to
speak of that work, when ln reallty hls creatlon ls but a
part of hlmself? Some among us would rather conslder
the authors of works of art elther as mute and absent
contemporarles or as famous wrlters of the past, and
thlnk that the work of art speaks wlth a clearer and purer
volce lf the llvlng volce of the author does not lnterfere.
Jhls attltude ls nelther uncommon nor partlcularly new.
Even ln hls day Montesquleu contended that authors are
not good judges of thelr own works. I remember readlng
wlth understandlng admlratlon Goethe`s rule. 'Jhe art
lst`s task ls to create, not to talk"; and many years later I
was moved to flnd the same thought brllllantly expressed
by the greatly mourned Albert Camus.
Let me then, as seems flttlng to me, concentrate ln
thls brlef statement on the story and the storyteller ln
general. In thousands of languages, ln the most dlverse
cllmes, from century to century, beglnnlng wlth the very
old storles told around the hearth ln the huts of our
remote ancestors down to the works of modern storytell
ers whlch are appearlng at thls moment ln the publlshlng
houses of the great cltles of the world, lt ls the story of
the human condltlon that ls belng spun and that men
never weary of telllng to one another. Jhe manner of tell
lng and the form of the story vary accordlng to perlods
and clrcumstances, but the taste for telllng and retelllng a
story remalns the same. the narratlve flows endlessly and
never runs dry. Jhus, at tlmes, one mlght almost belleve
that from the flrst dawn of consclousness throughout the
ages, manklnd has constantly been telllng ltself the same
story, though wlth lnflnlte varlatlons, to the rhythm of lts
18
fîç ^åÇêáć ai_ POV
breath and pulse. And one mlght say that after the fash
lon of the legendary and eloquent Scheherazade, thls
story attempts to stave off the executloner, to suspend the
lneluctable decree of the fate that threatens us, and to
prolong the llluslon of llfe and of tlme. Or should the sto
ryteller by hls work help man to know and to recognlze
hlmself? Perhaps lt ls hls calllng to speak ln the name of
all those who dld not have the ablllty or who, crushed by
llfe, dld not have the power to express themselves. Or
could lt be that the storyteller tells hls own story to hlm
self, llke the chlld who slngs ln the dark ln order to
assuage hls own fear? Or flnally, could the alm of these
storles be to throw some llght on the dark paths lnto
whlch llfe hurls us at tlmes and to tell us about thls llfe,
whlch we llve bllndly and unconsclously, somethlng
more than we can apprehend and comprehend ln our
weakness? And thus the words of a good storyteller often
shed llght on our acts and on our omlsslons, on what we
should do and on what we should not have done. Hence
one mlght wonder whether the true hlstory of manklnd
ls not to be found ln these storles, oral or wrltten, and
whether we mlght not at least dlmly catch the meanlng of
that hlstory. And lt matters llttle whether the story ls set
ln the present or ln the past.
Nevertheless, some wlll malntaln that a story deal
lng wlth the past neglects, and to a certaln degree turns
lts back on, the present. A wrlter of hlstorlcal storles and
novels could not ln my oplnlon accept such a gratultous
judgment. He would rather be lncllned to confess that he
does not hlmself know very well when or how he moves
from what ls called the present lnto what we call the past,
and that he crosses easlly÷as ln a dream÷the threshold of
centurles. But ln the end, do not past and present con
front us wlth slmllar phenomena and wlth the same
problems. to be a man, to have been born wlthout know
lng lt or wantlng lt, to be thrown lnto the ocean of exlst
ence, to be obllged to swlm, to exlst; to have an ldentlty;
to reslst the pressure and shocks from the outslde and the
unforeseen and unforeseeable acts÷one`s own and those
of others÷whlch so often exceed one`s capacltles? And
what ls more, to endure one`s own thoughts about all
thls. ln a word, to be human.
So lt happens that beyond the lmaglnary demar
catlon llne between past and present the wrlter stlll
flnds hlmself eye to eye wlth the human condltlon,
whlch he ls bound to observe and understand as best
he can, wlth whlch he must ldentlfy, glvlng lt the
strength of hls breath and the warmth of hls blood,
whlch he must attempt to turn lnto the llvlng texture of
the story that he lntends to translate for hls readers, ln
such a way that the result be as beautlful, as slmple, and
as persuaslve as posslble.
How can a wrlter arrlve at thls alm, by what ways,
by what means? Ior some lt ls by glvlng free reln to thelr
lmaglnatlon, for others lt ls by studylng wlth long and
palnstaklng care the lnstructlons that hlstory and soclal
evolutlon afford. Some wlll endeavour to asslmllate the
substance and meanlng of past epochs, others wlll pro
ceed wlth the caprlclous and playful nonchalance of the
prollflc Irench novellst who once sald, 'What ls hlstory
but a peg to hang my novels on?" In a word, there are a
thousand ways and means for the novellst to arrlve at hls
work, but what alone matters and alone ls declslve ls the
work ltself.
Jhe author of hlstorlcal novels could put as an epl
graph to hls works, ln order to explaln everythlng to
everyone, once and for all, the old saylng. 'Cogltavl dles
antlquos et annos aeternos ln mente habul" (I have pon
dered the days of yore and I have kept ln mlnd the years
of eternlty). But wlth or wlthout eplgraph, hls work, by
lts very exlstence, suggests the same ldea.
Stlll, these are ultlmately nothlng but questlons of
technlque, tastes, and methods, a fasclnatlng lntellectual
pastlme concernlng a work or havlng vaguely to do
wlth lt. In the end lt matters llttle whether the wrlter
evokes the past, descrlbes the present, or even plunges
boldly lnto the future. Jhe maln thlng ls the splrlt
whlch lnforms hls story, the message that hls work con
veys to manklnd; and lt ls obvlous that rules and regu
latlons do not avall here. Each bullds hls story
accordlng to hls own lnward needs, accordlng to the
measure of hls lncllnatlons, lnnate or acqulred, accord
lng to hls conceptlons and to the power of hls means of
expresslon. Each assumes the moral responslblllty for
hls own story and each must be allowed to tell lt freely.
But, ln concluslon, lt ls to be hoped that the story told
by today`s author to hls contemporarles, lrrespectlve of
lts form and content, should be nelther tarnlshed by
hate nor obscured by the nolse of homlcldal machlnes,
but that lt should be born out of love and lnsplred by
the breadth of ldeas of a free and serene human mlnd.
Ior the storyteller and hls work serve no purpose unless
they serve, ln one way or another, man and humanlty.
Jhat ls the essentlal polnt. And that ls what I have
attempted to brlng out ln these brlef reflectlons lnsplred
by the occaslon and whlch, wlth your permlsslon, I
shall conclude as I began them, wlth the repeated
expresslon of a profound and slncere gratltude.
| ¹ Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l96l. Ivo Andrlć ls the sole
author of hls speech.|
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50
jáÖìÉä žåÖÉä ^ëíìêá~ë ai_ POV
Ios ojos dc los cvtcrrodos (Buenos Alres. Losada, l960);
translated by Rabassa as Tlc Iycs of tlc Ivtcrrcd
(New York. Delacorte, l973; London. Cape,
l971);
Ios cstrcllos, los rosos, y lo l•mporo, prosos cscritos cvtrc 1927 y
19J0: Uvos polobros dc Migucl žvgcl Zsturios, edlted
by Enrlque Muñoz Meany (Guatemala Clty. Edl
clones Revlsta de Guatemala, l960);
Il ollojodito (Buenos Alres. Goyanarte, l96l); trans
lated by Martln Shuttleworth as Tlc ßcjcwclcd ßoy
(Garden Clty, N.Y.. Doubleday, l97l);
Muloto dc tol (Buenos Alres. Losada, l963); translated
by Rabassa as Tlc Mulotto ovd Mr. Ily (London.
Owen, l963); translatlon republlshed as Muloto
(New York. Delacorte, l967);
Iumovio, su vucvo imogcv (Xalapa, Mexlco. Lnlversldad
Veracruzana, l961);
Tcotro: Clovtojc, Diquc scco, Soluvo, Io oudicvcio dc los cov-
fivcs (Buenos Alres. Losada, l961);
Sovctos dc Itolio (Mllan. Instltuto Edltorlale Clsalplno,
l965);
Clorivigilio primovcrol (Buenos Alres. Losada, l965);
Il cspcjo dc Iido Sol (Mexlco Clty. Slglo Velntluno,
l967); translated by Gllbert AlterGllbert as Tlc
Mirror of Iido Sol: Tolcs ßoscd ov Moyov Mytls ovd
Cuotcmolov Icgcvds (Plttsburgh. Latln Amerlcan
Llterary Revlew, l997);
Torotumbo; Io oudicvcio dc los covfivcs; Mcvsojcs ivdios (Bar
celona. Plaza y |anés, l967);
Iotivoomcrico y otros cvsoyos (Madrld. Guadlana, l968);
Ubros complctos, 3 volumes (Madrld. Agullar, l968);
Comicvdo cv Huvgr∞o, by Asturlas and Pablo Neruda
(Barcelona. Lumen, l969); translated by Barna
Balogh as Scvtimcvtol ¸ourvcy orouvd tlc Huvgoriov
Cuisivc (Budapest. Corvlna, l969);
Molodrov (Buenos Alres. Losada, l969);
Trois dcs quotrc solcils, translated by Claude Couffon
(Geneva. Sklra, l97l); orlglnal Spanlsh verslon
publlshed as Trcs dc cuotro solcs (cdiciov cr∞tico),
edlted by Dorlta Nouhaud (Parls. Kllncksleck /
Madrld. Iondo de Cultura Económlca, l977);
Tlc Tollivg Moclivc, translated by Beverly Koch (Gar
den Clty, N.Y.. Doubleday, l97l);
Il problcmo sociol dcl ivdio y otros tcxtos, edlted by Couffon
(Parls. Centre de Recherches de l`Instltut
d`Etudes Hlspanlques, l97l);
`ovclos y cucvtos dc juvcvtud, edlted by Couffon (Parls.
Centre de Recherches de l`Instltut d`Etudes Hls
panlques, l97l);
Zmcrico, f•bulo dc f•bulos y otros cvsoyos, edlted by Rlchard
|. Callan (Caracas. Monte žvlla, l972);
!icrvcs dc dolorcs (Buenos Alres. Losada, l972);
¸u•rc· (Mexlco Clty. Comlslón Naclonal para la Con
memoratlón del Centenarlo del Ialleclmlento de
don Benlto |u•rez, l972);
Sivccridodcs, edlted by Epamlnondas _ulntana (Guate
mala Clty. Académlca Centroamerlcana, l980);
Il lombrc quc lo tcv∞o todo, todo, todo; Io lcycvdo dcl Som-
brcrov; Io lcycvdo dcl tcsoro dcl Iugor Ilorido (Barce
lona. Bruguera, l98l);
Il •rbol dc lo cru·, edlted by Allne |acquart and Amos
Segala (Nanterre. ALLCA XX/Lnlverslté Parls
X, Centre de Recherches LatlnoAmérlcalnes,
l993);
Migucl žvgcl Zsturios, ro∞· y dcstivo: Iocs∞o ivcdito (1917-
1924), edlted by Marco Vlnlclo Mej∞a (Guatemala
Clty. Artemls Edlnter, l999).
bÇáíáçåë ~åÇ `çääÉÅíáçåëW Ubros cscogidos, 3 volumes
(Madrld. Agullar, l955-l966);
Mi mcjor obro: Zutoovtolog∞o (Mexlco Clty. Organlzaclón
Edltorlal Novaro, l973);
Il Scvor Ircsidcvtc: Idiciov cr∞tico, edlted by Rlcardo
Navas Rulz and |eanMarle SalntLu (Parls.
Kllncksleck, l978);
!icrvcs dc dolorcs: Idiciov cr∞tico, edlted by Iber H. Ver
dugo (Parls. Kllncksleck / Madrld. Iondo de Cul
tura Económlca, l978);
Hombrcs dc mo∞·: Idiciov cr∞tico, edlted by Gerald Martln
(Parls. Kllncksleck / Madrld. Iondo de Cultura
Económlca, l98l);
!iojcs, cvsoyos y fovtos∞os, edlted by Rlchard |. Callan
(Buenos Alres. Losada, l98l);
Ior∞s 1924-19JJ: Icriodismo y crcociov litcrorio, edlted by
Amos Segala (Nanterre. ALLCA XX/Lnlverslté
Parls X, Centre de Recherches LatlnoAmérlcalnes,
l988);
Cov lo mogio dc los ticmpos (Guatemala Clty. Mlnlsterlo de
Cultura y Deportes/Herederos de Mlguel žngel
Asturlas, l999);
Il lombrc quc lo tcv∞o todo, todo, todo (Guatemala Clty. Edl
torlal Pledra Santa Arandl, 2000);
Cucvtos y lcycvdos, edlted by Marlo Roberto Morales
(Madrld. ALLCA XX, 2000).
OJHER. 'Maxlmón, dlvlnldad de agua dulce," ln
Tcrrcs Iotivcs, Zvvcc 2 (N.p., l916), pp. 25-36;
Iocs∞o prccolombivo, edlted by Asturlas (Buenos Alres.
Compañ∞a General Iabrll, l960);
'La novela latlnoamerlcana es testlmonlo de nuestro
tlempo," ln Ivostrovvoio litcroturo, 9 (Moscow,
l966), pp. 25-36.
JRANSLAJIONS. Ios dioscs, los lcrocs y los lombrcs dc
Cuotcmolo Zvtiguo; o Il libro dcl Covscjo, Iopol !ul dc
los ivdios quiclcs, translated by Asturlas and |. M.
Gonz•lez de Mendoza from the Irench translatlon
5l
ai_ POV jáÖìÉä žåÖÉä ^ëíìêá~ë
by Georges Raynaud (Parls. Par∞sAmerlcana,
l927); republlshed as Il libro dcl covscjo (Mexlco
Clty. Lnlversldad Naclonal Autónoma, l939);
Zvolcs dc los Xolil dc los ivdios colcliquclcs, translated by
Asturlas and Gonz•lez de Mendoza from the
Irench translatlon by Raynaud (Parls, l928;
revlsed edltlon, Guatemala Clty. Jlpograf∞a
Naclonal, l937).
Guatemalan author Mlguel žngel Asturlas was
recognlzed wlth the Nobel Prlze ln Llterature ln l967
for hls prollflc and lnnovatlve llterary productlon ln
multlple genres. Hls worldwlde fame came prlmarlly
because of hls narratlves ln both the novel and short
story genres. In the preface to hls l970 study of
Asturlas, Rlchard |. Callan ldentlfles Asturlas`s consld
erable contrlbutlons to the world of letters. 'there are
some who see ln hls works on polltlcal and soclal dlcta
torshlp the flnest novels of protest we have. Ior others,
hls fanclful tales of Indlan and Spanlsh folklore, told ln
the rlch and amblguous language of dreamwork, have
the lnexhaustlble value of poetry." In subsequent
decades many crltlcal essays and books have been wrlt
ten about Asturlas`s narratlve, focuslng on some aspect
of that nutshell statement. In fact, few of hls works are
exempt from the qualltles to whlch Callan refers. Even
hls narratlves of harshest reallty lnclude passages of
lyrlc language and move ln a maglcal atmosphere.
Jhe reason for Asturlas`s lncluslon of these quall
tles ln so much of hls wrltlng may be found ln hls essay
'Helne o la poes∞a comprometlda" (Helne or Commlt
ted Poetry, lncluded ln Zmcrico, f•bulo dc f•bulos y otros
cvsoyos |Amerlca, Iable of Iables and Other Essays|,
l972) about the works of fellow poet Helnrlch Helne.
In lt he poslts that protest llterature 'usa de sus espejos
m•glcos para llmplar el mundo, para dar otra extenslón
a la exlstencla del hombre" (uses lts maglc mlrrors to
clean the world, to glve another dlmenslon to man`s
exlstence).
Almost all crltlcs of hls llterature note Asturlas`s
masterful use of language. Intervlewers Luls Harss and
Barbara Dohmann state that for Asturlas, 'language
llves a borrowed llfe. Words are echoes or shadows of
llvlng belngs. Jhe falth ln the power of words . . . ls
remlnlscent of an anclent bellef that words are doubles
of objects ln the external world and are therefore an anl
mated part of lt. Jhe rhythms of speech are lnstlnctual
and subllmlnal. And the subllmlnal ls close to the myth
lcal." Jhey further assert that ln hls texts 'metaphor ls
maglc, lt conjures up the unconsclous." Asturlas`s nov
els are narrated ln a language that many belleve to be
the result of the lnfluence of Surreallsm, to whlch he
was exposed durlng hls early years ln Europe. Asturlas,
however, denled thls connectlon and asserted that hls
style was lnfluenced lnstead by the lndlgenous Latln
Amerlcan way of thlnklng; as he told scholar Marta
Pllón de Pacheco, 'el surreallsmo de mls llbros corre
sponde un poco a la mentalldad lnd∞gena, m•glca y
prlmltlva, a la mentalldad de esta gente que est• slem
pre entre lo real y lo soñado, entre lo real y lo lmagl
nado, entre lo real y lo que se lnventa. Y creo que es
esto lo que forma el eje prlnclpal de ml pretendldo sur
reallsmo" (the surreallsm of my books corresponds
somewhat to a maglcal and prlmltlve lndlgenous men
tallty, to the mentallty of these people who are always
between the real and the dreamed, between the real and
the lmaglned, between the real and the lnvented. And I
belleve that lt ls thls that forms the maln axls of my
socalled surreallsm). He elaborated further about the
llnk crltlcs llke to forge between that 'lndlgenous men
tallty" and maglcal reallsm ln an lntervlew wlth
Gunther W. Lorenz. 'Las aluclnaclones, las lmpre
slones que el hombre obtlene de su medlo tlenden a
transformarse en realldades. . . . No se trata de una real
ldad palpable, pero s∞ de una realldad que surge de una
determlnada lmaglnaclón m•glca" (Jhe halluclnatlons,
the lmpresslons that man gets from hls envlronment
tend to transform themselves lnto realltles. . . . It ls not
a questlon of a palpable reallty, but lt ls one of a reallty
that emerges from a speclflc maglcal lmaglnatlon).
Asturlas was born on l9 October l899 ln the
Parroqula Vleja (Old Parlsh) nelghborhood of Guate
mala Clty. Hls father was Ernesto Asturlas, a lawyer;
hls mother was Mar∞a Rosales de Asturlas, a teacher.
Hls younger brother, Marco Antonlo, was born ln
l90l. Because of problems wlth the despotlc presldent
Manuel Estrada Cabrera, ln l901 hls father moved the
famlly to Salam•, a commerclal center ln the provlnce
of Baja Verapaz near the farm of hls maternal grand
parents, where they vlslted frequently. Asturlas began
school there ln l906 and completed the flrst three
grades before the famlly returned ln l908 to Guatemala
Clty, where he flnlshed hls elementary schoollng at
Iather Pedro |aclnto Palaclos`s school and the Domlngo
Savlo school. He began hls secondary educatlon ln
l9l2 at the Central Natlonal Instltute for Boys and fln
lshed wlth a secondaryschool dlploma ln l9l6. At the
Instltute he met the great Nlcaraguan poet Rubén
Dar∞o, who was just nlne months from hls death. Prlor
to thls encounter, Asturlas`s hobby had been palntlng;
but subsequently he turned to llterature.
Poetry ls the genre ln whlch Asturlas flrst began
wrltlng. Hls earllest poems date from l9l7, but they
remalned unpubllshed untll l999, when Marco Vlnlclo
Mej∞a publlshed them ln Migucl žvgcl Zsturios, ro∞· y dcs-
tivo: Iocs∞o ivcdito (1917-1924) (Mlguel žngel Asturlas,
Reason and Destlny. Lnpubllshed Poems |l9l7-
l921|). In many of these poems the quallty of modern
52
jáÖìÉä žåÖÉä ^ëíìêá~ë ai_ POV
lst muslcallty ls unquestlonable. Asturlas hlmself col
lected the poetry he wrote between l9l8 and l918 and
publlshed lt under the tltle of Iocs∞o: Sicv dc olovdro
(l919, Poetry. Jhe Lark`s Jemple). Jhe poems of the
earller years are lntlmate ln content, expresslng the
poet`s deepest feellngs about hls famlly, and have tradl
tlonal Hlspanlc meter and rhyme forms. Jo a llmlted
degree the astonlshlng lmagery assoclated wlth Surreal
lsm ls already present ln the earller poems, as ls evldent
ln 'Ronda de andares" (Round of Wanderlngs, pub
llshed ln the l9l8-l928 sectlon of Iocs∞o: Sicv dc olov-
dro). 'Haré la cabeclta de ml hljo / con un nldo de
p•jaros" (I wlll make my son`s llttle head / wlth a blrds`
nest). Some of the later poetry gathered ln Iocs∞o: Sicv dc
olovdro ls avantgarde, wlth lmagery, rhythms, and par
allel constructlons that betray the lnfluence of anclent
lndlgenous wrltlngs. Asturlas admltted thls lnfluence ln
'Jhe Latln Amerlcan Novel. Jestlmony of an Epoch,"
hls Nobel lecture. 'the parallellsm ln the lndlgenous
texts allows an exerclse of nuances that we flnd hard to
appreclate but whlch undoubtedly permltted a poetlc
gradatlon destlned to lnduce certaln states of consclous
ness whlch were taken to be maglc." An evolutlon from
tradltlonal forms to avantgarde, Surreallst forms can be
traced through the dated parts of Iocs∞o: Sicv dc olovdro.
Asturlas`s poetry reflects the cultural duallty that
surrounded hlm ln hls formatlve years. Jhere are
poems, such as hls sonnets, that only someone who was
lmmersed ln European culture could have wrltten.
Jhere are also poems÷such as 'Jec∫n Lm•n," 'Señor
del agua" (Man of Water), 'Marlmba tocada por
lndlos" (Marlmba Played by Indlans), 'Habla el gran
lengua" (Jhe Great Interpreter Speaks), and 'Cerbatan
ero" (Blowgunner), from Iocs∞o: Sicv dc olovdro, and the
booklength poem Clorivigilio Irimovcrol (l965; Sprlng
tlme Clear Vlgll; clorivigilio ls a neologlsm, made up of
cloro, clear or brlght, and vigilio, vlgll)÷that only some
one acqualnted wlth Mayan culture could wrlte.
Asturlas galned a flrsthand acqualntance wlth that cul
ture ln early chlldhood as he llstened to Lola Reyes, a
Mayan servant ln hls home, tell tradltlonal lndlgenous
and mestlzo tales; later, he read the anclent Maya_ulché
texts ln the Irench translatlons made of them by Profes
sor Georges Raynaud. Gluseppe Belllnl ldentlfles ln
Asturlas`s poetlc works 'los módulos y los rltmos pro
plos de la antlgua poes∞a maya, especlalmente en la relt
eraclón, la met•fora, la lmagen slmbóllca, el
paralellsmo, creando una atmósfera de sugestlva eflca
cla, evocadora de mundos remotos, proyectados en el
tlempo presente" (the modules and the rhythms pecu
llar to anclent Mayan poetry, especlally ln the reltera
tlon, metaphor, symbollc lmage, and parallellsm that
create an atmosphere of suggestlve efflcacy, evocatlve of
remote worlds projected onto present tlme).
In Asturlas`s plays the lnfluence of the llterary
movements of the tlmes ls especlally dlscernlble.
Asturlas`s earllest play, wrltten when he was seventeen,
ls stlll ln typescrlpt form, annotated ln the marglns ln
hls own hand. Accordlng to Mar∞a del Carmen Melén
dez de Alonzo, thls play, 'El loco de la aurora" (Jhe
Madman of the Dawn), betrays the lnfluence of the
Modcrvisto movement. Elements of the Surreallst move
ment as well as Modcrvismo can also be found ln Ioyito dc
cstrcllo (l925, Llttle Star Ray), hls flrst 'fantomlma" (a
neologlsm composed of fovtos∞o, fantasy, and mimo,
mlme). Jhe term Asturlas used to name thls 'new
genre" ls an early example of hls penchant for wordplay
and the creatlon of neologlsms to achleve new mean
lngs. Surreallsm and the use of neologlsms are also lnte
gral parts of hls other 'fantomlmas," Imulo Iipolidov
(l935), Zlclos•v (l910), and Soluvo: Comcdio prodigioso cv
dos jorvodos y uv fivol (l955, Soluna. Prodlglous Play ln
Jwo Days and an Endlng; soluvo ls a neologlsm made
up of sol, sun, and luvo, moon). In all of them there ls a
Surreallstlc, dreamllke quallty that prevents reallty
from completely descendlng on the actlon. Although
the 'fantomlmas" are dlaloguebased works, at tlmes lt
ls dlfflcult ln some of them to determlne who ls speak
lng. Jhe experlmentatlon he had started wlth Ioyito dc
cstrcllo evolved slgnlflcantly; lt became apparent that hls
'fantomlmas" were 'laboratory pleces," works ln whlch
Asturlas trled out the avantgarde llngulstlc strategles
that eventually enrlched hls more extenslve works.
Asturlas graduated from the Central Natlonal
Instltute for Boys ln l9l7 and entered the School of
Medlclne of the Lnlverslty of San Carlos ln Guatemala
Clty, but ln l9l8 he transferred to the School of |urldl
cal and Soclal Sclences there. In l920 |osé Candlda
Plñol y Batres, the blshop of Granada, Nlcaragua, dellv
ered a serles of lectures denounclng dlctatorshlp, baslng
hlmself on Chrlstlan doctrlne. Plñol y Batres`s words
resonated wlth many cltlzens of Guatemala, whlch had
been ruled by the dlctator Estrada Cabrera slnce l898,
and the lectures led to the formatlon of the Lnlonlst
Party. A general attltude of belllgerence ensued; antl
government manlfestos were lssued, and on ll March
l920 there was a masslve demonstratlon agalnst
Estrada Cabrera, ln whlch the Assoclatlon of Lnlonlst
Students, a group orlglnally formed by Asturlas, Davld
Vela, and other classmates as the Asoclaclón de Estu
dlantes Lnlversltarlos (Assoclatlon of Lnlverslty stu
dents) partlclpated. Jhls outpourlng was bloodlly
repressed. Jhe ensulng armed struggle between sup
porters and opponents of the dlctator came to be
known as the 'Semana Jr•glca" (Jraglc Week), and the
flghtlng came to an end wlth the overthrow of Estrada
Cabrera on l1 Aprll l920. Durlng the ensulng
53
ai_ POV jáÖìÉä žåÖÉä ^ëíìêá~ë
shortllved rule of Carlos Herrera y Luna, Asturlas was
actlve ln clvlc and polltlcal matters.
Asturlas`s flrst paylng job conslsted of wrltlng for
several magazlnes, lncludlng Studium, whlch he founded
wlth Vela and whlch contlnued ln publlcatlon untll lt
was suspended when the unlverslty was closed by the
government of General |osé Mar∞a Orellana ln Aprll
l921. He also wrote for Il Istudiovtc (Jhe Student) and
Io Culturo (Culture). As a fourthyear law student
Asturlas represented the Asoclaclón de Estudlantes
Lnlversltarlos at the commemoratlon of Mexlcan lnde
pendence. In Mexlco he met the Spanlsh man of letters
Ramón del Valle Incl•n, who exerted great lnfluence on
hlm. He also was exposed to the popullst ldeas of |osé
Vasconcelos, at that tlme Mexlco`s mlnlster of educa
tlon.
When the Colomblan poet Porflrlo Barba |acob,
who llved ln Guatemala and Mexlco for many years,
proposed the creatlon of the Popular Lnlverslty, Vas
concelo`s popullst ldeas resonated ln the proposal and
attracted Asturlas`s attentlon. In l922 Asturlas was
among the founders of the Popular Lnlverslty of Gua
temala; ln addltlon to teachlng workers to read, he
taught grammar and gave weekly lectures there. Jhls
unlverslty expanded and eventually had branches ln
several provlnces; lt operated untll the dlctator |orge
Lblco closed lt ln l932. In l922 Asturlas and some of
hls unlverslty frlends wrote the lyrlcs of 'La chalana"
(Jhe Shrewd Woman), a battle song that became popu
lar among Guatemalan unlverslty students.
Accordlng to most of hls blographers, Asturlas
recelved hls law degree at the Lnlverslty of San Carlos
ln l923. However, ln hls notes for Migucl žvgcl Zsturios,
ro∞· y dcstivo, Mej∞a asserts that Asturlas ln fact attended
the Estrada Cabrera Natlonal Lnlverslty, slnce the Lnl
verslty of San Carlos 'practlcamente no exlstló con ese
nombre en los per∞odos comprendldos de l83l a l855
y de l875 a l915" (ln practlcal terms, dld not exlst
under that name durlng the perlods lncluded from l83l
to l855 and from l875 to l915). Asturlas`s flrst work ln
the essay genre ls the thesls he presented for gradua
tlon, Sociolog∞o guotcmoltcco: Il problcmo sociol dcl ivdio
(l923; translated as Cuotcmolov Sociology: Tlc Sociol Irob-
lcm of tlc Ivdiov, l977). It was awarded the Premlo
G•lvez (G•lvez Prlze) glven by the unlverslty for the
best thesls of the year and was lmmedlately publlshed.
Its soclologlcal focus on the dlsadvantaged lndlgenous
people of hls country ls repeated ln many of hls later
essays. Jhe work ls flawed, however, by the essentlally
raclst attltude toward the Indlans that hls Iodivo (term
used ln Guatemala to deslgnate those who do not con
slder themselves Mayas) upbrlnglng lngralned ln hls
consclousness.
Asturlas brlefly wrote for the newspaper Ticmpos
`ucvos (New Jlmes) before belng lmprlsoned for a few
days by the dlctator Orellana because of the subverslve
tone of many of hls columns. On hls release ln l921 he
left Guatemala for hls polltlcal safety. In September he
traveled to London, accompanled by a famlly frlend,
former Peruvlan senator |osé Antonlo Enclna, and
flnanced by hls father, whose lntentlon was that
Asturlas would study economlcs there. Instead,
Asturlas soon left for Parls, where ln l925 he began
studylng Mayan rellglons at the Sorbonne wlth
Raynaud, the dlrector of studles on rellglons of
PreColumblan Amerlca at the School of Hlgher Learn
lng. In Parls he became a correspondent for Il Imporciol
(Jhe Impartlal) ln Guatemala and for several newspa
pers ln Mexlco; durlng the ten years he spent ln Parls,
he sent more than four hundred artlcles to Il Imporciol.
A collectlon of these essays, Ioris 1924-19JJ: Icriodismo
y crcociov litcrorio (Parls l921-l933. |ournallsm and Llt
erary Creatlon), was publlshed ln l988. Jhese works
manlfest the evolutlon of Asturlas`s thought and the
ldeologlcal and cultural components evldent ln hls later
narratlve texts.
In addltlon to journallstlc artlcles and essays, he
also contrlbuted lntervlews wlth some of Spaln`s great
est contemporary authors. In l925 he traveled to Italy
to represent Prensa Latlna (Latln Press) at a conference
there. Asturlas establlshed frlendshlps wlth some of the
most lnfluentlal wrlters of the tlme, lncludlng Mlguel de
Lnamuno, Vlcente Blasco Ib•ñez, |ames |oyce, André
Breton, and Jrlstan Jzara. In l927 Asturlas and |. M.
Gonz•lez de Mendoza publlshed thelr Spanlsh transla
tlon of Raynaud`s Irench verslon of the Iopol !ul, the
sacred book of the _ulché Indlans, under the tltle Ios
dioscs, los lcrocs y los lombrcs dc Cuotcmolo Zvtiguo; o Il libro
dcl Covscjo, Iopol !ul dc los ivdios quiclcs (Gods, Heroes,
and Men of Anclent Guatemala; or, Jhe Book of the
Councll, Popol Vuh of the _ulché Indlans).
He returned to Guatemala for a vlslt ln l928,
stopplng ln Cuba on the way to attend a conference for
journallsts. Durlng that vlslt he publlshed Io orquitccturo
dc lo vido vucvo (l928, Archltecture of the New Llfe), a
book based on four lectures he had dellvered at the
Popular Lnlverslty, the Natlonal School for Boys, the
Soclety of Mutual Human Asslstance, and the Lnlon of
Commerclal Employees. When he returned to Parls, he
and Gonz•lez de Mendoza translated and publlshed
Raynaud`s Irench verslon of Zvolcs dc los Xolil dc los
ivdios colcliquclcs (l928, Jhe Annals of the Xahlls of the
Cakchlquel Indlans).
In l929 Asturlas ended hls studles ln Parls, and ln
hls posltlon as a correspondent to several Latln Amerl
can newspapers he traveled all over Western Europe as
well as to the Mlddle East, spendlng slgnlflcant perlods
51
jáÖìÉä žåÖÉä ^ëíìêá~ë ai_ POV
of tlme ln both Italy and Greece. In Spaln he made the
acqualntance of the poets of the avantgarde 'Genera
tlon of l927," whlch lncluded Rafael Albertl, Vlcente
Alelxandre, D•maso Alonso, Luls Cernuda, Rosa
Chacel, Gerardo Dlego, Iederlco Garc∞a Lorca, |orge
Gulllén, Pedro Sallnas, and Mar∞a Zambrano.
Callan`s clalm about Asturlas`s 'rlch and amblgu
ous language of dreamwork" ls substantlated by some
of the tales ln Icycvdos dc Cuotcmolo (Legends of Guate
mala), a l930 collectlon of short storles based on Guate
malan folklore. Jhls book establlshes the hybrldlzatlon
of Guatemala`s folk culture (both Indlan and Spanlsh)
and the transculturatlon of the bellef systems of the
lndlgenous populatlon and the Spanlards who con
quered them. A l932 Irench verslon by Irancls de
Mlomandre (pseudonym of Irançols Durand), wlth a
letter by the Irench poet Paul Valéry as preface, was
awarded the Sylla Monsegur Prlze for the best transla
tlon from Spanlsh to Irench for that year.
In l932 Asturlas traveled to Egypt and Palestlne.
Durlng these travels he wrote poetry and worked on a
short story wlth the tltle 'Los mendlgos pol∞tlcos" (Jhe
Polltlcal Beggars), whlch eventually became the novel
Il Scvor Ircsidcvtc (l916; translated as Tlc Ircsidcvt,
l963, and as Il Scvor Ircsidcvtc, l963). Although hls
famlly`s economlc sltuatlon gave hlm the means to llve
ln Irance wlthout deprlvatlon untll l933, the world
wlde economlc crlsls of those years prevented hls
father`s contlnued flnanclal support of hlm ln Parls, and
Asturlas returned to Guatemala. At that tlme the dlcta
tor Lblco headed the government, and aware of the
potentlal lmpllcatlons of the content of Il Scvor Ircsi-
dcvtc, Asturlas opted not to take the manuscrlpt wlth
hlm when he returned to Guatemala. Jhls declslon
delayed publlcatlon of the novel for thlrteen years.
On hls return to Guatemala ln l933 he became a
professor of llterature ln the School of |urldlcal Sclences
of Guatemala at the Lnlverslty of San Carlos. On l
May l931 he founded the newspaper Ixito (Success),
whlch was publlshed for only one year. When Ixito
ceased publlcatlon he began worklng for the govern
ment newspaper Il Iibcrol Irogrcsisto (Jhe Progresslve
Llberal). When he publlshed hls second 'fantomlma,"
Imulo Iipolidov, he dedlcated lt to some of the frlends he
had left ln Europe÷Albertl, Mlomandre, Alfonso Reyes,
Marlano Brull, Eug≠ne |olas, Georges Plllement, Luls
Cardoza y Aragón, Alejo Carpentler, and Arturo Lslar
Pletrl. In thls Surreallst play Asturlas contlnued to play
wlth language, uslng neologlsms, sound repetltlons, and
onomatopoela. In l936 the Spanlsh Clvll War began,
and Asturlas declared hls support for the Republlcan
cause. He also publlshed poems that he had wrltten ln
the precedlng years as Sovctos (l936, Sonnets).
Asturlas was flred from Il Iibcrol Irogrcsisto ln
l937, agaln for the subverslve tone of hls wrltlngs, but
ln |une l938 he and hls frlend Iranclsco Soler y Pérez
founded a radlo news program, 'Dlarlo del Alre"
(Newspaper of the Alr). In l939 he marrled Clemencla
Amado; hls father dled; and hls flrst chlld, Rodrlgo,
was born. Asturlas`s second son, Mlguel žngel, was
born ln l91l, and the followlng year Asturlas was
elected to the Guatemalan leglslature. Jhat same year
he publlshed Cov cl rclcv cv los dicvtcs: Covto o Irovcio
(l912, Wlth the Hostage ln Hls Jeeth. Song to Irance),
a booklength poem about the German occupatlon of
Irance. Also ln l912 he took part ln the Congreso
Marlano Naclonal (Natlonal Marlan Conference) wlth
the poem 'Con el rehén en los dlentes," whlch recelved
an award offered by the conference. Hls llfelong frlend
shlp wlth Chllean poet Pablo Neruda began that year
when Neruda spent a few days ln Asturlas`s home. In
l913 Asturlas publlshed Zvoclc, 10 dc mor·o dc 1á4J
(Last Nlght, l0 March l513), a poem commemoratlng
the fourth centenary of the foundlng of Guatemala.
Lblco reslgned ln l911, and Asturlas found hlm
self lsolated and ostraclzed by those who consldered
hlm a collaborator wlth the deposed reglme because he
had been appolnted by Lblco and had served as a dep
uty ln the Natlonal Assembly. He ceased broadcastlng
the 'Dlarlo del Alre." In l915 a democratlc government
was establlshed ln Guatemala under the presldency of
|uan |osé Arévalo. Asturlas returned home from Mex
lco (where he had reslded slnce Lblco`s reslgnatlon) for
a few months, and whlle he was there Arévalo named
hlm cultural attaché to the Guatemalan Embassy ln
Mexlco. After movlng to that country, Asturlas contln
ued worklng on Il Scvor Ircsidcvtc, the novel begun ln
l922. Wlth the lncreased freedom ln Guatemala,
Asturlas felt secure enough ln l916 to publlsh prlvately,
wlth the flnanclal asslstance of hls mother and a cousln,
the novel held so long ln abeyance; lt was eventually
publlshed commerclally by Losada ln l918.
Il Scvor Ircsidcvtc protests agalnst dlctatorshlp. Its
settlng ls not speclflc but could reflect many Latln
Amerlcan countrles of the mlddle of the twentleth cen
tury. Jhls novel portrays a prototyplcal mllltary dlctator
and the represslon, humlllatlon, unjust lmprlsonment,
degradatlon, and even the murders of hls opponents or
of those who momentarlly dlsplease hlm. A nlghtmar
lsh horror permeates thls novel both ln the scenes lt
deplcts and ln the actlons lt relates. Although many crlt
lcs regard thls novel as a representatlon of a generlc
Latln Amerlcan dlctatorshlp, lt ls also wldely accepted
that lt ls based on the dlctatorshlp of Estrada Cabrera,
who controlled Guatemala for twenty years. Its theme
of tyrannlcal dlctatorshlp has engrossed the readlng
publlc ln Guatemala and abroad, preclsely because lt ls
55
ai_ POV jáÖìÉä žåÖÉä ^ëíìêá~ë
a theme that has resonated ln the reallty of Guatemala
and other Latln Amerlcan countrles for many decades.
bä pÉ¥çê mêÉëáÇÉåíÉ may be responslble for Asturlas`s
great fame throughout the Amerlcas and eventually the
world, because lt ls much more than just a novel of
polltlcal crltlclsm. Jhere are passages of poetlc lan
guage, and ln ^ã¨êáÅ~I Ñ•Äìä~ ÇÉ Ñ•Äìä~ë ó çíêçë Éåë~óçë
Asturlas acknowledged hls use of legends from Mayan
culture to create myth ln the novel. In fact, Callan flnds
ln lt a serles of archetypes deeply rooted ln unlversal
mythologles.
In l917, Asturlas returned from Mexlco for a few
months ln Guatemala, and Arévalo named hlm cultural
attaché to the Guatemalan Embassy ln Argentlna. Jwo
years later he became mlnlster advlser, a post he held
untll l952. Prlor to taklng up hls new posltlon ln
Argentlna, Asturlas dlvorced hls wlfe; he retalned cus
tody of hls sons. Asturlas`s mother dled ln l918, mov
lng hlm to wrlte the poem 'Madre, t∫ me lnventaste"
(Mother, You Invented Me). 'antes t∫ y yo / y después,
t∫ y yo solos . . . / Hlzo fr∞o. / La sombra de tu pelo le
quedó a la noche" (before you and I / and afterward,
you and I alone . . . / It was cold. / Jhe shadow of your
halr sulted the nlght). Jhe poem was lncluded ln mçÉë∞~W
páÉå ÇÉ ~äçåÇê~I whlch he publlshed wlth a prologue by
the Mexlcan poet and scholar Alfonso Reyes after vlslt
lng Neruda ln Chlle. He regretted the excluslon of
some of hls poems ln the selectlon made by hls frlends
Albertl and Antonlo Salazar, saylng, 'los qulero como
se qulere a los malos hljos" (I love them as one loves
one`s bad chlldren).
In November l919 Asturlas publlshed the novel
eçãÄêÉë ÇÉ ã~∞ò (l919; translated as jÉå çÑ j~áòÉI l975),
whlch accordlng to |orge Campos was the author`s own
favorlte. In eçãÄêÉë ÇÉ ã~∞òI Asturlas protests the unscru
pulous despolllng of Guatemala by those who explolt lt
for mercenary reasons. Jhe novel delves lnto the rell
glous respect of the lndlgenous people for the land and
the elements of thelr rltuals stlll survlvlng ln contempo
rary Guatemalan soclety, lllustratlng the confllct
between the unchanged rltual observances of these peo
ple and the materlallsm of the modern world. Some crlt
lcs percelve a lack of unlty among the slx parts of the
novel, but René Prleto argues that the 'unlfylng prlncl
ple ls thematlc and not dependent on character or chro
nologlcal development but, rather, on three plvotal
elements÷flre, water, and corn÷whlch harness the slx
tales together." Jhe general consensus ls that eçãÄêÉë ÇÉ
ã~∞ò ls a novel of remythlflcatlon ln whlch the 'men of
malze" return to thelr mythlc orlgln ln order to be wor
thy of returnlng to the land.
Asturlas next spent four months ln Guatemala
dolng research for the novels of hls 'banana trllogy".
sáÉåíç ÑìÉêíÉ (l950; translated as `óÅäçåÉI l967, and as
píêçåÖ táåÇI l968), bä é~é~ îÉêÇÉ (l951; translated as qÜÉ
dêÉÉå mçéÉI l97l), and içë çàçë ÇÉ äçë ÉåíÉêê~Ççë (l960;
translated as qÜÉ bóÉë çÑ íÜÉ fåíÉêêÉÇI l973). Asturlas ln
fact planned a tetralogy; the fourth novel, tentatlvely
tltled 'Bastardo" (Bastard) and later 'Dos veces bas
tardo" (Jwo Jlmes a Bastard), was never flnlshed,
although hls son Mlguel žngel declared after Asturlas`s
death that ln hls last days, hls father had been worklng
on lt. As a unlt, these novels constltute a sharp crltlclsm
of the agrlcultural exploltatlon of Guatemala÷and, by
extenslon, of all of Central and South Amerlca`s
resources÷by the Lnlted States and other forelgn pow
ers. Jhe trllogy presents the problems lnherent ln the
exploltatlon of Guatemala`s banana lndustry, repre
sented ln the novels by the Jroplcal Banana Company
and by wealthy Amerlcan plantatlon owners, wealthler
absent stockholders, or even a presldent who colludes
wlth the explolters to Guatemala`s detrlment. Asturlas
was alludlng to the Lnlted Irult Company, whlch
explolted that country`s rlch agrlcultural resources from
l906 untll l951, when the Guatemalan government
exproprlated the plantatlons.
In these novels he offers varlous solutlons to
the problems posed. On the one hand, he proposes
realltybased solutlons, such as establlshlng a
bananaproduclng cooperatlve ln whlch the locals unlte
under the guldance of altrulstlc Amerlcan plantatlon
owners, organlzlng worker unlons that retallate for the
atrocltles of the plantatlon owners by golng on strlke, or
kllllng locals who betray thelr cause. On the other
hand, he offers solutlons more ln keeplng wlth the mag
lcal reallsm that ls so often attrlbuted to hls narratlve,
such as the destructlon of the banana plantatlons by a
hurrlcane conjured by a shaman who lnvokes the pow
ers of Hurac•n and Cabrac•n÷respectlvely, the Glant
of the Wlnds and the Glant of the Earth ln _ulché
mythology. In the flnal analysls, Asturlas belleved that
solutlons to hls country`s problems could not be formu
lated by outslders but would have to be undertaken by
Guatemalans themselves.
When he flnlshed the research for the 'banana
trllogy," he returned to Buenos Alres, and ln l950 he
traveled to Montevldeo, Lruguay, to marry Blanca
Mora y Araujo, an Argentlne whom he had met ln Bue
nos Alres when she was wrltlng a thesls on hls llterary
works. sáÉåíç cìÉêíÉI the flrst novel of the trllogy, was
publlshed that same year.
In l95l Asturlas publlshed a collectlon of seven
teen rather tradltlonal sonnets, bàÉêÅáÅáçë éç¨íáÅçë Éå Ñçêã~
ÇÉ ëçåÉíçë ëçÄêÉ íÉã~ë ÇÉ eçê~Åáç (Poetlc Exerclses ln the
Iorm of Sonnets on Jhemes by Horace), dedlcatlng lt
to hls wlfe. Jhe followlng year he traveled to Bollvla at
the lnvltatlon of lts presldent, Paz Estenssoro, who had
just led a vlctorlous revolutlon there. Also ln l952 the
RS
jáÖìÉä žåÖÉä ^ëíìêá~ë ai_ POV
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dÉåáç ó ÑáÖìê~ ÇÉ jáÖìÉä žåÖÉä ^ëíìêá~ëI NVTQX råáîÉêëáíó çÑ hÉåíìÅâó iáÄê~êóF
57
ai_ POV jáÖìÉä žåÖÉä ^ëíìêá~ë
new presldent of Guatemala, |acobo Arbenz Guzm•n,
named Asturlas mlnlster advlser ln Parls. Jhe Irench
translatlon of Il Scvor Ircsidcvtc was publlshed there and
recelved the Internatlonal Prlze of the Irench Book
Club. In l953 Arbenz recalled Asturlas to Guatemala
and named hlm ambassador to El Salvador. Early ln
l951 Asturlas traveled to Caracas as a delegate to the
tenth Conferencla Interamerlcana (InterAmerlcan
Conference). He was vlsltlng ln Guatemala ln |une of
that year when Colonel Carlos Castlllo Armas led a
revolutlon agalnst the Arbenz government, whlch was
accused by Amerlcan frult lnterests of communlst lnflu
ences; Castlllo Armas became the country`s next presl
dent. Asturlas returned to San Salvador and renounced
hls dlplomatlc posltlon, as ls customary ln dlplomatlc
clrcles, whereupon Castlllo Armas strlpped hlm of hls
cltlzenshlp. Asturlas traveled to Panama, vlslted Neruda
ln Chlle, and settled ln Buenos Alres, where he
remalned ln exlle untll l962. Also ln l951 he publlshed
the second novel of the 'banana trllogy," Il popo vcrdc,
ln Buenos Alres. In l955 he publlshed Soluvo, a Surreal
lst play wlth lts styllstlc roots ln the 'fantomlma," and
the poem ßol∞vor: Covto ol Iibcrtodor (Bollvar. Song to
the Llberator). He also dld occaslonal translatlons for
the Losada publlshlng company durlng thls year. In
l956 he began publlshlng a regular column, 'Buenos
Alres de d∞a y de noche" (Buenos Alres by Day and by
Nlght), ln the Caracas newspaper Il `ociovol.
Callan`s clalm about the polltlcal and soclal con
tent of Asturlas`s novels ls equally valld wlth respect to
Asturlas`s short flctlon. Jhls clalm ls especlally true of
the short storles ln !ccl-cvd cv Cuotcmolo (l956, Week
end ln Guatemala), a collectlon that ls an lndlctment of
the polltlcal and economlc machlnatlons of the Lnlted
States that led to Castlllo Armas`s overthrow of Arbenz.
Asturlas dedlcated thls volume to hls wlfe.
In l957 he publlshed the play Io oudicvcio dc los
covfivcs (l957, Jhe Royal Jrlbunal of the Borderlands),
whlch ls characterlzed by reallsm and a tone of protest.
It presents the slxteenthcentury prlest Bartolomé de las
Casas, who advocated better treatment of the Indlans ln
the Spanlsh colonles. Jhe play hlghllghts the duallty of
cultures and sets forth the struggle between them that ls
the herltage of Guatemala and all of Latln Amerlca.
Jhe stage dlrectlons lndlcate Asturlas`s deslre to
emphaslze thls duallty and to lndlcate whlch slde he
favored; the dlrectlons call for a stage set dlvlded lnto
two areas, one a dark room ln a Spanlshbullt castle ln
the New World, the other an Indlan temple ln the mld
dle of a brlght, sunny jungle.
Jhls text ls the only one of hls works that
Asturlas ever reworked after lt had been publlshed.
Accordlng to Meléndez de Alonso, ln l97l, after Io
oudicvcio dc los covfivcs had been not only publlshed but
also staged, Asturlas modlfled lt slgnlflcantly. She con
tends that ln effect Asturlas prepared the manuscrlpt of
a new play tltled 'Las Casas. El Oblspo de Dlos" (Las
Casas. God`s Blshop), based on the prototext of Io
oudicvcio dc los covfivcs. Jhe changes he made are slgnlfl
cant and lnclude lncreaslng the number of battles,
explalnlng the orlgln and functlon of the malden`s stone
(used to summon sacrlflclal vlrglns to the altar),
descrlblng the functlon of MusénCa (guardlan of the
vlrglns selected to be sacrlflced to the God of Corn),
blamlng the Spanlards as lnstlgators and manlpulators
of the Indlans` uprlslng, emphaslzlng the Spanlards` lust
for rlches, lnsertlng several poetlc passages, abbrevlat
lng the stage dlrectlons, lnsertlng a scene wlth charac
ters not llsted ln the dramatls personae, and replaclng a
female character wlth a male one. Jhe latter change
was most probably prompted by Asturlas`s deslre to
avold the cultural anachronlsm she represented ln the
soclal clrcumstances deplcted ln the play. Jhe new play
remalns ln manuscrlpt form.
Also ln l957 Asturlas took a long trlp to Indla,
where he attended a wrlters conference. He then vlslted
Chlna and Russla, where he took part ln a comparatlve
llterature semlnar ln Moscow. Joward the end of the
year he traveled through Irance, Spaln, and flnally to
Brazll. In l959 Presldent Mlguel Yd∞goras Iuentes
restored Asturlas`s Guatemalan cltlzenshlp and pass
port. He then traveled to Buenos Alres, where he met
Ildel Castro, and ln September he traveled to Cuba at
Castro`s lnvltatlon to attend festlvltles commemoratlng
the flrst annlversary of the Cuban Revolutlon. He then
contlnued to Guatemala to celebrate hls slxtleth blrth
day ln the clty of hls blrth. Whlle there he lectured on
the Latln Amerlcan novel.
Returnlng to Buenos Alres, ln l960 Asturlas pub
llshed Ios ojos dc los cvtcrrodos, the flnal novel ln the
'banana trllogy." Jhe tltle of thls book refers to an
lndlgenous bellef that the dead keep thelr eyes open ln
thelr graves untll justlce ls done on Earth; ln the novel,
justlce wlll be done when the frult company ls
destroyed and the dlctator flnally falls. Also ln l960
Asturlas complled and publlshed the anthology Iocs∞o
prccolombivo (PreColumblan Poetry). Jhe followlng year
he publlshed the novel Il ollojodito (l96l; translated as
Tlc ßcjcwclcd ßoy, l97l), based on a legend from the
colonlal perlod. In l962 the Argentlne presldent Arturo
Irondlzl was overthrown, and Asturlas was brlefly
detalned ln error by Irondlzl`s successor, |osé Mar∞a
Guldo. On hls release Asturlas left Argentlna for
Europe. He traveled ln Irance and Italy and recelved
medlcal treatment ln Romanla for poor health that had
been aggravated by hls lmprlsonment ln Argentlna. In
l962 the Engllsh translatlon of Il Scvor Ircsidcvtc
58
jáÖìÉä žåÖÉä ^ëíìêá~ë ai_ POV
recelved the Wllllam Iaulkner Ioundatlon Prlze for the
best Latln Amerlcan novel.
Asturlas returned to Buenos Alres ln l963 and
publlshed Muloto dc tol (l963; translated as Tlc Mulotto
ovd Mr. Ily, l963, and as Muloto, l967), an lmportant
novel that ls not a work of protest but that conforms
wlth the 'amblguous language of dreamwork" pro
posed by Callan. It ls a novel of communltarlan values,
unorthodox erotlclsm, and mythlc resonance. In lt
prlests flght agalnst devlls, and Cathollc rltuals confront
the rltuals of Mayan mythology. Jhe reallty of the nov
ellstlc world ls ln constant flux as nature changes ln the
convulslons of an earthquake and the characters
undergo lmposslble physlcal changes or lncarnate serl
ally as dlfferent characters.
In l961 he publlshed Iumovio, su vucvo imogcv
(Romanla, Its New Image) about hls travels ln that
country, and Tcotro (Jheater), a collectlon of four plays,
two of whlch had been publlshed prevlously. He also
lectured ln several Itallan cltles and traveled ln Scandl
navla, where he lectured at several unlversltles. He then
attended an lnternatlonal wrlters` colloqulum ln Berlln.
In l965 he publlshed Clorivigilio primovcrol, hls
booklength poem deallng wlth Mayan myths of orlgln
and the tradltlonal Indlan artlsans and thelr art forms.
Jhe lnsplratlon for thls work may be found ln
Asturlas`s essay 'De sueño y barro. Arte de los mayas
de Guatemala" (Of Dream and Clay. Jhe Art of the
Maya of Guatemala), lncluded ln Zmcrico, f•bulo dc f•bu-
los y otros cvsoyos. In lt Asturlas explalns.
En todas las mltolog∞as, los dloses se preocupan por
crear guerreros, sacerdotes, caudlllos, hombres eml
nentes. No as∞ en las creenclas y mltos de aquellos que
poblaron de obras de arte las cludades de la Amérlca
Medla. Para éstos, artlstas por los cuatro costados del
clclo, las dlvlnldades del alba, las abuelas del d∞a, se
deleltan en la creaclón de plntores, poetas, escultores,
m∫slcos, danzarlnes, orfebres, acróbatas, plumlstas, a
qulenes se llamaba magos o pequeños brujos, ∫nlcos
que pod∞an repetlr el mllagro de crear cosas de sueño.
(In all mythologles, the gods took care to create war
rlors, prlests, chlefs, emlnent men. Not so ln the bellefs
and myths of those who populated the cltles of Mlddle
Amerlca wlth works of art. For them, artlsts on all four
sldes of the cycle, the dlvlnltles of dawn, the grand
mothers of the day, are dellghted ln the creatlon of
palnters, poets, sculptors, muslclans, dancers, gold
smlths, acrobats, feather smlths, who were called magl
or llttle sorcerers, the only ones who could repeat the
mlracle of creatlng thlngs from dream.)
Jhe lntertextuallty of Clorivigilio primovcrol goes beyond
content and may be found ln the form as well. Perhaps
the earllest crltlc to polnt out thls relatlonshlp was Bel
llnl, who scarcely two years after lts publlcatlon noted
that Asturlas`s poem recalls the rhythms of anclent
Mayan poetry, lts relteratlons, metaphors, symbollc
lmages, and parallellsm.
In l965 Asturlas traveled ln Hungary wlth
Neruda. He also traveled to Italy, where he dlrected the
Columblanum, a conference on Chrlstopher Columbus
studles, ln Genoa and organlzed another conference on
Jhlrd World wrlters. Jhat same year he represented
the Irench PEN Club ln Yugoslavla; he was a candl
date for the presldency of that organlzatlon but lost.
Jhe second half of the decade of the l960s was full of
moments of recognltlon and honors bestowed on hlm
by entltles around the world. In l966 he became presl
dent of the Irench PEN Club ln Parls. He spent that
summer ln Romanla, and ln August he recelved the flrst
of hls worldlevel honors, the Lenln Peace Prlze ln Mos
cow. In Aprll l967 Asturlas traveled to Guatemala to
attend the second Congreso de la Comunldad de Escrl
tores Latlnoamerlcanos (Conference of the Communlty
of Latln Amerlcan Wrlters). Durlng that vlslt the newly
elected presldent |ullo César Méndez Montenegro
named hlm ambassador to Irance. Jhat year he lnau
gurated an exhlblt of Mayan art ln several Irench cltles.
He also publlshed a book that lncluded two plays, Toro-
tumbo and Io oudicvcio dc los covfivcs, and the poems of
Mcvsojcs ivdios (Indlan Messages).
On l9 October l967 he was named wlnner of the
Nobel Prlze ln Llterature. Hls llterary work attracted
the attentlon of the crltlcs at that tlme and probably
prompted hls nomlnatlon for the award, because of the
way ln whlch he comblned ln hls novels and legends
the Mayan herltage of hls natlve Guatemala wlth the
quallty that has been called maglcal reallsm or Surreal
lsm. At the same tlme, the courage lmpllclt ln hls overt
representatlon of the realllfe horror of polltlcal llfe ln
the Guatemala of that tlme and hls protest agalnst
external exploltatlon of that country`s natural resources
also drew the notlce of readers. Hls lnnovatlve narratlve
technlques, whlch later were taken up by members of
the Latln Amerlcan Boom wrlters, also undoubtedly
contrlbuted to hls recognltlon.
In speeches he dellvered durlng varlous occaslons
llnked to the Nobel Prlze that year, Asturlas acknowl
edged all of these qualltles ln hls work, statlng that, as
dld many Latln Amerlcan wrlters of the tlme, he
vlewed hls novels as lnstruments of polltlcal protest.
Jhe most noteworthy quallty of hls wrltlng, as he sug
gested, ls lts capaclty for reveallng the true nature of the
Guatemalan people, especlally the lndlgenous folk.
Speaklng of hls poetry, he acknowledged the deep lnflu
ence of the lyrlc style of the anclent Mayan texts.
An unlntended result of hls recognltlon by the
Nobel Prlze has been, ln the years slnce then, an overt
59
ai_ POV jáÖìÉä žåÖÉä ^ëíìêá~ë
effort to repeal the mythlc status that Asturlas achleved
as a result of the lntense focus on hlm and hls work dur
lng the decade followlng the awardlng of the prlze.
Later crltlcs have taken lssue wlth aspects of hls llfe and
works, ranglng from the revelatlon that he had no
Mayan blood, to clalms that he had had llttle hand ln
the translatlon of the PopolVuh lnto Spanlsh. Some
crltlcs have dlsparaged the authentlclty of hls reformlst
attltude, whlle others reject the lntenslty of hls love for
everythlng lndlgenous ln hls later llfe and wrltlngs. Clt
lng the raclst aspects of Asturlas`s thesls, one partlcular
Mayan poet from Guatemala refused to accept a
natlonal llterary prlze because the wrlter`s name flgured
as part of the award tltle.
In November l967 Asturlas vlslted Italy and Ger
many to present the translatlons of hls books. In
December he departed for Sweden, where he recelved
the Nobel Prlze from Klng Gustaf Adolphus VI. Jhat
same year he publlshed (flrst ln Irance and then ln
Mexlco) Il cspcjo dc Iido Sol (translated as Tlc Mirror of
Iido Sol, l997), a collectlon of short storles that are real
lstlc ln settlng and actlon and of legends wrltten ln the
Surreallst or maglcal reallst style.
In l968 Asturlas preslded over the San Sebastl•n
Illm Iestlval ln Spaln. Jhat same year, the Assoclatlon
of Guatemalan |ournallsts awarded hlm lts _uetzal de
|ade ( |ade _uetzal), and the lndlgenous communltles
of Guatemala named hlm 'onlybegotten son of Jec∫n
Lm•n" (referrlng to the _ulché prlnce who was kllled
ln battle by Spanlsh conqulstador Pedro de Alvarado ln
l521) because of hls recognltlon of the lndlgenous roots
of that country`s culture. He then traveled to Colombla,
where he recelved the Gran Cruz de San Carlos (Great
Cross of Salnt Charles) and preslded over the Iestlval
of Latln Amerlcan Lnlverslty Jheater ln Manlzales.
Invlted by Senegal`s presldent, Asturlas vlslted that
country ln l969, stopplng ln Madrld en route. He spent
some tlme at the home of hls doctor ln Palma, Majorca,
then underwent an undlsclosed surgery ln Parls. Jhat
same year he and Neruda publlshed Comicvdo cv Huvgr∞o
(l969; translated as Scvtimcvtol ¸ourvcy orouvd tlc Huvgor-
iov Cuisivc, l969), based on thelr travel ln that country
ln l965. Also ln l969 Asturlas publlshed the novel
Molodrov (l969, Bad Jhlef ), about a flctlonal rellglon
whose followers worshlp Gestas, the unrepentant mol
lodrov (bad thlef) cruclfled wlth Chrlst. As a representa
tlve of the Irench PEN Club, he lntervlewed the astro
nauts of the Apollo ll crew.
Several of Asturlas`s mature essays appear ln Ioti-
voomcrico y otros cvsoyos (l968, Latln Amerlca and Other
Essays) and Zmcrico, f•bulo dc f•bulos y otros cvsoyos. Jhe
content of many of them ls polltlcal; he speaks out
about the represslve governments of Guatemala and
about actlons of the Lnlted States that he consldered
lmperlallstlc. Other essays are phllosophlcal, soclologl
cal, or anthropologlcal ln nature, whlle the bulk of them
have a cultural focus. He favors llterary toplcs, and hls
varled themes lnclude the communlcatlons medla, hls
theoretlcal muslngs about varlous llterary genres, llter
ary crltlclsm of hls own works and those of others, and
rellglous bellefs, partlcularly that of the _ulché Indlans.
When Méndez Montenegro dled ln offlce ln l970,
Asturlas renounced hls posltlon as ambassador to
Irance, as ls customary ln the dlplomatlc establlshment.
Before leavlng the country, he preslded over the jury at
the Cannes Illm Iestlval; lt was the flrst tlme that a
Latln Amerlcan author was named to thls posltlon. A
few days later he served on the jury of the Internatlonal
Book Ialr ln Nlce. Also ln l970 he attended the screen
lng ln Venlce of a movle based on Il Scvor Ircsidcvtc,
dlrected by the Argentlne screenwrlter and dlrector
Marcos Madanes; Asturlas was not satlsfled wlth the
movle, and lt was never released commerclally. Asturlas
then returned to Majorca, where he vlslted hls good
frlend Camllo |osé Cela, who recelved the Nobel Prlze
ln Llterature ln l989. In Majorca he composed Trcs dc
cuotro solcs (l97l, Jhree of Iour Suns), a book about hls
system for llterary creatlon that was publlshed flrst ln
lts Irench translatlon ln Geneva (Trois dcs quotrc solcils);
the orlglnal Spanlsh verslon was publlshed ln l977. In
May l972 he traveled to Israel, and ln |une of that year
hls semlautoblographlcal novel !icrvcs dc dolorcs (Holy
Irlday) was publlshed ln Argentlna. Jhe protest mes
sage ln !icrvcs dc dolorcs lles ln lts narratlon of the dem
onstratlons and other antlgovernment actlvltles of a
group of unlverslty students ln Guatemala ln the early
l920s. Asturlas`s alter ego ln the novel ls the student
'Chlrlmoya" (Sweetsop), or 'Moya" for short, nlck
names by whlch Asturlas`s unlverslty frlends addressed
hlm.
!icrvcs dc dolorcs was the last of hls novels pub
llshed durlng hls llfe. In November of the same year he
vlslted Mexlco, where he was honored repeatedly.
Jhus ended the most prollflc part of Asturlas`s career,
and the perlod of hls decllne began.
Asturlas met wlth the former Argentlne presldent
|uan Perón ln Parls ln l973. Hls commltments related
to belng a Nobel laureate multlplled, and ln Aprll l971
he traveled to Dakar for a conference; from there he
went to Jenerlfe, then to Palma, Majorca, Sevllle, and
flnally Madrld. He prepared to travel to Argentlna and
to Chlle, where Neruda had called hlm because he felt
close to death; thls trlp never took place, however,
because Asturlas fell serlously lll. On l6 May l971 he
was admltted to the Cl∞nlca de la Concepclón (Cllnlc of
the Conceptlon) ln Madrld because of pulmonary lnsuf
flclency and lntestlnal blockage. When the government
of Mexlco learned of the crltlcal state of Asturlas`s
60
jáÖìÉä žåÖÉä ^ëíìêá~ë ai_ POV
health, lt sent a commlsslon to Spaln to lnvlte hlm to
travel to Mexlco for hls recovery; hls condltlon was too
crltlcal for hlm to be moved, however. He attalned
some rellef from the lmmedlate symptoms, but on 9
|une l971 Asturlas dled from cancer, an adenocarcl
noma of the lntestlne. Hls wlfe and son Mlguel žngel
were at hls bedslde. In accordance wlth hls wlll, the
famlly had hls remalns taken for lnterment ln the P≠re
Lachalse Cemetery ln Parls, where they were trans
ported onboard Mexlco`s offlclal alrplane. He ls stlll
burled there, although many Guatemalans would llke
to repatrlate the remalns of the most lllustrlous of thelr
compatrlots.
Jhe Asoclaclón de Perlodlstas de Guatemala
(Assoclatlon of Guatemalan |ournallsts) was the flrst to
react to the death of thelr longtlme colleague and
declared three days of mournlng. Jhe Lnlverslty of San
Carlos also called for three days of mournlng, as dld Il
Imporciol, the newspaper ln whlch Asturlas had pub
llshed hls journallstlc essays for flftythree years. Jhe
newspaper also offered the means for the repatrlatlon of
Asturlas`s remalns, a valn gesture, slnce Asturlas had
been an actlve opponent of General Carlos Arana Oso
rlo, then the presldent. Jhe Congress of Guatemala
also decreed a threeday perlod of mournlng for Guate
mala`s most acclalmed son. Groups and lnstltutlons
wlth whlch Asturlas had at some tlme ln hls llfe been
llnked gathered to render trlbute to hlm; among them
were the Lnlverslty of San Carlos de Guatemala, the
munlclpal government of the Clty of Guatemala, the
Academla Guatemalteca de la Lengua (Guatemalan
Academy of the Language), the Asoclaclón de Estu
dlantes Lnlversltarlos, and LNESCO. Whlle hls body
lay ln state, hls coffln was draped wlth the whlte and
azure Guatemalan flag; and, accordlng to hls expressed
wlshes, the staff that the lndlgenous communltles of
Guatemala had bestowed on hlm as 'onlybegotten son
of Jec∫n Lm•n" accompanled hlm ln hls coffln.
Asturlas left an almost flnlshed novel that was
publlshed posthumously, Il •rbol dc lo cru· (l993, Jhe
Jrunk of the Cross). Accordlng to Alaln Slcard (ln an
essay lncluded ln a l993 facslmlle edltlon of the book),
lt ls a novel about 'un dlctador, pero de un dlctador
cuya dlctadura es menos pol∞tlca que metaf∞slca, ya que
su obseslón no es otra que la de abollr todo lo que, de
cerca o de lejos, recuerda a Crlsto. es declr, la Cruz, y
en general y, seg∫n nuestra oplnlón, m•s slgnlflcatlva.
la Muerte" (a dlctator, but about a dlctator whose dlcta
torshlp ls less polltlcal than metaphyslcal, slnce hls
obsesslon ls none other than that of abollshlng every
thlng that, from near or far, remlnds one of Chrlst. that
ls to say, the Cross, and ln general and, ln our oplnlon,
more slgnlflcant. Death). Asturlas`s manuscrlpt tralls off
ln mld sentence and ends ln a comma. 'Se echó los
almohadones enclma," (He pulled the large plllows over
hlmself,), thus endlng on a note of polgnancy the llter
ary productlon of one of Latln Amerlca`s most dlstlnc
tlve wrlters.
Jhe deep admlratlon and respect that Guatema
lans have for Asturlas ls best summed up ln the tltle of
the eulogy publlshed by the wrlter Robert Paz y Paz ln
Io `ociov (l0 |une l971). 'No ha muerto, ha nacldo a la
lnmortalldad" (He Has Not Dled, He Has Been Born to
Immortallty). In hls obltuarles and other publlshed eulo
gles, Asturlas was repeatedly referred to as the 'Gran
Lengua" (Great Interpreter). Some crltlcs take lssue wlth
the use of thls term ln connectlon wlth Asturlas, argulng
that he was lllprepared to be such an lnterpreter, slnce he
was not a Maya or even a mestlzo, and mlnlmlzlng hls
close relatlonshlps wlth the lndlgenous populatlon of
Guatemala. Asturlas dld use the term to refer to hlmself,
however, knowlng the slgnlflcance lt has wlthln Mayan
culture, as can be gleaned from hls poem 'Habla el gran
lengua," ln whlch the flgure of the 'Gran Lengua" resem
bles that of the clilovcs ln Mayan soclety, 'prophets" who
predlcted the future and lnterpreted the wlll of the gods
for the people. Other crltlcs support the ldentlflcatlon of
Asturlas as the 'Gran Lengua." In the l98l crltlcal edl
tlon of Hombrcs dc mo∞·, Gerald Martln descrlbes Asturlas
as the 'guardl•n de los mlsterlos e lntérprete del mundo
de la magla y sus depósltos, las sagradas escrlturas, los
llbros plntados y los bajorelleves slmbóllcos" (guardlan
of the mysterles and lnterpreter of the world of maglc
and lts deposlts, the sacred wrltlngs, the palnted books
and the symbollc basrellefs) of the Maya of Guatemala.
Asturlas`s clalm to the tltle of 'Gran Lengua" lles not
only ln hls sensltlve presentatlon of a culture that was
steeped ln mystery for the rest of the world untll he
wrote about lt, but also ln hls masterful and almost magl
cal use of language. Hls awareness ls clear ln hls answer
to Pllón de Pacheco`s questlon about whether he
belleved, as he often had hls characters state, that words
were foundatlonal or maglc. 'S∞, y esto es absolutamente
de car•cter sagrado, lnd∞gena. La palabra para los lnd∞ge
nas fue y es lo m•s lmportante" (Yes, and that ls abso
lutely of a sacred, Indlan character. Words for the
Indlans were and are the most lmportant thlng).
iÉííÉêëW
Cortos dc omor cvtrc M. ž. Zsturios y ßlovco Moro y Zroujo
(194S-19á4), edlted by Iellpe Melllzo (Madrld.
Edlclones de Cultura Hlsp•nlca, Instltuto de
Cooperaclón Iberoamerlcana, l989).
fåíÉêîáÉïëW
Luls Harss and Barbara Dohmann, 'Mlguel žngel
Asturlas, or the Land Where the Ilowers Bloom,"
ln thelr Ivto tlc Moivstrcom: Covvcrsotiovs witl
6l
ai_ POV jáÖìÉä žåÖÉä ^ëíìêá~ë
Iotiv-Zmcricov !ritcrs (New York. Harper × Row,
l967), pp. 6-l0l;
Luls López žlvarez, Covvcrsociovcs cov Migucl žvgcl Zsturios
(Madrld. EMESA, l971).
_áÄäáçÖê~éÜáÉëW
Pedro I. de Andrea, 'Mlguel žngel Asturlas. Antlclpo blb
llogr•flco," Icvisto Ibcroomcricovo, 35, no. 67 (l969).
l33-270;
Rlchard Moore, 'Mlguel žngel Asturlas. A BloBlbllogra
phy," ßullctiv of ßibliogroply, 27, no. 1 (l970). 85-90,
l07-lll.
_áçÖê~éÜáÉëW
Atlllo |orge Castelpoggl, Migucl žvgcl Zsturios (Buenos
Alres. La Mandr•gora, l96l);
Claude Couffon, Migucl žvgcl Zsturios (Parls. Seghers,
l970);
Carlos Meneses, Migucl žvgcl Zsturios (Madrld. |∫car,
l975).
oÉÑÉêÉåÅÉëW
Zctos dcl Coloquio Ivtcrvociovol: Migucl žvgcl Zsturios, 104 ovos
dcspucs, 2-4 dc julio 200J, Uvivcrsidod Iofocl Iovd∞vor
(Guatemala Clty. Abrapalabra, 2003);
Iranclsco Alblz∫rez Palma, Io vovclo dc Zsturios (Guatemala
Clty. Edltorlal Lnlversltarla, l975);
Ruth Alvarez de Scheel, Zv•lisis y cstudio dc olguvos rosgos cor-
octcri·odorcs dc 'Il Scvor Ircsidcvtc¨ (Guatemala Clty.
Mlnlsterlo de Cultura y Deportes, l999);
Isabel Arredondo, Dc brujos y voguolcs: Io Cuotcmolo imogi-
vorio dc Migucl žvgcl Zsturios (Lewlston, N.Y.. Edwln
Mellen Press, l997);
Gluseppe Belllnl, 'La poes∞a de Mlguel žngel Asturlas,"
Icvisto `ociovol dc Culturo (Caracas), l80 (Aprll-|une
l967). l25-l27;
Rlchard |. Callan, Migucl žvgcl Zsturios (New York.
Jwayne, l970);
|orge Campos, 'Mlguel žngel Asturlas," Ivsulo, l2, no.
l33 (l957). 1;
Atlllo |orge Castelpoggl, Il pocto vorrodor: Migucl žvgcl
Zsturios (Buenos Alres. Prueba de Galera Edlclones,
l998);
Otto Ra∫l Gonz•lez, Migucl žvgcl Zsturios, cl grov lcvguo: Io
vo· m•s cloro dc Cuotcmolo (Guatemala Clty. Edltorlal
Cultura, l999);
Stephen Henlghan, Zssumivg tlc Iiglt: Tlc Iorisiov Iitcrory
Zpprcvticcslip of Migucl žvgcl Zsturios (Oxford. Leg
enda, l999);
Sa∫l Hurtado Heras, Ior los ticrros dc Ilom: Il rcolismo m•gico
cv 'Hombrcs dc mo∞·¨ (Mexlco Clty. Lnlversldad
Autónoma del Estado de Méxlco, l997);
Eladla León Hlll, Migucl žvgcl Zsturios: Io ovccstrol cv su obro
litcrorio (Eastchester, N.Y.. E. Jorres, l972);
Gunther W. Lorenz, Di•logo cov Iotivoomcrico: Iovoromo dc
uvo litcroturo dcl futuro, translated by Dora Weldl
HaasDe la Vega (Santlago de Chlle. Pomalre,
l972);
Mar∞a del Carmen Meléndez de Alonzo, 'El reencuentro
de Asturlas con el padre Las Casas," Ictros dc Cuotc-
molo: Icvisto Scmcstrol (Lnlversldad de San Carlos de
Guatemala), 20-2l (2000);
Marta Pllón de Pacheco, Migucl žvgcl Zsturios: Scmblov·o
poro cl cstudio dc su vido y obro, cov uvo sclccciov dc pocmos
y prosos (Guatemala Clty. Cultural Centroamerlcana,
l968);
Rafael Plneda Reyes, Ios mistcrios dc Los hombres de ma∞z
(Guatemala Clty. Cultura, l998);
René Prleto, Migucl žvgcl Zsturios`s Zrclocology of Icturv
(Cambrldge × New York. Cambrldge Lnlverslty
Press, l993);
Jereslta Rodr∞guez, Io problcm•tico dc lo idcvtidod cv El Señor
Presldente dc Migucl žvgcl Zsturios (Amsterdam ×
Atlanta. Rodopl, l989);
|lmena Saenz, Ccvio y figuro dc Migucl žvgcl Zsturios (Buenos
Alres. Edltorlal Lnlversltarla de Buenos Alres,
l971).
m~éÉêëW
Mlguel žngel Asturlas`s personal papers and manuscrlpts
are held ln the Blblloth≠que natlonale de Irance (Natlonal
Llbrary of Irance). Collected newspaper artlcles publlshed
ln Il Imporciol (Jhe Impartlal) that were elther wrltten by
Asturlas or wrltten about hls llterary works are held ln the
Archlvo Hlstórlco de Guatemala (Hlstorlcal Archlve of
Guatemala) at the Centro de Investlgaclones Reglonales
de Mesoamérlca (Center for Reglonal Research of
Mesoamerlca).

NVST kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ
mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ
by Zvdcrs Ústcrlivg, Icrmovcvt Sccrctory of tlc Swcdisl
Zcodcmy
Jhls year the Nobel Prlze ln Llterature has been
awarded to the Guatemalan wrlter Mlguel žngel Asturlas,
a promlnent representatlve of the modern llterature of
Latln Amerlca, ln whlch such lnterestlng developments are
now taklng place. Born ln l899 ln the capltal of Guate
mala, Asturlas became lmbued, even as a chlld, wlth the
characterlstlcally Guatemalan love of nature and of the
mythlcal world. He devoted to thls natlve herltage, and to
lts llbertarlan splrlt, a fervour whlch was to domlnate hls
whole llterary productlon. After studylng law and folklore,
he llved ln Irance durlng the twentles, and, for a tlme,
62
jáÖìÉä žåÖÉä ^ëíìêá~ë ai_ POV
represented hls country ln the dlplomatlc servlce. He
condemned hlmself to a long exlle after the antldemo
cratlc coup d`etat of l951, but returned when the legltl
mate reglme took offlce agaln. He ls presently the
Guatemalan Ambassador ln Parls.
Durlng the last few years, Asturlas has galned
lnternatlonal recognltlon, as hls most lmportant works
came to be translated lnto varlous languages; today
they can be read even ln Swedlsh. Hls flrst work was a
collectlon of Guatemalan legends, strange evocatlons of
the Mayas` past, a treasure of lmages and symbols
whlch has, ever slnce, been the lnexhaustlble source of
hls lnsplratlon. But he dld not get hls real start as a
wrlter untll l916, the year of the publlcatlon of the
novel, bä pÉ¥çê mêÉëáÇÉåíÉ (Jhe Presldent). Jhls magnlfl
cent and traglc satlre crltlclzes the prototype of the
Latln Amerlcan dlctator who appeared ln several places
at the beglnnlng of the century and has slnce reap
peared, hls exlstence belng fostered by the mechanlsm
of tyranny whlch, for the common man, makes every
day a hell on earth. Jhe passlonate vlgour wlth whlch
Asturlas evokes the terror and dlstrust whlch polsoned
the soclal atmosphere of the tlme makes hls work a
challenge and an lnvaluable aesthetlc gesture. Jhe nar
ratlve, entltled, eçãÄêÉë ÇÉ ã~∞ò (Men of Malze)
appeared three years later. It mlght be consldered as a
folktale whose chlef lnsplratlon ls ln the lmaglnatlon but
whlch, nevertheless, remalns true to llfe. Its motlfs are
from the mythology of that troplcal land where man
must struggle slmultaneously agalnst a mysterlously
beautlful but hostlle nature and agalnst unbearable
soclal dlstortlons, oppresslon, and tyranny. Such an
accumulatlon of nlghtmares and totemlc phantasms
may overwhelm our senslbllltles, but we cannot help
belng fasclnated by a poetry so blzarre and terrlfylng.
Wlth the trllogy of novels begun ln l950÷sáÉåíç
cìÉêíÉI l950 (Strong Wlnd), bä é~é~ îÉêÇÉI l951 (Jhe Green
Pope), and içë çàçë ÇÉ äçë ÉåíÉêê~ÇçëI l960 (Jhe Eyes of the
Burled)÷a new toplcal concern appears ln Asturlas`s eplc
work. the theme of the struggle agalnst the domlnatlon of
Amerlcan trusts, epltomlzed by the Lnlted Irult Com
pany, and lts polltlcal and economlc effects upon the con
temporary hlstory of the 'Banana Republlc." Here, agaln,
we see the vlolent effervescence and the vlslonary vehe
mence whlch stem from the author`s lntense lnvolvement
ln the sltuatlon of hls country.
Asturlas has completely freed hlmself from obso
lete narratlve technlques. Very early, he came under the
lnfluence of the new tendencles appearlng ln European
llterature; hls exploslve style bears a close klnshlp to
Irench surreallsm. It must be noted, however, that he
always takes hls lnsplratlon from real llfe. In hls lmpres
slve cycle of poems entltled `ä~êáîáÖáäá~ éêáã~îÉê~äI l965
(Brlght and Awake ln Sprlng), on whlch a Swedlsh crltl
cal study has just appeared, Asturlas deals wlth the very
genesls of the arts and of poetlc creatlon, ln a language
whlch seems to have assumed the brlght splendour of
the maglcal quetzal`s feathers and the gllmmerlng of
phosphorescent lnsects.
Latln Amerlca today can boast an actlve group of
promlnent wrlters, a multlvolced chorus ln whlch lndl
vldual contrlbutlons are not readlly dlscernlble.
Asturlas`s work ls nevertheless vast, bold, and outstand
lng enough to arouse lnterest outslde of hls own llterary
mllleu, beyond a geographlcally llmlted area sltuated far
away from us. One of the Indlan legends Asturlas alludes
to evokes the bellef that dead ancestors are forced to wlt
ness, wlth open eyes, the struggles and sufferlngs of thelr
offsprlng. Only when justlce ls reestabllshed, and the
stolen soll restltuted, wlll the dead flnally be able to close
thelr eyes and sleep peacefully ln thelr tombs. It ls a
beautlful and polgnant popular bellef, and we can easlly
lmaglne that the mllltant poet has often felt upon hlm the
gaze of hls ancestors and has often heard the sllent, sym
bollc appeal reachlng to hls heart.
Mr. Ambassador÷you come from a dlstant coun
try, but do not let thls fact make you feel today that you
are a stranger among us. Your work ls known and
appreclated ln Sweden. We take pleasure ln welcomlng
you as a messenger from Latln Amerlca, lts people, lts
splrlt, and lts future. I congratulate you ln the name of
the Swedlsh Academy, whlch pays trlbute to the 'vlvld
ness of your llterary work, rooted ln natlonal tralts and
Indlan tradltlons." I now lnvlte you to recelve your
Prlze from Hls Majesty, the Klng.
|¹ Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l967.|

^ëíìêá~ëW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ
fåíêçÇìÅíçêó êÉã~êâë Äó eìÖç qÜÉçêÉääI éêçÑÉëëçê ~í íÜÉ
`~êçäáåÉ fåëíáíìíÉI ~í íÜÉ kçÄÉä _~åèìÉí ~í íÜÉ `áíó e~ää áå
píçÅâÜçäãI NM aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVSTW
One of our most competent llterary crltlcs has
polnted out that thls year`s Nobel Prlze wlnner ln Llter
ature, Mlguel žngel Asturlas, ln one of hls most lmpor
tant books, bä pÉ¥çê mêÉëáÇÉåíÉI produces a strong effect
by skllfully worklng wlth tlme and llght÷agaln our
common 'theme wlth varlatlons." Asturlas palnts ln
dark colours÷agalnst thls background the rare llght
makes a so much stronger lmpresslon wlth hls passlon
ate, but artlstlcally well balanced, protest agalnst tyr
anny, lnjustlce, slavery, and arbltrarlness. He transforms
glowlng lndlgnatlon lnto great llterary art. Jhls ls lndeed
admlrable.
63
ai_ POV jáÖìÉä žåÖÉä ^ëíìêá~ë
May tlmes come when condltlons llke those con
demned by Mr. Asturlas belong to hlstory; when
human belngs llve peacefully and happlly together.
Jhls was lndeed what Alfred Nobel hoped to promote
by hls Prlzes.
Mr. Asturlas÷We slncerely admlre your llterary
craftsmanshlp, and we hope that your work wlll con
trlbute to endlng the shameful soclal condltlons that
you have descrlbed wlth such lmpresslve lntenslty. We
congratulate you on your Nobel Prlze, whlch you so
very much deserve.
^ëíìêá~ëÛë ëéÉÉÅÜ Eqê~åëä~íáçåF
My volce on the threshold. My volce comlng
from afar. On the threshold of the Academy. It ls dlffl
cult to become a member of a famlly. And lt ls easy.
Jhe stars know lt. Jhe famllles of lumlnous torches. Jo
become a member of the Nobel famlly. Jo become an
helr of Alfred Nobel. Jo blood tles, to clvll relatlonshlp,
a new consangulnlty ls added, a more subtle klnshlp,
born of the splrlt and the creatlve task. And thls was
perhaps the unspoken lntentlon of the founder of thls
great famlly of Nobel Prlze wlnners. Jo enlarge,
through tlme, from generatlon to generatlon, the world
of hls own kln. As for me, I enter the Nobel famlly as
the least worthy to be called among the many who
could have been chosen.
I enter by the wlll of thls Academy, whose doors
open and close once a year ln order to consecrate a
wrlter, and also because of the use I made of the word
ln my poems and novels, the word whlch, more than
beautlful, ls responslble, a concern not forelgn to that
dreamer who wlth the passlng of tlme would shock the
world wlth hls lnventlons÷the dlscovery of the most
destructlve exploslves then known÷for helplng man ln
hls tltanlc chores of mlnlng, dlgglng tunnels, and con
structlng roads and canals.
I do not know lf the comparlson ls too darlng. But
lt ls necessary. Jhe use of destructlve forces, the secret
whlch Alfred Nobel extracted from nature, made possl
ble ln our Amerlca the most colossal enterprlses.
Among them, the Panama Canal. A maglc of catastro
phe whlch could be compared to the thrust of our nov
els, called upon to destroy unjust structures ln order to
make way for a new llfe. Jhe secret mlnes of the peo
ple, burled under tons of mlsunderstandlng, prejudlces,
and taboos, brlng to llght ln our narratlve÷between
fables and myths÷wlth blows of protest, testlmony, and
denouncement, dlkes of letters whlch, llke sands, con
taln reallty to let the dream flow free or, on the con
trary, contaln the dream to let reallty escape.
Cataclysms whlch engendered a geography of
madness, terrlfylng traumas, such as the Conquest.
these cannot be the antecedents of a llterature of cheap
compromlse; and, thus, our novels appear to Europeans
as llloglcal or aberrant. Jhey are not shocklng for the
sake of shock effects. It ls just that what happened to us
was shocklng. Contlnents submerged ln the sea, races
castrated as they surged to lndependence, and the frag
mentatlon of the New World. As the antecedents of a
llterature these are already traglc. And from there we
have had to extract not the man of defeat, but the man
of hope, that bllnd creature who wanders through our
songs. We are peoples from worlds whlch have nothlng
llke the orderly unfoldlng of European confllcts, always
human ln thelr dlmenslons. Jhe dlmenslons of our con
fllcts ln the past centurles have been catastrophlc.
Scaffoldlngs. Ladders. New vocabularles. Jhe
prlmltlve recltatlon of the texts. Jhe rhapsodlsts. And
later, once agaln, the broken trajectory. Jhe new
tongue. Long chalns of words. Jhought unchalned.
Lntll arrlvlng, once agaln, after the bloodlest lexlcal
battles, at one`s own expresslons. Jhere are no rules.
Jhey are lnvented. And after much lnventlon, the
grammarlans come wlth thelr languagetrlmmlng
shears. Amerlcan Spanlsh ls flne wlth me, but wlthout
the roughness. Grammar becomes an obsesslon. Jhe
rlsk of antlgrammar. And that ls where we are now.
Jhe search for dynamlc words. Another maglc. Jhe
poet and the wrlter of the actlve word. Llfe. Its varla
tlons. Nothlng prefabrlcated. Everythlng ln ebullltlon.
Not to wrlte llterature. Not to substltute words for
thlngs. Jo look for wordthlngs, wordbelngs. And the
problems of man, ln addltlon. Evaslon ls lmposslble.
Man. Hls problems. A contlnent that speaks. And
whlch was heard ln thls Academy. Do not ask us for
genealogles, schools, treatlses. We brlng you the proba
bllltles of a word. Verlfy them. Jhey are slngular. Slngu
lar ls the movement, the dlalogue, the novellstlc
lntrlgue. And most slngular of all, throughout the ages
there has been no lnterruptlon ln the constant creatlon.
|¹ Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l967. Mlguel žngel Asturlas
ls the sole author of hls speech.|
61
^ëíìêá~ëW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI NO aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVST
qÜÉ i~íáå ^ãÉêáÅ~å kçîÉäW qÉëíáãçåó çÑ ~å béçÅÜ
Eqê~åëä~íáçå Äó qÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜ qê~ÇÉ `çìåÅáä i~åÖì~ÖÉ pÉêîáÅÉëF
I would have preferred thls meetlng to have been
called a colloqulum lnstead of lecture÷a dlalogue of
doubts and assertlons on the subject that concerns us.
Let us start by analyslng the antecedents of Latln Amer
lcan llterature ln general, focuslng our attentlon on
those aspects that have most connectlon wlth the novel.
Let us follow the sources back to the mlllenarlan orlglns
of lndlgenous llterature ln lts three great moments.
Maya, Aztec and Inca.
Jhe followlng questlon arlses. Was there some
thlng resembllng the novel among the lndlgenous peo
ples? I belleve there was. Jhe hlstory of the orlglnal
cultures of Latln Amerlca has more of what we ln the
western world call the novel than of hlstory. It ls neces
sary to bear ln mlnd that the books of thelr hlstory÷
thelr novels we would now say÷were palnted by the
Aztecs and Mayas and preserved ln a flguratlve form
whlch we stlll do not understand by the Incas. Jhls
assumes the use of plctograms ln whlch the volce of the
reader÷the lndlgenous do not dlstlngulsh between read
lng and recltlng slnce for them lt ls the same thlng÷
reclted the text to the llsteners ln song form.
Jhe reader, recltlng storles or 'great language,"
the only person who understood what the plctograms
meant, carrled out an lnterpretatlon, recreatlng them
for the enllghtenment of those who llstened. Later,
these palnted storles become flxed ln the memory of the
llsteners and pass ln oral form from generatlon to gen
eratlon untll the alphabet brought by the Spanlsh flxes
them ln thelr natlve tongues wlth Latln characters or
dlrectly ln Spanlsh. In thls way lndlgenous texts come
to our knowledge wlth very llttle exposure to European
corruptlon. Jhe readlng of these documents ls what has
allowed us to afflrm that, among the natlve Amerlcans,
hlstory has more of the characterlstlcs of the novel than
of hlstory. Jhey are accounts ln whlch reallty ls dls
solved ln fable, legend, the trapplngs of beauty and ln
whlch the lmaglnatlon, by dlnt of descrlblng all the real
lty that lt contalns, ends up recreatlng a reallty that we
mlght call surreallst.
Jhls characterlstlc of the annulment of reallty
through lmaglnatlon and the recreatlon of a more tran
scendental reallty ls comblned wlth a constant annul
ment of tlme and space as well as somethlng more
slgnlflcant. the use and abuse of parallel expresslons,
l.e. the parallel use of dlfferent words to deslgnate the
same object, to convey the same ldea and express the
same feellngs. I wlsh to draw attentlon to thls polnt÷the
parallellsm ln the lndlgenous texts allows an exerclse of
nuances that we flnd hard to appreclate but whlch
undoubtedly permltted a poetlc gradatlon destlned to
lnduce certaln states of consclousness whlch were taken
to be maglc.
If we return to the theme of the orlgln of a llterary
genre, slmllar to the novel, among the preColomblan
peoples lt ls necessary to llnk the blrth of thls novel
form wlth the eplc. Jhe herolc legend, exceedlng the
posslbllltles of hlstorlcal flctlon, was sung by the rhapso
dlsts÷the great volces of the trlbes or 'culcanlmes" who
toured the cltles recltlng the texts ln order that the
beauty of thelr songs would be dlssemlnated among the
peoples llke the golden blood of thelr gods.
Jhese eplc songs that are so abundant ln pre
Columblan llterature, and so llttle known, possess what
we call 'flctlonal plot" and what the Spanlsh frlars and
mlsslonarles termed 'trlcks."
Jhese flctlonal tales were orlglnally the testlmony
of past epochs; the memory and fame of hlgh deeds
that others on hearlng would deslre to emulate, thls llt
erature of reallty and fable ls broken ln the lnstant of
servltude and remalns as one of the many broken ves
sels of those great clvlllsatlons. Other narratlves wlll fol
low÷ln thls same documentary form÷recountlng not
the evldence of greatness but of mlsery, not the testl
mony of llberty but of slavery, no longer the statements
of the masters but those of the subjects and a new,
emerglng Amerlcan llterature attemptlng to flll the
empty sllences of an epoch.
However, the llterary genres that flourlshed ln the
Iberlan penlnsulas÷the reallstlc novel and the theatre÷
were not to put down roots here. On the contrary, lt ls
the lndlgenous effervescence, the sap and the blood,
rlver, sea and mlrage that affects the flrst Spanlard to
wrlte the flrst great Amerlcan 'novel," for the 'Jrue
65
ai_ POV ^ëíìêá~ëW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI NO aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVST
Story of the Events of the Conquest of New Spaln"
wrltten by Bernal Dlaz del Castlllo deserves to be called
no less. Is lt not rather bold to descrlbe as a 'novel"
what that soldler called not hlstory but 'true hlstory"?
But are not novels frequently the true hlstory? I repeat
the questlon. ls lt really boldness to descrlbe as a novel
the work of thls lllustrlous chronlcler?
Jo those who mlght call me darlng ln my descrlp
tlon I would lnvlte them to enter the cadenced and
pantlng prose of thls versatlle foot soldler and they wlll
notlce how÷on enterlng lnto lt÷they gradually forget
that what happened was reallty and lt wlll seem to them
lncreaslngly a work of pure lmaglnatlon. Indeed, even
Bernal hlmself says no less, next to the very walls of
Jenochtltlan. 'thls seemed to be the work of enchant
ment that ls recounted ln the book of Amadls!" But thls
ls the work of a Spanlard÷lt wlll be sald÷although the
only thlng Spanlsh about lt ls lts havlng been wrltten by
a 'penlnsular" resldent ln Santlago de los Caballeros de
Guatemala÷where that glorlous manuscrlpt ls kept÷
and lts havlng been composed ln the old language of
Castlle although lt partakes of that masquerade charac
terlstlc of lndlgenous llterature. Jo Don Marcellno
Menendez y Pelayo÷thls expert ln classlc Spanlsh lltera
ture÷the taste of thls prose ls strange and the fact that lt
has been wrltten by a soldler he flnds surprlslng. It
escapes thls emlnent wrlter that Bernal, at the age of
elghty, had not only heard many texts of lndlgenous llt
erature belng reclted, belng lnfluenced by lt, but
through osmosls had absorbed Amerlca and had
already become Amerlcan.
But there ls another more lmpresslve parenthesls.
In thelr last sorrowful cantos the lndlgenous peoples÷
now subjugated÷call for justlce and Bernal Dlaz
Castlllo expresses hls deepest feellngs ln a chronlcle
whlch ls a howl of protest at the obllvlon lnto whlch
they fell after belng 'fought and conquered."
As from thls moment, all Latln Amerlcan lltera
ture, ln song and novel, not only becomes a testlmony
for each epoch but also, as stated by the Venezuelan
wrlter Arturo Lslar Pletrl, an 'lnstrument of struggle."
All the great llterature ls one of testlmony and vlndlca
tlon, but far from belng a cold dossler these are movlng
pages wrltten by one consclous of hls power to lmpress
and convlnce.
Wlll the south glve us a ãÉëíáòç\ Jhe ãÉëíáòç par
excellence slnce÷ln order for nothlng to be lacklng÷he
was the flrst Amerlcan exlle. Inca Garcllaso. Jhls Cre
ole exlle follows the lndlgenous volces already extln
gulshed ln hls denunclatlon of the oppressors of Peru.
Jhe Inca offers us ln hls magnlflcent prose not only the
natlve Amerlcan÷nor only the Spanlsh÷but the mlxture
materlallsed ln the fuslon of the bloods, and ln the same
demand for llfe and justlce.
Jo start wlth nobody dlscerns the 'message" ln
the prose of Inca. Jhls wlll be clarlfled durlng the strug
gle for lndependence. Inca wlll then appear wlth the
dlgnlty of the Indlan that knew how to make fun of the
emplre of 'the two knlves"÷that ls to say clvll and eccle
slastlcal censorshlp. Jhe Spanlsh authorltles, slow to
fathom the message contalnlng so much splrlt, lmaglna
tlon and melancholy, wlsely order the conflscatlon of
the story of Inca Garcllaso where the Indlans have
'learned so many dangerous thlngs."
Not only poetry and works of flctlon bear wlt
ness. Jhe least expected authors such as Iranclsco
|avler Clavljero, Iranclsco |avler Alegre, Andres Calvo,
Manuel Iabrl, Andres de Guevara gave blrth to a lltera
ture of exlles whlch ls÷and wlll contlnue to be÷a testl
mony of lts epoch.
Even the Guatemalan poet Rafael Land∞var has
hls form of rebelllon. Hls protest ls sllence÷he calls the
Spanlsh 'Hlspanl" wlthout quallfylng the adjectlve. We
refer to Land∞var because, desplte belng the least
known, he should be consldered the standard bearer of
Amerlcan llterature as the authentlc expresslon of our
lands, our people and landscapes. Accordlng to Pedro
HenrlquezLrena, 'among the poets of the Spanlsh col
onles he ls the flrst master of landscape, the flrst to
break deflnltlvely wlth the conventlons of the Renals
sance and dlscover the characterlstlc features of nature
ln the New World÷lts flora and fauna, lts countryslde
and mountalns, lts lakes and waterfalls. In hls descrlp
tlons of customs, of the crafts and the games there ls an
amuslng vlvaclty and÷throughout the poem÷a deep
sympathy and understandlng of the survlval of the orlg
lnal cultures."
In l78l ln Modena, Italy, there appeared under
the tltle of oìëíáÅ~íáç jÉñáÅ~å~ a poetlc work of 3,125
Latln hexameters, ln l0 cantos, wrltten by Rafael
Land∞var. One year later ln Bologna the second edltlon
appeared. Jhe poet called by Menendez y Pelayo 'the
Vlrgll of the modern age" proclalmed to the Europeans
the excellence of the land, the llfe and the peoples of
Amerlca. He was concerned for the people of the Old
World to know that El |orullo, a Mexlcan volcano,
could rlval Vesuvlus and Etna, that the waterfalls and
caves of San Pedro Martlr ln Guatemala were the equals
of the famous fountalns of Castalla and Aretusa and
referrlng to the cenzontle÷the blrd whose song has 100
tones÷he elevated lt above the realm of the nlghtlngale.
He slngs the pralses of the countryslde, of the
gold and sllver that was fllllng the world wlth valuable
colns and the sugar loaves offered at royal tables.
Hls poem ls not short of statlstlcs concernlng the
rlches of Amerlca. He cltes the droves of cattle, the
flocks of sheep, the herds of goats and plgs, the sources
of medlclnal waters, the popular games÷some
66
^ëíìêá~ëW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI NO aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVST ai_ POV
unknown ln Europe÷and he does not hlde the glory of
the cocoa and chocolate of Guatemala. But there ls
somethlng that we should be aware of ln the song of
Land∞var; namely hls love of the lndlgenous. Jhe
Indlan, for Land∞var, ls the race that succeeds ln every
thlng, he descrlbes the marvels of the floatlng gardens
created by the Indlans, he holds them up as examples of
charm and sklll wlthout forgettlng thelr great sufferlngs.
In thls way he lmparts poetlc substance÷ln naturallstlc
poetry far from symbollsm÷to a fact that has always
been denled. the superlorlty of the Amerlcan Indlan as
farmer, as craftsman and worker.
Jo the lmage of the bad Indlan, lazy and lmmoral
that was so wldely propagated ln Europe and accepted
ln Amerlca by those who explolt lt Land∞var opposes
the plcture of the Indlan on whose shoulders has
welghed÷and contlnues to welgh÷the burden of labour
ln Amerlca. And he does not do lt by slmply statlng lt÷
ln whlch case we would have the rlght or not of bellev
lng lt. In hls poem we see the Indlan on board hls
charmlng canoe, transportlng hls goods or travelllng
and we admlre hlm extractlng the purple and scarlet,
laylng out the snowy worms that produce the sllk, hold
lng on stubbornly to the rocks ln order to remove the
beautlful shellflsh, patlently and doggedly ploughlng,
cultlvatlng the lndlgo plant, extractlng the sllver from
hls natlve mlnes, exhaustlng the golden velns. . . . Jhe
oìëíáÅ~íáç of Land∞var conflrms what we have sald of the
great Amerlcan llterature÷lt cannot accept a passlve
role whlle on our soll a famlshed people llve ln these
abundant lands. In lts content lt ls a form of novel ln
verse.
Ilfty years later, Andres Bello was to renovate the
Amerlcan adventure ln hls famous 'Sllva," an lmmortal
and perfect work ln whlch the nature of the New World
appears agaln wlth malze the leader÷as haughty chlef
of the corn trlbe÷the cacao ln 'coral urns," the coffee
plants, the banana, the troplcs ln all thelr vegetable and
anlmal power, contrastlng the lmpoverlshed lnhabltant
wlth thls grandlose vlslon 'of the rlch soll."
Bello recalls Inca Garcllaso ln hls role as an exlle,
he ls of the Amerlcan llneage of Land∞var, both repre
sent the brllllant start of the great Amerlcan odyssey ln
world llterature. As from thls moment the lmage of
nature ln the New World wlll awake ln Europe an lnter
est but lt wlll never attaln the lncandescent fldellty that
ls achleved ln the work of Land∞var and Bello. A dls
torted vlslon of the marvels ls offered us by Chateaubrl
and ln 'Atala" and 'Les Natchez."
Ior the Europeans nature ls a background wlth
out the gravltatlonal force achleved by Creole romantl
clsm. Jhe romantlcs glve nature a permanent presence
ln the creatlons of poets and novellsts of the epoch.
Jhls ls exempllfled by |osé Marla de Heredla slnglng of
the Nlagara Ialls and Estaban Echeverrla descrlblng the
desert ln 'La Cautlva" to mentlon just two.
Latln Amerlcan romantlclsm was not only a llter
ary school but a patrlotlc flag. Poets, hlstorlans and nov
ellsts dlvlde thelr days and nlghts between polltlcal
actlvltles and dreamlng thelr creatlons. Never has lt
been more beautlful to be a poet ln Amerlca! Amongst
the poets lnfluenced by the m~íêá~ converted ln Muse are
|osé M•rmol, author of one of the most wldely read
novels ln Latln Amerlca÷^ã~äá~K Jhe pages of thls book
have been turned by our febrlle and sweaty flngers
when we suffered ln our very bones the dlctatorshlps
that have plagued Central Amerlca. Jhe crltlcs, when
referrlng to the novel of M•rmol, polnt out lnconslsten
cles and carelessness wlthout reallslng that a work of
thls type ls wrltten wlth a madly beatlng heart÷pulsa
tlons that leave ln the sentence, ln the paragraph, on the
page that abnormal heartbeat reflectlng the dlstortlon of
the llfe force that troubled the entlre country. We are ln
the presence of one of the most passlonate examples of
the Amerlcan novel. Desplte the years ^ã~äá~Ôthe
lmprecatlons of |osé M•rmol÷contlnue to move readers
to such an extent as to represent an act of falth.
It ls at thls very moment that the volce of
Sarmlento ls heard poslng hls famous dllemma at the
threshold of the century. 'clvlllsatlon or barbarlsm."
Indeed, Sarmlento hlmself wlll be startled when he
becomes aware that 'Iacundo" turns hls arms agalnst
hlm and agalnst everyone, declarlng hlmself to be the
authentlc representatlve of Creole Amerlca, of the
Amerlca that refuses to dle and attempts to break÷wlth
a breast already hardened÷the antlthetlcal scheme of
clvlllsatlon and barbarlsm ln order to flnd between
these two extremes the polnt where the Amerlcan peo
ples are able to flnd thelr authentlc personallty wlth
thelr own essentlal values.
In the mlddle of the last century another roman
tlc, no less passlonate, appears ln Guatemala. |osé
Batres Mont∫far. In the mldst of tales of festlve charac
ter the reader feels that he should forget the flesta to lls
ten to the poetry. Jhe lmmortal |osé Batres Mont∫far,
wlth abundant charm tlnged wlth bltterness, was able to
get to the core of lssues that already÷ln the mlddle of
the past century÷were hlghly charged.
Another volce was to rlng out from north to
south, that of |osé Mart∞. Hls presence was felt, whether
as an exlle or ln hls beloved Cuba, the flre of hls speech
as poet or journallst belng comblned wlth the example
of hls sacrlflce.
Jhe 20th century ls full of poets, poets that have
nothlng more to say wlth very few exceptlons. Among
the latter stand out the lmmortal Rubén Dar∞o and |uan
Ramón Mollna from Honduras. Jhe poets flee from
reallty, maybe because thls ls one of the ways of belng a
67
ai_ POV ^ëíìêá~ëW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI NO aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVST
poet. But there ls nothlng llvlng ln much of thelr work
whlch lnstead tend towards garrullty.
Jhey are lgnorant of the clear lesson of the natlve
rhapsodlsts, they are forgetful of the colonlal craftsmen
of our great llterature, satlsfled wlth the bloodless lmlta
tlon of the poetry of other latltudes and rldlcule those
who sang the bold gestures of the llberatlon struggle,
conslderlng them dazzled by a local patrlotlsm.
It ls only when the Ilrst World War ls passed that
a handful of men÷men and artlsts÷embark on the
reconquest of thelr own tradltlon. In thelr encounter
wlth the lndlgenous peoples they drop anchor ln thelr
Spanlsh home port and return wlth the message that
they have to dellver to the future.
Latln Amerlcan llterature wlll be reborn under
other slgns÷no longer that of verse. Now the prose ls
tactlle, plural and lrreverent ln lts attltude to conven
tlons÷to serve the purpose of thls new crusade whose
flrst move was to plunge lnto reallty not so as to objec
tlfy but rather to penetrate the facts ln order to ldentlfy
fully wlth the problems of humanlty. Nothlng human÷
nothlng whlch ls real÷wlll be forelgn to thls llterature
lnsplred by contact wlth Amerlca. And thls ls the case
of the Latln Amerlcan novel. Nobody doubts that the
Latln Amerlcan novel ls at the leadlng edge of lts genre
ln the world. It ls cultlvated ln all our countrles, by wrlt
ers of dlfferent tendencles, whlch means that ln the
novel everythlng ls forged from Amerlcan materlal÷the
human wltness of our hlstorlc moment.
We, the Latln Amerlcan novellsts of today, work
lng wlthln the tradltlon of engagement wlth our peoples
whlch has enabled our great llterature to develop÷our
poetry of substance÷also have to reclalm lands for our
dlspossessed, mlnes for our explolted workers, to ralse
demands ln favour of the masses who perlsh ln the
plantatlons, who are scorched by the sun ln the banana
flelds, who turn lnto human bagasse ln the sugar refln
erles. It ls for thls reason that÷for me÷the authentlc
Latln Amerlcan novel ls the call for all these thlngs, lt ls
the cry that echoes down the centurles and ls pro
nounced ln thousands of pages. A novel that ls genu
lnely ours; determlned and loyal÷ln lts pages÷to the
cause of the human splrlt, to the flsts of our workers, to
the sweat of our rural peasants, to the paln for our
undernourlshed chlldren; calllng for the blood and the
sap of our vast lands to run once more towards the seas
to enrlch our burgeonlng new cltles.
Jhls novel shares÷consclously or unconsclously÷
the characterlstlcs of the lndlgenous texts; thelr fresh
ness and power, the numlsmatlc angulsh ln the eyes of
the Creoles who awalted the dawn ln the colonlal nlght,
more lumlnous however than thls nlght that threatens
us now. Above all, lt ls the afflrmatlon of the optlmlsm
of those wrlters that defled the Inqulsltlon, openlng a
breach ln the consclence of the people for the march of
the Llberators.
Jhe Latln Amerlcan novel, our novel, cannot
betray the great splrlt that has shaped÷and contlnues to
shape÷all our great llterature. If you wrlte novels
merely to entertaln÷then burn them! Jhls mlght be the
message dellvered wlth evangellcal fervour slnce lf you
do not burn them they wlll anyway be erased from the
memory of the people where a poet or novellst should
asplre to remaln. |ust conslder how many wrlters there
have been who÷down the ages÷have wrltten novels to
entertaln! And who remembers them now? On the
other hand, how easy lt ls to repeat the names of those
amongst us who have wrltten to bear wltness.
Jo bear wltness. Jhe novellst bears wltness llke
the apostle. Llke Paul trylng to escape, the wrlter ls con
fronted wlth the pathetlc reallty of the world that sur
rounds hlm÷the stark reallty of our countrles that
overwhelms and bllnds us and, throwlng us to our
knees, forces us to shout out. WHY DO YOL PERSE
CLJE ME? Yes, we are persecuted by thls reallty that
we cannot deny, whlch ls llved ln the flesh by the people
of the Mexlcan revolutlon, embodled ln persons such as
Marlano Azuela, Agustln Yanez and |uan Rulfo whose
convlctlons are as sharp as a knlfe; those who share
wlth |orge Icaza, Clro Alegr∞a, |es∫s Lara the shout of
protest agalnst the exploltatlon and abandonment of the
Indlan; those who wlth Romulo Gallegos ln 'Done
B•bara" create for us our Prometheus. Here ls Horaclo
_ulroga who frees us from the nlghtmare of the troplcs,
a nlghtmare that ls as pecullar to hlm as hls style ls
Amerlcan. 'Los ros profundos" of |osé Mar∞a Argue
das, the 'Rlo oscuro" of the Argentlnlan Alfredo
Varela, 'Hljo de hombre" of the Paraguayan Roa Bas
tos and 'La cludad y los perros" of the Peruvlan Vargas
Llosa make us see how the llfeblood of the worklng
people ls dralned ln our lands.
Manclsldor takes us to the oll flelds to whlch are
drawn÷leavlng thelr homes÷the lnhabltants of 'Cases
muertas" of Mlguel Otero Sllva. . . . Davld Vlnas con
fronts us wlth the traglc Patagonla, Enrlque Wernlcke
sweeps us along wlth the waters that overwhelm whole
communltles whlle Verbltsky and Mar∞a de |es∫s lead
us to the mlserable shanty towns, the Dantesque and
subhuman quarters of our great cltles. . . .
Jeltelbolm ln 'El hljo del salltre" tells us of the
gruelllng work ln the saltpetre mlnes whlle Nlcomedes
Guzman makes us share ln the llves of the chlldren ln
the Chllean worklng class dlstrlcts. We feel the country
slde of El Salvador ln '|aragua" by Napoleón
Rodr∞guez Rulz and our small vlllages ln 'Cenlzas del
Izalco" by Ilakol and Clarlvel Alegrla. We cannot thlnk
of the pampas wlthout speaklng of 'Don Segundo Som
bra" by Gulraldes nor speak of the jungle wlthout 'La
68
^ëíìêá~ëW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI NO aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVST ai_ POV
voraglne" of Eustaslo Rlvera, nor of the Negroes. wlth
out |orge Amado, nor of the Brazlllan plalns wlthout
the 'Gran Sertao" of Gulmaraes Rosa, nor of the plalns
of Venezuela wlthout Ramón D∞az S•nchez.
Our books do not search for a sensatlonallst or
horrlfylng effect ln order to secure a place for us ln the
republlc of letters. We are human belngs llnked by
blood, geography and llfe to those hundreds, thou
sands, mllllons of Latln Amerlcans that suffer mlsery ln
our opulent and rlch Amerlcan contlnent. Our novels
attempt to moblllse across the world the moral forces
that have to help us defend those people. Jhe ãÉëíáòç
process was already advanced ln our llterature and ln
redlscoverlng Amerlca lt lent a human dlmenslon to the
grandlose nature of the contlnent. But thls ls a nature
nelther for the gods as ln the texts of the Indlans, nor a
nature for heroes as ln the wrltlngs of the romantlcs,
but a nature for men and women ln whlch the human
problems wlll be addressed agaln wlth vlgour and
audaclty.
As true Latln Amerlcans the beauty of expresslon
excltes us and÷for thls reason÷each one of our novels ls
a verbal feat. Alchemy ls at work. We know lt. It ls no
easy task to understand ln the executed work all the
effort and determlnatlon lnvested ln the materlals
used÷the words.
Yes, I say words÷but by what laws and rules they
have been transformed! Jhey have been set as the
pulse of worlds ln formatlon. Jhey rlng llke wood, llke
metals. Jhls ls onomatopoela. In the adventure of our
language the flrst aspect that demands attentlon ls ono
matopoela. How many echoes÷composed or dlslnte
grated÷of our landscape, our nature are to be found ln
our words, our sentences. Jhe novellst embarks on a
verbal adventure, an lnstlnctlve use of words. One ls
gulded along by sounds. One llstens, llstens to the char
acters.
Our best novels do not seem to have been wrltten
but spoken. Jhere ls verbal dynamlcs ln the poetry
enclosed ln the very word ltself and that ls revealed flrst
as sound and afterwards as concept.
Jhls ls why the great Spanlsh Amerlcan novels
are vlbrantly muslcal ln the convulslon of the blrth of
all the thlngs that are born wlth them.
Jhe adventure contlnues ln the confluence of the
languages. Amongst the languages spoken by the peo
ple, ln whlch the Indlan languages are represented,
there ls an admlxture of the European and Orlental lan
guages brought by the lmmlgrants to Amerlca.
Another language ls golng to raln lts sparkle over
sounds and words. Jhe language of lmages. Our novels
seem to be wrltten not only wlth words but wlth
lmages. _ulte a few people when readlng our novels see
them clnematlcally. And thls ls not because they pursue
a dramatlc statement of lndependence but because our
novellsts are engaged ln unlversallslng the volce of thelr
peoples wlth a language rlch ln sounds, rlch ln fable
and rlch ln lmages.
Jhls ls not a language artlflclally created to pro
vlde scope for the play of the lmaglnatlon or socalled
poetlc prose; lt ls a vlvld language that preserves ln lts
popular speech all the lyrlclsm, the lmaglnatlon, the
grace, the hlghsplrltedness that characterlse the lan
guage of the Latln Amerlcan novel.
Jhe poetlc language whlch nourlshes our novells
tlc llterature ls more or less lts breath of llfe. Novels
wlth lungs of poetry, lungs of follage, lungs of rlch vege
tatlon. I belleve that what most attracts nonAmerlcan
readers ls what our novels have achleved by means of a
colourful, brllllant language wlthout falllng lnto the
merely plcturesque, the spell of onomatopoela cast by
representlng the muslc of the countryslde and some
tlmes the sounds of the lndlgenous languages, the
ancestral smack of those languages that flourlsh uncon
sclously ln the prose that ls used. Jhere ls also the
lmportance of the word as absolute entlty, as symbol.
Our prose ls dlstlngulshed from Castlllan syntax
because the word÷ln our novels÷has a value of lts own,
just as lt had ln the lndlgenous languages. Word, con
cept, sound; a rlch fasclnatlng transposltlon. Nobody
can understand our llterature, our poetry lf the power
of enchantment ls removed from the word.
Word and language enable the reader to partlcl
pate ln the llfe of our novellstlc creatlons. Lnsettllng,
dlsturblng, forclng the attentlon of the reader who÷for
gettlng hls dally llfe÷wlll enter lnto the sltuatlons and
personalltles of a novel tradltlon that retalns lntact lts
humanlstlc values. Nothlng ls used to detract from
manklnd but rather to perfect lt and thls ls perhaps
what wlns over and unsettles the reader, that whlch
transforms our novel lnto a vehlcle of ldeas, an lnter
preter of peoples uslng as lnstrument a language wlth a
llterary dlmenslon, wlth lmponderable maglcal value
and profound human projectlon.
|¹ Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l967. Mlguel žngel Asturlas ls
the sole author of the text.|
69
p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí
(1J Zpril 1906 - 22 Dcccmbcr 19S9)
gìäá~å ^K d~êÑçêíÜ
ßcclctt Ivtcrvotiovol Iouvdotiov, Uvivcrsity of Icodivg
See also the Beckett entrles ln DIß 1J: ßritisl Dromotists
Sivcc !orld !or II; DIß 1á: ßritisl `ovclists, 19J0-19á9;
DIß 2JJ: ßritisl ovd Irisl Dromotists Sivcc !orld !or II,
Sccovd Scrics; DIß J19: ßritisl ovd Irisl Slort-Iictiov !rit-
crs, 194á-2000; DIß J21: Twcvtictl Ccvtury Ircvcl Dro-
motists; and DIß Jcorbool: 1990.
BOOKS. !loroscopc (Parls. Hours Press, l930);
Iroust (London. Chatto × Wlndus, l93l; New York.
Grove, l957);
Morc Iricls tlov Iicls (London. Chatto × Wlndus, l931;
New York. Grove, l970);
Iclo`s ßovcs ovd Utlcr Irccipitotcs (Parls. Europa Press,
l935);
Murply (London. Routledge, l938; New York. Grove,
l957); translated lnto Irench by Beckett (Parls.
Bordas, l917);
Molloy (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult, l95l); translated by
Beckett and Patrlck Bowles (Parls. Olympla
Press, l955; New York. Grove, l955; London.
Calder × Boyars, l966);
Molovc mcurt (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult, l95l); trans
lated by Beckett as Molovc Dics (New York. Grove,
l956; London. Calder, l958);
Iv ottcvdovt Codot (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult, l952);
translated by Beckett as !oitivg for Codot (New
York. Grove, l951; London. Iaber × Iaber,
l956);
I`Ivvommoblc (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult, l953); trans
lated by Beckett as Tlc Uvvomoblc (New York.
Grove, l958; London. Calder, l975);
!ott (Parls. Olympla Press, l953; New York. Grove,
l959; London. Calder, l963); translated lnto
Irench by Beckett, Ludovlc |anvler, and Agn≠s
|anvler (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult, l968);
`ouvcllcs ct tcxtcs pour ricv (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult,
l955); translated by Beckett as Storics ovd Tcxts for
`otlivg (New York. Grove, l967);
Zll Tlot Ioll (New York. Grove, l957; London. Iaber ×
Iaber, l957); translated lnto Irench by Beckett
and Robert Plnget as Tous ccux qui tombcvt (Parls.
Edltlons de Mlnult, l957);
Iiv dc portic, suivi dc Zctc sovs porolcs [I] (Parls. Edltlons
de Mlnult, l957); translated by Beckett as Ivd-
gomc, Iollowcd by Zct !itlout !ords (New York.
Grove, l958; London. Iaber × Iaber, l958);
Irom ov Zbovdovcd !orl (London. Iaber × Iaber, l958);
translated lnto Irench by Beckett, Ludovlc |an
vler, and Agn≠s |anvler as D`uv ouvrogc obovdovvc
(Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult, l967);
p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉííI NVUT E^m tçêäÇ táÇÉF
TM
p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí ai_ POV
Molloy, Molovc Dics, ovd Tlc Uvvomoblc: Tlrcc `ovcls EkÉï
vçêâW dêçîÉI NVRUX içåÇçåW `~äÇÉêI NVRVX m~êáëW
läóãéá~ mêÉëëI NVRVFX
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NVRVFX íê~åëä~íÉÇ áåíç cêÉåÅÜ Äó _ÉÅâÉíí ~åÇ
máÉêêÉ iÉóêáë ~ë Io Dcrvi≠rc bovdc, suivi dc Ccvdrcs
Em~êáëW bÇáíáçåë ÇÉ jáåìáíI NVSMFX
Iropp`s Iost Topc ovd Utlcr Dromotic Iicccs EkÉï vçêâW
dêçîÉI NVSMFÔÅçãéêáëÉë Iropp`s Iost Topc, Zll
Tlot Ioll, Imbcrs, Zct !itlout !ords I, ~åÇ Zct !itl-
out !ords II EíÜÉ ä~ëí íïç íê~åëä~íÉÇ Ñêçã íÜÉ
cêÉåÅÜ Äó _ÉÅâÉííFX
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ä~íÉÇ Äó _ÉÅâÉíí ~ë How It Is EkÉï vçêâW dêçîÉI
NVSQX içåÇçåW `~äÇÉêI NVSQFX
Hoppy Doys EkÉï vçêâW dêçîÉI NVSNX içåÇçåW c~ÄÉê C
c~ÄÉêI NVSOFX íê~åëä~íÉÇ áåíç cêÉåÅÜ Äó _ÉÅâÉíí ~ë
Ul lcs bcoux jours Em~êáëW bÇáíáçåë ÇÉ jáåìáíI NVSPFX
Iocms iv Ivglisl EiçåÇçåW `~äÇÉêI NVSNX kÉï vçêâW
dêçîÉI NVSPFX
Dromotisclc Dicltuvgcv, O îçäìãÉëI cêÉåÅÜ ~åÇ båÖäáëÜ
íÉñíë Äó _ÉÅâÉííI dÉêã~å íê~åëä~íáçåë Äó bäã~ê
qçéÜçîÉå ~åÇ bêáâ~ qçéÜçîÉå Ecê~åâÑìêí ~ã
j~áåW pìÜêâ~ãéI NVSPI NVSQFÔáåÅäìÇÉë áå îçäJ
ìãÉ NW Zctc sovs porolcs II [Zct !itlout !ords II],
çêáÖáå~ä cêÉåÅÜ îÉêëáçåX Coscovdo, çêáÖáå~ä cêÉåÅÜ
îÉêëáçåI ïáíÜ båÖäáëÜ íê~åëä~íáçå Äó _ÉÅâÉííX áå
îçäìãÉ OW Comcdic [Iloy], íê~åëä~íÉÇ áåíç cêÉåÅÜ Äó
_ÉÅâÉííX
Iloy ovd Two Slort Iicccs for Iodio EiçåÇçåW c~ÄÉê C
c~ÄÉêI NVSQFÔÅçãéêáëÉë Iloy, !ords ovd Music, ~åÇ
Coscovdo;
Imogivotiov mortc imogivc· Em~êáëW bÇáíáçåë ÇÉ jáåìáíI
NVSRFX íê~åëä~íÉÇ Äó _ÉÅâÉíí ~ë Imogivotiov Dcod
Imogivc EiçåÇçåW `~äÇÉê C _çó~êëI NVSRFX
Iroust xÄó _ÉÅâÉííz ovd Tlrcc Diologucs xÄó _ÉÅâÉíí ~åÇ
dÉçêÖÉë aìíÜìáíz EiçåÇçåW `~äÇÉêI NVSRFX
Zssc· Em~êáëW bÇáíáçåë ÇÉ jáåìáíI NVSSFX íê~åëä~íÉÇ Äó
_ÉÅâÉíí ~ë Ivougl áå `o`s Ivifc: Collcctcd Slortcr
Irosc, 194á-1966 EiçåÇçåW `~äÇÉê C _çó~êëI
NVSTF ~åÇ áå Iirst Iovc ovd Utlcr Slorts EkÉï vçêâW
dêçîÉI NVTQFX
ßivg Em~êáëW bÇáíáçåë ÇÉ jáåìáíI NVSSFX íê~åëä~íÉÇ Äó
_ÉÅâÉíí ~ë Iivg áå `o`s Ivifc: Collcctcd Slortcr Irosc,
194á-1966 EiçåÇçåW `~äÇÉê C _çó~êëI NVSTF ~åÇ
áå Iirst Iovc ovd Utlcr Slorts EkÉï vçêâW dêçîÉI
NVTQFX
Comcdic ct octcs divcrs Em~êáëW bÇáíáçåë ÇÉ jáåìáíI NVSSFÔ
ÅçãéêáëÉë Comcdic, !o-ct-vicvt, Coscovdo, Iorolcs ct
musiquc, Dis ¸oc, ~åÇ Zctc sovs porolcs II; Éñé~åÇÉÇ
ÉÇáíáçå Em~êáëW bÇáíáçåë ÇÉ jáåìáíI NVTOFÔáåÅäìÇÉë
Zctc sovs porolcs I, Iilm, ~åÇ Soufflc;
Il ¸oc ovd Utlcr !ritivgs EiçåÇçåW c~ÄÉê C c~ÄÉêI NVSTX
kÉï vçêâW dêçîÉI NVSVFÔÅçãéêáëÉë Il ¸oc, Zct
!itlout !ords II, ~åÇ Iilm;
Comc ovd Co EiçåÇçåW `~äÇÉê C _çó~êëI NVSTFX
`o`s Ivifc: Collcctcd Slortcr Irosc, 194á-1966 EiçåÇçåW
`~äÇÉê C _çó~êëI NVSTFÔÅçãéêáëÉë Tlc Ixpcllcd,
Tlc Colmotivc, Tlc Ivd, Tcxts for `otlivg 1-1J, Irom
ov Zbovdovcd !orl, Ivougl, Imogivotiov Dcod Imog-
ivc, ~åÇ Iivg;
Tctcs-mortcs, íê~åëä~íÉÇ Äó _ÉÅâÉííI iìÇçîáÅ g~åîáÉêI ~åÇ
^ÖåÉë g~åîáÉê Em~êáëW bÇáíáçåë ÇÉ jáåìáíI NVSTFÔ
ÅçãéêáëÉë D`uv ouvrogc obovdovvc, Zssc·, Imogivotiov
mortc imogivc·, ~åÇ ßivg; Éñé~åÇÉÇ ÉÇáíáçå Em~êáëW
bÇáíáçåë ÇÉ jáåìáíI NVTOFÔáåÅäìÇÉë Sovs;
Coscovdo ovd Utlcr Slort Dromotic Iicccs EkÉï vçêâW
dêçîÉI NVSUFÔÅçãéêáëÉë Coscovdo, !ords ovd
Music, Il ¸oc, Iloy, Comc ovd Co, ~åÇ Iilm;
Iilm, Il ¸oc iv drci Sproclcv Ecê~åâÑìêí ~ã j~áåW
pìÜêâ~ãéI NVSUFÔáåÅäìÇÉë Iilm, íê~åëä~íÉÇ áåíç
cêÉåÅÜ Äó _ÉÅâÉííX
Io≠mcs Em~êáëW bÇáíáçåë ÇÉ jáåìáíI NVSUFX
Iilm EkÉï vçêâW dêçîÉI NVSVX içåÇçåW c~ÄÉê C c~ÄÉêI
NVTOFX
Sovs Em~êáëW bÇáíáçåë ÇÉ jáåìáíI NVSVFX íê~åëä~íÉÇ Äó
_ÉÅâÉíí ~ë Icssvcss EiçåÇçåW `~äÇÉê C _çó~êëI
NVTMFX
Tlc Collcctcd !orls of Somucl ßcclctt, NS îçäìãÉë EkÉï
vçêâW dêçîÉI NVTMFX
Ic Dcpcuplcur Em~êáëW bÇáíáçåë ÇÉ jáåìáíI NVTMFX íê~åëJ
ä~íÉÇ Äó _ÉÅâÉíí ~ë Tlc Iost Uvcs EiçåÇçåW `~äÇÉê
C _çó~êëI NVTOX kÉï vçêâW dêçîÉI NVTOFX
Mcrcicr ct Comicr Em~êáëW bÇáíáçåë ÇÉ jáåìáíI NVTMFX íê~åëJ
ä~íÉÇ Äó _ÉÅâÉíí ~ë Mcrcicr ovd Comicr EiçåÇçåW
`~äÇÉê C _çó~êëI NVTQX kÉï vçêâW dêçîÉI NVTQFX
Ircmicr omour Em~êáëW bÇáíáçåë ÇÉ jáåìáíI NVTMFX íê~åëJ
ä~íÉÇ Äó _ÉÅâÉíí ~ë Iirst Iovc EiçåÇçåW `~äÇÉê C
_çó~êëI NVTPFX
ßrcotl ovd Utlcr Slorts EiçåÇçåW c~ÄÉê C c~ÄÉêI NVTNFÔ
ÅçãéêáëÉë ßrcotl, Comc ovd Co, Zct !itlout !ords I,
Zct !itlout !ords II, ~åÇ Irom ov Zbovdovcd !orl;
Iilm, suivi dc Soufflc Em~êáëW bÇáíáçåë ÇÉ jáåìáíI NVTOFÔ
áåÅäìÇÉë Soufflc [ßrcotl], íê~åëä~íÉÇ áåíç cêÉåÅÜ Äó
_ÉÅâÉííX
`ot I EiçåÇçåW c~ÄÉê C c~ÄÉêI NVTPFX íê~åëä~íÉÇ áåíç
cêÉåÅÜ Äó _ÉÅâÉíí ~ë Ios moi Em~êáëW bÇáíáçåë ÇÉ
jáåìáíI NVTRFX
Zu loiv uv oiscou, íÉñí Äó _ÉÅâÉííI ÉíÅÜáåÖë Äó ^îáÖÇçê
^êáâÜ~ EkÉï vçêâW açìÄäÉ bäÉéÜ~åí mêÉëëI NVTPFX
íê~åëä~íÉÇ Äó _ÉÅâÉíí ~ë Zfor o ßird áå Ior to Ivd Jct
Zgoiv ovd Utlcr Ii··lcs EiçåÇçåW `~äÇÉêI NVTSF ~åÇ
áå Ii··lcs EkÉï vçêâW dêçîÉI NVTSFX
Iirst Iovc ovd Utlcr Slorts EkÉï vçêâW dêçîÉI NVTQFÔ
ÅçãéêáëÉë Iirst Iovc, Irom ov Zbovdovcd !orl,
7l
ai_ POV p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí
Ivougl, Imogivotiov Dcod Imogivc, Iivg, `ot I, and
ßrcotl;
Still, text by Beckett, etchlngs by Wllllam Hayter
(Mllan. M`Arte Edlzlone, l971);
Ul lcs bcoux jours, suivi dc Ios moi (Parls. Edltlons de
Mlnult, l975);
I Cov`t Co Uv, I`ll Co Uv: Z Sclcctiov from Somucl ßcclctt`s
!orl, edlted by Rlchard W. Seaver (New York.
Grove, l976)÷lncludes Tlot Timc;
Ioirodcs = Ii··lcs, blllngual edltlon, text by Beckett, etch
lngs by |asper |ohns (London. Petersburg Press,
l976);
Iour fivir cvcorc ct outrcs foirodcs (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult,
l976); translated by Beckett as Ior to Ivd Jct Zgoiv
ovd Utlcr Ii··lcs (London. Calder, l976); transla
tlon publlshed as Ii··lcs (New York. Grove, l976);
Zll Strovgc Zwoy (New York. Gotham Book Mart, l976;
London. Calder, l979);
Tlot Timc (London. Iaber × Iaber, l976); translated
lnto Irench by Beckett as Ccttc fois (Parls. Edltlons
de Mlnult, l978);
Iootfolls (London. Iaber × Iaber, l976); translated lnto
Irench by Beckett as Ios (Parls. Edltlons de
Mlnult, l977);
Ivds ovd Udds: Iiglt `cw Dromotic Iicccs (New York.
Grove Press, l976)÷comprlses `ot I, Tlot Timc,
Iootfolls, Clost Trio, [Iougl for] Tlcotrc I, [Iougl for]
Tlcotrc II, [Iougl for] Iodio I, and [Iougl for] Iodio
II; expanded as Ivds ovd Udds: Iloys ovd Slctclcs
(London. Iaber × Iaber, l977)÷lncludes . . . but
tlc clouds . . . ; expanded edltlon publlshed as Ivds
ovd Udds. `ivc Dromotic Iicccs (New York. Grove
Press, l98l);
. . . but tlc clouds . . . (London. Iaber × Iaber, l977);
Collcctcd Iocms iv Ivglisl ovd Ircvcl (London. Calder,
l977; New York. Grove, l977); expanded as Col-
lcctcd Iocms 19J0-197S (London. Calder, l981)÷
lncludes Mirlitovvodcs;
Ios suivi dc quotrc csquisscs (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult,
l978)÷comprlses Ios, Irogmcvt dc tlcotrc I, Irogmcvt
dc tlcotrc II, Ioclodc rodioploviquc, and Isquissc rodio-
ploviquc;
Io≠mcs suivi dc Mirlitovvodcs (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult,
l978);
Compovy (New York. Grove, l980; London. Calder,
l980); translated lnto Irench by Beckett as
Compogvic (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult, l980);
Mol vu mol dit (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult, l98l); trans
lated by Beckett as Ill Sccv, Ill Soid (New York.
Grove, l98l; London. Calder, l982);
Iocloby ovd Utlcr Slort Iicccs (New York. Grove, l98l)÷
comprlses Iocloby, Ulio Impromptu, Zll Strovgc
Zwoy, and Z Iiccc of Movologuc;
ßcrccusc; suivi dc Impromptu d`Ulio (Parls. Edltlons de
Mlnult, l982)÷comprlses ßcrccusc [Iocloby] and
Impromptu d`Ulio [Ulio Impromptu], translated lnto
Irench by Beckett;
Solo; suivi dc Cotostroplc (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult,
l982)÷comprlses Z Iiccc of Movologuc, translated
by Beckett as Solo, and Cotostroplc;
Cotostroplc ct outrcs dromoticulcs (Parls. Edltlons de
Mlnult, l982)÷comprlses Ccttc fois, Solo, ßcrccusc,
Impromptu d`Ulio, and Cotostroplc; expanded edl
tlon (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult, l986)÷lncludes
_uoi ou;
Tlrcc Uccosiovol Iicccs (London. Iaber × Iaber, l982)÷
comprlses Z Iiccc of Movologuc, Iocloby, and Ulio
Impromptu;
_uoi ou (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult, l983);
!orstword Ho (New York. Grove, l983; London.
Calder, l983);
Disjccto: Misccllovcous !ritivgs ovd o Dromotic Irogmcvt,
edlted by Ruby Cohn (London. Calder, l983;
New York. Grove, l981);
Collcctcd Slortcr Iloys (London. Iaber × Iaber, l981;
New York. Grove, l981)÷lncludes _uod, `oclt uvd
Troumc, and Beckett`s Engllsh translatlon of Cotos-
troplc;
Collcctcd Slortcr Irosc 194á-19S0 (London. Calder,
l981);
Tlrcc Iloys (New York. Grove, l981)÷comprlses Ulio
Impromptu, Cotostroplc, and !lot !lcrc;
Tlc Complctc Dromotic !orls (London. Iaber × Iaber,
l986);
I`Imogc (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult, l988);
Stirrivgs Still, text by Beckett, lllustratlons by Louls le
Broquy (New York. Blue Moon, l988; London.
Calder, l988);
Commcvt dirc (Parls. Llbralrle Compagnle, l989);
`olow Uv: Compovy, Ill Sccv Ill Soid, !orstword Ho (Lon
don. Calder, l989; New York. Grove, l995);
Zs tlc Story !os Told: Uvcollcctcd ovd Iotc Irosc (London.
Calder, l990; New York. Rlverrun, l990)÷
lncludes Tlc Copitol of tlc Iuivs, Tlc Imogc, Zll
Strovgc Zwoy, Hcord iv tlc Dorl 1, Hcord iv tlc Dorl
2, Uvc Ivcvivg, Zs tlc Story !os Told, `citlcr, Stirrivgs
Still, and !lot Is tlc !ord;
Drcom of Ioir to Middlivg !omcv, edlted by Eoln O`Brlen
and Edlth Iournler (Dublln. Black Cat, l992;
London. Calder, l993; New York. Arcade, l993);
Ilcutlcrio (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult, l995); translated
from the Irench by Mlchael Brodsky as Ilcutlcrio
(New York. Ioxrock, l995); translated by Bar
bara Wrlght (London. Iaber × Iaber, l996).
bÇáíáçåë ~åÇ `çääÉÅíáçåëW Iroust, translated lnto Irench
by Edlth Iournler (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult,
l990);
72
p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí ai_ POV
_uod, Clost Trio, . . . but tlc clouds . . . , and `oclt uvd
Troumc, translated by Iournler as _uod ct Trio du
fovt∑mc, . . . quc vuogcs . . . , `oclt uvd Troumc; suivi
dc l`Ipuisc dc Cillcs Dclcu·c (Parls. Edltlons de
Mlnult, l992);
Ivdgomc, edlted by S. E. Gontarskl, volume 2 of Tlc
Tlcotricol `otcbools of Somucl ßcclctt (London.
Iaber × Iaber, l992; New York. Grove, l992)÷
lncludes a revlsed text;
Iropp`s Iost Topc, edlted by |ames Knowlson, volume 3
of Tlc Tlcotricol `otcbools of Somucl ßcclctt (Lon
don. Iaber × Iaber, l992; New York. Grove,
l992)÷lncludes a revlsed text;
!oitivg for Codot, edlted by Dougald McMlllan and
Knowlson, volume l of Tlc Tlcotricol `otcbools of
Somucl ßcclctt (London. Iaber × Iaber, l993; New
York. Grove, l991)÷lncludes a revlsed text;
Morc Iricls tlov Iicls, translated lnto Irench by Iournler
as ßovdc ct sorobovdc (Parls. Edltlons de Mlnult,
l991);
Tlc Complctc Slort Irosc 1929-19S9, edlted by Gontarskl
(New York. Grove, l995);
Tlc Slortcr Iloys, edlted by Gontarskl, volume 1 of Tlc
Tlcotricol `otcbools of Somucl ßcclctt (London.
Iaber × Iaber, l999; New York. Grove, l999)÷
lncludes revlsed texts of Iootfolls, Comc ovd Co, and
!lot !lcrc;
Slorts, l2 volumes (London. Calder, l999);
Iocms 19J0-19S9 (London. Calder, 2002).
PLAY PRODLCJIONS. Iv ottcvdovt Codot, Parls,
Jhéâtre de Babylone, 5 |anuary l953; produced
ln Engllsh as !oitivg for Codot, London, Arts Jhe
atre Club, 3 August l955; transferred to the Crl
terlon Jheatre, l2 September l955; Mlaml,
Coconut Grove Playhouse, 3 |anuary l956; New
York, |ohn Golden Jheatre, l9 Aprll l956;
Iiv dc portic and Zctc sovs porolcs (I), London, Royal
Court Jheatre, 3 Aprll l957; Parls, Studlo des
ChampsElysées, 26 Aprll l957; translated lnto
Engllsh by Beckett as Ivdgomc and Zct !itlout
!ords I, New York, Cherry Lane Jheatre, 28 |an
uary l958; London, Royal Court Jheatre, 28
October l958;
Iropp`s Iost Topc, London, Royal Court Jheatre, 28
October l958 |produced wlth Ivdgomc|; New
York, Provlncetown Playhouse, l1 |anuary l960;
translated lnto Irench by Beckett as Io Dcrvi≠rc
bovdc, Parls, Jhéâtre Récamler, 22 March l960;
Zct !itlout !ords II, London, Instltute of Contemporary
Arts, 25 |anuary l960; Mllwaukee, Lnlverslty of
Wlsconsln, l0 |uly l962;
Hoppy Doys, New York, Cherry Lane Jheatre, l7 Sep
tember l96l; London, Royal Court Jheatre, l
November l962; translated lnto Irench by Beck
ett as Ul lcs bcoux jours, Venlce, Jeatro del Rldotto,
28 September l963; Parls, OdéonJhéâtre de
Irance, 2l October l963;
Iloy, translated lnto German by Elmar Jophoven and
Erlka Jophoven as Spicl, Llm, Germany, Llmer
Jheater, l1 |une l963; orlglnal Engllsh verslon
produced as Iloy, New York, Cherry Lane Jhe
atre, 1 |anuary l961; London, Old Vlc Jheatre, 7
Aprll l961; translated lnto Irench by Beckett as
Comcdic, Parls, Pavlllon de Marsan, ll |une l961;
Comc ovd Co, translated lnto German by Elmar
Jophoven and Erlka Jophoven as Iommcv uvd
Cclcv, Berlln, SchlllerJheater Werkstatt, l1 |anu
ary l966; translated lnto Irench by Beckett as !o-
ct-vicvt, Parls, OdéonJhéâtre de Irance, 28 Ieb
ruary l966; orlglnal Engllsh verslon produced as
Comc ovd Co, Dublln, Peacock Jheatre, 28 Iebru
ary l968; London, Royal Iestlval Hall, 9 Decem
ber l968; Mllwaukee, Lnlverslty of Wlsconsln,
Performlng Arts Center, 23 November l970;
ßrcotl, New York, Eden Jheatre, l7 |une l969 |as part
of Ul! Colcutto! |; Oxford, Oxford Playhouse, 8
March l970;
`ot I, New York, Llncoln Center, 22 November l972;
London, Royal Court Jheatre, l6 |anuary l973;
translated lnto Irench by Beckett as Ios moi, Parls,
Jhéâtre d`Orsay, 3 Aprll l975;
Tlot Timc and Iootfolls, London, Royal Court Jheatre,
20 May l976; Washlngton, D.C., Arena Stage, 3
December l976; Iootfolls translated lnto Irench by
Beckett as Ios, Parls, Jhéâtre d`Orsay, ll Aprll
l978;
Z Iiccc of Movologuc, New York, La Mama Experlmental
Jheatre Club, l1 December l979;
Iocloby, Buffalo, State Lnlverslty of New York at Buf
falo, 8 Aprll l98l; London, Cottesloe Jheatre
(Natlonal Jheatre), 9 December l982; translated
lnto Irench by Beckett as ßcrccusc, Parls, Centre
Georges Pompldou, l1 October l98l;
Ulio Impromptu, Columbus, Ohlo State Lnlverslty, 9
May l98l; Nottlngham, Lnlverslty of Nottlng
ham Dramatlc Soclety, 22 |une l981; flrst profes
slonal productlon, Edlnburgh, Edlnburgh
Iestlval, l3 August l981; translated lnto Irench
by Beckett as Impromptu d`Ulio, Parls, Jhéâtre du
RondPolnt, l5 September l983;
Cotostroplc, Avlgnon, Avlgnon Iestlval, 2l |uly l982;
Engllsh verslon produced wlth !lot !lcrc, New
York, Harold Clurman Jheatre, l5 |une l983;
Edlnburgh, Edlnburgh Iestlval, l3 August l981;
!lot !lcrc, produced wlth Cotostroplc, New York,
Harold Clurman Jheater, l5 |une l983; Edln
burgh, Edlnburgh Iestlval, l3 August l981; orlgl
73
ai_ POV p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí
nal Irench verslon of !lot !lcrc produced as
_uoi ou, Parls, Jhéâtre du RondPolnt, Aprll l986.
PRODLCED SCRIPJS. Zll Tlot Ioll, radlo, BBC
Jhlrd Programme, l3 |anuary l957;
Imbcrs, radlo, BBC Jhlrd Programme, 21 |une l959;
!ords ovd Music, radlo, BBC Jhlrd Programme, l3
November l962;
Coscovdo, radlo, RJIIrance Culture, l3 October l963;
Engllsh verslon, BBC Jhlrd Programme, 6 Octo
ber l961;
Iilm, motlon plcture, Evergreen, l965;
Il ¸oc, televlslon, SΩddeutscher Rundfunk, l3 Aprll
l966 |as Hc, ¸oc|; orlglnal Engllsh verslon, BBC
2, 1 |uly l966; German verslon revlsed as Hc, ¸oc,
SΩddeutscher Rundfunk, l3 September l979;
Iougl for Iodio II, radlo, BBC Radlo 3, l3 Aprll l976;
Slodcs, televlslon, BBC 2, l7 Aprll l977÷comprlsed
Clost Trio, . . . but tlc clouds . . . , and `ot I;
_uodrot 1 + 2, televlslon, SΩddeutscher Rundfunk, 8
October l98l; Engllsh verslon broadcast as _uod,
BBC 2, l6 December l982;
`oclt uvd Troumc, televlslon, SΩddeutscher Rundfunk,
l9 May l983;
!os wo [!lot !lcrc], televlslon, SΩddeutscher Rund
funk, l3 Aprll l986.
OJHER. 'Dante, Bruno, Vlco, |oyce," ln Uur Ixogmi-
votiov Iouvd His Ioctificotiov for Ivcomivotiov of
!orl iv Irogrcss, by Beckett and others (Parls.
Shakespeare and Company, l929), pp. 3-22;
'Irom the Only Poet to a Shlnlng Whore" ln Hcvry-
Music, by Henry Crowder and others (Parls.
Hours Press, l930), pp. l2-l1;
'Hell Crane to Starllng," 'Casket of Prallnen for a
Daughter of a Dlsslpated Mandarln," 'Jext,"
and 'Yoke of Llberty," ln Tlc Iuropcov Corovov:
Zv Zvtlology of tlc `cw Spirit iv Iuropcov Iitcro-
turc. Iort 1, Irovcc, Spoiv, Ivglovd ovd Irclovd,
edlted by Samuel Putnam, Malda Castelhun
Darnton, George Reavey, and |. Bronowskl
(New York. Brewer, Warren × Putnam, l93l),
pp. 175-180;
Zs tlc Story !os Told, ln CΩvtcr Iicl ·um Ccdocltvis,
edlted by Slegfrled Lnseld (Irankfurt am Maln.
Suhrkamp, l973);
Ccilivg, ln Avlgdor Arlkha, Zrillo (Parls. Hermann,
l985; London. Jhames × Hudson, l985), p.
l2.
JRANSLAJIONS. Selected translatlons, ln `cgro: Zv
Zvtlology, edlted by Nancy Cunard (London.
Wlshart, l931);
Octavlo Paz, comp., Zvtlology of Mcxicov Ioctry (Bloom
lngton. Indlana Lnlverslty Press, l958);
Arthur Rlmbaud, Druvlcv ßoot [Ic botcou ivrc] (Readlng.
Whlteknlghts Press, l976).
Samuel Beckett ls the only Nobel laureate to
appear ln the crlcketers` blble, !isdcv, havlng repre
sented a Dublln Lnlverslty slde that toured England
ln l925 and l926. Beckett batted lefthanded and
bowled rlghthanded÷an lndlvldual approach that
was reflected ln most aspects of hls llfe, lncludlng hls
dlstlnctlve wrltlng. Jhe Nobel cltatlon from the
Swedlsh Academy states that hls award was for 'a
body of work that, ln new forms of flctlon and the
theatre, has transmuted the destltutlon of modern
man lnto hls exaltatlon." Beckett was, wlthout doubt,
one of the most slgnlflcant wrlters of the twentleth
century, and hls lnfluence and popularlty llve on lnto
the twentyflrst century.
Samuel Barclay Beckett was born at Cooldrl
nagh ln Ioxrock, County Dublln, on Good Irlday,
l3 Aprll l906. Irlday the Jhlrteenth was a partlcu
larly approprlate date for thls enlgmatlc flgure, who
had the reputatlon of belng somber and secretlve and
who refused to glve lntervlews about hlmself or hls
work, whlch appears to focus almost excluslvely on
the bleaker, darker slde of exlstence. Jhe popular
myth of Beckett as a mysterlous recluse was far from
the truth, however, and hld a prlvate but lmmensely
graclous and carlng person, whose generoslty
extended well beyond hls lmmedlate clrcle of frlends
to almost anyone he met.
Beckett was the second son of Wllllam Irank
Beckett, a quantlty surveyor, and hls wlfe, Marla
(née Roe), known as May, who was a nurse. Jhe
famlly was staunchly Protestant and mlddleclass,
placlng Beckett ln the mlnorlty ln the predomlnantly
Cathollc Dublln. Desplte a turbulent relatlonshlp
wlth hls mother, who was strongwllled and protec
tlve, he had a relatlvely happy chlldhood ln rural
Ioxrock, attendlng a klndergarten run by two elderly
German slsters, Ida and Paullne Elsner, ln the nearby
vlllage of Stlllorgan. He was subsequently sent to
Portora Royal School ln Ennlsklllen, along wlth hls
elder brother, Irank. In addltlon to belng glfted aca
demlcally, Beckett had a llfelong love of sport, datlng
back to hls school days, where he excelled at rugby,
tennls, boxlng, and crlcket. When he entered Jrlnlty
College, Dublln, ln l923, Beckett`s passlon for sport
was gradually superseded by hls lnterests ln art,
muslc, and llterature. Although he only drlfted
slowly toward the study of modern languages, hav
lng also studled Engllsh llterature, he proved to be a
talented llngulst, graduatlng flrst ln hls year ln
71
p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí ai_ POV
Irench and Itallan. Hls Irench tutor, Jhomas Brown
RudmoseBrown, lntroduced hlm to a wlde range of
classlcal and modern Irench llterature, and hls Ital
lan studles provlded hls lnltlal contact wlth Dante`s
Divivo commcdio, a source of lnterest throughout hls
llfe. Hls academlc prowess was partnered wlth a pas
slon for muslchall and vaudevllle theater as well as
the sllent slapstlck movles and early shorts of Charlle
Chaplln, the Marx Brothers, and Buster Keaton.
Whlle at Jrlnlty College, Beckett met hls flrst love,
fellow pupll Ethna MacCarthy, who lnsplred the
poems 'Alba" (flrst publlshed ln Dubliv Mogo·ivc ln
l93l) and 'Yoke of Llberty" (flrst publlshed ln Tlc
Iuropcov Corovov: Zv Zvtlology of tlc `cw Spirit iv Iuro-
pcov Iitcroturc, l93l). Although hls feellngs were not
reclprocated, the two remalned good frlends untll
MacCarthy`s death from cancer ln l959.
After he graduated, an academlc career seemed
the obvlous optlon for the young, glfted llngulst, and
Beckett taught Irench for two terms at Campbell
College, Belfast÷an experlence he hated. In Novem
ber l928 he assumed the posltlon of lcctcur at the
Ecole Normale Supérleure ln Parls, where he became
frlends wlth Jhomas MacGreevy, hls predecessor ln
the post, who lntroduced hlm to |ames |oyce and hls
clrcle. Beckett lmmersed hlmself completely ln thls
artlstlc group, resultlng ln the lncluslon of hls essay
'Dante, Bruno, Vlco, |oyce" ln Uur Ixogmivotiov
Iouvd His Ioctificotiov for Ivcomivotiov of !orl iv Irogrcss
(l929), a volume celebratlng the work that became
|oyce`s Iivvcgovs !olc (l939). Jhe essay, whlch also
appeared ln the llterary journal Trovsitiov (Sprlng-
Summer l929), shows Beckett`s clear admlratlon for
|oyce`s style but also allows hlm to exhlblt hls own
ablllty to manlpulate language. Beckett`s flrst flc
tlonal work, 'Assumptlon," appeared ln the same
lssue of Trovsitiov, followed shortly afterward by hls
flrst lndependent publlcatlon. !loroscopc (l930), a
poem based on the llfe of René Descartes, wrltten as
an entry for the Hours Press poetry competltlon
organlzed by Nancy Cunard. Jhe tltle shows Beck
ett`s playfulness wlth language, belng a pun on the
word 'whore" and the Greek 'horo" (tlme/hour), as
well as alludlng to Descartes`s famous refusal to
reveal hls exact date of blrth, so that no astrologer
could wrlte an accurate horoscope predlctlng the date
of hls death.
In the autumn of l930 Beckett returned to
Dublln to take up a lectureshlp ln modern languages
at Jrlnlty College, where he taught classes on the
works of |ean Raclne, Moll≠re, Honoré de Balzac,
Stendhal, Gustave Ilaubert, and Marcel Proust. As
hls contrlbutlon to the Modern Languages Soclety`s
annual presentatlon at the Peacock Jheatre, Beckett
took hls flrst steps toward becomlng a playwrlght by
collaboratlng wlth Georges Pelorson to create a one
act pastlche of Plerre Cornellle`s play Ic Cid (l637),
tltled Ic Iid (performed ln l93l). Although Pelorson
wrote most of the plece (and most Beckett scholars
therefore no longer regard lt as a work by Beckett),
Beckett came up wlth the tltle, whlch was also a play
on Chaplln`s movle Tlc Iid (l92l). In complete con
trast to thls llghthearted parody, Beckett also pub
llshed hls hlghly regarded essay Iroust (l93l), a study
of Z lo rcclcrclc du tcmps pcrdu (l9l3-l927, Remem
brance of Jhlngs Past), showcaslng Beckett`s crltlcal
wrltlng. In thls book he analyzes the maln Proustlan
concepts. tlme, 'that doubleheaded monster of dam
natlon and salvatlon"; lnvoluntary memory, 'an
lmmedlate, total and dellclous deflagratlon"; and
hablt, 'the ballast that chalns the dog to hls vomlt."
As blographer |ames Knowlson records, Beckett
dld not take to the 'grotesque comedy of lecturlng,"
descrlblng lt as 'teachlng to others what he dld not
know hlmself." After sufferlng a vlrtual breakdown
toward the end of l93l, Beckett reallzed that he was
not cut out for the rlgors of academlc llfe but was more
sulted to the artlstlc llfestyle he had encountered ln
Parls ln the company of |oyce. He subsequently
reslgned from hls teachlng post and declded to return to
Parls ln order to forge a career as a wrlter and transla
tor.
Durlng l932 Beckett worked on a novel tltled
Drcom of Ioir to Middlivg !omcv (l992), whlch he had
begun ln Dublln. A complex mlxture of crltlcal theory
and blographlcal detall, based loosely on Beckett`s own
turbulent llfestyle durlng hls tlme at Jrlnlty College,
thls novel presents the young wrlter wlth an opportu
nlty to dlsplay hls llterary and llngulstlc knowledge. It
follows the adventures of a young Irlshman, Belacqua
Shuah, whose name ls llfted dlrectly from Dante`s Iur-
gotorio. Iull of forelgn vocabulary and obscure llterary
alluslons, lt was perhaps too lntellectual for lts own
good, and Beckett was unable to flnd a publlsher for lt.
It was flnally publlshed after hls death. In l933, vlrtu
ally broke and under pressure to leave Parls because of
a clampdown on forelgn resldents, Beckett returned to
Dublln. Hls father dled on 26 |une l933, leavlng Beck
ett feellng gullty and depressed at havlng falled hlm by
reslgnlng from the teachlng post. Hls mental problems
lncreased as the year progressed, and he moved to Lon
don, where he underwent psychotherapy for almost
two years wlth Wllfred Blon at the Javlstock Cllnlc.
Durlng thls perlod, Beckett read wldely on psychology
and psychoanalysls and vlslted Bethlem Royal Hospl
tal, where a former school frlend, Geoffrey Jhompson,
worked as a doctor. Beckett`s own experlence of psy
75
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chotherapy and hls lnterest ln mental lllness ln general
are reflected ln much of hls subsequent wrltlng.
Beckett recycled some of the materlal from hls
unpubllshed novel ln Morc Iricls tlov Iicls (l931), a
collectlon of ten satlrlcal short storles about the
explolts of Belacqua Shuah. Wrltten ln a slmllarly
hlghbrow llterary style, the book was well recelved
crltlcally but sold poorly. Beckett also completed
nlneteen translatlons for Nancy Cunard`s `cgro: Zv
Zvtlology (l931), reallzlng that translatlon mlght be
one posslble way to support hlmself. MacGreevy
lntroduced Beckett to varlous flgures ln the publlsh
lng world ln an attempt to ald hls wrltlng career. Jhls
asslstance resulted ln a serles of revlews for llterary
journals, one of whlch, a revlew of Mo·ort Uv tlc !oy
to Iroguc, a l931 translatlon of Eduard M∏rlke`s
Mo·ort ouf dcr Icisc vocl Irog (l856), offers an early
lnslght lnto Beckett`s stance concernlng language. In
thls revlew, lncluded ln Disjccto: Misccllovcous !ritivgs
ovd o Dromotic Irogmcvt (l983), Beckett argues that
M∏rlke`s work ls 'at least short, whlch ls nowadays
so rare a quallty ln a llterary work that one cannot
refraln from commendlng thls book for havlng con
trlved, ln 20,000 words lnstead of ln 200,000, to
exhaust the lnessentlal." Jhls goal ls preclsely what
many of Beckett`s own subsequent protagonlsts are
trylng to achleve÷'to exhaust the lnessentlal." Beck
ett clalms that 'all wrltlng, quo wrltlng, ls bound to
fall," neatly summarlzlng hls approach to hls own
creatlve process and hls constant attempts to 'Iall
agaln. Iall better," as he wrote ln !orstword Ho
(l983). In addltlon to these llterary revlews, he also
publlshed a collectlon of thlrteen poems under the
tltle Iclo`s ßovcs ovd Utlcr Irccipitotcs (l935).
In September l931 Beckett moved to the World`s
End area of London, the settlng for hls next novel, Mur-
ply (l938), whlch he completed ln |une l936. Some
what autoblographlcal ln nature, the novel recounts the
tale of the Irlsh 'everyman" of the tltle. down on hls
luck, llvlng ln slmllar clrcumstances to Beckett, and
torn between the splrltual and the physlcal. Probably
Beckett`s most accesslble prose work, lt ls less overtly
lntellectual than hls prevlous efforts, belng what C. |.
Ackerley and S. E. Gontarskl ln Tlc Crovc Compoviov to
ßcclctt (2001) call 'a glgantlc joke made up of tlny
ones." It has a wealth of entertalnlng characters and
draws on Beckett`s knowledge of Descartes and Ilemlsh
phllosopher Arnold Geullncx as well as hls own love of
chess for lts plot. Its most famous moment ls Murphy`s
funeral wake, where, durlng a drunken argument, 'the
body, mlnd and soul of Murphy were freely dlstrlbuted
over the floor of the saloon." In a scene that mlxes com
edy and pathos, hls ashes are swept away 'wlth the
sand, the beer, the butts, the glass, the matches, the
splts, the vomlt." Desplte the potentlal appeal of the
novel, Beckett remalned unable to flnd a publlsher for lt
for almost two years. After a promlslng start, hls llter
ary career now seemed to be struggllng.
In September l936, havlng recently become
lnterested ln art hlstory, Beckett traveled to Germany
wlth the lntentlon of vlsltlng varlous gallerles. He
was dlsappolnted to flnd that the Nazls had removed
all the modern palntlngs that they consldered degener
ate. Jhls perlod ln Germany was of great lmportance ln
Beckett`s development as a wrlter, as he met a serles
of people who lntroduced hlm to the work of the
most forwardthlnklng German artlsts and wrlters.
Although the perlod was unproductlve ln terms of cre
atlve wrltlng, Beckett kept a slxvolume dlary and a
notebook durlng hls travels. Jhe notebook bears the
lnscrlptlon 'Whoroscope," although lts contents are
unrelated to the poem of that tltle. It lncludes a wealth
of lnformatlon on Beckett`s readlng matter and
thoughts durlng these slx unhappy months, ln partlcu
lar outllnlng hls attractlon toward German phllosophy
and hls growlng lnterest ln contemporary German llter
ature. Around thls tlme, Beckett also began worklng on
a play about Samuel |ohnson and hls clrcle, whlch he
tltled 'Human Wlshes." Desplte fllllng several note
books wlth source materlal and drafts, he never pub
llshed the play, and only a fragment appears ln Disjccto.
On returnlng to Dublln, Beckett was called as a
wltness ln a llbel case lnvolvlng hls uncle, Harry Sln
clalr; Knowlson reports that durlng the trlal, Beckett`s
artlstlc llfestyle was scrutlnlzed and he was descrlbed as
'that bawd and blasphemer from Parls." Havlng wlt
nessed flrsthand the lntolerance of the Nazl reglme
toward wrlters and artlsts ln Germany, Beckett made
the declslon to llve ln Parls for the rest of hls llfe. Hls
llfe as an exlle dld not begln well. on 5 |anuary l938 he
was stabbed near the heart by a plmp and only nar
rowly escaped death. Whlle recuperatlng ln hospltal, he
was vlslted by Suzanne DeschevauxDumesnll, a
Irench woman he had met ten years earller. By l939
they were llvlng together, although they dld not marry
untll 25 March l96l. Beckett spent the last years of the
decade worklng on the Irench translatlon of Murply
wlth Alfred Péron. He also wrote several poems ln
Irench, whlch were publlshed ln Ics Tcmps Modcrvcs ln
l916.
Beckett`s declslon that he preferred Irance at
the outbreak of World War II to Ireland at peace was
more than a mere gesture. As an Irlshman llvlng
abroad, Beckett was, ln theory, a neutral. But, havlng
recently experlenced the lnhumanlty of the Nazl
reglme ln Germany, he felt unable to stand by and
allow hls Irench frlends and colleagues to be perse
cuted. He was lntroduced to a Réslstance cell by
76
p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí ai_ POV
Péron and was soon worklng as a translator and
relaylng messages. When the cell was lnflltrated ln
August l912, Beckett and DeschevauxDumesnll fled
to Rousslllon ln the Vaucluse, where they spent the
rest of the war ln hldlng. Durlng thelr forced lsola
tlon, Beckett managed to complete a novel, t~íí
(l953), whlch he later descrlbed dlsparaglngly
(accordlng to Lawrence Harvey) as 'only a game . . .
a means of staylng sane and a way to keep |my| hand
ln." In contrast to jìêéÜóI t~íí ls one of Beckett`s
least accesslble works. It relates the story of the tltle
character, flrst a servant ln Mr. Knott`s house and
later resldent of an lnstltutlon, where he recounts hls
adventures to another lnmate called Sam. Jhe novel
documents Watt`s gradual mental deterloratlon and
ls full of complex llsts, hypotheses, and calculatlons,
based on probabllltles and permutatlons, whlch can
be perplexlng for the reader. Completely dlfferent
styllstlcally from hls prevlous novels, t~íí was Beck
ett`s last work ln Engllsh for several years. Beckett`s
experlences durlng the war altered hls outlook on llfe
dramatlcally, and hls feellngs of lsolatlon, uncer
talnty, and danger are reflected ln much of hls post
war wrltlng. Beckett was awarded the Crolx de
Guerre and the Médallle de la Reconnalssance
Irançalse for hls Réslstance work durlng the war.
Yet, wlth hls usual modesty, he dlsmlssed hls brave
actlons as merely 'boy scout actlvltles."
Durlng a vlslt to Ioxrock shortly after the war,
Beckett experlenced what he descrlbed as a 'revela
tlon," an eplsode he later drew on ln hê~ééÛë i~ëí q~éÉ
(performed ln l958, publlshed ln l959). At the root
of thls vlslon was the reallzatlon that he had to move
away from |oyce`s shadow and forge hls own dlstlnc
tlve llterary style. Knowlson notes that whereas |oyce
regarded knowledge as a means to understand and
control the world, Beckett`s 'own way was ln lmpov
erlshment, ln lack of knowledge and ln taklng away,
ln subtractlng rather than addlng." In an attempt to
slmpllfy hls llterary style, Beckett began wrltlng ln
Irench ln earnest. Iorclng hlmself to wrlte ln a for
elgn language seemed the best way of avoldlng what
he vlewed as the llterary excesses of hls earller
works. Jhls dlssatlsfactlon wlth hls own language as
an expresslve medlum has lts roots ln aêÉ~ã çÑ c~áê íç
jáÇÇäáåÖ tçãÉåI ln whlch Beckett clalms, 'Jhey have
no style, they wrlte wlthout style, do they not. . . .
Perhaps only the Irench can do lt. Perhaps only the
Irench language can glve you the thlng you want."
He had clearly been harborlng these feellngs for
some years. In a letter to a German frlend, Axel
Kaun, dated 9 |uly l937 and lncluded ln aáëàÉÅí~I
Beckett wrltes. 'It ls lndeed becomlng more and
more dlfflcult, even senseless, for me to wrlte an offl
clal Engllsh. And more and more my own language
appears to me llke a vell that must be torn apart ln
order to get at the thlngs (or the Nothlngness) behlnd
lt." In thls letter he advocates the search for a new
medlum of expresslon. 'Let us hope the tlme wlll
come, thank God that ln certaln clrcles lt has already
come, when language ls most efflclently used where
lt ls belng most efflclently mlsused."
Jhese thoughts are the roots of hls attempts to
express the lnexpresslble÷that whlch lles behlnd lan
guage. As he notes ln t~ííI 'the only way one can
speak of nothlng ls to speak of lt as though lt were
somethlng." Beckett wants to express hls dlsgust wlth
language through language ltself, clalmlng he would
llke to commlt 'an assault agalnst words ln the name
of beauty." Lntll he can achleve that goal, 'I have
the consolatlon, as now, of slnnlng lnvoluntarlly
agalnst a forelgn language, as I should love to do
wlth full knowledge and lntent agalnst my own." He
ls too proflclent ln hls own language; grammar and
syntax are no longer a challenge. Wrltlng ln a forelgn
language can offer hlm thls challenge untll he can
flnd a way of 'slnnlng" ln hls natlve tongue.
Jhe flrst work Beckett completed ln Irench, ln
l916, was the novel jÉêÅáÉê Éí `~ãáÉê (l970; translated
by Beckett as jÉêÅáÉê ~åÇ `~ãáÉêI l971), whlch follows
the explolts of the two tltular characters, who meet to
undertake a journey that lnvolves many dlstractlons
and devlatlons. Jhematlcally and styllstlcally, lt
clearly preflgures bå ~ííÉåÇ~åí dçÇçí (l952; translated
by Beckett as t~áíáåÖ Ñçê dçÇçíI l951), wlth llnes from
the novel (such as 'Jhey dldn`t beat you?") resurfac
lng almost verbatlm ln the play. Beckett regarded the
novel as a klnd of apprentlce work, ln order to attune
hls ear to wrltlng ln Irench, and lt remalned unpub
llshed untll l970. In early l917 Beckett completed hls
flrst fulllength play, the threeact bäÉìíÜÉêá~ (l995;
translated as bäÉìíܨêá~I l995), the tltle belng the
Greek term for freedom. It ls an unwleldy satlre, wlth
many characters and a spllt set, maklng lt dlfflcult to
stage. Perhaps aware of the structural falllngs of the
play, Beckett remalned adamant that lt should not be
publlshed or performed throughout hls llfe. It was
eventually publlshed slx years after hls death.
Jhe only ltems Beckett dld get publlshed at thls
tlme were several poems and translatlons ln qê~åëáJ
íáçåI the journal edlted by Georges Duthult. Hls most
slgnlflcant wrltlngs from thls perlod are the qÜêÉÉ
aá~äçÖìÉëI whlch appeared ln the December l919
lssue of qê~åëáíáçå and were later publlshed wlth mêçìëí
ln l965. Ostenslbly a serles of conversatlons between
Beckett and Duthult about three artlsts÷Plerre Jal
Coat, André Masson, and Bram van Velde÷the texts
act as a klnd of manlfesto for Beckett to state hls
TT
ai_ POV p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí
m~ÖÉë Ñêçã _ÉÅâÉííÛë ïçêâáåÖ êÉÜÉ~êë~ä Åçéó Ñçê íÜÉ Ñáêëí éÉêÑçêã~åÅÉ çÑ bå ~ííÉåÇ~åí dçÇçí ENVROX íê~åëä~íÉÇ Äó _ÉÅâÉíí ~ë
t~áíáåÖ Ñçê dçÇçíI NVRQF áå m~êáëI NVRPK j~åó çÑ _ÉÅâÉííÛë êÉîáëáçåë ïÉêÉ áåÅçêéçê~íÉÇ áåíç íÜÉ
ëÉÅçåÇ éìÄäáëÜÉÇ ÉÇáíáçå çÑ íÜÉ éä~ó EpçíÜÉÄóÛëI NP aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVVMFK
78
p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí ai_ POV
vlews on art and the role of the artlst. Beckett sum
marlzes the problems faclng a wrlter as 'Jhe expres
slon that there ls nothlng to express, nothlng wlth
whlch to express, nothlng from whlch to express, no
power to express, no deslre to express, together wlth
the obllgatlon to express." As far as Beckett ls con
cerned, fallure ls the artlst`s lot; he clalms he would
be 'the flrst to admlt that to be an artlst ls to fall, as
no other dare fall, that fallure ls hls world and the
shrlnk from lt desertlon."
Jhe change to wrltlng ln Irench marked a
burst of llterary actlvlty for Beckett÷a perlod he
referred to, accordlng to blographer Delrdre Balr, as
'the slege ln the room"÷and he began wrltlng a
dense prose trllogy comprlslng jçääçó (l95l; trans
lated by Beckett and Patrlck Bowles, l955), j~äçåÉ
ãÉìêí (l95l; translated by Beckett as j~äçåÉ aáÉëI
l956) and iÛfååçãã~ÄäÉ (l953; translated by Beckett
as qÜÉ råå~ã~ÄäÉI l958). Jhe composltlon of thls trll
ogy also marked Beckett`s move to the flrstperson
monologue as the predomlnant style ln hls prose
work. Jhls shlft allowed hlm to draw on hls own
mental and physlcal experlences to a much greater
degree whlle stlll belng able to retaln a sultable dls
tance from any blographlcal elements by wrltlng ln a
forelgn language. Beckett vlewed the three novels as
part of the same dlfflcult yet rewardlng composl
tlonal process.
jçääçó was wrltten relatlvely qulckly ln l917
and concerns the eponymous hero`s quest for hls
mother, a search that has Oedlpal overtones. 'I took
her for my mother and she took me for my father."
Llke most llterary quests, Molloy`s journey eventu
ally brlngs hlm back to hlmself. Jhe novel ls dlvlded
lnto two sectlons wlth a slmllar structure; ln each the
reader encounters a man ln a room wrltlng a report.
In the flrst, Molloy recounts hls story; ln the second,
Moran tells how he was sent to flnd Molloy. Desplte
the Ireudlan and |unglan overtones of the novel, a
certaln black humor ls present throughout, wlth each
narrator constantly questlonlng hlmself and under
mlnlng hls prevlous utterances. Moran asks. 'Does
thls mean I am freer now than I was? I do not know.
I shall learn. Jhen I went back lnto the house and
wrote, It ls mldnlght. Jhe raln ls beatlng on the wln
dows. It was not mldnlght. It was not ralnlng." Beck
ett regarded jçääçó as hls flrst successful attempt at
lncorporatlng hls personal experlences lnto hls own
flctlon. In a l6 Iebruary l96l artlcle ln kçìîÉääÉë iáíJ
í¨ê~áêÉëI Gabrlel d`Aubar≠de clalmed that Beckett sum
marlzed the change ln hls approach to wrltlng thus.
'jçääçó and the others came to me the day I became
aware of my own folly. Only then dld I begln to wrlte
the thlngs I feel."
Beckett began wrltlng j~äçåÉ ãÉìêí less than a
month after completlng jçääçó. Planned as a compan
lon plece, the novel was orlglnally tltled 'L`Absent,"
glvlng an lndlcatlon of the narrator`s lsolatlon from
the world, a theme that ls relnforced by the pun
lnherent ln hls name. Malone (M, alone). Llke Mol
loy, Malone ls a wrlter, alone ln a room, aged, pros
trate and lmmoblle, who strlves to recount four
storles before death overcomes hlm. 'one about a
man, another about a woman, a thlrd about a thlng
and flnally one about an anlmal, a blrd probably."
Jhe scene and tone of the novel are set ln the open
lng llne. 'I shall soon be qulte dead at last ln splte of
all." Malone feels a compulslon to wrlte and to exam
lne hls past llfe and hls current sltuatlon, ln order to
stave off the boredom of hls dally exlstence and to
understand hlmself more fully. Ior hlm, 'Nothlng ls
more real than nothlng." Jhe novel focuses on the
act of wrltlng, and Malone`s storytelllng acts as a
metaphor for hls llfe. as hls pencll wears down, the
sands of hls own llfe trlckle away. As long as he ls
able to wrlte 'a few llnes to remlnd me that I too sub
slst," he can cllng to the last vestlges of exlstence. As
death approaches, Malone seems to flnd some klnd
of lnner peace wlth the acceptance that the world ls
full of thlngs he can never understand. Perhaps
unwlttlngly, Beckett predlcts the nature of hls next
novel and also much of hls future wrltlng, ln whlch
hls characters become shadowy, nameless flgures.
'Jhen lt wlll be all over wlth the Murphys, Merclers,
Molloys, Morans and Malones, unless lt goes on
beyond the grave." Jhe novel was turned down by
several publlshers, presumably because of lts subject
matter and style.
Lnable to flnd a publlsher for these two novels
and flndlng hlmself ln a creatlve dead end, Beckett
turned to drama as a relaxatlon from thls lntense
project and, between October l918 and |anuary
l919, he worked feverlshly on a play he tltled bå
~ííÉåÇ~åí dçÇçíÔthe work that brought hlm lnterna
tlonal fame and recognltlon as an author. Yet, as wlth
hls earller works, Beckett struggled lnltlally to flnd a
publlsher. Jhls mlnlmallst, ostenslbly slmple play÷ln
whlch, famously, as Vlvlan Mercler observes, 'noth
lng happens, íïáÅÉ"÷marks a stark contrast from
Beckett`s recent prose work and represents the clos
est he had come to an embodlment of hls search for a
slmpler, more preclse llngulstlc style. Jhe play ls set
ln an unspeclfled locatlon ('A country road. A tree.
Evenlng.") and focuses on the dlalogue between the
two protagonlsts, Estragon and Vladlmlr, who are
halftramp, halfclown; the theme ls perhaps best
summarlzed by Estragon`s openlng llne, 'Nothlng to
be done." As they walt ln valn for the mysterlous
79
ai_ POV p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí
Godot to arrlve, they flll what Beckett called 'the ter
rlble sllence that ls waltlng to flood lnto thls play llke
water lnto a slnklng shlp" wlth a successlon of verbal
and physlcal games, whlch range from slapstlck rou
tlnes to an earnest contemplatlon of sulclde. A brlef
dlstractlon occurs wlth the arrlval of a second couple,
Pozzo and Lucky, the former leadlng the latter by a
rope round hls neck, glvlng the lmpresslon of master
and slave. After thelr departure a boy appears,
lnformlng them that Godot wlll not come today, but
wlll deflnltely come tomorrow, renewlng thelr fadlng
hopes.
Jhe shorter second act ls a structural repetltlon
of the flrst, wlth subtle but slgnlflcant varlatlons.
Although the tree galns a few leaves ln the lnterval,
suggestlng new llfe and hope, ln contrast, when
Pozzo and Lucky return, Pozzo ls bllnd and Lucky ls
mute. Jhe rope blndlng the two ls much shorter, sug
gestlng the power balance has been reversed, wlth
Pozzo now rellant on Lucky as hls gulde. By not glv
lng the play a speclflc settlng, Beckett succeeds ln
maklng lt completely unlversal. Exlstence ls por
trayed as a constant search for meanlng and salva
tlon, whlch are never found. Llfe equates wlth
sufferlng and comprlses a serles of lnane conversa
tlons deslgned to flll the tlme untll death. Desplte the
ostenslble bleakness of the sltuatlon, there ls much
humor ln the play. Estragon and Vladlmlr do not
lose thelr falth, and the bond between them remalns
as strong as ever at the close. Llke an old marrled
couple, they are unable to llve together wlthout blck
erlng, yet are even less able to survlve apart.
Jhe play was publlshed by Edltlons de Mlnult
ln l952 and recelved lts premlere at the Jhéâtre de
Babylone ln Parls on 5 |anuary l953 to great crltlcal
success. |ean Anoullh descrlbed lt ln ^êíë péÉÅí~ÅäÉë (27
Iebruary - 5 March l953) as 'Pascal`s mÉåë¨Éë played
by the Iratelllnl clowns." Beckett translated the play
lnto Engllsh durlng l953, and lt premlered at the
Arts Jheatre Club ln London ln August l955,
dlrected by Peter Hall. Although lt recelved malnly
hostlle revlews, the two leadlng theater crltlcs of the
era, Kenneth Jynan and Harold Hobson, champl
oned lt, helplng to turn lt lnto an lntellectual success.
In |anuary l956 the play had lts Amerlcan premlere
ln Mlaml, agaln to a hostlle receptlon; but wlthln a
few months, lt was playlng on Broadway to large
audlences, clalmlng lts rlghtful posltlon as one of the
most slgnlflcant plays of the twentleth century.
After thls brlef lnterlude that resulted ln bå
~ííÉåÇ~åí dçÇçíI Beckett returned to wrltlng the flnal
part of hls prose trllogy, iÛfååçãã~ÄäÉ. Orlglnally
tltled 'Mahood," after one of the names attrlbuted to
the narrator, thls novel was begun ln March l919,
wlth trepldatlon, after the mental and physlcal effort
he had expended on the two prevlous novels÷appar
ently ln valn, slnce he stlll had not found a publlsher
for them. In a conversatlon wlth the artlst Avlgdor
Arlkha (quoted ln Anne Atlk, eçï fí t~ëW ^ jÉãçáê çÑ
p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉííI 200l), Beckett later descrlbed qÜÉ
råå~ã~ÄäÉ as an attempt 'to try to tell one more tlme
what lt ls to have been." Jhe questlonlng tone of the
novel ls set by the openlng llne. 'Where now? Who
now? When now?" qÜÉ råå~ã~ÄäÉ ls a key work ln
Beckett`s canon, as lt preflgures much of hls subse
quent prose and drama ln both style and content. It
focuses on the deslre to be sllent, comblned wlth the
compulslon to speak. 'Havlng nothlng to say, no
words but the words of others, I have to speak." Jhls
lack of 'deslre to express, together wlth the obllga
tlon to express," ls somethlng Beckett had already
ldentlfled ln the qÜêÉÉ aá~äçÖìÉë. Preflgurlng by more
than twenty years the subject matter of hls play kçí f
(performed ln l972, publlshed ln l973), ln whlch the
character Mouth ls forced to spout the words that are
pent up wlthln her, the narrator ln qÜÉ råå~ã~ÄäÉ ls
'compelled to speak" and has just as llttle control
over language. 'Where do these words come from
that pour out of my mouth, and what do they
mean?" Echolng the sltuatlon ln t~áíáåÖ Ñçê dçÇçíI
where Estragon and Vladlmlr flnd seemlngly endless
ways to contlnue thelr conversatlons, the narrator of
qÜÉ råå~ã~ÄäÉ argues that 'the dlscourse must go on.
So one lnvents obscurltles. Rhetorlc." As he explalns,
'the search for the means to put an end to thlngs, an
end to speech, ls what enables the dlscourse to con
tlnue." In order to add to the narrator`s confuslon,
Beckett uses several contradlctory volces, wlth the
result that language both comforts and terrorlzes the
narrator. 'Ah lf only thls volce could stop, thls mean
lngless volce whlch prevents you from belng nothlng,
just barely prevents you from belng nothlng and
nowhere." If the volces are sllenced, then he wlll
have peace; but the cessatlon of the volces also
means the end of llfe, so lt ls a doubleedged sword.
Jhe novel concludes wlth one of Beckett`s most
famous llnes, whlch encapsulates the ethos of many
of hls characters who contlnue thelr struggle ln the
face of overwhelmlng odds. 'where I am, I don`t
know, I`ll never know, ln the sllence you don`t know,
you must go on, I can`t go on, I`ll go on."
In response to a request from hls Amerlcan
publlsher, Barney Rosset, Beckett reverted to Engllsh
for hls next composltlon, cêçã ~å ^Ä~åÇçåÉÇ tçêâ
(l958). It flrst appeared ln qêáåáíó kÉïë ln |une l956,
wlth many edltorlal modlflcatlons, and was the flrst
example of Beckett`s generoslty toward hls alma
mater. As the tltle suggests, the text ls resurrected
80
p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí ai_ POV
from a longer, dlscarded plece. It ls wrltten ln a con
versatlonal style, as the flrstperson narrator recounts
three days chosen randomly from hls llfe. Jhe text
seems to allude to Beckett`s own experlence of lan
guage learnlng. 'I was very qulck as a boy and
plcked up a lot of hard knowledge, Schlmmel, nlce
word for an Engllsh speaker." Yet, the narrator ls
scathlng about hls proflclency ln hls mother tongue÷
'awful Engllsh thls"÷an unlntentlonal, but apt, com
ment on the changes made by the qêáåáíó kÉïë edltors.
In the years followlng the success of t~áíáåÖ Ñçê
dçÇçíI Beckett focused on dramatlc wrltlng, startlng
wlth cáå ÇÉ é~êíáÉ (l957; translated by Beckett as båÇJ
Ö~ãÉI l958), another play wlth a closed, nonspeclflc
locatlon, whlch has been lnterpreted as both a post
apocalyptlc bunker and the lnslde of the human
braln. Jhls nondescrlpt, gray settlng ls populated by
four characters, who appear to represent three gener
atlons of the same famlly. Bleaker and 'more lnhu
man than dçÇçí " (accordlng to Beckett), wlth the
actlon llmlted to thls claustrophoblc slngle room wlth
two hlgh wlndows that look out onto what remalns
of the deserted outslde world, the play focuses on the
lovehate relatlonshlp between Hamm and Clov, who
are apparently father and son. Llke Estragon and
Vladlmlr, these two protagonlsts are an lnseparable
couple whose exlstence ls a routlne of verbal
exchanges ln order to pass the tlme. Beckett used the
Latln phrase åÉÅ íÉÅìã åÉÅ ëáåÉ íÉ (nelther wlth you nor
wlthout you) to descrlbe thelr relatlonshlp. Clov`s
openlng llne, 'Ilnlshed, lt`s flnlshed, nearly flnlshed,
lt must be nearly flnlshed," ls lndlcatlve of hls deslre
to be free from Hamm. He yearns for 'a world where
all would be sllent and stlll and each thlng ln lts last
place, under the last dust." Hamm, ln contrast,
merely regards Clov as an object of entertalnment.
'Slnce that`s the way we`re playlng lt . . . let`s play lt
that way." Jhe humor and the dlalogue ln thls play
are much darker than lts predecessor, wlth physlcal
and mental sufferlng more evldent. Jhe other two
characters, Nagg and Nell, Hamm`s parents, are
reduced to llvlng ln dustblns. Yet, as Nell remarks,
'Nothlng ls funnler than unhapplness." Llke t~áíáåÖ
Ñçê dçÇçíI båÇÖ~ãÉ has a loosely clrcular structure.
Although there seems to be some klnd of progresslon
by the end of the play, wlth Clov apparently dressed
to leave, lt ls merely an asymptotlc approach toward
an unattalnable end. Jhere ls nothlng to suggest that
the actlon wlll not begln agaln the next day ln
exactly the same manner. Jhe play premlered ln
Irench at the Royal Court Jheatre ln London on 3
Aprll l957, after censorshlp problems concernlng sev
eral llnes that the Lord Chamberlaln regarded as
blasphemous. By October of the followlng year,
Beckett`s Engllsh translatlon was playlng ln the same
theater.
Around thls tlme, Beckett was asked by the
BBC to wrlte a radlo play, resultlng ln ^ää qÜ~í c~ää
(l957), whlch ls set ln Ioxrock and features charac
ters from the same background as hlmself; lt was
broadcast ln |anuary l957. Radlo also provlded hlm
wlth the lnsplratlon for hls next dramatlc work. Hav
lng heard the Irlsh actor Patrlck Magee readlng
extracts from jçääçó and cêçã ~å ^Ä~åÇçåÉÇ tçêâ as
part of a BBC broadcast ln December l957, Beckett
was lnsplred to wrlte hê~ééÛë i~ëí q~éÉI the story of a
lonely old man who spends hls blrthdays llstenlng to
recordlngs of hls former self and maklng a new
recordlng documentlng the achlevements of that
year. By clever use of what was relatlvely new tech
nology at the tlme, Beckett ls able to present three
lncarnatlons of Krapp on the stage, as he llstens to
recordlngs from dlfferent eras of hls llfe. Beckett utl
llzes Manlchaean lmagery to portray Krapp`s con
stant struggle between good and bad, the splrltual
and the physlcal, as he moves physlcally and meta
phorlcally between llght and dark, desperate to dls
tance hlmself from hls falled earller self. At one polnt
Krapp recounts a revelatlon he had÷'that memorable
nlght ln March, at the end of the jetty, ln the howllng
wlnd, never to be forgotten, when suddenly I saw the
whole thlng"÷echolng Beckett`s own revelatlon some
years earller. Jhe play ends wlth a recordlng of the
younger Krapp (at age thlrtynlne) stlll playlng. 'Per
haps my best years are gone. When there was a
chance of happlness. But I wouldn`t want them back.
Not wlth the flre ln me now." Hls present condltlon
ls evldence that thls flre burned out and came to
nothlng. Jhe decade concluded wlth Beckett belng
awarded an honorary D.Lltt. degree from Jrlnlty
College, Dublln ln l959. Around thls tlme, he also
began a relatlonshlp wlth Barbara Bray, a scrlpt edl
tor at the BBC, whlch contlnued for many years.
Beckett`s next play, e~ééó a~óë (l96l), focuses
on the rambllngs of an elderly woman, Wlnnle, who
ls burled up to her walst ln scorched grass ln the flrst
act and up to her neck ln the second, as the earth llt
erally engulfs her. Her only solace ls 'a capaclous
black bag, shopplng varlety," contalnlng a range of
lmplements÷toothbrush, mlrror, spectacles, and,
rather omlnously, a revolver, whlch she places on the
mound ln front of her as her flnal optlon. Jhls vlsu
ally strlklng lmage and the almost complete lack of
physlcal actlon allows Beckett to focus attentlon on
the words Wlnnle speaks. Desplte the fact that every
thlng ls 'runnlng out," lncludlng her memory÷
'Words fall, there are tlmes when even they fall"÷
Wlnnle struggles to remaln optlmlstlc, happy just to
8l
ai_ POV p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí
be acknowledged by her husband, Wlllle, who ls hld
den behlnd the mound and utters a mere handful of
words throughout. Lnable to remaln sllent, she
needs an audlence of some klnd ln order to be able to
contlnue. 'just to know that ln theory you can hear
me even though ln fact you don`t ls all I need, just to
feel you there wlthln earshot." At the end of the play,
Wlllle crawls to the front of the mound and reaches
toward the gun. As the curtaln falls on thls tableau, lt
remalns unclear whether he ls slmply reachlng out to
touch Wlnnle, or whether he lntends to use the gun
to klll her, or hlmself, and brlng an end to thelr pltl
ful exlstence. A vlrtual monologue, lastlng around an
hour and a half, the play ls the flrst of several to
lnvolve challenglng female roles wlth whlch Beckett
moves away from the physlcal and focuses on the
verbal.
Beckett`s next work for the stage, Iloy (per
formed and publlshed ln Engllsh, l961), deplcts the
conventlonal love trlangle of a man, hls wlfe, and hls
mlstress÷perhaps reflectlng hls own sltuatlon wlth
DeschevauxDumesnll and Bray÷but ln an uncon
ventlonal manner. Wrltten ln Engllsh, but flrst per
formed and publlshed ln German (as Spicl ), lt
premlered ln Llm ln |une l963. Jhe three charac
ters, one male flanked by two females, are ensconced
up to thelr necks ln urns, as Beckett agaln forces the
audlence`s attentlon to the verbal element by remov
lng any physlcal attrlbutes. Assumlng the role of a
fourth character, or lnqulsltor, a spotllght focuses on
each head ln turn, promptlng lt to speak at great
speed and wlth llttle emotlon÷ln stark contrast to the
textual content. Jhe entlre play ls repeated, stresslng
that there ls no way out of the sltuatlon. Jhe three
characters are conslgned to thls llvlng hell. One of
the most slgnlflcant llnes ls the male`s questlon, 'Am
I as much as . . . belng seen?"÷lndlcatlng Beckett`s
lnterest ln the concept of observatlon and perceptlon,
a theme lnltlated ln Hoppy Doys. He lnvestlgated thls
theme ln greater depth ln hls next project, the screen
play Iilm (l965). Based on George Berkeley`s maxlm
'esse est perclpl" (to be ls to be percelved), and sllent
throughout, wlth the exceptlon of a 'sssh!", the
twentymlnute motlon plcture follows an old man
(played by Buster Keaton) as he appears to be fleelng
the attentlon of the camera, hls face only becomlng
vlslble, brlefly, at the concluslon. Beckett traveled to
New York ln the summer of l961 to dlrect the plece,
along wlth Alan Schnelder. It premlered at the Venlce
Illm Iestlval ln September l965 and also played at
the New York Illm Iestlval; lt was Beckett`s only
venture lnto the medlum of motlon plctures.
After hls success wlth Iilm, Beckett turned hls
attentlon to the small screen wlth hls flrst televlslon
play, Il ¸oc (broadcast ln l966; publlshed ln Irench
as Dis ¸oc ln l966; publlshed ln Engllsh ln l967),
wrltten for the Irlsh actor |ack MacGowran. As part
of the reductlve process begun wlth Iloy, and wlth a
slmllar thematlc approach to Iilm, thls work focuses,
llterally, on a solltary character slttlng on a bed, as
the camera moves ever closer. In contrast to the usual
televlslon conventlon, the volce heard by the audl
ence ls not that of MacGowran, but a female volce
that echoes around hls head, tauntlng hlm wlth mem
orles of hls past. 'You know that penny farthlng hell
you call your mlnd. . . . Jhat`s where you thlnk thls
ls comlng from, don`t you?" Jhls process of reflne
ment and parlng away contlnued wlth Comc ovd Co
(produced as Iommcv uvd Cclcv, l966; publlshed ln
Irench as !o-ct-vicvt, l966; publlshed ln Engllsh,
l967, performed ln l968), a brlef, twopage text ln
whlch three shrouded women dlscuss what appear to
be thelr grave lllnesses or lmpendlng deaths. As each
woman leaves the stage ln turn, the remalnlng two
dlscuss her apparent crltlcal sltuatlon. By the end of
thls cycle, lt becomes clear that each woman has a
devastatlng secret to hlde. Jhls reductlve process
reached lts loglcal concluslon ln ßrcotl (produced ln
l969, publlshed ln l97l), a thlrtysecond plece com
prlslng two crles, of blrth and death, and a stage
strewn wlth rubblsh representlng the detrltus of llfe.
Desplte hls success as a dramatlst, Beckett con
tlnued to wrlte prose and poetry ln both Engllsh and
Irench, reflnlng hls prose style ln the same way as hls
work for the theater and televlslon. In l96l he had
publlshed the groundbreaklng novel Commcvt c`cst,
translated as How It Is (l961). Dlvlded lnto three sec
tlons ('Before Plm," 'Wlth Plm," and 'After Plm"),
the novel appears to descrlbe the emergence of an
lnclplent form from formlessness. Jhe Irench tltle of
the novel reflects thls theme, belng a pun on the
Irench verb commcvccr (to begln). Wrltten as one long
sentence wlth no punctuatlon, the text ls dlvlded lnto
a successlon of rhythmlcally organlzed segments that
reflect the patterns of human speech. In a veln slml
lar to Lucky`s monologue ln !oitivg for Codot, the
novel ends ln a dramatlc crescendo. 'trouble the
peace no more no answer the sllence no answer dle
no answer DIE . . . screams I MAY DIE screams I
SHALL DIE screams good."
As the l960s progressed, Beckett`s prose and
drama decreased ln length as he found lncreaslngly
successful ways to express the lnexpresslble. Whlle
hls dramatlc works tended to be wrltten ln Engllsh,
he publlshed several mlnlmallst prose texts wrltten ln
Irench, beglnnlng wlth Imogivotiov mortc imogivc·
(l965; translated by Beckett as Imogivotiov Dcod Imog-
ivc, l965). Jaklng lts tltle from the flrst llne of Zll
82
p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí ai_ POV
Strovgc Zwoy (wrltten the prevlous year but not pub
llshed untll l976), thls text opens wlth the omlnous
llne, 'No trace anywhere of llfe, you say." Jhe narra
tor descrlbes the constructlon of a whlte rotunda
contalnlng two motlonless flgures. Wlthln 'thls llttle
fabrlc" there are erratlcally fluctuatlng levels of llght
and heat, suggestlng an unstable envlronment. Beck
ett`s next prose work, Zssc· (l966; translated by
Beckett as Ivougl, l967), marks a return to a flrst
person narrator, who tells the reader, 'All that goes
before forget." Desplte thls command, he proceeds to
recount what has not been forgotten. Jhe tltle refers
to the act of narratlon ltself÷the narrator has had
enough of recountlng. ßivg (l966; translated by
Beckett as Iivg, l967) reverts to the theme and style
of Imogivotiov Dcod Imogivc, as the narrator descrlbes a
slngle flgure ln a whlte box. Desplte the narrator`s
clalm at the start that 'All |ls| known," he spends the
remalnder of the text maklng mlnor modlflcatlons to
repeated phrases, undermlnlng thls openlng state
ment. Jhe 'blng"/'plng" of the tltle appears wlth
lncreaslng regularlty as the text progresses, suggest
lng the emergence of a new llfe force. On the cover of
the Engllsh translatlon of hls next prose work, Sovs
(l969; translated by Beckett as Icssvcss, l970) Beckett
summarlzed lts theme as 'the collapse of some such
refuge as that last attempted ln Iivg and wlth the
ensulng sltuatlon of the refugee." Llke hls other
recent novellas, Icssvcss ls based on a structure of rep
etltlon and varlatlon; but ln place of the lntense
whlte heat and llght, here everythlng ls 'ash grey" as
ln Ivdgomc. Jhe Irench texts of Imogivotiov Dcod
Imogivc, Ivougl, and Iivg, along wlth Beckett`s Irench
translatlon of Irom ov Zbovdovcd !orl, were gathered
together as Tctcs-mortcs (l967), the tltle belng a play
on the Irench tctc-dc-mort (skull and crossbones).
Jhelr Engllsh counterparts appeared ln `o`s Ivifc:
Collcctcd Slortcr Irosc, 194á-1966 (l967).
Jhe decade ended wlth Beckett belng awarded
the Nobel Prlze ln Llterature ln l969, somethlng he
regarded not as an honor, but as a 'catastrophe," as
he was well aware of the lmpact the ensulng lncrease
ln celebrlty and publlc recognltlon would have on hls
modest llfestyle. Beckett had been nomlnated for the
award several tlmes durlng the prevlous decade, but,
as someone who valued hls prlvacy hlghly, he was
secretly relleved that these earller nomlnatlons had
been unsuccessful. He lmmedlately went lnto hldlng
ln Junls, sendlng hls Irench publlsher, |ér∑me Lln
don, to Sweden to recelve the prlze. Beckett`s maln
reason for acceptlng the award was to avold appear
lng dlscourteous to the Swedlsh Academy. He also
hoped that lt would beneflt flnanclally the publlshers
who had supported hlm, partlcularly durlng hls early
years. He subsequently gave away the prlze money
(some $15,000) to artlsts and lnstltutlons, lncludlng
the Llbrary of Jrlnlty College, Dublln. A l97l vol
ume of the Collcctiov dcs Irix `obcl dc Iittcroturc, com
prlslng Molovc mcurt and Ul lcs bcoux jours,
commemorated Beckett`s success. It lncluded lllustra
tlons by Avlgdor Arlkha and a cover deslgned by
Pablo Plcasso. Beckett regarded the pressures he
assoclated wlth belng awarded the Nobel Prlze as
contrlbutlng greatly to hls lack of artlstlc creatlvlty at
the tlme; yet, frlends and colleagues felt lt dld not
alter hls modest and generous nature.
Beckett began the l970s wlth the publlcatlon of
Ic Dcpcuplcur (l970; translated by Beckett as Tlc Iost
Uvcs, l972), the tltle of whlch ls taken from Alphonse
de Lamartlne`s poem 'L`Isolement" (l820, Isolatlon).
Jhe plece deplcts the exlstence of more than two
hundred flgures ln a large cyllnder. Jhls envlron
ment, wlth lts osclllatlng levels of llght and heat, ls an
'abode where lost bodles roam each searchlng for lts
lost one." Jhe flgures cllmb ladders to alcoves ln the
upper sectlon of the cyllnder followlng a complex
system of rules÷but there ls ultlmately no escape
from thls closed system. As the text proceeds, the
narrator becomes lncreaslngly confused, admlttlng,
'All has not been told and never shall be." Although
portraylng an ostenslbly allen envlronment, the text
ls a clever parody of the human rat race.
Slnce the mld l960s, Beckett had become
lncreaslngly lnvolved wlth the dlrectlon of hls stage
and televlslon drama. He had been partlcularly
lmpressed by the patlence and metlculousness of the
German actors he had encountered when attendlng
rehearsals for the world premlere of Iloy ln Llm ln
l963 and whlle asslstlng wlth a German productlon
of !oitivg for Codot ln Berlln ln l965. Jhe followlng
year he became lnvolved wlth the productlon of hls
televlslon play Il ¸oc at the SΩddeutscher Rundfunk
(SDR) ln Stuttgart, and ln l967 he was lnvlted to
dlrect a Germanlanguage productlon of Ivdgomc ln
Berlln. Beckett had sufflclent confldence ln hls com
mand of the German language by thls juncture to
assume the role of dlrector ln thls country. He felt
that worklng wlth such enthuslastlc and compllant
actors mlght allow hlm to create a productlon that
reflected hls own preclse plans for a partlcular play.
Between l967 and l978, Beckett dlrected seven of hls
stage plays ln German ln Berlln to great acclalm÷
Ivdgomc ln l967, Iropp`s Iost Topc ln l969, Hoppy Doys
ln l97l, !oitivg for Codot ln l975, Tlot Timc and Ioot-
folls ln l976, and Iloy ln l978÷exhlbltlng another slde
of hls versatlle, creatlve character. Although most of
hls dlrectorlal work took place at the SchlllerJheater
Werkstatt ln Berlln, he also dlrected stage produc
83
ai_ POV p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí
tlons ln Parls and London as well as televlslon pro
ductlons at the BBC and the SDR ln Stuttgart. As
the years progressed, Beckett`s ablllty as a dlrector
grew, as evldenced by hls attentlon to detall ln the
dlrectorlal notebooks he complled for the later pro
ductlons. It ls not surprlslng that Beckett chose to
dlrect the majorlty of hls drama ln German÷a pre
clse, technlcal language that reflected hls own fastldl
ous approach to wrltlng and dlrectlng. Although
Beckett clalmed hls productlons were not lntended to
be deflnltlve lnterpretatlons, the verslons he dlrected
ln Berlln represent an almost perfect embodlment of
hls wlshes. As a result, they have become regarded as
authorltatlve productlons and have been recreated
worldwlde.
Although dlrectlng took up a great deal of hls
tlme, and desplte lncreaslng problems wlth hls eye
slght, Beckett contlnued to wrlte, predomlnantly
drama ln Engllsh. Hls flrst play of the l970s, kçí f
(l973), agaln focuses on the female volce. On thls
occaslon, however, Beckett takes the premlse of
e~ééó a~óë a step further by removlng all physlcal
tralts of the female form, leavlng only a mouth vlsl
ble ln a spotllght, apparently floatlng hlgh ln the
darkness, spoutlng a torrent of vlrtually unlntelllgl
ble words. Insplred by Caravagglo`s palntlng qÜÉ
_ÉÜÉ~ÇáåÖ çÑ píK gçÜå íÜÉ _~éíáëí (l608) and also by a
flgure he had seen ln Morocco clad ln a djellaba, the
plece lasts around flfteen mlnutes. Jhe alm of
Mouth`s monologue ls to avold admlttlng that the
tale she ls relatlng ls autoblographlcal. 'what? . . .
who? . . . no! . . . she!" A sllent Audltor, dressed ln a
black djellaba, ls present onstage to wltness the
stream of words. Jhe physlcally and mentally
demandlng role of Mouth has become synonymous
wlth Blllle Whltelaw, who played the part under
Beckett`s dlrectlon ln the Brltlsh premlere at the
Royal Court Jheatre ln l973. She reprlsed the role
for a BBC productlon of the play ln l976, ln whlch
the Audltor was removed, focuslng the audlence`s
attentlon excluslvely on the raglng mouth÷a gro
tesque and unforgettable lmage.
Around the tlme of hls seventleth blrthday, ln
l976, Beckett publlshed two short plays, qÜ~í qáãÉ
and cççíÑ~ääë. Comblnlng elements of kçí f and hê~ééÛë
i~ëí q~éÉI qÜ~í qáãÉ presents the face of a whlte
halred male character suspended hlgh ln the dark
ness. Jhe man ls apparently on hls deathbed, llsten
lng to three volces, all hls own, recountlng dlfferent
storles from three stages of hls llfe. hls youth by
Volce B, hls mlddle age by Volce A, and hls old age
by Volce C. At the close, a smlle, 'toothless for pref
erence," appears on the Llstener`s face, suggestlng
perhaps rellef that the volces have ceased thelr tor
ment of hlm, perhaps acceptance of hls lmpendlng
death. In cççíÑ~ääëI a female character, May, ln a 'worn
grey wrap," paces back and forth across the stage ln
mental turmoll, 'revolvlng lt all ln her poor mlnd."
Jhe dlsembodled volce of her mother speaks to her,
posslbly from beyond the grave, and May narrates a
parallel story of a Mrs. Wlnter and her daughter,
Amy (an anagram of May). As the play progresses,
the llghtlng dlms and the paclng slows, so that ln the
flnal scene, there ls 'no trace of May"÷she all but dls
lntegrates before the audlence`s eyes. Jhe plays were
premlered ln a double blll, dlrected by Beckett and
featurlng Whltelaw, at the Royal Court Jheatre on
20 May l976. Beckett also dlrected the two plays ln
German at the SchlllerJheater Werkstatt ln Berlln ln
October that year.
Beckett returned to the medlum of televlslon
the followlng year, wrltlng and helplng to dlrect two
plays at the BBC. Jhe flrst, dÜçëí qêáç (l977), ls based
on a sectlon of Ludwlg von Beethoven`s má~åç qêáç
kçK R áå a jáåçêI known as 'Jhe Ghost." Jhe tltle of
the second, K K K Äìí íÜÉ ÅäçìÇë K K K (l977), ls taken from
a llne ln Wllllam Butler Yeats`s poem 'Jhe Jower"
(l928). Both plays are structurally slmllar to bÜ gçÉ
ln that they feature a lone male flgure and a dlsem
bodled volce÷female ln the former, male ln the latter.
Jhey were broadcast, along wlth the fllmed verslon
of kçí f on BBC 2 on l7 Aprll l977, under the collec
tlve tltle pÜ~ÇÉë. Germanlanguage verslons were
recorded at the SDR and broadcast ln Germany on l
November l977, along wlth the BBC verslon of kçí f.
In the last years of the decade, Beckett also wrote
around three dozen short poems ln Irench, whlch he
gathered under the tltle jáêäáíçåå~ÇÉë÷an lnvented,
dlmlnutlve term, whlch ls a play on ãáêäáíçå (kazoo/
toy flute) and îÉêë ÇÉ ãáêäáíçå (doggerel), lndlcatlng
thelr llght, fraglle nature. Jhese brlef verses were
wrltten on scraps of paper and transcrlbed lnto a tlny
leatherbound notebook. Most are halkullke ln
structure, belng only a few llnes ln length. Whlle
thelr meanlngs can be translated llterally, lt ls vlrtu
ally lmposslble to convey the essence of the poems
lnto Engllsh because of thelr succlnct nature. Jhey
flrst appeared ln mç≠ãÉë ëìáîá ÇÉ jáêäáíçåå~ÇÉë (l978)
and subsequently ln `çääÉÅíÉÇ mçÉãë NVPMÓNVTU
(l981), although only ln Irench. As a group they
remaln among the few works that Beckett never
attempted to render lnto Engllsh. By the end of the
l970s Beckett`s proflle was at a peak. Jhe decade
closed wlth ^ máÉÅÉ çÑ jçåçäçÖìÉ ln l979. Jhls contem
platlon of death was wrltten for the blllngual actor
Davld Warrllow, who flrst performed lt at the La
Mama Experlmental Jheatre Club ln December of
that year. Orlglnally tltled 'Gone," suggestlng the
81
p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí ai_ POV
passlng of all but the lone flgure recltlng the mono
logue, lt opens wlth the bleak phrase, 'Blrth was the
death of hlm" and closes wlth the llne, 'Alone
gone"÷encapsulatlng a brlef llfe cycle ln just a hand
ful of pages.
As Beckett approached hls seventyflfth blrth
day ln l98l, he contlnued to dlvlde hls tlme between
wrltlng and dlrectlng. Hls flrst prose text of the
decade was `çãé~åó (l980), a loosely autoblographl
cal novel that deals wlth the themes of solltude, the
unrellablllty of memory, and the dlfference between
the self and the other. Remlnlscent of hls recent
stage and televlslon plays, the novel descrlbes a
'man alone ln the dark, llstenlng to a volce he can`t
control and whlch he both dreads and longs to
hear," as Katharlne Worth descrlbes lt. Jhe openlng
llne sets the scene. 'A volce comes to one ln the
dark. Imaglne." Jhe narrator`s language has an
archalc feel÷'whence," 'thlther," 'hltherto"÷words
from a bygone age. Beckett stlll clearly enjoys play
lng wlth language, as he lntroduces a character
named 'H. Asplrate. Haltch." Hls next work, j~ä îì
ã~ä Çáí (l98l; translated by Beckett as fää pÉÉåI fää
p~áÇI l98l), ls consldered by Ruby Cohn as 'Jhe
Beckett Masterwork" and features a whltehalred
woman clad ln black, enclrcled by twelve mysterlous
flgures and drawn toward a whlte tombstone. Jhe
novel explores the themes of exlstence, consclous
ness, and perceptlon, as lndlcated by lts tltle. Jhe
passage of tlme ls agaln promlnent, wlth one para
graph dedlcated to a 'closeup of a dlal." Llke much
of Beckett`s later prose, thls plece has a structure of
repetltlon and varlatlon. Bleaker than lts predeces
sor, lt ends wlth the llnes, 'Not another crumb of
carrlon left. Llck chops and basta. No. One moment
more. One last. Grace to breathe that vold. Know
happlness." tçêëíï~êÇ eç (l983) formed the flnal
part of what has become regarded as Beckett`s sec
ond prose trllogy, lts tltle belng a parody of Charles
Klngsley`s tÉëíï~êÇ eç> (l855). Jaklng Edgar`s
speech ln Wllllam Shakespeare`s háåÖ iÉ~ê (clrca
l606) that 'Jhe worst ls not so long as one can say,
Jhls ls the worst" as lts startlng polnt, lt descrlbes
the (artlst`s) need to 'Jry agaln. Iall agaln. Iall bet
ter," echolng Beckett`s comments ln the qÜêÉÉ aá~J
äçÖìÉë almost forty years earller. It beglns wlth the
narrator urglng hlmself, 'On. Say on. Be sald on.
Somehow on" and ends wlth the omlnous phrase,
'Sald nohow on." Jhe three novels were publlshed
together under the tltle kçÜçï lå ln l989.
Beckett contlnued to alternate between prose
and drama and, ln l98l, produced and publlshed
two short plays, oçÅâ~Äó and lÜáç fãéêçãéíì. Jhe flrst
features a woman belng rocked gently ln a rocklng
chalr to the sound of her own recorded volce recltlng
a poem. Joward the end of the play, the rocklng
slows down to a halt and the woman apparently dles,
as the words 'tlme she stopped" are uttered. It was
premlered at the State Lnlverslty of New York at
Buffalo on 8 Aprll l98l. lÜáç fãéêçãéíì was wrltten
at the request of the Beckett scholar S. E. Gontarskl
for an lnternatlonal symposlum on Beckett`s work at
Ohlo State Lnlverslty, where lt was premlered on 9
May l98l. Jwo almost ldentlcal whltehalred flgures,
dressed ln long gowns llke flgures from a Rembrandt
palntlng, slt at a table as one reads from a book and
the other llstens. It ends wlth the polgnant llne,
'Nothlng ls left to tell," suggestlng that Beckett knew
he was nearlng the end of hls creatlve llfe.
Beckett had contlnued to lnvolve hlmself wlth
televlslon work, both at the BBC and the SDR ln
Stuttgart. In l98l he wrote and dlrected nì~Çê~í N H
O (the later Engllsh verslon ls slmply tltled nì~Ç ).
Descrlbed as 'a plece for four players, llght and per
cusslon," the play has no dlalogue but ls merely a
serles of movements across and around the edges of
a deslgnated square. As they move dlagonally across
the square, the four players veer sharply as they
approach the central polnt, suggestlng lt represents
some klnd of vortex or terrlble danger. Beckett`s
most overtly polltlcal play, `~í~ëíêçéÜÉ (l983), dedl
cated to the lmprlsoned Czech playwrlght V•clav
Havel, was premlered at the Avlgnon Iestlval on 2l
|uly l982. Jhe play features a brutal theater dlrector
barklng lnstructlons at hls asslstant and an ostensl
bly meek actor, who appear to be trylng to please
thelr master. In the flnal scene, however, the actor
ralses hls head and stares flxedly at the audlence ln a
gesture of deflance that asserts hls own lndlvlduallty.
At the request of the SDR, Beckett wrote
another televlslon play, k~ÅÜí ìåÇ qê®ìãÉI based on
Iranz Schubert`s l825 äáÉÇ of the same name, and
returned to Stuttgart to dlrect a Germanlanguage
verslon of the plece, whlch was broadcast on l9 May
l983. Jhe medlum of televlslon seemed perfect for
the stark, lmposlng lmages of hls later, mlnlmallst
pleces. Later that year, hls flnal play, tÜ~í tÜÉêÉI
premlered at the Harold Clurman Jheatre ln New
York. Based on a serles of lnterrogatlons to establlsh
the 'what" and the 'where" of the tltle, the play
ends wlth the prophetlc llnes. 'Jlme passes. Jhat ls
all. Make sense who may. I swltch off." Beckett
returned to the SDR one last tlme, ln order to create
a radlcal reworklng of tÜ~í tÜÉêÉ for German tele
vlslon under the tltle t~ë ïçI whlch was broadcast
on hls elghtleth blrthday, l3 Aprll l986. In thls pro
ductlon, as ln kçí fI all physlcal attrlbutes are
removed except for the faces of the four characters,
85
ai_ POV p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí
focuslng the audlence`s attentlon on the stark,
lmposlng lmage on the screen and the bleak words
of the text.
Desplte the apparent lmpasse suggested by the
flnal llnes of hls recent prose and drama, Beckett
produced two further works. Stirrivgs Still (l988),
dedlcated to Rosset, hls Amerlcan publlsher, was
publlshed as a llmlted, lllustrated edltlon of 226 cop
les, slgned by Beckett and the lllustrator Louls le
Broquy, costlng ¿l000. It also appeared ln Tlc
Cuordiov on 3 March l989, maklng lt much more
readlly avallable to the publlc. Named after a llne
from Compovy, the text conveys a sense of farewell, of
Beckett stlll stlrrlng creatlvely but marklng hls lnten
tlon to slgn off. Beckett`s last publlshed work, the
poem Commcvt dirc (l989; translated by Beckett as
!lot Is tlc !ord, l989), has also been lncluded ln
collectlons of hls prose, because of the nature of the
text. Wrltten ln the H∑pltal Pasteur after a fall and
translated ln the Jlers Jemps nurslng home, the
plece echoes Beckett`s own aphasla and ls a medlta
tlon on the lmposslblllty of language, reflectlng hls
constant struggle throughout hls llterary career to
flnd the approprlate words to 'express the lnexpress
lble." Beckett remalned a blllngual author to the
end, creatlng Irench and Engllsh verslons of almost
all hls texts. Perhaps flttlngly, the flnal llne of hls
flnal publlshed work reads, 'what ls the word."
By thls juncture, Beckett was elghtythree and
was sufferlng wlth severe resplratory problems that
were dlagnosed as emphysema. After movlng lnto
the Jlers Jemps nurslng home permanently, he fell
lll on 6 December and dled ln the H∑pltal St. Anne
of resplratory fallure on 22 December l989, less
than slx months after hls wlfe, who had been hls
partner and constant supporter slnce the late l930s.
(Jhe couple had no chlldren.) In keeplng wlth hls
slmple llfestyle, Beckett was lald to rest ln a prlvate
ceremony shortly after Chrlstmas ln the Clmetl≠re
de Montparnasse ln Parls.
Beckett ls often descrlbed as belng apolltlcal, as
he never allgned hlmself or hls work to any partlcu
lar polltlcal movement or party. In reallty, hls polltl
cal vlews were broadly leftwlng. He champloned the
underdog and the vlctlm, both ln hls work and also
ln real llfe. Although shy and selfabsorbed as a
young man, ln later llfe he became noted for hls car
lng and generous nature. Beckett was flercely
opposed to any form of censorshlp ln hls own work
and that of others, offerlng practlcal and flnanclal
support to oppressed wrlters and dlrectors ln varlous
countrles. Hls refusal to be lntervlewed about hlm
self or hls work created an alr of mystery and
secrecy, whlch served to protect hls prlvacy.
Although he ls often deplcted as a pesslmlst,
Beckett`s work has a thlck veln of black humor run
nlng through lt, as well as more obvlous vlsual gags,
partlcularly ln hls drama. Although apparently wlth
out hope or prospects, and often on the verge of
death, hls characters somehow flnd the strength to
contlnue agalnst all odds. Almost a century after
Beckett`s blrth, the Nobel Academy`s cltatlon stlll
holds true. Hls work ls more popular than ever, and
hls lnfluence on contemporary artlsts of all klnds ls
unquestlonable.
iÉííÉêëW
`o Zutlor ßcttcr Scrvcd: Tlc Corrcspovdcvcc of Somucl ßcclctt
ovd Zlov Sclvcidcr, edlted by Maurlce Harmon
(Cambrldge, Mass.. Harvard Lnlverslty Press,
l998).
_áÄäáçÖê~éÜáÉëW
Raymond Iederman and |ohn Iletcher, Somucl ßcclctt:
His !orls ovd His Critics: Zv Issoy iv ßibliogroply
(Berkeley × Los Angeles. Lnlverslty of Callfornla
Press, l970);
Robln |. Davls, |ackson R. Bryer, M. |. Irledman, and
P. C. Hoy, eds., Somucl ßcclctt: Colcpivs dc bibliogro-
plic, no. 2 (Parls. Lettres Modernes Mlnard,
l97l);
Robln |. Davls, Somucl ßcclctt: Clccllist ovd Ivdcx of His
Iublislcd !orls, 1967-1976 (Stlrllng. Lnlverslty of
Stlrllng, l979);
Cathleen Culcotta Andonlan, Somucl ßcclctt: Z Icfcrcvcc
Cuidc (Boston. G. K. Hall, l989);
P. |. Murphy, Werner Huber, Rolf Breuer, and Konrad
Schoell, eds., Critiquc of ßcclctt Criticism: Z Cuidc to
Icscorcl iv Ivglisl, Ircvcl ovd Ccrmov (Columbla,
S.C.. Camden House, l991);
Mary Bryden, |ullan A. Garforth, and Peter Mllls, ßccl-
ctt ot Icodivg: Cotologuc of tlc ßcclctt Movuscript Col-
lcctiov ot tlc Uvivcrsity of Icodivg (Readlng.
Whlteknlghts Press/Beckett Internatlonal Iounda
tlon, l998).
_áçÖê~éÜáÉëW
Delrdre Balr, Somucl ßcclctt: Z ßiogroply (London. Cape,
l978);
Enoch Brater, !ly ßcclctt (London. Jhames × Hudson,
l989);
Anthony Cronln, Somucl ßcclctt: Tlc Iost Modcrvist (Lon
don. HarperColllns, l996);
|ames Knowlson, Domvcd to Iomc (London. Blooms
bury, l996);
Gerry Dukes, Somucl ßcclctt (London. Penguln, 200l).
86
p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí ai_ POV
oÉÑÉêÉåÅÉëW
C. |. Ackerley and S. E. Gontarskl, Tlc Crovc Compoviov
to Somucl ßcclctt (New York. Grove, 2001);
Rlchard L. Admussen, Tlc Somucl ßcclctt Movuscripts: Z
Study (Boston. G. K. Hall, l979);
Anne Atlk, How It !os: Z Mcmoir of Somucl ßcclctt (Lon
don. Iaber × Iaber, 200l);
Davld Bradby, ßcclctt: !oitivg for Codot (Cambrldge.
Cambrldge Lnlverslty Press, 200l);
Enoch Brater, ßcyovd Mivimolism: ßcclctt`s Iotc Stylc iv tlc
Tlcotcr (New York. Oxford Lnlverslty Press,
l987);
Mary Bryden, !omcv iv Somucl ßcclctt`s Irosc ovd Dromo
(Baslngstoke. Macmlllan, l993);
Rlchard Coe, Somucl ßcclctt (New York. Grove, l967);
Ruby Cohn, ßocl to ßcclctt (Prlnceton, N.|.. Prlnceton
Lnlverslty Press, l973);
Cohn, Z ßcclctt Covov (Ann Arbor. Lnlverslty of Mlchl
gan Press, 200l);
Cohn, ¸ust Iloy: ßcclctt`s Tlcotcr (Prlnceton, N.|.. Prlnce
ton Lnlverslty Press, l980);
Steven Connor, Somucl ßcclctt: Icpctitiov, Tlcory ovd Tcxt
(Oxford. Blackwell, l988);
Raymond Iederman, ¸ourvcy to Cloos: Somucl ßcclctt`s
Iorly Iictiov (Berkeley × Los Angeles. Lnlverslty
of Callfornla Press, l965);
|ohn Iletcher, Tlc `ovcls of Somucl ßcclctt (London.
Chatto × Wlndus, l961);
S. E. Gontarskl, Tlc Ivtcvt of Uvdoivg iv Somucl ßcclctt`s
Dromotic Tcxts (Bloomlngton. Indlana Lnlverslty
Press, l985);
Lawrence Graver and Raymond Iederman, Somucl
ßcclctt: Tlc Criticol Hcritogc (London. Routledge ×
Kegan Paul, l979);
Lawrence Harvey, Somucl ßcclctt: Ioct ovd Critic (Prlnce
ton, N.|.. Prlnceton Lnlverslty Press, l970);
|ohn Haynes and |ames Knowlson, Imogcs of ßcclctt
(Cambrldge. Cambrldge Lnlverslty Press, 2003);
Ludovlc |anvler, Iour Somucl ßcclctt (Parls. Edltlons de
Mlnult, l966);
|anvler, Somucl ßcclctt por lui-mcmc (Parls. Edltlons du
Seull, l969);
¸ourvol of ßcclctt Studics (Lnlverlty of Readlng. Calder/
Beckett Archlve, l975-l985; Jallahassee. Ilorlda
State Lnlverslty, l989- );
|onathan Kalb, ßcclctt iv Icrformovcc (Cambrldge. Cam
brldge Lnlverslty Press, l989);
Hugh Kenner, Somucl ßcclctt: Z Criticol Study (New York.
Grove, l96l);
|ames Knowlson and |ohn Pllllng, Ircscocs of tlc Slull:
Tlc Iotcr Irosc ovd Dromo of Somucl ßcclctt (Lon
don. Calder, l979);
Knowlson, ed., Hoppy Doys: Somucl ßcclctt`s Iroductiov
`otcbools (London. Iaber × Iaber, l985);
Dougald McMlllan and Martha Iehsenfeld, ßcclctt iv tlc
Tlcotrc (London. Calder, l988);
Anna McMullan, Tlcotrc ov Triol: Somucl ßcclctt`s Iotcr
Dromo (London. Routledge, l993);
Vlvlan Mercler, ßcclctt/ßcclctt (New York. Oxford Lnl
verslty Press, l977);
|ohn Mlnlhan, Somucl ßcclctt: Ilotogropls (London.
Secker × Warburg, l995);
Eoln O`Brlen, Tlc ßcclctt Couvtry: Somucl ßcclctt`s Irclovd
(London. Black Cat Press ln assoclatlon wlth
Iaber × Iaber, l986);
|ohn Pllllng, ßcclctt ßcforc Codot (Cambrldge. Cam
brldge Lnlverslty Press, l997);
Pllllng, Somucl ßcclctt (London. Routledge × Kegan
Paul, l976);
Rosemary Pountney, Tlcotrc of Slodows: Somucl ßcclctt`s
Dromo, 19á6-1976 (Gerrards Cross, L.K.. Colln
Smythe, l988);
|eanMarle Rabaté, ed., ßcclctt ovovt ßcclctt: Issois sur lc
jcuvc ßcclctt (19J0-194á) (Parls. Presses de
l`Ecole Normale Supérleure, l981);
Chrlstopher Rlcks, ßcclctt`s Dyivg !ords: Tlc Clorcvdov
Iccturcs, 1990 (Oxford. Clarendon Press, l993);
Somucl ßcclctt Todoy/Zujourd`lui (Amsterdam. Rodopl,
l992- );
Anthony Lhlmann, ßcclctt ovd Ioststructurolism (Cam
brldge. Cambrldge Lnlverslty Press, l999);
Klaus V∏lker, ßcclctt iv ßcrliv (Berlln. Irollch × Kauf
mann, l986);
Blllle Whltelaw, ßillic !litclow . . . !lo Hc? (London.
Hodder × Stoughton, l995);
Katharlne Worth, Somucl ßcclctt`s Tlcotrc: Iifc ¸ourvcys
(Oxford. Clarendon Press, l999);
Clas Zllllacus, ßcclctt ovd ßroodcostivg: Z Study of tlc
!orls of Somucl ßcclctt for ovd iv Iodio ovd Tclcvisiov
(Abo, Ilnland. Abo Akademl, l976);
Nlcholas Zurbrugg, ßcclctt ovd Iroust (Gerrards Cross.
Colln Smythe, l988).
m~éÉêëW
Jhe major collectlons of Samuel Beckett`s papers are
held at the Beckett Internatlonal Ioundatlon, Lnl
verslty of Readlng; Harry Ransom Humanltles
Research Center, Lnlverslty of Jexas at Austln; and
Jrlnlty College, Dublln. Other collectlons are
housed at |ohn |. Burns Llbrary, Boston College;
Baker Llbrary, Dartmouth College; Jhe Lllly
Llbrary, Indlana Lnlverslty; Instltut des Mémolres
de l`Edltlon Contemporalne, Parls; Ohlo State Lnl
verslty Llbrarles, Columbus; Prlnceton Lnlverslty
Llbrary; Syracuse Lnlverslty, New York; Lnlverslty
of Washlngton, St. Louls, Mlssourl; and Jhe Bel
necke Llbrary, Yale Lnlverslty.
87
ai_ POV p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí

NVSV kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ
mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ
Äó aêK h~êä o~Öå~ê dáÉêçïI çÑ íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜ ^Å~ÇÉãó
Eqê~åëä~íáçå Ñêçã íÜÉ pïÉÇáëÜF
Your Majesty, Your Royal Hlghnesses, Ladles and Gen
tlemen,
Mlx a powerful lmaglnatlon wlth a loglc ln
absurdum, and the result wlll be elther a paradox or
an Irlshman. If lt ls an Irlshman, you wlll get the
paradox lnto the bargaln. Even the Nobel Prlze ln
Llterature ls sometlmes dlvlded. Paradoxlcally, thls
has happened ln l969, a slngle award belng
addressed to one man, two languages and a thlrd
natlon, ltself dlvlded.
Samuel Beckett was born near Dublln ln l906.
As a renowned author he entered the world almost
half a century later ln Parls when, ln the space of
three years, flve works were publlshed that lmmedl
ately brought hlm lnto the centre of lnterest. the
novel jçääçó ln l95l; lts sequel, j~äçåÉ jÉìêíI ln the
same year; the play bå ~ííÉåÇ~åí dçÇçí ln l952; and
ln the followlng year the two novels, iÛäååçãã~ÄäÉI
whlch concluded the cycle about jçääçó and j~äçåÉI
and t~íí.
Jhese dates slmply record a sudden appear
ance. Jhe flve works were not new at the tlme of
publlcatlon, nor were they wrltten ln the order ln
whlch they appeared. Jhey had thelr background ln
the current sltuatlon as well as ln Beckett`s prevlous
development. Jhe true nature of jìêéÜóI a novel
from l938, and the studles of |oyce (l929) and
Proust (l93l), whlch lllumlnate hls own lnltlal posl
tlon, ls perhaps most clearly seen ln the llght of
Beckett`s subsequent productlon. Ior whlle he has
ploneered new modes of expresslon ln flctlon and on
the stage, Beckett ls also allled to tradltlon, belng
closely llnked not only to |oyce and Proust but to
Kafka as well, and the dramatlc works from hls
debut have a herltage from Irench works of the
l890s and Alfred |arry`s rÄì oçáK
In several respects, the novel t~íí marks a
change of phase ln thls remarkable output. Wrltten
ln l912-11 ln the South of Irance÷whence Beckett
fled from the Nazls, havlng llved for a long tlme ln
Parls÷lt was to be hls last work ln Engllsh for many
years; he made hls name ln Irench and dld not
return to hls natlve tongue for about flfteen years.
Jhe world around had also changed when Beckett
came to wrlte agaln after t~ííK All the other works
whlch made hls name were wrltten ln the perlod
l915-19. Jhe Second World War ls thelr founda
tlon; lt was after thls that hls authorshlp achleved
maturlty and a message. But these works are not
about the war ltself, about llfe at the front, or ln the
Irench reslstance movement (ln whlch Beckett took
an actlve part), but about what happened after
wards, when peace came and the curtaln was rent
from the unhollest of unholles to reveal the terrlfy
lng spectacle of the lengths to whlch man can go ln
lnhuman degradatlon÷whether ordered or drlven by
hlmself÷and how much of such degradatlon man
can survlve. In thls sense the degradatlon of human
lty ls a recurrent theme ln Beckett`s wrltlng and to
thls extent, hls phllosophy, slmply accentuated by
elements of the grotesque and of traglc farce, can be
descrlbed as a negatlvlsm that cannot deslst from
descendlng to the depths. Jo the depths lt must go
because lt ls only there that pesslmlstlc thought and
poetry can work thelr mlracles. What does one get
when a negatlve ls prlnted? A posltlve, a clarlflca
tlon, wlth black provlng to be the llght of day, the
parts ln deepest shade those whlch reflect the llght
source. Its name ls fellowfeellng, charlty. Jhere are
precedents besldes the accumulatlon of abomlna
tlons ln Greek tragedy whlch led Arlstotle to the
doctrlne of catharsls, purlflcatlon through horror.
Manklnd has drawn more strength from Schopen
hauer`s bltter well than from Schelllng`s beatlflc
sprlngs, has been more blessed by Pascal`s agonlzed
doubt than by Lelbnlz`s bllnd ratlonal trust ln the
best of all posslble worlds has reaped÷ln the fleld of
Irlsh llterature, whlch has also fed Beckett`s wrltlng÷
a much leaner harvest from the whltewashed clerlcal
pastoral of Ollver Goldsmlth than from Dean Swlft`s
vehement denlgratlon of all humanklnd.
Part of the essence of Beckett`s outlook ls to be
found here÷ln the dlfference between an easlly
acqulred pesslmlsm that rests content wlth untrou
bled sceptlclsm, and a pesslmlsm that ls dearly
bought and whlch penetrates to manklnd`s utter des
tltutlon. Jhe former commences and concludes wlth
the concept that nothlng ls really of any value, the
latter ls based on exactly the opposlte outlook. Ior
what ls worthless cannot be degraded. Jhe percep
tlon of human degradatlon÷whlch we have wlt
nessed, perhaps, to a greater extent than any
prevlous generatlon÷ls not posslble lf human values
are denled. But the experlence becomes all the more
palnful as the recognltlon of human dlgnlty deepens.
Jhls ls the source of lnner cleanslng, the llfe force
nevertheless, ln Beckett`s pesslmlsm. It houses a love
of manklnd that grows ln understandlng as lt
88
p~ãìÉä _ÉÅâÉíí ai_ POV
plumbs further lnto the depths of abhorrence, a
despalr that has to reach the utmost bounds of suf
ferlng to dlscover that compasslon has no bounds.
Irom that posltlon, ln the realms of annlhllatlon,
rlses the wrltlng of Samuel Beckett llke a mlserere
from all manklnd, lts muffled mlnor key soundlng
llberatlon to the oppressed, and comfort to those ln
need.
Jhls seems to be stated most clearly ln the two
masterpleces, t~áíáåÖ Ñçê dçÇçí and e~ééó a~óëI each
of whlch, ln a way, ls a development of a blbllcal
text. In the case of dçÇçí we have, 'Art thou he that
should come, or do we look for another?" Jhe two
tramps are confronted wlth the meanlnglessness of
exlstence at lts most brutal. It may be a human flg
ure; no laws are as cruel as those of creatlon, and
man`s pecullar status ln creatlon comes from belng
the only creature to apply these laws wlth dellber
ately evll lntent. But lf we concelve of a provldence÷
a source even of the lmmeasurable sufferlng lnfllcted
by, and on, manklnd÷what sort of almlghty ls lt that
we÷llke the tramps÷are to meet somewhere, some
day? Beckett`s answer conslsts of the tltle of the play.
By the end of the performance, as at the end of our
own, we know nothlng about thls dçÇçíK At the flnal
curtaln we have no lntlmatlon of the force whose
progress we have wltnessed. But we do know one
thlng, of whlch all the horror of thls experlence can
not deprlve us. namely, our waltlng. Jhls ls man`s
metaphyslcal predlcament of perpetual, uncertaln
expectatlon, captured wlth true poetlc slmpllclty. bå
~ííÉåÇ~åí dçÇçíI t~áíáåÖ Ñçê dçÇçíK
Jhe text for e~ééó a~óëÔ'a volce crylng ln the
wllderness"÷ls more concerned wlth the predlca
ment of man on earth, of our relatlonshlps wlth one
another. In hls exposltlon Beckett has much to say
about our capaclty for entertalnlng untroubled lllu
slons ln a wllderness vold of hope. But thls ls not the
theme. Jhe actlon slmply concerns how lsolatlon,
how the sand rlses hlgher and hlgher untll the lndl
vldual ls completely burled ln lonellness. Out of the
suffocatlng sllence, however, there stlll rlses the
head, the volce crylng ln the wllderness, man`s
lndomltable need to seek out hls fellow men rlght to
the end, speak to hls peers and flnd ln companlon
shlp hls solace.
L`Académle Suédolse regrette que Samuel
Beckett ne solt pas parml nous aujourd`hul. Cepen
dant ll a cholsl pour le représenter l`homme qul le
premler a découvert l`lmportance de l`oeuvre maln
tenant récompensée, son edlteur a Parls, M. |ér∑me
Llndon, et je vous prle, cher Monsleur, de voulolr
blen recevolr de la maln de Sa Majesté le Rol le Prlx
Nobel de llttérature, décerné par l`Académle a Sam
uel Beckett.
(Jhe Swedlsh Academy regrets that Samuel
Beckett could not be wlth us today. However, he has
chosen to represent hlm the man who was the flrst
to dlscover the lmportance of the work now
rewarded, hls edltor ln Parls, Mr. |ér∑me Llndon,
and I ask you, dear Slr, to be wllllng to recelve from
the hand of Hls Majesty the Klng the Nobel Prlze ln
Llterature, awarded by the Academy to Samuel
Beckett.)
|¹ Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l969|.
89
p~ìä _Éääçï
(10 ¸uvc 191á - á Zpril 200á)
hÉáíÜ jK léÇ~Üä
Jhls entry was expanded by Opdahl from hls Bellow
entry ln DIß 2S: Twcvtictl-Ccvtury Zmcricov-¸cwisl Iictiov
!ritcrs. See also the Bellow entrles ln DIß 2: Zmcricov
`ovclists Sivcc !orld !or II; DIß 299: Holocoust `ovclists;
and DIß Jcorbool: 19S2.
BOOKS. Dovglivg Mov (New York. Vanguard, l911;
London. Lehmann, l916);
Tlc !ictim (New York. Vanguard, l917; London. Leh
mann, l918);
Tlc Zdvcvturcs of Zugic Morcl (New York. Vlklng, l953;
London. Weldenfeld × Nlcolson, l951);
Sci·c tlc Doy (New York. Vlklng, l956; London.
Weldenfeld × Nlcolson, l957);
Hcvdcrsov tlc Ioiv Iivg (New York. Vlklng, l959; Lon
don. Weldenfeld × Nlcolson, l959);
Hcr·og (New York. Vlklng, l961; London. Weldenfeld
× Nlcolson, l965);
Tlc Iost Zvolysis: Z Iloy (New York. Vlklng, l965; Lon
don. Weldenfeld × Nlcolson, l966);
Mosby`s Mcmoirs ovd Utlcr Storics (New York. Vlklng,
l968; London. Weldenfeld × Nlcolson, l969);
Mr. Sommlcr`s Ilovct (New York. Vlklng, l970; London.
Weldenfeld × Nlcolson, l970);
Tlc Iortoblc Soul ßcllow, edlted by Edlth Jarcov (New
York. Vlklng, l971; Harmondsworth, L.K.. Pen
guln, l977);
Humboldt`s Cift (New York. Vlklng, l975; London.
Secker × Warburg, l975);
To ¸crusolcm ovd ßocl: Z Icrsovol Zccouvt (New York.
Vlklng, l976; London. Secker × Warburg, l976);
`obcl Iccturc (Stockholm. Lnlted States Informatlon Ser
vlce, l977; Greenwlch Vlllage, N.Y.. Jarg Edl
tlons, l979);
Tlc Dcov`s Dcccmbcr (New York. Harper × Row, l982;
London. Secker × Warburg, l982);
Him witl His Ioot iv His Moutl ovd Utlcr Storics (New
York. Harper × Row, l981; London. Secker ×
Warburg, l981);
Morc Dic of Hcortbrcol (New York. Morrow, l987; Lon
don. Allson, l987);
Z Tlcft (New York. Penguln, l989; London. Allson
|Secker × Warburg|, l989);
Tlc ßclloroso Covvcctiov (New York. Penguln, l989; Lon
don. Penguln, l989);
Somctlivg to Icmcmbcr Mc ßy: Tlrcc Tolcs (New York.
Vlklng, l99l; London. Secker × Warburg, l992);
It Zll Zdds Up: Irom tlc Dim Iost to tlc Uvccrtoiv Iuturc
(New York. Vlklng, l991; London. Secker ×
Warburg, l991);
Tlc Zctuol (New York. Vlklng, l997; London. Vlklng,
l997);
Iovclstciv (New York. Vlklng, 2000; London. Vlklng,
2000);
Collcctcd Storics (New York. Vlklng, 200l; London.
Vlklng, 200l);
ßcllow `ovcls 1944-19áJ (New York. Llbrary of Amer
lca, 2003)÷comprlses Tlc Dovglivg Mov, Tlc !ic-
tim, and Tlc Zdvcvturcs of Zugic Morcl.
p~ìä _Éääçï EÅÉåíÉêF êÉÅÉáîáåÖ íÜÉ NVTS kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå
iáíÉê~íìêÉ Ñêçã háåÖ `~êä usf dìëí~Ñ çÑ pïÉÇÉå
E^m mÜçíçLmççäI mÉíÉê hå~ééF
90
p~ìä _Éääçï ai_ POV
PLAY PRODLCJIONS. qÜÉ i~ëí ^å~äóëáëI New York,
Belasco Jheater, l October l961;
råÇÉê íÜÉ tÉ~íÜÉêI London, 7 |une l966; Spoleto, Italy,
Iestlval of Jwo Worlds, l1 |uly l966; New York,
Cort Jheatre, 27 October l966÷comprlsed ^
tÉåI lê~åÖÉ pçìÑÑä¨I and lìí Ñêçã råÇÉêK
OJHER. Isaac Bashevls Slnger, 'Glmpel the Iool,"
translated by Bellow, m~êíáë~å oÉîáÉïI 20 (May-
|une l953). 300-3l3;
'Dlstractlons of a Ilctlon Wrlter," ln qÜÉ iáîáåÖ kçîÉäI
edlted by Granvllle Hlcks (New York. Macmlllan,
l957), pp. l-20;
kçÄäÉ p~î~ÖÉI edlted by Bellow, Kelth Botsford, and
Aaron Asher, 5 volumes (New York. Merldlan,
l960-l962);
dêÉ~í gÉïáëÜ pÜçêí píçêáÉëI edlted by Bellow (New York.
Dell, l963);
'Llterature," ln qÜÉ dêÉ~í fÇÉ~ë qçÇ~óI edlted by Mor
tlmer Adler and Robert M. Hutchlns (Chlcago.
Encyclopaedla Brltannlca, l963), pp. l35-l79;
'Zetland. By A Character Wltness," ln jçÇÉêå lÅÅ~ëáçåëI
edlted by Phlllp Rahv (Port Washlngton, N.Y..
Kennlkat Press, l971), pp. 9-30;
Allan Bloom, qÜÉ `äçëáåÖ çÑ íÜÉ ^ãÉêáÅ~å jáåÇI foreword
by Bellow (New York. Slmon × Schuster, l987).
SELECJED PERIODICAL PLBLICAJIONS÷
LNCOLLECJED.
cf`qflk
'Jwo Mornlng Monologues," m~êíáë~å oÉîáÉïI 8 (May-
|une l91l). 230-236;
'A Sermon by Dr. Pep," m~êíáë~å oÉîáÉïI l6 (May-|une
l919). 155-162;
'Jhe Jrlp to Galena," m~êíáë~å oÉîáÉïI l7 (November-
December l950). 769-791;
'Address by Gooley MacDowell to the Hasbeens Club
of Chlcago," eìÇëçå oÉîáÉïI 1 (Summer l95l).
222-227;
^ tÉåI bëèìáêÉI 63 ( |anuary l965). 72-71ff.;
lê~åÖÉ pçìÑÑä¨I bëèìáêÉI 61 (October l965). l30-l36.
klkcf`qflk
'Jhe |ewlsh Wrlter and the Engllsh Llterary Jradl
tlon," `çããÉåí~êóI 8 (October l919). 366-367;
'Drelser and the Jrlumph of Art," `çããÉåí~êóI ll (May
l95l). 502-503;
'Man Lnderground," `çããÉåí~êóI l3 ( |une l952).
608-6l0;
'Laughter ln the Ghetto," p~íìêÇ~ó oÉîáÉï çÑ iáíÉê~íìêÉI
36 (30 May l953). l5;
'Hemlngway and the Image of Man" |revlew of Phlllp
Young, bêåÉëí eÉãáåÖï~ó|, m~êíáë~å oÉîáÉïI 20
(l953). 338-312;
'How I Wrote Augle March`s Story," kÉï vçêâ qáãÉë
_ççâ oÉîáÉïI 3l |anuary l951, pp. 3, l7;
'Deep Readers of the World, Beware!" kÉï vçêâ qáãÉë
_ççâ oÉîáÉïI l5 Iebruary l959, pp. l, 31;
'Where Do We Go Irom Here. Jhe Iuture of Ilctlon,"
jáÅÜáÖ~å nì~êíÉêäó oÉîáÉïI l (Wlnter l962). 27-33;
'Memolrs of a Bootlegger`s Son," dê~åí~I 1l (l992). 9-
35;
'Jhe Next Chapter," k~íáçå~ä oÉîáÉïI 52, no. l (21 |anu
ary 2000). 31.
As an Amerlcan wlnner of the Nobel Prlze ln Llt
erature ln l976, Saul Bellow lnherlted the mantle of
Ernest Hemlngway and Wllllam Iaulkner; but he never
became a culture hero llke those two nor a cult flgure
llke |orge Luls Borges or Gabrlel Garc∞a M•rquez.
When ln l979 qÜÉ kÉï vçêâ qáãÉë _ççâ oÉîáÉï asked
twenty leadlng lntellectuals whlch books slnce l915
would count among the hundred most lmportant books
ln Western clvlllzatlon, Bellow was not mentloned.
However, when Phlllp Roth was asked who are 'the
great lnventors of narratlve detall and masters of narra
tlve volce and perspectlve," he replled, '|ames, Conrad,
Dostoevskl and Bellow." In l991 some of Brltaln`s lead
lng wrlters and crltlcs told qÜÉ pìåÇ~ó qáãÉë that Bellow
was 'the greatest llvlng novellst wrltlng ln Engllsh."
Bellow enjoyed the klnd of reputatlon that ls won
by solld and accompllshed work. He was a prlvate per
son, and ln hls publlc appearances he was sometlmes
dlstant or moody. But as a wrlter he caught and artlcu
lated the sometlmes hldden feellngs of the modern era.
Bellow showed what allenatlon actually ls on a wlnter
afternoon, or preclsely how Amerlcan culture crushes a
medlocre man.
Bellow was born Solomon Bellow ln Lachlne,
_uebec, on l0 |une l9l5, two years after hls parents,
Abraham and Llza Gordln Bellow, had emlgrated from
St. Petersburg, Russla (where thelr surname had been
spelled 'Belo," from ÄóÉäçI Russlan for ïÜáíÉ). Hls father
was a darlng and not always successful buslnessman
who ln Russla had lmported Egyptlan onlons (Bellow
descrlbes hlm ln an unpubllshed manuscrlpt excerpted
ln 'Memolrs of a Bootlegger`s Son" |l992| as a 'sharple
clrca l905") and ln the New World attempted several
often unconventlonal buslnesses. Solomon ('Solly")
was thelr youngest chlld, wlth a slster and two brothers.
Jhe Bellowses llved ln a slum on St. Domlnlque
Street 'between a market and a hospltal," Bellow has
sald; 'I was generally preoccupled wlth what went on
ln lt and watched from the stalrs and wlndows." Hls
father, who blamed hlmself for the famlly`s poverty,
worrled that Solly would see too much; and the boy dld
wltness vlolence and sexuallty, saylng later that the raw
reallty of St. Domlnlque Street made all else ln hls llfe
9l
ai_ POV p~ìä _Éääçï
seem strange and forelgn. 'Llttle slnce then has worked
upon me wlth such force," Bellow wrote, and he
returned to the scene ln some of hls novelsK He llved
amld the color and splrltuallty of an earller era. Lachlne
was 'a medleval ghetto . . . my chlldhood was ln
anclent tlmes whlch was true of all orthodox |ews." By
the age of four he knew the Book of Genesls ln Hebrew.
Lachlne was also a multlllngual envlronment, and
young Bellow learned Ylddlsh, Irench, and Engllsh, as
well as Hebrew. Jaken lll wlth perltonltls, he spent slx
months ln the Royal Hospltal (ln the tuberculosls ward)
wlth nothlng to do but read. But by the tlme hls famlly
had moved to Humboldt Park ln Chlcago, when he was
nlne, he was healthy enough for sports as well as hls
many lntellectual projects. Humboldt Park was a nelgh
borhood of lmmlgrants, fllled wlth the cultural and
lntellectual actlvlty of sldewalk orators, branch llbrar
les, and mlsslon houses. By the tlme he attended Juley
Hlgh School, Bellow had such frlends as Isaac Rosen
feld, future newspaper columnlst Sydney |. Harrls, and
Davld Peltz, who remembers that 'Solly Bellows was
the most precoclous of the lot÷a good runner on the
track team, a falr swlmmer, mlddllng tennls player, but
a remarkable wrlter even then."
Bellow`s famlly contlnued to have flnanclal prob
lems. Hls mother dled when he was flfteen, and when
he was seventeen he and Harrls ran away to New York
for a few weeks to peddle thelr flrst novels, unsuccess
fully. Irom l933 to l935 hls father managed to flnd the
money for Bellow to attend the Lnlverslty of Chlcago,
where he felt the dense cultural atmosphere to be suffo
catlng. He left when a fatal accldent lnvolvlng hls
father`s coal truck rulned what was left of the famlly
flnances. He was nevertheless able to transfer to
Northwestern, where he founded a soclallsts` club
and graduated ln l937 wlth honors ln soclology and
anthropology. He wlshed to study llterature but was
advlsed that antlSemltlsm would thwart hls career, and
so he accepted a scholarshlp to study anthropology at
the Lnlverslty of Wlsconsln, where hls professor told
hlm he wrote anthropology llke a good novellst. In Chl
cago on New Year`s Eve l937, Bellow marrled Anlta
Goshkln, a soclal worker, and abandoned hls graduate
work. 'In my lnnocence," he sald, 'I had declded to
become a wrlter."
It was a bold declslon at that tlme, and such bold
ness has characterlzed Bellow`s work ever slnce. Hls
greatest strength as a novellst ls hls style, whlch ls fluld
and rlch, plcklng up the rhythms and energy of Ylddlsh
and the plaln speech and sharply observed detall of the
Mldwest. Hls style ls preclse and lmplles an lntegrlty
that has at tlmes gotten Bellow lnto trouble. In an era of
experlmentallsm Bellow was a reallst, clalmlng that 'the
development of reallsm ln the nlneteenth century ls stlll
the major event of modern llterature." When allenatlon
was popular, Bellow celebrated accommodatlon. He
reacted to the popularlty of the |ewlsh novel by turnlng
to a WASP protagonlst (ln eÉåÇÉêëçå íÜÉ o~áå háåÖI
l959), and he met Amerlca`s new youth culture head
on wlth the creatlon of a seventyyearold protagonlst
(ln jêK p~ããäÉêÛë mä~åÉíI l970). Yet, ln most of these ven
tures he was successful, largely because of hls fertlle
lmaglnatlon and clarlty of mlnd.
Bellow`s greatest dlfflculty as a wrlter lles ln plot.
He has confessed thls dlfflculty, and many crltlcs
belleve hls novels to be formless. If Bellow`s characters
are colorful and hls sltuatlons telllng, he characterlstl
cally glves too much. too many ldeas, too many charac
ters, and too many memorable detalls for readers to
dlscern a slmple story or central focus. But Bellow ls
not as formless as he seems, slnce hls polnt ls often the
subtle lnslght of the reallst, so easlly lost among hls
comlc characters and rlch descrlptlons, and he hlmself
ls a dlllgent craftsman, worklng through draft after
draft. But the fact remalns that hls art ls one of clearlng
and solldlfylng an abundance of materlals, and when he
has flnlshed wlth the process, the reader ls lnvlted to do
the same.
Indeed, thls denslty of llfe ls one of Bellow`s cen
tral themes. So too ls the mallce or nastlness of hls pro
tagonlst and those around hlm. Another theme ls the
experlence of transcendence and the fact that the lssues
that confront people are ultlmately metaphyslcal or rell
glous, an element that provldes one of the keys to Bel
low`s style. the sense of a speclal meanlng or
slgnlflcance just out of reach adds another dlmenslon to
hls preclsely detalled physlcal world. A soclety that can
lnvent the lnner llfe but glve lt no nourlshment, a unl
verse that requlres one to twlst oneself to survlve wlthln
lts force, a protagonlst seeklng most of all to cure hlm
self of some unknown malady÷all of these are typlcal
Bellow themes.
Bellow has lnslsted that he ls not that exotlc crea
ture, the |ew who wrltes ln Engllsh, but an Amerlcan
wrlter÷a Western wrlter who happens to be |ewlsh. 'I
dld not go to the publlc llbrary to read the Jalmud,"
Bellow says of hls Chlcago days, 'but the novels and
poems of Sherwood Anderson, Jheodore Drelser,
Edgar Lee Masters, and Vachel Llndsay." Bellow never
theless ls slngled out by Allen Guttmann ln qÜÉ gÉïáëÜ
têáíÉê áå ^ãÉêáÅ~ (l97l) as portraylng the full range of
Amerlcan |ewlsh experlence. Bellow`s comedy, lntellec
tuallsm, moral preoccupatlon and allenatlon, hls con
cern wlth the famlly and wlth rough Eastern European
lmmlgrants, hls obsesslon wlth the past and wlth the
dangers of an allen world, hls emphasls on purlty, hls
sense, as Alfred Kazln says, 'of the unreallty of thls
92
p~ìä _Éääçï ai_ POV
world as opposed to God`s"÷all of these elements
bespeak hls deep |ewlsh concern.
Certalnly the fact that he was |ewlsh added a spe
clal tenslon to hls declslon to be a wrlter, for he entered
a world domlnated by WASPs from New England. He
worked for the Work Projects Admlnlstratlon dolng
blographlcal sketches of Mldwestern wrlters and then
taught at PestalozzlIroebel Jeacher`s College ln Chl
cago. He went to Mexlco ln l910, wrltlng the never
publlshed novel 'Acatla," and llved, he says, a bohe
mlan llfe. But these years were not all galety. 'I sat on a
brldge table ln a back bedroom of the apartment whlle
all ratlonal, serlous, dutlful people were at thelr jobs or
trylng to flnd jobs, wrltlng somethlng." After lunch wlth
hls motherlnlaw, ln whose apartment he llved, he
would walk the clty streets. 'If I had been a dog I would
have howled," he has wrltten. He managed ln l91l to
place a short story ln the m~êíáë~å oÉîáÉïI 'Jwo Mornlng
Monologues," about a young man waltlng for the draft;
the next year he placed another, 'Jhe Mexlcan Gen
eral," about the assasslnatlon of Leon Jrotsky, whlch
happened on the day before Bellow was to meet wlth
hlm. And ln l913 m~êíáë~å oÉîáÉï publlshed part of hls
novel ln progress.
Perhaps the most memorable quallty of thls flrst
novel, publlshed ln l911 as a~åÖäáåÖ j~åI ls the tone of
volce. modeled after that of Ralner Marla Rllke`s aáÉ
^ìÑòÉáÅÜåìåÖÉå ÇÉë j~äíÉë i~ìêáÇë _êáÖÖÉ (l9l0; translated
as qÜÉ gçìêå~ä çÑ jó líÜÉê pÉäÑI l930), the volce ls frank
and honest, compensatlng for lts selfplty by the depth
and preclslon of lts observatlon. Jaklng on Hemlngway,
the protagonlst |oseph jlbes at the hardbolled. 'If you
have dlfflcultles, grapple wlth them sllently, goes one of
thelr commandments. Jo hell wlth that! I lntend to talk
about mlne, and lf I had as many mouths as Slva has
arms and kept them golng all the tlme, I stlll could not
do myself justlce."
Llke Bellow hlmself, |oseph has been kept dan
gllng by hls draft board, bound ln the red tape sur
roundlng hls Canadlan blrth. Hls ostenslbly formless
journal ls actually shaped by hls lncreaslng lack of self
control, as he records flrst the fallure of hls attempts to
wrlte or to prepare hlmself for the army, and then hls
dlsappolntment wlth hls frlends, hls wlfe, hls lnlaws,
and hls mlstress. Wantlng to forge a self that would be
'a member of the Army, but not a é~êí of lt," he must
watch hlmself become overwhelmed by a hundred trlv
lal detalls, as hls selfcontrol leaves hlm and the nasty
temper he has remarked ln others comes to domlnate.
When he strlkes hls landlord and reallzes that hls sense
of the strangeness and lmpermanence of the world has
grown, he glves up, crylng 'Long llve reglmentatlon."
One anonymous crltlc for qáãÉ (8 May l911)
thought |oseph was a 'stlnker," but other revlewers
gave the book a remarkably afflrmatlve judgment.
Edmund Wllson, Peter DeVrles, Dlana Jrllllng, and
Delmore Schwartz all felt thls flrst novel worthy of thelr
attentlon. Wllson, ln qÜÉ kÉï vçêâÉê (l Aprll l911),
called lt 'one of the most honest pleces of testlmony on
the psychology of a whole generatlon," and George
Mayberry proclalmed the creatlon of a complex charac
ter llke |oseph 'an event that ls rare and wonderful ln
modern Amerlcan wrltlng." Subsequent crltlcs have
found the book narrow and Bellow`s attltude toward
|oseph uncertaln. Jo some, |oseph at the end rejolns
soclety; to others, he ls totally defeated, surrenderlng
hls lndlvlduallty. Bellow`s novel ls a llvely and even
memorable work, wlth many strlklng flgures, even lf
the author hlmself has confessed that he cannot bear to
reread lt.
Bellow`s own dangllng was ended by the army for
medlcal reasons, and ln l913 he began to work for
Mortlmer Adler`s 'Great Books" project for the båÅóÅäçJ
é~ÉÇá~ _êáí~ååáÅ~I readlng some 60 of the 113 works
lndexed. He jolned the merchant marlne, whlch sta
tloned hlm ln New York, and then worked for the Mar
ltlme Commlsslon onshore. After the war Bellow
declded to stay ln New York, enjoylng the lntellectual
llfe of Greenwlch Vlllage and the pleasures of father
hood wlth the blrth of hls son Gregory. He revlewed
books, edlted, wrote reports for Penguln Books, and
spent two days as movle revlewer for qáãÉI untll Whlt
taker Chambers reportedly plcked a quarrel and flred
hlm on the spot÷an event he lncluded ln hls next novel,
qÜÉ sáÅíáã (l917).
|oseph ln a~åÖäáåÖ j~å had complalned that upon
awakenlng, when he read the newspaper and acknowl
edged the world, he went 'ln the body from nakedness
to clothlng and ln the mlnd from relatlve purlty to pol
lutlon." Jo |oseph the world ls a war that can klll hlm.
In qÜÉ sáÅíáã thls lmpurlty pursues the protagonlst Asa
Leventhal as Klrby Allbee comes one hot summer nlght
to accuse the solltary and anxlous Leventhal of causlng
hls ruln. Leventhal had quarreled wlth Allbee`s boss,
promptlng Allbee`s loss of hls job, he clalms, and thus
hls drlnklng and the loss of hls wlfe. Bellow explores
the lntense and amblvalent relatlon between the two
men, as Allbee presses deeper and deeper lnto Leven
thal`s llfe, taklng money, a bed ln hls apartment, llber
tles wlth hls mall, and flnally a whore ln Leventhal`s
own bed÷an lmpurlty that ls stlll not the flnal one, slnce
Allbee sllps lnto the apartment late at nlght to attempt
sulclde ln Leventhal`s kltchen.
Was Leventhal responslble? A parallel plot sug
gests he was not, for he mlstakenly assumes the blame
for a death for whlch he had no responslblllty. Both
Leventhal and Allbee are vlctlms of an oppresslvely
dense world and of thelr lnablllty to dlscern a clear
93
ai_ POV p~ìä _Éääçï
order ln lt. Each argues for a verslon of reallty that the
other cannot accept. Allbee cannot bear the notlon of
an lmpersonal unlverse ln whlch he mlght be harmed
for no reason at all. He must flnd a scapegoat÷a |ew. Jo
Leventhal, on the other hand, such a 'human" unlverse
ls omlnous, frlghtenlng, a world ln whlch he could be
rulned overnlght. Allbee appears lnexpllcably, emerglng
from a crowd ln a park as an embodlment of the clty
streets, whlch Leventhal, llke hls lmmlgrant forebears,
conslders full of lmpurlty and danger. 'He really dld
not know what went on about hlm," Leventhal thlnks,
'what strange thlngs, savage thlngs."
qÜÉ sáÅíáã ls a remarkable advance over a~åÖäáåÖ
j~åI for though lt ls dense and claustrophlc, lt ls also
rlch and full of honest llfe. It ralsed some eyebrows,
comlng as lt dld only two years after the Nazl death
camps had been opened. was thls the tlme to show that
the psychology of |ew and blgot can be slmllar? Jo
Jheodore Ross ln the `ÜáÅ~Öç gÉïáëÜ cçêìãI Allbee and
Leventhal are too much allke. Bellow had lnslsted on
paylng the |ew the same respect he would pay all
human belngs, nelther more nor less, and ln the Gentlle
Allbee he captured the unconsclous subtletles of |ewlsh
selfhatred, maklng hlm a messenger from not just a
destructlve world but Leventhal`s own psyche. Leven
thal`s allenatlon ls that of modern man, moreover; for
by showlng |ew and Gentlle to be allke, Bellow shows
that all people are |ews.
qÜÉ sáÅíáã brought Bellow a Guggenhelm Iellow
shlp for l918, freelng hlm from teachlng at the Lnlver
slty of Mlnnesota, where he had been ln l916 and l917.
In Irance on hls fellowshlp he began 'Jhe Crab and
the Butterfly," a thlrd novel ln the same serlous veln as
hls flrst two, but found he needed some rellef. He took
to wrltlng a 'memolr" of Chlcago÷whlch ln Irance had
become exotlc to hlm, he says÷and by l919 had turned
to lt almost excluslvely. 'Augle was my favorlte fan
tasy," he has sald of the Chlcago book. 'Every tlme I
was depressed whlle wrltlng the grlm one I`d treat
myself to a fantasy hollday." He wrote qÜÉ ^ÇîÉåíìêÉë çÑ
^ìÖáÉ j~êÅÜ (l953) whlle on the move÷ln tralns and
cafés ln Parls and Rome; ln Mlnneapolls, where he
returned to teach ln l919; ln a coldwater flat ln New
York, where he lectured at New York Lnlverslty; at
Prlnceton, where he was a Creatlve Wrltlng Iellow; and
even ln the edltorlal offlces at Vlklng Press. At some
polnt he felt such revulslon wlth the 'grlm" work he
had begun that he dumped some one hundred thou
sand words down an lnclnerator. (One chapter survlved
and was publlshed as 'Jrlp to Galena.")
Jhus, qÜÉ ^ÇîÉåíìêÉë çÑ ^ìÖáÉ j~êÅÜ beglns as the
opposlte of Bellow`s serlous concerns, shlftlng to the
flrst person from the thlrd person of qÜÉ sáÅíáã and from
Leventhal`s fears of the streets to Augle`s celebratlon of
them. Bellow had known someone llke Augle. 'He
came of just such a famlly as I descrlbed. I hadn`t seen
hlm ln 25 years, so the novel was a speculatlve blogra
phy." What was especlally speculatlve was Bellow`s def
lnltlon of the young man as an enthuslast who ls swept
up by the people he loves, sometlmes ln a sexual swoon
and at other tlmes as an admlrlng dlsclple. Can a young
man ln a harsh world of force survlve wlthout weapons
other than affectlon and tolerance and a lack of calcula
tlon? Jhe answer lles ln the adults who surround Augle
and are as large and threatenlng as they would appear
to a chlld. Jhey exlst wlth a Balzaclan vlgor and lmpor
tance that testlfles to human worth as they act upon
thelr envlronment, but they also overwhelm the passlve
young Augle, who becomes another Bellow hero
oppressed by the world.
Augle manages to survlve at flrst. Augle`s chlld
hood ls domlnated by Grandma Lausch, whose world
ls every blt as dramatlc and cynlcal as the czar`s court,
and whom Bellow descrlbes as the equal of the great
polltlclans of the world. Jhe crlppled Elnhorn, for
whom Augle works as a male nurse, ls great too, even lf
hls klngdom ls a West Slde nelghborhood. Augle also
serves the North Shore matron Mrs. Renllng (untll she
wlshes to adopt hlm) and acts as an aldedecamp to hls
ambltlous brother Slmon, who marrles lnto a wealthy
famlly. In each case, Augle observes not only that 'lt
wasn`t so necessary to lle," as he says ln the flrst chap
ter, rejectlng Machlavelllan cynlclsm, but also that these
egotlsts flnally do themselves ln. Only Augle, larky,
lmpetuous, sensual, acceptlng÷the opposlte of Bellow`s
usual protagonlst and thus a true fantasy for Bellow÷
only Augle, lt seems, ls escaplng a harsh and destructlve
world.
Yet, Augle does not escape, elther, and readers
can measure the progress of the novel by notlng hls
responses. In the flrst chapter Augle ls beaten up by
nelghborhood punks (lncludlng Augle`s good frlend)
for belng a |ew. 'But I never had any speclal grlef from
lt," Augle says, 'or brooded, belng by and large too
larky and bolsterous to take lt to heart." By the mlddle
of the novel, when Augle ls beaten up ln a labor strlke,
he flees, full of rage and terror. He goes to Mexlco wlth
hls lover Jhea, another Machlavelllan who plans to
hunt lguanas wlth a tralned eagle, and suffers a concus
slon that makes hlm spend depresslng weeks on the
mend. When he cheats on Jhea, she tells hlm he ls not
a man of love at all, but lsolate or lndlfferent, a fact that
Elnhorn had earller descrlbed as Augle`s 'opposltlon."
Jhe book ultlmately becomes the memolr of a rather
scarred and saddened mlddleaged man who deflnes
hlmself as one slnglng ln the mlddle of a desolate and
frozen farm fleld.
91
p~ìä _Éääçï ai_ POV
Revlewers ln l953 pralsed the novel for lts energy
and acceptance and styllstlc flreworks. Even though qÜÉ
^ÇîÉåíìêÉë çÑ ^ìÖáÉ j~êÅÜ won a Natlonal Book Award ln
l951, Bellow hlmself had reservatlons, commentlng
that 'I got stuck ln a Sherwood Anderson lngenue veln.
here are all these people and lsn`t llfe wonderful! By the
last thlrd of the book I wasn`t feellng that way any
more." Jhe novel ls notable for the warm tone of lts
volce and the preclslon of lts detalls. Bellow had grown
up on the naturallstlc work of Drelser, |ohn Dos Pas
sos, and |ames J. Iarrell, and he transforms lt here lnto
somethlng less mechanlcal, less determlnlstlc or exter
nal, focuslng more on the perceptlon and hlstory and
feellng of the lnner protagonlst÷who flnds a trlumph,
flnally, ln consclousness lf not ln love.
Bellow taught at Bard College ln l953 and l951
and at the Lnlverslty of Mlnnesota the next year. He
won a second Guggenhelm Iellowshlp, whlch permlt
ted hlm to spend l955 ln Nevada and Callfornla, and
then, havlng termlnated hls troubled marrlage, he was
free to marry Sondra Jschacbasov and settle down÷
after almost two decades of movlng about÷ln Dutchess
County, New York, near Jlvoll. Durlng thls perlod he
also wrote the short works that make up hls next book,
pÉáòÉ íÜÉ a~ó (l956). 'Looklng for Mr. Green" (l95l),
'A Iather to Be" (l955), 'Jhe Gonzaga Manuscrlpts"
(l956), the tltle novella, and a oneact play, qÜÉ têÉÅâÉê
(l951). Jhe novella pÉáòÉ íÜÉ a~ó reflects a pattern of
varlety ln Bellow`s work, as each novel seems to con
trast ln tone wlth lts predecessor. Whlle qÜÉ ^ÇîÉåíìêÉë çÑ
^ìÖáÉ j~êÅÜ sprawls and attacks the world wlth energy,
pÉáòÉ íÜÉ a~ó ls tlght and sets an eleglac tone.
Jhe story recounts a day ln the llfe of a falllng
mlddleaged Amerlcan, Jommy Wllhelm, who has
made a serles of poor declslons that land hlm jobless ln
hls early fortles at the oncegrand, nowshabby Hotel
Ansonla on the Lpper West Slde of New York, where
hls father llves ln retlrement. Jommy wants hls father`s
help÷and ls denled. He wants hls substltute father`s
help too, and thls father, the sometlme psychologlst
Jamkln, ls the character Bellow flnds most lnterestlng
ln the tale, for 'llke most phony phonles, he ls always
somewhere near the truth. . . . But Jamkln`s truths
aren`t really true." As he treats patlents over the phone
and spouts exlstentlal cllchés, Jamkln promlses to cure
all of Jommy`s troubles. He wlll make hlm strong,
teachlng hlm to 'selze the day"÷the very vagueness of
whlch ls Bellow`s polnt÷and he wlll make hlm flnan
clally comfortable, too, uslng Jommy`s money to specu
late on the graln market. Bellow beglns the novella wlth
Jommy emerglng from hls room, assumlng a bold
front. Jhe flrst three sectlons cover Jommy`s past and
hls breakfast wlth hls father, and the second three hls
relatlons wlth Jamkln. In the last, cllmactlc sectlon,
Jommy`s dlsgusted father dlsowns hlm and Jamkln,
havlng lost Jommy`s savlngs, dlsappears.
Jommy`s defeat makes many readers uncomfort
able, and several revlewers termed pÉáòÉ íÜÉ a~ó an
lnterlm work, fllllng the tlme after qÜÉ ^ÇîÉåíìêÉë çÑ ^ìÖáÉ
j~êÅÜK Slnce l956 lts reputatlon has grown steadlly,
however, untll, as Kazln puts lt, 'none of hls work ls so
wldely and genulnely admlred as thls short novel." Her
bert Gold called pÉáòÉ íÜÉ a~ó 'one of the central storles
of our day." Jommy ls at once the ultlmate antlhero
and a worthwhlle man, and llkable, wlth 'a large,
shaky, patlent dlgnlty." He ls cheerful and wlthout mal
lce. He cares for hls loved ones. More lmportant, he ls
lntelllgently aware, undergolng hls experlence wlth
depth and sensltlvlty.
Jhe flnest accompllshment of the story ls the cll
mactlc scene. Jommy at one moment ls on the New
York streets, desperately looklng for Jamkln and feellng
the pressure of the crowd, 'the lnexhaustlble current of
mllllons of every race and klnd pourlng out, presslng
round, of every age, of every genlus, possessors of
every secret," and at the next lnslde a funeral parlor,
where lt ls suddenly 'dark and cool" and where 'men
ln formal clothes and black homburgs strode softly
back and forth on the cork floor, up and down the cen
ter alsle." In a few moments he stands before the corpse
of a man he has never known, and beglns to cry. He
sobs at flrst for the man, 'another human creature," he
thlnks, but soon he crles for hlmself and for all hls trou
bles. 'Soon he was past words, past reason, coherence,"
Bellow wrltes; 'Jhe source of all tears had suddenly
sprung open wlthln hlm, black, deep." Jhe other guests
envy the dead man for havlng lnsplred such mournlng,
but Jommy does not stop. Hls grlef becomes a
strangely trlumphant moment, as the flowers and llghts
and muslc fuse wlthln hlm, pourlng 'lnto hlm where he
had hldden hlmself ln the center of a crowd by the great
and happy obllvlon of tears. He heard lt and sank
deeper than sorrow, through torn sobs and crles toward
the consummatlon of hls heart`s ultlmate need."
Crltlcs dlsagree about Bellow`s flnal meanlng÷
puzzled, as Brendan Glll put lt ln qÜÉ kÉï vçêâÉê (5 |an
uary l957), by the sense that Jommy ls 'sobblng hls
heart out over hls pllght and yet feellng rather better
than usual"÷but almost all readers sense the authorlty
of the scene. As Kazln says of the whole novella, 'It has
a qulte remarkable lntenslty of effect wlthout ever seem
lng to force one." Jhe clrcumstance of Jommy flndlng
hls way to a stranger`s funeral crystalllzes Jommy`s slt
uatlon and needs. Ior he needs a father and has been
denled, seeklng help from people 'dead" to hlm. He has
sought all day to hlde hls fallure, to put up a front, and
here he ls publlcly reduced to truthfulness. Bellow hlm
self has sald that he wanted to dramatlze the way New
95
ai_ POV p~ìä _Éääçï
Yorkers fulflll lntlmate emotlonal needs through strang
ers, and so Jommy turns from hls psychologlst (the
professlonal stranger) to an unfamlllar corpse÷and
flnally flnds fulflllment. Slnce Jommy has had mystlcal
promptlngs that hls sufferlng somehow has a transcen
dent purpose, Bellow`s polnt ls also that Jommy slnks
to a truer, more splrltual level of belng accesslble only
when he ls strlpped of worldly pretenslons.
eÉåÇÉêëçå íÜÉ o~áå háåÖ dld not recelve strong
pralse when lt was publlshed ln l959, but lt dld not
dlmlnlsh Bellow`s reputatlon elther. Bellow wrote lt ln
Jlvoll, New York, ln l957 (the year hls second son,
Adam, was born) and ln l958 at the Lnlverslty of Mln
nesota (an anchor for Bellow ln these years and the
place where he was frlends wlth |ohn Berryman), and
then the next year ln Europe on a twoyear Iord Ioun
datlon grant. Jhls book about a WASP mllllonalre`s
trlp to a dreamllke Afrlca lllustrates the fertlllty and
varlety ln Bellow`s lmaglnatlon and hls deslre, as he
sald later, to develop 'a flctlon that can accommodate
the full tumult, the zanlness and crazed quallty of mod
ern experlence."
Henderson ls a glgantlc man ln body and emo
tlon, slx feet four lnches tall, wlth 'an enormous head,
rugged, wlth halr llke Perslan lambs` fur. Susplclous
eyes, usually narrowed. Blusterlng way. A great nose."
He ls helr to a fortune, a hard drlnker, a bully, a flghter,
and a man fleelng death. He ls nasty to hls wlves and
torments the nelghbors. Hls rages flnally scare the fam
lly cook to death, maklng hlm seek salvatlon ln Afrlca,
where, he says, 'the world whlch I thought so mlghty
an oppressor has removed lts wrath from me." Hender
son (whose lnltlals are the same as Hemlngway`s) ls the
mllltant, lnsecure Amerlcan who attempts to prove hls
manhood by kllllng. He ls also the lntelllgent and sensl
tlve man who suffers from hls knowledge of human
llmltatlon. Confesslng that he ls most llke the character
Henderson, 'the absurd seeker of hlgh qualltles," Bel
low comments that 'what Henderson ls really seeklng
ls a remedy to the anxlety over death. What he can`t
endure ls thls contlnulng anxlety . . . whlch he ls fool
hardy enough to reslst."
Although the novel has many reallstlc touches, lt
ls essentlally a fantasy, a trlp deep wlthln the Afrlca of
Henderson`s mlnd. He dlscovers flrst the Arnewl, a
trlbe that reacts to lts envlronment wlth a soft, worshlp
lng attltude, and then (after he has harmed the gentle
Arnewl lrremedlably by blowlng up thelr water supply)
the Warlrl, a flerce and manlpulatlve trlbe that beats lts
gods and threatens to klll lts klng. Part of Bellow`s polnt
ls Henderson`s deslre to serve a communlty even
though lt lnvolves often blzarre and dangerous condl
tlons, as ln the case of the marvelously relaxed Warlrl
klng Dahfu, who has studled the works of Ralph Waldo
Emerson, Wllllam |ames, and Wllhelm Relch and who
wlll be unceremonlously strangled lf he falls to satlsfy
any one of hls forty wlves. Jo make the anxlous Hend
erson equally serene, Dahfu takes hlm lnto a llon`s den,
where he teaches hlm to emulate the llon. Dahfu`s trlbe
belleves that he ls not completely klng untll he captures
the soul of hls dead father ln a llve llon. Although edu
cated ln the Western emplrlcal tradltlon, whlch would
scoff at such a vlew, Dahfu accepts these condltlons and
ls kllled by a llon as a result. When Henderson then
feels hlmself cured or freed from the world`s wrath, he
stumbles ln explalnlng the cause, for he clalms lt was
not the llon`s cruel lndlfference that freed hlm but the
love of the Arnewl÷a statement that grows more out of
Bellow`s deslre than the events of the novel. Crltlcs
complalned about the murky endlng.
Bellow ls bolder than he had been ln hls prevlous
work (he dates hls maturlty as a wrlter from eÉåÇÉêëçå
íÜÉ o~áå háåÖ), for he openly makes a connectlon
between the force of the unlverse and a human or splrl
tual prlnclple. But he once agaln sought varlety, turnlng
next to a reallstlc work. He spent much of l959 ln
Europe and the next year at hls country home ln
Dutchess County. Wlth Kelth Botsford and Aaron
Asher he edlted the perlodlcal kçÄäÉ p~î~ÖÉK He taught at
the Lnlverslty of Puerto Rlco and then, after hls second
dlvorce, settled down to hls thlrd marrlage, wlth Susan
Glassman, whom he wed ln December l96l. Wlth a
new chlld on the way (Danlel, born ln l963) and a
deslre to return to hls roots, Bellow left New York for
Chlcago, where he accepted a permanent posltlon at the
Lnlverslty of Chlcago on the Commlttee on Soclal
Jhought.
In Chlcago, Bellow sought greater freedom to
work, a deslre that bore frult ln l961 wlth the publlca
tlon of eÉêòçÖ and the productlon of qÜÉ i~ëí ^å~äóëáë
(publlshed ln l965)K Jhe play was a llghthearted epl
sodlc farce Bellow hoped would survlve because of lts
entertalnlng qualltles. Jhe novel was more serlous,
embodylng the theory he had announced ln l96l that a
novellst must be permltted to deal wlth ldeas. Jhe play
flopped, but the novel was a bestseller for slx months.
'I recelved two or three thousand letters from people
pourlng out thelr souls to me, saylng 'Jhls ls my llfe,
thls ls what lt`s been llke for me,`" Bellow sald after the
publlcatlon of eÉêòçÖ. 'And then I understood that for
some reason these themes were vlslted upon me, that I
dldn`t always plck them, they plcked me." Slnce the
novel covered events slmllar to those of Bellow`s llfe,
portraylng an lntellectual professor devastated after
belng betrayed by hls wlfe and frlends, some of the
lnterest ln the novel was that of a roman a clef. But
most of the people who bought lt were not ln on the
gosslp; the novel artlculated thelr own anger, thelr own
96
p~ìä _Éääçï ai_ POV
frustratlon÷preclsely that frame of mlnd that character
lzed the late l960s as tempers flared over the lssues of
free speech, raclal lnjustlce, and war. As early as l960,
Bellow antlclpated the mood of the comlng decade.
Jhe story conslsts of Moses Herzog`s memorles
as he putters alone about hls country home ln western
Massachusetts. Herzog remembers hlmself ln New
York, where he had stayed a few days after teachlng a
course, and then ln Chlcago, where he had lurked out
slde hls estranged wlfe`s apartment before sufferlng a
mlnor auto accldent and a brlef lncarceratlon, from
whlch the pollce freed hlm to go home. If the geogra
phy ls slmple, however, the story ls not. Slnce Herzog
wrltes letters to many people and remembers all klnds
of earller events, the novel seems dlsorganlzed. Crltlcs
dlvlde largely lnto those who forglve thls dlsorganlza
tlon (slnce lt reflects Herzog`s mlnd) and those who do
not. And once agaln the protagonlst feels somewhat
better at the end of the novel, but the reader ls not cer
taln why. Yet, the truth ls that the book, whlch Bellow
rewrote at least thlrteen tlmes, ls lndeed well formed.
Herzog decldes early ln the story to shlft from an emo
tlonal 'personal" llfe, such as the one ln whlch hls wlfe,
Madelelne, abused hlm, to a more ratlonal, clvll, mod
erate one÷he wlll shlft, as he says ln a letter to Presldent
Elsenhower, from Leo Jolstoy to Georg Wllhelm
Irledrlch Hegel. Much of the novel flows from thls decl
slon. He flles to Chlcago contemplatlng the murder of
hls former wlfe and her lover ln order to protect hls
daughter |unle, reportedly locked crylng ln a car out
slde Madelelne`s apartment; but he decldes once more
(as the novel catches the reallstlc zlgzags of a man trylng
on a new mode) that he ls belng extreme and lndulglng
ln personal 'drama."
Each of the nlne sectlons of the novel dramatlzes
Bellow`s theme. After he ls caught the next day wlth the
gun ln hls pocket, Herzog flnds hlmself standlng before
a pollce sergeant, next to Madelelne, who ln pure
hatred seeks to have hlm lmprlsoned. 'Her volce went
up sharply, and as she spoke, Herzog saw the sergeant
take a new look at her, as lf he were beglnnlng to make
out her haughty pecullarltles at last." When the ser
geant lets hlm go, Herzog recelves a symbollc justlce.
Jhe frlends and relatlves and even doctors who had
wltnessed hls dlvorce had all falled hlm, but the clvll
authorlty had not. And havlng gotten justlce, he feels
better. One of the problems wlth the novel, however, ls
that he feels an ecstatlc joy that goes far beyond falr
treatment.
eÉêòçÖ ls notable for the controversy lt caused.
Bellow`s second Natlonal Book Award wlnner, lt was
both pralsed and crltlclzed. Kazln, who provlded a dust
jacket blurb, called lt Bellow`s most brllllant novel; Glll
ln qÜÉ kÉï vçêâÉê termed lt 'faultless." Other crltlcs
worrled that Herzog pondered only hlmself, maklng the
novel sollpslstlc. Jhe key questlon ls whether Herzog
succeeds ln maklng a character of hlmself as he looks
back. Does Herzog get out of hls own mlnd? Hls ablllty
to see hlmself from the outslde and wlth preclse detall
suggests that he does. Bellow`s theme at any rate ls
somethlng llke sollpslsm, as Herzog ls lmprlsoned ln the
'prlvate" llfe.
However one evaluates the structure of the novel,
eÉêòçÖ ls most notable for lts style, whlch represents Bel
low at hls best. Slnce Herzog does a great deal of
observlng, the center of the novel ls lts descrlptlons.
Jhe prose ls charged, full of the speclflcs and preclsely
deflned lmpresslons that create the feel of mldl960s
Amerlcan llfe. Because Herzog ls deflected from hls
course not by any lnslght or charged drama but by the
slght of klndly Gersbach glvlng llttle |unle a bath, eÉêJ
òçÖ ls a defense of the reallstlc mode, holdlng that the
slgnlflcant levels of llfe are often the common, whether
ln the home or outslde ln soclety÷a vlew Herzog hlm
self embraces (rejectlng the fashlonable exlstentlallsm)
and then ln hls llfe dramatlzes.
qÜÉ i~ëí ^å~äóëáëI performed ln fall l961, was the
culmlnatlon of Bellow`s long lnterest ln the theater. He
had collaborated on a dramatlzatlon of pÉáòÉ íÜÉ a~ó
(performed at the avantgarde workshop Jheatre of
Ideas, wlth Mlke Nlchols as Jommy) and had lncluded
a oneact play, qÜÉ têÉÅâÉêI among the pleces ln the col
lectlon pÉáòÉ íÜÉ a~ó. Bellow also seems to have been
motlvated flnanclally, for hls novels had not made hlm
much money, and eÉêòçÖ dld not lnltlally look llke a
bestseller. Zero Mostel was scheduled to play the lead
ln 'Humanltls," as qÜÉ i~ëí ^å~äóëáë was orlglnally tltled,
and Bellow thought the play would be easy to wrlte. He
saw the theater as a form of freedom, slnce the stage
requlred a more dlrect, less subtle approach.
By l961, though, Bellow complalned that he was
wrltlng hlmself lnto hls grave. Mostel backed out, to be
replaced by Sam Levene, and Bellow found playwrltlng
more demandlng than he had lmaglned. He persevered,
however, presentlng the story of a comedlan who has
sllpped ln hls career because of hls serlousness and who
now, ln hls New York warehouse studlo, seeks to com
blne laughter and homestyle psychoanalysls. Jhe pro
tagonlst, Bummldge, seeks a cure for 'humanltls," and
hls technlque, he says, ls to act out 'the maln events of
my llfe, dragglng repressed materlal lnto the open by
sheer force of drama." Jhe Broadway verslon flopped
after twentyelght performances, recelvlng poor
revlews.
Bellow`s second effort ln the theater dld no better.
Ior the productlon råÇÉê íÜÉ tÉ~íÜÉê (l966), Bellow
comblned three oneact plays, two of whlch have been
publlshed. ^ tÉåI a comedy about a sclentlst who has
97
ai_ POV p~ìä _Éääçï
found the experlence of wlnnlng the Nobel Prlze less
lntense than the gllmpse of a blrthmark on a woman`s
thlgh (a gllmpse he seeks to dupllcate, ln mlddle age,
wlth the same surprlsed lady); and lê~åÖÉ pçìÑÑä¨I a
somewhat darker comedy about a Pollsh whore who
wants to move ln wlth her elderly and wealthy WASP
customer. råÇÉê íÜÉ tÉ~íÜÉê was produced ln London,
Spoleto, and New York, but falled to catch on.
Bellow contlnued to teach ln Chlcago ln the years
followlng eÉêòçÖI although he took tlme out ln l967, the
year ln whlch he and Glassman dlvorced, to cover the
SlxDay War for kÉïëÇ~ó and ln l968 to recelve the
Crolx de Chevaller des Arts et Lettres from Irance. He
had begun the novel that became eìãÄçäÇíÛë dáÑí (l975),
but upon hearlng an anecdote about an old man wlt
nesslng a plckpocket at work, shlfted to the manuscrlpt
that became jêK p~ããäÉêÛë mä~åÉí. He also found tlme to
wrlte two short storles, 'Jhe Old System" (l967) and
'Mosby`s Memolrs" (l968), to whlch he added 'Leav
lng the Yellow House" (l957) and several prevlously
publlshed tales for jçëÄóÛë jÉãçáêë ~åÇ líÜÉê píçêáÉë
(l968), a more or less 'made" book deslgned to keep
Bellow`s name before the publlc and perhaps to capltal
lze on the success of eÉêòçÖK
Jhe best story of the group ls 'Jhe Old System,"
ln whlch a wellknown sclentlst, Samuel Braun (trans
parently Bellow hlmself), embodles a characterlstlc Bel
low posture ln the late l960s and l970s. the mlddle
aged man rememberlng hls |ewlsh relatlves, loslng hlm
self ln a colorful and exotlc past. Jhe characters are
mysterlous to Braun, who loves them. He ponders thelr
reallty, thelr evolutlon, the strangeness of thelr belng.
Jhey are ln one sense crude and grasplng lmmlgrants
from Eastern Europe who would embarrass a thlrd
generatlon |ew. But they are also vltal and proud. Jhey
seem to Braun to be more lntensely allve, or at least
more passlonate, than hls modern colleagues.
jêK p~ããäÉêÛë mä~åÉí was well but somewhat
absentmlndedly recelved, as though the revlews pralsed
Bellow by rote; a few years later the novel was attacked
by radlcal young crltlcs for polltlcal reasons, ln part
because Bellow had declared hls lndependence from the
llberal establlshment ln l965 by attendlng the Whlte
House dlnner that Robert Lowell, protestlng the Vlet
nam War, had boycotted. In thls novel, as ln eÉêòçÖI Bel
low seemed to test both hls readers and hls own
powers, havlng chosen÷ln a decade obsessed wlth
Amerlcan youth÷to wrlte about an elderly man. Artur
Sammler ls an old Pollsh |ew who, havlng llved ln Lon
don ln the l930s where he knew many of the Blooms
bury group, and havlng survlved Nazl atrocltles, has
the clvlllzed tastes of the lntellectual Engllsh and the
wlsdom of the survlvor. Around hlm he flnds a host of
modern young nleces, nephews, and acqualntances
who reject all llmlts on thelr deslre. Jhey know no sex
ual bounds, no moral lmperatlves, no common clvlllty.
Sammler alone ln New York quletly pursues somethlng
llke duty. When hls crazed daughter Shula steals a
manuscrlpt to help her father wlth hls study of H. G.
Wells, he doggedly seeks to return the manuscrlpt.
When hls frlend and benefactor Elya Gruner lles mor
tally lll ln a hospltal, Sammler alone pays homage.
Jhe plot conslsts largely of the young lnterferlng
wlth these two tasks and ls typlfled ln the runnlng story
of Sammler`s encounters wlth a black plckpocket,
whose crlmes he has wltnessed on a bus and who fol
lows Sammler to hls apartment foyer to threaten the old
man by exposlng hlmself. Sammler mentlons the lncl
dent to hls opportunlstlc frlend Ieffer, and later (ln too
much of a colncldence) stumbles upon the plckpocket
wrestllng wlth Ieffer, who has taken plctures of the
crlme. When Sammler asks hls former sonlnlaw,
Elsen, to lntervene, Elsen hlts to klll. In contrast to such
madness, Sammler at the end pralses hls frlend Gruner,
who (although sometlmes an abortlonlst for the mob)
had known how to be klnd and to do hls duty. Gruner
had met 'the terms of hls contract," Sammler con
cludes, 'the terms of whlch, ln hls lnmost heart, each
man knows."
jêK p~ããäÉêÛë mä~åÉí ls full of the preclse detall,
honest feellng, and llvely ldeas that are Bellow`s
strengths. Jhe character of Sammler, who has survlved
the Holocaust, havlng woken from a plle of corpses to
klll fasclsts ln hls escape, ls an excellent polnt of vlew
from whlch to examlne and judge Amerlcan culture.
Bellow captures better than anyone the feel of Amerl
can soclety ln the late l960s, wlth lts blend of soclal
rebelllon, sexuallty, raclal unrest, and personal aggran
dlzement. What mars the novel, flnally, ls Sammler`s
baslc feellng of revulslon toward the world, both ln lts
soclal form, whlch ls cheap and dlstractlng÷Gruner`s
daughter worrles about her sex llfe as her father
dles÷and ln terms of all matter. Sammler has no use
for the natural physlcal world, or what he calls 'crea
turellness. . . . Its low trlcks, lts dogglsh hlndsnlfflng
charm." Sammler yearns to be 'a soul released from
Nature, from lmpresslons, and from everyday llfe."
jêK p~ããäÉêÛë mä~åÉí won a Natlonal Book Award ln
l97l. Whlle contlnulng to teach at the Lnlverslty of Chl
cago (where he had become chalrman of the Commlttee
on Soclal Jhought) and coplng wlth the publlc and bltter
dlssolutlon of hls thlrd marrlage, Bellow worked on two
novels, segments of whlch were publlshed ln l971. One
of these was eìãÄçäÇíÛë dáÑíI whlch became hls seventh
novel, won Bellow a Pulltzer Prlze, and lmmedlately pre
ceded hls l976 Nobel Prlze ln Llterature.
Many revlewers pralsed the book, and kÉïëïÉÉâ
dld a cover story on 'Amerlca`s leadlng wrlter," but other
98
p~ìä _Éääçï ai_ POV
crltlcs were dlsappolnted. 'Jhe book ls not very real,"
Kazln confessed, ln Tlc `cw Jorl Icvicw of ßools (3
December l970), although large pleces of lt were. Part of
the trouble seemed to be the comblnatlon of the reallstlc
and manlc. Bellow attempted to work grotesque gang
sters lnto a flnely detalled world, and some crltlcs felt lt
dld not work.
Jhe story ls told from the polnt of vlew of Charles
Cltrlne, a wellknown dramatlst who remlnlsces about
hls frlendshlp wlth Humboldt, a poet who comblnes
qualltles of Berryman, wlth whom Bellow had been close
frlends at Mlnnesota, and Schwartz, whom Bellow had
known ln New York. Bellow began worklng on the novel
ln l966, shortly after Schwartz dled. Much of the story
conslsts of Cltrlne`s trylng to hang onto hls memorles of
Humboldt and do a llttle phllosophlcal medltatlon whlle
belng harrassed by gangsters, lawyers, blmbos, and
creeps÷some funny and some not. All of them are typl
fled by Cantablle, to whom Cltrlne owes money and
who has Cltrlne`s car smashed ln by baseball bats and
later forces the playwrlght to watch hlm defecate. A
former wlfe ls sulng Cltrlne, and a mlstress÷the sensual
Renata÷ls attemptlng to lead hlm to the altar. But durlng
all these events, Cltrlne moves lnward ln memory and
medltatlon.
What ls lnterestlng thematlcally ln Humboldt`s Cift ls
the equatlon wlthln Cltrlne`s lnner llfe of hls medltatlon
of splrlt and hls memorles of hls frlend. Both of these
exlst ln savlng opposltlon to the world, although Hum
boldt`s actual glft comblnes the vulgar and the subllme,
for lt conslsts flrst of a movle scenarlo on whlch they had
collaborated and whlch proceeds to earn Cltrlne a small
fortune, and then of a scrlbbled sentence at the end of a
farewell letter. 'We are not natural belngs but supernatu
ral belngs."
Jhe chlef crltlcal lssue wlth the novel, aslde from
Bellow`s struggle to mesh hls transcendental phllosophy
wlth commerclal Amerlca, ls lts uneven quallty. thls
novel lncludes wrltlng as good as any that Bellow has
done and also some of the worst that he has done. Bel
low at hls worst sounds llke an amateur playwrlght pro
vldlng background lnformatlon as he moves hls
characters on and offstage. Jhe later parts of the novel
fall off, becomlng talky and cranky, as though (as report
edly ls the case) Bellow had taken to dlctatlng hls novel
to a stenographer, or as though hls troubled personal llfe
had taken lts toll. Jhe best early parts of the book were
wrltten not too long after Hcr·og, whlle the later parts,
developlng some of the dlsenchantment wlth the real
world Bellow expressed ln Mr. Sommlcr`s Ilovct, came after
l969.
Bellow`s l976 book, the journallstlc To ¸crusolcm
ovd ßocl: Z Icrsovol Zccouvt, was publlshed after Bellow
had accompanled hls new wlfe, Alexandra Ionescu Jul
cea, professor of mathematlcs at Northwestern Lnlver
slty, to Israel. Jhe author asked hlmself, what could a
practltloner of the humanltles add to the polltlcs and pro
paganda and terror of the IsraellArab confllct? Could he
penetrate the confuslon and make some klnd of contrlbu
tlon to solvlng Israel`s troubles? Jhe book descrlbes Bel
low`s travels, hls lntervlews wlth Israell and Amerlcan
leaders, and hls dlnner conversatlons wlth the powerful
and the humble, and then÷and not least lmportant÷doc
uments hls readlng and research lnto the problem.
Bellow`s wrltlng ls lucld and detalled, and not wlth
out humor, as a Hasldlm, for example, ls offended by
Bellow`s eatlng hablts and offers to send hlm money each
month lf he wlll return to orthodoxy. But the ratlonal
and wellmeanlng Bellow ultlmately ls forced to conclude
that the sltuatlon ls even more dangerous than he had
supposed, for he flnds that natlons (and thelr leaders) do
not act conslstently wlth even thelr own selflnterests. If
only they recognlzed thelr goals and sought them ruth
lessly, Bellow suggests, the struggle would have some
order. But both Arab and |ew act lrratlonally, creatlng a
volatlle mlx.
Shortly after returnlng to Chlcago ln the fall of
l976, Bellow learned that he had won the Nobel Prlze ln
Llterature. Hls acceptance speech, dellvered ln Sweden
on l2 December l976, provlded valuable lnslght lnto hls
flctlon. Successful art, Bellow told the klng and queen of
Sweden, offers 'true lmpresslons"÷a phrase Bellow bor
rowed from Marcel Proust to descrlbe lntultlons of a splr
ltual reallty. Such gllmpses glve humans thelr sense of
meanlng, of goodness, of value. Jhey move people to
belleve that 'the good we hang onto so tenaclously . . . ls
no llluslon." Jhey offer refuge from the dlstractlons and
lmpurlty of the world÷they are the stlllness achleved by
Jommy Wllhelm, the joy experlenced by Eugene Hen
derson, the reason art ls essentlal even ln an age of scl
ence. Jhe 'true lmpresslon" ls personal, burled wlthln
the lndlvldual and expressed only wlthln the language of
art. It ls a hlnt, a gllmpse, a feellng÷Bellow ls careful not
to clalm too much÷dlscovered by the person wlthln the
work.
In these remarks Bellow reveals the true subject of
hls flctlon, whlch ls not soclety, much as those readers
who value Bellow`s soclal observatlon mlght have
expected. Hls Nobel address dld not stress hls |ewlsh
ldentlty elther, ln splte of the many readers who vlew
hlm as the qulntessentlal |ewlsh Amerlcan wrlter. In
what must be the penultlmate explanatlon of hls work to
the world, Bellow says hls subject ls the prlvate experl
ence of the lndlvldual. Jhat experlence takes place ln
Amerlca and belongs to a |ew, true enough. But lt also
lnvolves sensatlons that lle deeper than soclal or ethnlc
ldentlty. Before l976 the Bellow protagonlst experlenced
a level of physlcal sensatlon so lntense that lt ltself
99
ai_ POV p~ìä _Éääçï
became the story. Jhe antagonlst ln the Bellow novel ls
the 'world" wlth all lts sensatlon and dlstractlon. Jhe
world ls lmpure, unclean, oppresslve. Bellow embodles lt
ln a person (Allbee of qÜÉ sáÅíáã) or an anlmal (the llon ln
eÉåÇÉêëçå íÜÉ o~áå háåÖ). He glves the sensory world a
geography (ln the streets of New York) or a psychology
(Herzog`s masochlsm) or an lmage ( |oseph`s dream ln
a~åÖäáåÖ j~å). Whatever form the world mlght take,
however, the lntenslty of sensatlon that makes lt oppres
slve also hlnts at a splrltual level of reallty.
But by the l970s, Bellow`s flctlon had changed.
Herzog`s shlft from the prlvate to the publlc descrlbes the
evolutlon of Bellow`s art, even though lt took some tlme
to become apparent. After eìãÄçäíÛë dáÑíI the lntenslty of
the oppresslve world dlmlnlshed as Bellow vlewed lt
more and more ln soclal or hlstorlc terms. Bellow moved
from the meanlng of matter to questlons of soclal pollcy,
from the hldden psychology of hls protagonlst to the
dynamlcs of a dlnner party. He shlfted from an early lyr
lclsm to somethlng more external and prosalc and ln
dolng so became a dlfferent klnd of wrlter.
After the Nobel ceremony, Bellow and hls wlfe
llved ln an apartment overlooklng the lake on the north
slde of Chlcago, close to her job at Northwestern Lnlver
slty. Jo meet hls classes at the Lnlverslty of Chlcago, Bel
low drove down the Outer Drlve. At thls tlme he also
wrote qÜÉ aÉ~åÛë aÉÅÉãÄÉê (l982), whlch ls nothlng less
than an lndlctment of Amerlcan soclety÷on all levels.
Jhe blacks ln Amerlcan cltles are ln truth doomed, Bel
low says; the whltes show only a cruel lndlfference. Pub
llc offlclals are gullty of hypocrlsy, and those unofflclal
publlc flgures who have the opportunlty to study the
problem÷journallsts and experts and professors÷are
gullty of jargon and cant. 'Many Amerlcan wrlters cross
the bar ln thelr 60`s and 70`s," Bellow has sald, 'and
become Grand Old Men, gurus or bones of the Robert
Irost varlety. Jhls ls how soclety eases us out." Bellow`s
concern for Amerlca ls deep, but hls tone ls anythlng but
grandfatherly.
Jhe novellst dellvers hls vlews ln a book that
seems at flrst to be typlcal Bellow. an lntelllgent but fum
bllng protagonlst has the lelsure to reflect upon a shock
lng event ln the past, provldlng not only the drama of a
mlnd ln actlon but also a fasclnatlng exerclse ln perspec
tlve. Albert Corde, a dean of students at a Chlcago col
lege, has accompanled hls senslble astronomer wlfe,
Mlnna, to Bucharest, where her mother lles lll ln a hospl
tal. Petty Communlst offlclals make lt dlfflcult for Mlnna
to vlslt the dylng woman, who ls also a Communlst offl
clal now fallen from grace, and flnally permlt Mlnna only
one vlslt÷she must choose the tlme. Corde`s wlfe must
suffer the thought of her mother dylng alone.
As Mlnna hurrles about the clty seeklng help,
Corde passes the tlme ln a chllly apartment rememberlng
the problems he has left behlnd ln Chlcago. He had pub
llshed a set of artlcles ln e~êéÉêÛë on the black underclass
of the clty and had lnslsted upon the prosecutlon of two
blacks for the murder of a whlte student. In both
lnstances he has taken a controverslal stand ln a way
admlnlstrators dare not do. He has allenated whltes by
remlndlng them of the mllllons of people they have aban
doned. He has allenated the blacks by lnslstlng that how
ever vlctlmlzed they may be, they must be responslble
for thelr actlons. Jhe blacks are 'startled souls," Bellow
told an lntervlewer; 'Jhey cannot be reasoned wlth or
talked to about anythlng."
Jo the llberal, Corde sounds susplclously raclst. Jo
the conservatlve, he stlrs up muddy waters. And to hls
provost, Corde has vlolated academlc decorum. how
dare he, as an offlcer of the unlverslty, wade lnto a messy
soclal lssue? Jo everyone else Corde ls an aesthete, argu
lng that the problem ls one of perceptlon, slnce people
have learned to evade the truth, shuttlng off experlence.
Llke the nlneteenthcentury reallstlc novellsts, to whom
Bellow has confessed a debt, Corde belleves that faclng
the truth can be a rare (and perhaps herolc) accompllsh
ment. Hls artlcles (llke the novel ltself ) are meant 'to
recover the world that ls burled under the debrls of false
descrlptlon or nonexperlence."
Bellow provldes several dlfferent sources of narra
tlve lnterest. As readers awalt the outcome of Mlnna`s
struggle to vlslt her mother, they also awalt the outcome
of the trlal ln Chlcago (Had the whlte student sought
klnky sex? Had he asked for trouble?) and the effect of
Corde`s artlcles on hls career. Hls job hangs by a thread.
Jhe novel moves from Romanla to Chlcago, sometlmes
ln Corde`s memory and at other tlmes ln hls artlcles or
letters sent from Amerlca. In the two cltles, the style of
admlnlstrators, the ways of death, and the klnds of par
tles (a Romanlan tea and a hlghrlse celebratlon of a
dog`s blrthday), the novel sets contrasts that reveal and
dramatlze each soclety. Jhe communlst soclety ls cold
and harsh, as dreary admlnlstrators parcel out paln. Jhe
capltallstlc soclety ls hot and chaotlc, as the slums grow
out of control. In both countrles good people struggle to
be decent. Romanlan women support one another,
rememberlng the old European culture, whlle black
heroes such as Rufus Rldpath, a prlson warden, and
Joby Wlnthrop, the founder of a drug rehabllltatlon cen
ter, struggle to stop the people from brutallzlng them
selves and one another. Corde`s artlcles ln e~êéÉêÛë
(whlch Bellow excerpts ln the novel) provlde rlvetlng
accounts of the underclass and the offlclals who work
wlth lt.
Yet, much as one appreclates Bellow`s style and
ldeas, the novel ls a dlsappolntment to read÷or so many
crltlcs felt, as they wrote thelr mlxed revlews. Jhose who
called the book a success confessed that lt was a near
l00
p~ìä _Éääçï ai_ POV
thlng. Everythlng depends on the protagonlst, sald Rob
ert Jowers ln qÜÉ kÉï vçêâ qáãÉë _ççâ oÉîáÉïI concludlng
that Corde does work as a character. 'Sentence by sen
tence, page by page, Saul Bellow ls slmply the best wrlter
that we have." Other revlewers objected that Corde does
not have the lndependent exlstence of Bellow`s other pro
tagonlsts÷he ls clearly a spokesman for Bellow. Many
crltlcs gave Bellow hlgh marks for struggllng wlth thls
dlfflcult but cruclal subject, whlle some readers, most
notably Davld Evanler ln the k~íáçå~ä oÉîáÉïI were put off
by Bellow`s subject, whlch they felt was stale. Others
complalned that the book ls too grlm (Chrlstopher Leh
mannHaupt wrote ln qÜÉ kÉï vçêâ qáãÉë that reachlng
the endlng was 'llke not hlttlng one`s head agalnst the
wall anymore") or too talky or too full of scoldlng. Jhose
who pralsed lt were exhllarated. 'He glves Corde`s
thoughts such palpable lmmedlacy, such convlnclng
shlfts ln tone," wrote Dean Ilower ln the eìÇëçå oÉîáÉïI
'that sometlmes one can only revel ln Bellow`s glfts."
eáã ïáíÜ eáë cççí áå eáë jçìíÜ ~åÇ líÜÉê píçêáÉë
(l981) turns from the publlc realm to the prlvate or per
sonal one. It ls essentlally Bellow`s thlrd book of storles,
followlng pÉáòÉ íÜÉ a~ó and jçëÄóÛë jÉãçáêëI and, llke those
volumes, ls a loose collectlon of short storles made slgnlf
lcant by Bellow`s style. Although he returns to many of
hls old themes (whlch now appear to be obsesslve), he
manages to make them fresh or lmmedlate.
Jhe tltle story ls a letter of apology from Professor
Shawmut to Mlss Rose, a llbrarlan Shawmut had
lnsulted thlrtyflve years prevlously. Shawmut, now old
and slck, has not done well, he confesses to hls anclent
vlctlm. Hls lmpetuous tongue has lnsulted many people.
But he too has been a vlctlm, havlng lnnocently trusted a
strongwllled, amoral character÷hls brother, who cheated
hlm. Jhus, Bellow once agaln portrays an lnnocent or
gentle character ln confllct wlth a robust Machlavelllan.
In 'What Klnd of Day Dld You Have?," the weakest of
the flve storles, an attractlve young matron ls used by a
famous and powerful art crltlc; ln 'Zetland. By a Charac
ter Wltness" (orlglnally publlshed ln l971 as part of a
novel ln progress), the tltle character marrles ln deflance
of hls angry, broodlng father. In the best story of the vol
ume, 'A Sllver Dlsh," Woody Selbst remembers hls
father steallng from the Chrlstlan woman who had
befrlended Woody, a crlme that costs Woody hls place ln
the semlnary and a career as a Chrlstlan mlnlster÷a fact
hls |ewlsh father foresaw. And ln the last story, Ijah
Metzger ls surrounded by equally wlllful and amoral
'Couslns," all of whom want somethlng from hlm.
Although the collectlon was a bestseller and much
pralsed by revlewers, lt embodles Bellow`s new charac
terlstlc weakness. the dlalogue ln 'What Klnd of Day
Dld You Have?" ls wooden and the events somewhat
contrlved. But the volume features Bellow`s strengths as
well. One who wlshes to know what lt ls llke to rlde a
Chlcago trolley need only read 'A Sllver Dlsh." As |ohn
Lpdlke wrote ln qÜÉ kÉï vçêâÉê (22 Iebruary l982) of
qÜÉ aÉ~åÛë aÉÅÉãÄÉêI Bellow 'ls not just a very good
wrlter, he ls one of the rare wrlters who when we read
them feel to be taklng mlmesls a layer or two deeper than
lt has gone before. Hls lavlsh, rlppllng notatlons of per
sons, furnlture, hablllments, and vlstas awaken us to
what ls truly there."
Bellow`s lnterest ln the transcendent may be found
ln these storles (one character belleves that 'Jhe Dlvlne
Splrlt . . . has wlthdrawn ln our tlme from the outer, vlsl
ble world"). But perhaps the most notable polnt about
thls volume ls Bellow`s concern wlth emotlon. More than
anythlng else, these storles are studles of human feellng,
explorlng the danger of emotlon as well as lts strength.
Shawmut`s love of hls brother causes hlm to glve the
buslnessman all hls money; Woody`s love of hls father
makes hlm trustlng; and Ijah`s deep feellng for hls cous
lns (or at least thelr parents) makes hlm a soft touch.
Agaln and agaln Bellow portrays characters bound by
thelr emotlons and vulnerable before people who do not
feel. 'Pop never had these grovellng emotlons," Woody
thlnks; 'Jhere was hls whole superlorlty. Pop had no
such feellngs."
Bellow belleves that such emotlon ls also salvatlon,
however. Jhe emotlonal characters are sustalned by thelr
love, rlslng above petty concerns. Jhey learn to control
thelr feellngs, when that ls approprlate, and also to trust
them. Ijah ln 'Couslns" reads the work of phllosopher
Martln Heldegger on emotlon and perceptlon. Even
hate, Ijah notes, 'lncreases lucldlty, lt opens a man up; lt
makes hlm reach out and concentrates hls belng so that
he ls able to grasp hlmself." Jo another character (ln the
tltle story), 'redemptlon from ãÉêÉ nature ls the work of
feellng and of the awakened eye of the Splrlt."
Bellow and Julcea dlvorced ln l986, the year
before Bellow publlshed jçêÉ aáÉ çÑ eÉ~êíÄêÉ~âI hls weak
est novel. Jhe story centers on the relatlonshlp between
the narrator, Kenneth Jrachtenberg, an asslstant profes
sor of Russlan llterature, and hls uncle, the famous bota
nlst Benn Crader, who comblnes hlghmlnded thought
wlth a comlc fallure wlth women. Crader has marrled
Matllda Layamon, a beautlful woman twenty years hls
junlor, who proves to be more lnterested ln money than
her husband. After a compllcated and farclcal plot lnvolv
lng a realestate swlndle, Crader escapes to the Antarctlc.
Jo summarlze the events of the story, however, ls
to glve the wrong lmpresslon, slnce the book conslsts
largely of rumlnatlon. Although most revlewers pald Bel
low the respect he was due as a dlstlngulshed wrlter, lt
was clear they dlsllked the novel. 'Jhe characters are lost
ln a fog of dlscourse," as |ames Atlas put lt ln p~ìä _ÉääçïW
l0l
ai_ POV p~ìä _Éääçï
Z ßiogroply (2000). Jhey are also full of anger and mlsog
yny.
In truth, Bellow by l986 was confronted as a
wrlter by a great many dlfflcultles. He faced so many
obstacles, ln fact, that only hls hablt of wrltlng every
mornlng, no matter what else was golng on ln hls llfe,
enabled hlm to stay productlve. Once Bellow had won
the Nobel Prlze, he became an even more publlc flgure,
asked to glve speeches all over the country. He dld so
reluctantly, though many of the lnvltatlons lnvolved hon
ors that he could not easlly turn down. Whether lt was a
conference on hls novels ln Halfa, Israel, or a llterary
prlze (such as the Natlonal Medal of Arts ln l988), or a
llbrary named after hlm ln hls hometown of Lachlne,
Bellow found hlmself playlng a hlghly publlc and dls
tractlng role.
Hls notorlety hurt ln another way. When a judge
sentenced hlm to ten days ln jall ln a l977 legal dlspute
wlth hls thlrd wlfe (a sentence overturned by an Illlnols
appeals court), lt made all the papers÷and so dld hls
lncreaslngly conservatlve vlews. Bellow resented the loss
of the economlcally just, culturally serlous soclety envl
sloned by lntellectuals ln the early l960s. He also
rejected the relatlvlsm of Irench Deconstructlon, champl
onlng a humanlsm that appeared oldfashloned. In con
trast to the ethos of the tlme, Bellow belleved ln the
unlversallty of certaln values and the greatness of certaln
masterpleces. He lnslsted on hlgh culture as a value ln
ltself, equal to any polltlcal cause; and he belleved ln the
efflcacy of language and the human mlnd. All of these
vlews made hlm appear elltlst, mlsogynlstlc, and÷when
he asked, 'Who ls the Jolstol of the Zulus?"÷raclst. No
one remembered hls plea ln Tlc Dcov`s Dcccmbcr for raclal
justlce.
Bellow`s advanclng years also affected hls work.
He had always wrltten out of hls own experlence, even
when he used events that happened to others, but that
experlence now belonged to an aglng male rumlnatlng
on hls past. Jhe rumlnatlon mlght be wltty and full of
observatlon; lt mlght offer a rare serlousness and orlgl
nallty; but lt stlll lacked the lmmedlacy of a dramatlzed
event. Instead of uslng dlalogue and analysls to support
hls plot, Bellow now used hls plots as an excuse for the
protagonlst`s rumlnatlon. As the years passed, Bellow
also lost the stamlna to contlnue produclng darlng and
dlfferent works, chooslng to wrlte novellas lnstead of
novels, for example, and movlng from a lyrlcal to a more
rambllng, dlscurslve÷and so less demandlng÷mode.
In l989 Bellow marrled |anls Ireedman, a gradu
ate student ln the Commlttee on Soclal Jhought, achlev
lng the marltal happlness that had so far eluded hlm. He
also wrote two novellas, Z Tlcft and Tlc ßclloroso Covvcc-
tiov. When Vlklng Press felt they were too short to pub
llsh ln hardcover (and when magazlnes clalmed they
were too long for a perlodlcal), Bellow arranged to pub
llsh them as Penguln paperbacks. In Z Tlcft, a female
narrator, Clara Velde, dotes on an older male, the power
ful Washlngton lawyer Ithlel Regler. Bellow had used a
female polnt of vlew before, ln some of hls storles, but
crltlcs now complalned that Clara sounded too much llke
the author hlmself. Nor dld they much care for the plot,
ln whlch an emerald rlng stolen by the boyfrlend of an
au palr ls eventually returned. Jhe story ls not so much
dramatlzed as explalned.
In Tlc ßclloroso Covvcctiov, publlshed seven months
later, Bellow used an unnamed, elderly |ewlsh Amerlcan
narrator to recount the experlence of Harry Ionsteln,
who had been saved from the Holocaust by the generos
lty of Broadway producer Bllly Rose. When after the
war Harry sought to thank Rose personally, the celebrlty
refused to meet wlth hlm. Harry`s wlfe, Sorella, contrlves
to blackmall Rose lnto acceptlng the thanks of her hus
band, but when she changes her mlnd, clalmlng that
Rose ls not worth the effort, the story collapses. Some
years later the narrator attempts to contact the Ionstelns,
only to dlscover that they are dead.
A thlrd novella, Tlc Zctuol, publlshed ln l997, ls
consldered better wrltten that the earller two. (Its open
lng sentence, for example÷'It`s easy enough to see what
people tlivl they`re dolng"÷ls much smoother and more
engaglng than that of Z Tlcft: 'Clara Velde, to begln
wlth what was consplcuous about her, had short blond
halr, fashlonably cut, growlng upon a head unusually
blg"). In Tlc Zctuol, Bellow tells the story of the love of
Harry Jrellman for hls schooltlme crush, Amy Wustrln.
Jhe couple ls brought together by the elderly Slgmund
Adletsky, and Harry proposes to Amy whlle they
arrange the reburlal of Amy`s flrst husband, |ay.
Bellow had turned to the novella because he found
lt comfortable, but crltlcs complalned that these flctlons
were relatlvely mlnor. Jhe revlewers used phrases such
as 'lnterlm report" and 'a novellst`s sketchbook," often
worrylng that the central actlon of the story÷so clearly
based on some anecdote÷was thln.
In l99l Bellow publlshed another collectlon of
short flctlon (lncludlng 'Zetland. By a Character Wlt
ness" and Tlc ßclloroso Covvcctiov). In the tltle story,
'Somethlng to Remember Me By," the aglng Loule tells
hls son about a shameful lncldent ln hls youth. Whlle hls
mother was dylng of cancer, Loule had taken up wlth a
prostltute, who had stolen hls money and clothes. Loule
earned carfare by taklng care of a drunken Gentlle (when
he could have been consollng hls mother), and when he
reached home, he was gratlfled to recelve a beatlng from
hls father, slnce lt meant hls mother was stlll allve. Jhls
story won pralse from revlewers.
Bellow and hls wlfe moved from Chlcago to Bos
ton ln l993 and spent lncreaslng amounts of tlme ln Ver
l02
p~ìä _Éääçï ai_ POV
mont, enjoylng the house they had bullt there. Bellow
also worked on the novel he had promlsed to wrlte about
hls close frlend Allan Bloom, conservatlve professor of
phllosophy at the Lnlverslty of Chlcago, who dled ln
l992.
In l999 |anls gave blrth to Bellow`s fourth chlld÷a
daughter, Naoml Rose÷and ln 2000 Bellow publlshed
Iovclstciv, hls homage to Bloom. Jhls fulllength novel
recounts Bloom`s success ln the classroom and wlth hls
surprlse bestseller, Tlc Closivg of tlc Zmcricov Mivd (l987),
as well as the fact that he was homosexual and hls death
may have been AIDSrelated, whlch had been a secret
before the book appeared. When people objected to Bel
low`s revelatlon, he found hlmself once agaln embrolled
ln a publlc controversy.
Iovclstciv ls remarkable for lts vlvld wrltlng.
Although Bellow had aged and had almost dled from
toxlc seafood (as he recounts ln the novel), he had not
lost hls eye for detall. Jhe novel ls dlscurslve, wlth llttle
plot and lots of conversatlon, as the two aglng men dls
cuss subjects ranglng from |udalsm to the nature of love,
and yet Bellow offers dramatlc scenes more compelllng
than those found ln the novellas. He deplcts Ravelsteln`s
bald head and domlnant manner, hls love of gosslp and
expenslve trlnkets, hls table manners, and hls theory of
eros. Readers are shown hls apartment, where most of
the novel takes place, wlth lts exqulslte carpets and flrst
class CD player, and told the story of hls bestselllng
polemlc, whlch made hlm rlch and famous. Ravelsteln ls
one of Bellow`s 'reallty lnstructors," tutorlng hls lnno
cent frlend Chlck (Bellow`s alter ego, hlmself a successful
wrlter) ln the ways of the world.
Jhough lt ls clear that Chlck, the narrator, loves
Ravelsteln, the reader flnds lt hard to share that affectlon.
Bellow glves hlm a vlvld presence, but he does not make
hlm llkable or convlnce readers that he ls brllllant. When
Ravelsteln rulns a $1,000 sport coat shortly after buylng
lt, the reader crlnges at such waste. When nelghbors ln
Ravelsteln`s apartment complaln about hls loud muslc,
he refuses to turn lt down (though he later soundproofs
hls apartment). Ravelsteln ls careless wlth money, honest
wlth frlends, and generous wlth hls tlme. But he ls also
snobblsh, gosslpy, egotlstlcal, and selflsh. Both he and
Chlck seem to be overly lmpressed wlth wealth and lux
ury. Bloom had asked for an accurate portralt, nothlng
held back, whlch ls what Bellow provldes.
Iovclstciv was well recelved by revlewers and soon
found lts way onto Tlc `cw Jorl Timcs bestseller llst. Jhe
fact that Bellow at elghtyflve had publlshed such an
accompllshed book pleased almost everyone, especlally
slnce Bellow`s other publlcatlons durlng thls perlod were
collectlons of prevlously publlshed work. It Zll Zdds Up:
Irom tlc Dim Iost to tlc Uvccrtoiv Iuturc (l991), a collectlon
of Bellow`s essays; Collcctcd Storics (200l); and ßcllow `ov-
cls 1944-19áJ (2003), the Llbrary of Amerlca edltlon of
Bellow`s flrst three novels.
Saul Bellow dled on 5 Aprll 2005 at home ln
Brookllne, Massachusetts, at the age of elghtynlne. In a
trlbute artlcle for Slotc magazlne (8 Aprll 2005), several
novellsts and crltlcs offered thelr thoughts on Bellow`s
work and lnfluence. Phlllp Gourevltch sald that Bellow
'was, consclously, and ln every sense, an orlglnal." Nor
man Rush polnted out, 'What Saul Bellow achleved ln
hls art he achleved wlthout trlcks. no maglc reallsm,
typographlcal jlggerlng, no lnanlmate objects as narra
tors. Hls expanslve, detalled, wldely alluslve, radlcally
tradltlonal mode of attack ls pure." Cllve |ames com
mented, 'Bellow could do every tone of the Amerlcan
volce, and somewhere underneath hls range of mlmlcry
he had the baslc tone, the deep rhythm of the Amerlcan
demotlc that could brlng even hls most dlrectly exposl
tory prose to poetlc llfe." In another artlcle for Slotc (6
Aprll 2005), Chrlstopher Hltchens wrote. 'desplte the
ethnlc emphasls of much of hls work, Bellow wlll always
attract readers by the scope and unlversallty and humor
of hls themes."
fåíÉêîáÉïëW
Gordon Lloyd Harper, 'Saul Bellow. An Intervlew," ln
!ritcrs ot !orl: Tlc 'Ioris Icvicw¨ Ivtcrvicws, thlrd
serles (New York. Vlklng, l967), pp. l75-l96;
|oseph Epsteln, 'A Jalk wlth Saul Bellow," `cw Jorl
Timcs ßool Icvicw, 5 December l976, pp. 3, 92-93;
Glorla Cronln and Ben Slegal, eds., Covvcrsotiovs witl
Soul ßcllow ( |ackson. Lnlverslty Press of Mlssls
slppl, l991).
_áÄäáçÖê~éÜáÉëW
B. A. Sokoloff and Mark Posner, Soul ßcllow: Z Comprc-
lcvsivc ßibliogroply (Iolcroft, Pa.. Iolcroft Llbrary
Edltlons, l972);
Marlanne Nault, Soul ßcllow: His !orls ovd His Critics
(New York. Garland, l977);
Robert G. Noreen, Soul ßcllow: Z Icfcrcvcc Cuidc (Bos
ton. G. K. Hall, l978).
_áçÖê~éÜóW
|ames Atlas, Soul ßcllow: Z ßiogroply (New York. Ran
dom House, 2000).
oÉÑÉêÉåÅÉëW
Gerhard Bach, ed., Tlc Criticol Icspovsc to Soul ßcllow
(Westport, Conn.. Greenwood Press, l995);
Malcolm Bradbury, Soul ßcllow (New York. Methuen,
l982);
|ean Braham, Z Sort of Columbus: Tlc Zmcricov !oyogcs of
Soul ßcllow`s Iictiov (Athens. Lnlverslty of Georgla
Press, l981);
l03
ai_ POV p~ìä _Éääçï
|ohn |. Clayton, Soul ßcllow: Iv Dcfcvsc of Mov (Bloo
mlngton. Indlana Lnlverslty Press, l968);
Sarah Blacher Cohen, Soul ßcllow`s Ivigmotic Iougltcr
(Lrbana. Lnlverslty of Illlnols Press, l971);
Robert Detweller, Soul ßcllow: Z Criticol Issoy (Grand
Raplds, Mlch.. Eerdmans, l967);
Robert R. Dutton, Soul ßcllow (New York. Jwayne,
l982);
Danlel Iuchs, Soul ßcllow: !isiov ovd Icvisiov (Durham,
N.C.. Duke Lnlverslty Press, l981);
Davld D. Galloway, Tlc Zbsurd Hcro iv Zmcricov Iictiov:
Updilc, Styrov, ßcllow, Solivgcr (Austln. Lnlverslty
of Jexas Press, l966; revlsed, l970);
Mlchael K. Glenday, Soul ßcllow ovd tlc Dcclivc of Humov-
ism (New York. St. Martln`s Press, l990);
Lella Goldman, Soul ßcllow`s Morol !isiov: Z Criticol Study
of ¸cwisl Ixpcricvcc (New York. Irvlngton, l983);
Eugene Hollahan, ed., Soul ßcllow ovd tlc Strugglc ot tlc
Ccvtcr, Georgla State Llbrary Studles, l2 (New
York. AMS, l996);
Peter Hyland, Soul ßcllow (New York. St. Martln`s Press,
l992);
Alfred Kazln, 'My Irlend Saul Bellow," Ztlovtic Movtlly
( |anuary l965);
Robert Klernan, Soul ßcllow (New York. Contlnuum,
l990);
Claude Levy, Ics Iomovs dc Soul ßcllow: Toctiqucs `orrotivc
ct Strotcgics Ucdipicvvcs, Etudes AngloAmerlcalnes, 5
(Parls. Kllncksleck, l983);
Irvlng Malln, Soul ßcllow`s Iictiov (Carbondale. Southern
Illlnols Lnlverslty Press, l969);
Malln, ed., Soul ßcllow ovd tlc Critics (New York. New
York Lnlverslty Press, l967);
D. J. Max, 'Wlth Irlends Llke Saul Bellow," `cw Jorl Timcs
Mogo·ivc (l6 Aprll 2000) ´http.//partners.nytlmes.com/
llbrary/magazlne/home/200001l6magravel
steln.html`;
|udle Newman, Soul ßcllow ovd History (New York. St.
Martln`s Press, l981);
Kelth M. Opdahl, Tlc `ovcls of Soul ßcllow: Zv Ivtroduc-
tiov (Lnlverslty Park. Pennsylvanla State Lnlver
slty Press, l967);
Ellen Plfer, Soul ßcllow Zgoivst tlc Croiv (Phlladelphla.
Lnlverslty of Pennsylvanla, l990);
M. Gllber Porter, !lcvcc tlc Iowcr? Tlc Zrtistry ovd
Humovity of Soul ßcllow (Columbla. Lnlverslty of
Mlssourl Press, l971);
Euseblo Rodrlques, _ucst for tlc Humov: Zv Ixplorotiov of
Soul ßcllow`s Iictiov (Lewlsburg, Pa.. Bucknell Lnl
verslty Press, l98l);
Earl Rovlt, Soul ßcllow (Mlnneapolls. Lnlverslty of Mln
nesota Press, l967);
Rovlt, ed., Soul ßcllow: Z Collcctiov of Criticol Issoys (Engle
wood Cllffs, N.|.. PrentlceHall, l975);
Soul ßcllow ¸ourvol (l98l- );
Brlgltte ScheerSchaetzler, Soul ßcllow (New York.
Lngar, l972);
Edmond Schraepen, Soul ßcllow ovd His !orl (Brussels.
Vrlje Lnlversltet Brussel, l978);
Jony Janner, Soul ßcllow (Edlnburgh × London. Ollver
× Boyd, l965; New York. Barnes × Noble, l965);
Stanley Jrachtenberg, ed., Criticol Issoys ov Soul ßcllow
(Boston. G. K. Hall, l979);
Harrlet Wasserman, Hovdsomc Is: Zdvcvturcs witl Soul
ßcllow (New York. Iromm, l997);
|onathan Wllson, Hcr·og: Tlc Iimit of Idcos, Jwayne`s
Masterworks Serles, 16 (Boston. Jwayne, l990);
Wllson, Uv ßcllow`s Ilovct: Icodivgs Irom tlc Dorl Sidc
(Rutherford, N.|.. Ialrlelgh Dlcklnson Lnlverslty
Press, l985).
m~éÉêëW
Except for that for Mr. Sommlcr`s Ilovct, whlch ls at the
New York Publlc Llbrary, Saul Bellow`s manuscrlpts are
at Regensteln Llbrary of the Lnlverslty of Chlcago.
Jhls extenslve collectlon lncludes manuscrlpts from
most of the novels, many dlfferent worklng drafts, let
ters, and memorabllla. Several manuscrlpts of Sci·c tlc
Doy are at the Harry Ransom Humanltles Research
Center, Lnlverslty of Jexas at Austln.

NVTS kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ
mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ
by Dr. Iorl Iogvor Cicrow, of tlc Swcdisl Zcodcmy
(Trovslotiov from tlc Swcdisl)
Your Majestles, Your Royal Hlghnesses, Ladles and
Gentlemen,
When Saul Bellow publlshed hls flrst book, the
tlme had come for a change of cllmate and generatlon
ln Amerlcan narratlve art. Jhe socalled hardbolled
style, wlth lts vlrlle alr and choppy prose, had now
slackened lnto an everyday routlne, whlch was
pounded out automatlcally; lts rlgld pauclty of words
left not only much unsald but also most of lt unfelt,
unexperlenced. Bellow`s flrst work, Dovglivg Mov
(l911), was one of the slgns portendlng that somethlng
else was at hand.
In Bellow`s case emanclpatlon from the prevlous
ldeal style took place ln two stages. In the flrst he
reached back to the klnd of perceptlon that had found
lts already classlc guldes ln Maupassant, Henry |ames
and Ilaubert perhaps most of all. Jhe masters he fol
lowed expressed themselves as restralnedly as those he
l01
p~ìä _Éääçï ai_ POV
turned hls back on. But the emphasls was elsewhere.
What gave a story lts lnterest was not the dramatlc,
sometlmes vlolent actlon but the llght lt shed over the
protagonlst`s lnner self. Wlth that outlook the novel`s
heroes and herolnes could be regarded, seen through
and exposed, but not glorlfled. Jhe antlhero of the
present was already on the way, and Bellow became
one of those who took care of hlm.
Dovglivg Mov, the man wlthout a foothold, was
thus a slgnlflcant watchword to Bellow`s wrltlng and
has to no small extent remalned so. He pursued the
llne ln hls next novel, Tlc !ictim (l917) and, years
later, wlth mature mastery ln Sci·c tlc Doy (l956).
Wlth lts exemplary command of subject and form
the lastmentloned novel has recelved the accolade as
one of the classlc works of our tlme.
But wlth the thlrd story ln thls styllstlcally coher
ent sulte, lt ls as lf Bellow had turned back ln order at
last to complete somethlng whlch he hlmself had
already passed. Wlth hls second stage, the declslve step,
he had already left thls school behlnd hlm, whose dlscl
pllned form and enclosed structure gave no play to the
resources of exuberant ldeas, flashlng lrony, hllarlous
comedy and dlscernlng compasslon whlch he also knew
he possessed and whose scope he must try out. Jhe
result was somethlng qulte new, Bellow`s own mlxture
of rlch plcaresque novel and subtle analysls of our cul
ture, of entertalnlng adventure, drastlc and traglc epl
sodes ln qulck successlon, lnterspersed wlth phllosophlc
conversatlon wlth the reader÷that too very entertaln
lng÷all developed by a commentator wlth a wltty
tongue and penetratlng lnslght lnto the outer and lnner
compllcatlons that drlve us to act or prevent us from
actlng and that can be called the dllemma of our age.
Ilrst ln the new phase came Tlc Zdvcvturcs of Zugic
Morcl (l953). Jhe very wordlng of the tltle polnts
stralght to the plcaresque, and the connexlon ls perhaps
most strongly ln evldence ln thls novel. But here Bellow
had found hls style, and the tone recurs ln the followlng
serles of novels that form the bulk of hls work. Hcvdcr-
sov tlc Ioiv Iivg (l959), Hcr·og (l961), Mr. Sommlcr`s
Ilovct (l970) and Humboldt`s Cift (l975). Jhe structure ls
apparently loosejolnted but for thls very reason glves
the author ample opportunlty for descrlptlons of dlffer
ent socletles; they have a rare vlgour and strlngency
and a swarm of colourful, clearly deflned characters
agalnst a background of carefully observed and
deplcted settlngs, whether lt ls the magnlflcent facades
of Manhattan ln front of the backyards of the slums and
semlslums, Chlcago`s lmpenetrable jungle of resource
ful buslnessmen lntlmately lntertwlned wlth obllglng
crlmlnal gangs, or the more llteral jungle, ln the depths
of Afrlca, where the novel Hcvdcrsov tlc Ioiv Iivg, the
wrlter`s most lmaglnatlve expedltlon, takes place. In a
nutshell they are all storles on the move and, llke the
flrst book, are about a man wlth no foothold, but (and
lt ls lmportant to add thls) a man who keeps on tryivg to
fivd a foothold durlng hls wanderlngs ln our totterlng
world.
Even a few mlnutes` sketch of Bellow`s many
slded wrltlngs should lndlcate where that foothold
lles. It cannot be polnted out, as none of hls protago
nlsts reaches lt. But durlng thelr escapades they are
all on the run, not from somethlng but towords some
thlng, a goal somewhere whlch wlll glve them what
they lack÷flrm ground under thelr feet. 'I want, I
want, I want!" Henderson exclalms, and sets off for
an unknown contlnent. What hls demands are he
does not know; what he demands ls to flnd out, and
hls own deslre ls the unknown contlnent. 'A worth
whlle fate," Augle March calls hls goal. And Herzog,
the restless seeker after truth, for hls part trles out
one phraslng after the other of what he means by 'a
worthwhlle fate." At one polnt he says confldently
that 'the realm of facts and that of value are not eter
nally separated." Jhe words are uttered ln passlng
but are worth dwelllng on, and lf we thlnk of them as
comlng from Bellow hlmself they are essentlal. Glv
lng value a place slde by slde wlth palpable facts ls, as
regards llterature, a deflnlte departure from reallsm.
As a phllosophy lt ls a protest agalnst the determln
lsm that must make man unaccountable for hls
actlons as well as lnert or hostlle to llfe, slnce lt pre
vents hlm from feellng, chooslng and actlng hlmself.
Jhe awareness of a value, on the other hand, glves
man freedom, thereby responslblllty, thereby a deslre
for actlon and a falth ln the future. Jhat ls why Bel
low, never one to look through rosecoloured specta
cles, ls at heart an optlmlst. It ls the llght of that
convlctlon whlch makes the facets of hls wrltlng spar
kle. Hls 'antlheroes" are vlctlms of constant dlsap
polntment, born to defeat wlthout end, and Bellow
(lt cannot be overemphaslzed) loves and ls able to
transform the fate they flnd worthwhlle lnto superb
comedles. But they trlumph nonetheless, they are
heroes nonetheless, slnce they never glve up the
realm of values ln whlch man becomes human. And,
as Augle March says, anyone can become allve to
thls fact at any moment, however unfortunate he
may be, 'lf he wlll be qulet and walt lt out."
Jhe realm of facts and that of value÷the very
comblnatlon of words ls remlnlscent of a work by the
phllosopher Wolfgang K∏hler, professor flrst at G∏ttln
gen, then ln Berlln, flnally at Prlnceton, to whlch he fled
from the Nazls. K∏hler`s book ls called Tlc Ilocc of !oluc
iv o !orld of Iocts and lent lts name to an lnternatlonal
Nobel symposlum ln Stockholm some years ago, at
whlch a lecture was glven by E. H. Gombrlch, dlsclple
l05
ai_ POV p~ìä _Éääçï
and younger frlend of K∏hler. He told of the latter`s last
nlght ln Berlln, before the fllght could be carrled out.
K∏hler spent the slow hours wlth llkemlnded frlends,
and whlle they walted, wonderlng lf a patrol would
clamp up the stalrs at the last moment and pound on
the door wlth rlfle butts, they played chamber muslc.
'Such ls," Gombrlch remarked, 'the place of value ln a
world of facts."
Jhe threatened posltlon of value between obtru
slve realltles has not escaped Bellow; that ls what he ls
always wrltlng about. But he does not thlnk that elther
manklnd`s conduct or the exploslve development of the
sclences betoken a world catastrophe. He ls an optlmlst
lnsplteofall, and thus also an opposltlon leader of
human klndness. Jruth must out, of course. But lt ls
not always hostlle. Iaclng the truth ls not necessarlly
the same as bravlng death. 'Jhere may be truths on the
slde of llfe," he has sald. 'Jhere may be some truths
whlch are, after all, our frlends ln the unlverse."
In an lntervlew once Bellow descrlbed somethlng
of what happens when he wrltes. Most of us, he sup
posed, have a prlmltlve prompter or commentator
wlthln, who from earllest years has been telllng us what
the real world ls. He hlmself has such a commentator ln
hlm; he has to prepare the ground for hlm and take
notlce of what he says. One ls put ln mlnd of another
man who went out lnto the hlghways and byways wlth
hls questlons, taklng notlce of hls lnner volce. Socrates
and hls daemon. Jhls lntrospectlve llstenlng demands
secluslon. As Bellow hlmself puts lt, 'Art has somethlng
to do wlth the achlevement of stlllness ln the mldst of
chaos. A stlllness whlch characterlzes prayer, too, and
the eye of the storm." Jhls was what prevalled when
K∏hler played chamber muslc on hls last nlght ln Berlln
whlle, aware of lmmlnent dlsaster, 'belng qulet and
waltlng lt out." It ls there that the value and dlgnlty of
llfe and manklnd have thelr sole haven, ever storm
lashed, and lt ls from that stlllness that Saul Bellow`s
work, borne on the whlrlwlnd of dlsqulet, derlves lts
lnsplratlon and strength.
Dear Mr. Bellow, lt ls my task and my great plea
sure to convey to you the warm congratulatlons of the
Swedlsh Academy and to ask you to recelve from the
hands of Hls Majesty the Klng the Nobel Prlze for Llt
erature of the year l976.
|¹ Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l976.|

_ÉääçïW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ
_ÉääçïÛë ëéÉÉÅÜ ~í íÜÉ kçÄÉä _~åèìÉíI NM aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVTSW
Your Majestles, Your Royal Hlghnesses, Ladles and
Gentlemen,
Jhere are not many thlngs on whlch the world
agrees but everyone I thlnk acknowledges the lmpor
tance of a Nobel Prlze. I myself take most serlously the
Nobel Commlttee`s recognltlon of the hlghest excel
lence ln several flelds and I accept the honor of thls
award wlth profound gratltude.
I have no very dlstlnct sense of personal achleve
ment. I loved books and I wrote some. Ior some reason
they were taken serlously. I am glad of that, of course.
No one can bear to be lgnored. I would, however, have
been satlsfled wlth a smaller measure of attentlon and
pralse. Ior when I am pralsed on all sldes I worry a blt.
I remember the scrlptural warnlng, 'Woe unto you
when all men shall speak well of you." Lnlversal agree
ment seems to open the door to dlsmlssal. We know
how often our contemporarles are mlstaken. Jhey are
not lnvarlably wrong, but lt ls not at all a bad ldea to
remember that they can`t confer lmmortallty on you.
Immortallty÷a chllllng thought. I feel that I have
scarcely begun to master my trade.
But I need not worry too much that all men wlll
speak well of me. Jhe clvlllzed communlty agrees that
there ls no hlgher dlstlnctlon than the Nobel Prlze but lt
agrees on llttle else, so I need not fear that the doom of
unlversal approval ls hanglng over me. When I publlsh
a book I am often soundly walloped by revlewers÷a
dlsagreeable but necessary correctlve to selflnflatlon.
When the Commlttee`s cholce was announced
and the press rushed at me (a terrlfylng phenomenon!)
and asked how I felt about wlnnlng the Nobel Prlze ln
llterature, I sald that the chlld ln me (for desplte appear
ances there ls a chlld wlthln) was dellghted, the adult
skeptlcal. Jonlght ls the chlld`s nlght entlrely. On Sun
day I wlll have some earnest thlngs to say from the pul
plt. Sunday ls the best day for dark reflectlons but the
chlld`s clalm to thls Irlday nlght wlll not be dlsputed.
|¹ Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l976. Saul Bellow ls the sole
author of hls speech.|
l06
_ÉääçïW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI NO aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVTS
I was a very contrary undergraduate more than 10
years ago. It was my hablt to reglster for a course and
then to do most of my readlng ln another fleld of study.
So that when I should have been grlndlng away at
'Money and Banklng" I was readlng the novels of |oseph
Conrad. I have never had reason to regret thls. Perhaps
Conrad appealed to me because he was llke an Amerl
can÷he was an uprooted Pole salllng exotlc seas, speaklng
Irench and wrltlng Engllsh wlth extraordlnary power and
beauty. Nothlng could be more natural to me, the chlld of
lmmlgrants who grew up ln one of Chlcago`s lmmlgrant
nelghborhoods of course!÷a Slav who was a Brltlsh sea
captaln and knew hls way around Marsellles and wrote
an Orlental sort of Engllsh. But Conrad`s êÉ~ä llfe had llttle
oddlty ln lt. Hls themes were stralghtforward÷fldellty,
command, the tradltlons of the sea, hlerarchy, the fraglle
rules sallors follow when they are struck by a typhoon.
He belleved ln the strength of these fraglleseemlng rules,
and ln hls art. Hls vlews on art were slmply stated ln the
preface to qÜÉ káÖÖÉê çÑ íÜÉ k~êÅáëëìë. Jhere he sald that art
was an attempt to render the hlghest justlce to the vlslble
unlverse. that lt trled to flnd ln that unlverse, ln matter as
well as ln the facts of llfe, what was fundamental, endur
lng, essentlal. Jhe wrlter`s method of attalnlng the essen
tlal was dlfferent from that of the thlnker or the sclentlst.
Jhese, sald Conrad, knew the world by systematlc exam
lnatlon. Jo begln wlth the artlst had only hlmself; he
descended wlthln hlmself and ln the lonely reglons to
whlch he descended, he found 'the terms of hls appeal."
He appealed, sald Conrad, 'to that part of our belng
whlch ls a glft, not an acqulsltlon, to the capaclty for
dellght and wonder . . . our sense of plty and paln, to the
latent feellng of fellowshlp wlth all creatlon÷and to the
subtle but lnvlnclble convlctlon of solldarlty that knlts
together the lonellness of lnnumerable hearts . . . whlch
blnds together all humanlty÷the dead to the llvlng and
the llvlng to the unborn."
Jhls fervent statement was wrltten some 80 years
ago and we may want to take lt wlth a few gralns of con
temporary salt. I belong to a generatlon of readers that
knew the long llst of noble or noblesoundlng words,
words llke 'lnvlnclble convlctlon" or 'humanlty" rejected
by wrlters llke Ernest Hemlngway. Hemlngway spoke for
the soldlers who fought ln the Ilrst World War under the
lnsplratlon of Woodrow Wllson and other rotund states
men whose blg words had to be measured agalnst the fro
zen corpses of young men pavlng the trenches.
Hemlngway`s youthful readers were convlnced that the
horrors of the 20th century had slckened and kllled
humanlstlc bellefs wlth thelr deadly radlatlons. I told
myself, therefore, that Conrad`s rhetorlc must be reslsted.
But I never thought hlm mlstaken. He spoke dlrectly to
me. Jhe feellng lndlvldual appeared weak÷he felt noth
lng but hls own weakness. But lf he accepted hls weakness
and hls separateness and descended lnto hlmself lntenslfy
lng hls lonellness, he dlscovered hls solldarlty wlth other
lsolated creatures.
I feel no need now to sprlnkle Conrad`s sentences
wlth skeptlcal salt. But there are wrlters for whom the
Conradlan novel÷all novels of that sort÷are gone forever.
Ilnlshed. Jhere ls, for lnstance, M. Alaln RobbeGrlllet,
one of the leaders of Irench llterature, a spokesman for
'thlnglsm"÷ÅÜçëÉáëãÉK He wrltes that ln great contempo
rary works, Sartre`s k~ìëÉ~I Camus` qÜÉ píê~åÖÉêI or
Kafka`s qÜÉ `~ëíäÉI there are no characters; you flnd ln
such books not lndlvlduals but÷well, entltles. 'Jhe novel
of characters," he says, 'belongs entlrely ln the past. It
descrlbes a perlod. that whlch marked the apogee of the
lndlvldual." Jhls ls not necessarlly an lmprovement; that
RobbeGrlllet admlts. But lt ls the truth. Indlvlduals have
been wlped out. 'Jhe present perlod ls rather one of
admlnlstratlve numbers. Jhe world`s destlny has ceased,
for us, to be ldentlfled wlth the rlse and fall of certaln men
of certaln famllles." He goes on to say that ln the days of
Balzac`s bourgeolsle lt was lmportant to have a name and
a character; character was a weapon ln the struggle for
survlval and success. In that tlme, 'It was somethlng to
have a face ln a unlverse where personallty represented
both the means and the end of all exploratlon." But our
world, he concludes, ls more modest. It has renounced
the omnlpotence of the person. But lt ls more ambltlous
as well, 'slnce lt looks beyond. Jhe excluslve cult of the
'human` has glven way to a larger consclousness, one that
ls less anthropocentrlc." However, he comforts us, a new
course and the promlse of new dlscoverles lle before us.
On an occaslon llke thls I have no appetlte for
polemlcs. We all know what lt ls to be tlred of 'charac
ters." Human types have become false and borlng. D. H.
l07
ai_ POV _ÉääçïW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI NO aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVTS
Lawrence put lt early ln thls century that we human
belngs, our lnstlncts damaged by Purltanlsm, no longer
care for, were physlcally repulslve to one another. 'Jhe
sympathetlc heart ls broken," he sald. He went further,
'We stlnk ln each other`s nostrlls." Besldes, ln Europe the
power of the classlcs has for centurles been so great that
every country has lts 'ldentlflable personalltles" derlved
from Moll≠re, Ramne, Dlckens or Balzac. An awful phe
nomenon. Perhaps thls ls connected wlth the wonderful
Irench saylng. 'Sil y o uv coroct≠rc, il cst mouvois.¨ It leads
one to thlnk that the unorlglnal human race tends to bor
row what lt needs from convenlent sources, much as new
cltles have often been made out of the rubble of old ones.
Jhen, too, the psychoanalytlc conceptlon of character ls
that lt ls an ugly rlgld formatlon÷somethlng we must
reslgn ourselves to, not a thlng we can embrace wlth joy.
Jotalltarlan ldeologles, too, have attacked bourgeols lndl
vlduallsm, sometlmes ldentlfylng character wlth property.
Jhere ls a hlnt of thls ln M. RobbeGrlllet`s argument.
Dlsllke of personallty, bad masks, false belng have had
polltlcal results.
But I am lnterested here ln the questlon of the art
lst`s prlorltles. Is lt necessary, or good, that he should
begln wlth hlstorlcal analysls, wlth ldeas or systems?
Proust speaks ln Timc Icgoivcd of a growlng preference
among young and lntelllgent readers for works of an ele
vated analytlcal, moral or soclologlcal tendency. He says
that they prefer to Bergotte (the novellst ln Icmcmbrovcc of
Tlivgs Iost ) wrlters who seem to them more profound.
'But," says Proust, 'from the moment that works of art
are judged by reasonlng, nothlng ls stable or certaln, one
can prove anythlng one llkes."
Jhe message of RobbeGrlllet ls not new. It tells us
that we must purge ourselves of bourgeols anthropocen
trlclsm and do the classy thlngs that our advanced culture
requlres. Character? 'Ilfty years of dlsease, the death
notlce slgned many tlmes over by the serlous essaylsts,"
says RobbeGrlllet, 'yet nothlng has managed to knock lt
off the pedestal on whlch the l9th century had placed lt.
It ls a mummy now, but one stlll enthroned wlth the same
phony majesty, among the values revered by tradltlonal
crltlclsm."
Jhe tltle of RobbeGrlllet`s essay ls Uv Scvcrol Ubso-
lctc `otiovs. I myself am tlred of obsolete notlons and of
mummles of all klnds but I never tlre of readlng the mas
ter novellsts. And what ls one to do about the characters
ln thelr books? Is lt necessary to dlscontlnue the lnvestlga
tlon of character? Can anythlng so vlvld ln them now be
utterly dead? Can lt be that human belngs are at a dead
end? Is lndlvlduallty really so dependent on hlstorlcal and
cultural condltlons? Can we accept the account of those
condltlons we are so 'authorltatlvely" glven? I suggest
that lt ls not ln the lntrlnslc lnterest of human belngs but
ln these ldeas and accounts that the problem lles. Jhe
staleness, the lnadequacy of these repels us. Jo flnd the
source of trouble we must look lnto our own heads.
Jhe fact that the death notlce of character 'has
been slgned by the most serlous essaylsts" means only
that another group of mummles, the most respectable
leaders of the lntellectual communlty, has lald down the
law. It amuses me that these serlous essaylsts should be
allowed to slgn the death notlces of llterary forms. Should
art follow culture? Somethlng has gone wrong.
Jhere ls no reason why a novellst should not drop
'character" lf the strategy stlmulates hlm. But lt ls non
sense to do lt on the theoretlcal ground that the perlod
whlch marked the apogee of the lndlvldual, and so on,
has ended. We must not make bosses of our lntellectuals.
And we do them no good by lettlng them run the arts.
Should they, when they read novels, flnd nothlng ln them
but the endorsement of thelr own oplnlons? Are we here
on earth to play such games?
Characters, Ellzabeth Bowen once sald, are not cre
ated by wrlters. Jhey preexlst and they have to be fouvd.
If we do not flnd them, lf we fall to represent them, the
fault ls ours. It must be admltted, however, that flndlng
them ls not easy. Jhe condltlon of human belngs has per
haps never been more dlfflcult to deflne. Jhose who tell
us that we are ln an early stage of unlversal hlstory must
be rlght. We are belng lavlshly poured together and seem
to be experlenclng the angulsh of new states of consclous
ness. In Amerlca many mllllons of people have ln the last
forty years recelved a 'hlgher educatlon"÷ln many cases
a dublous blesslng. In the upheavals of the Slxtles we felt
for the flrst tlme the effects of uptodate teachlngs, con
cepts, sensltlvltles, the pervaslveness of psychologlcal,
pedagoglcal, polltlcal ldeas.
Every year we see scores of books and artlcles
whlch tell the Amerlcans what a state they are ln÷whlch
make lntelllgent or slmplemlnded or extravagant or lurld
or demented statements. All reflect the crlses we are ln
whlle telllng us what we must do about them; these ana
lysts are produced by the very dlsorder and confuslon
they prescrlbe for. It ls as a wrlter that I am conslderlng
thelr extreme moral sensltlvlty, thelr deslre for perfectlon,
thelr lntolerance of the defects of soclety, the touchlng,
the comlcal boundlessness of thelr demands, thelr
anxlety, thelr lrrltablllty, thelr sensltlvlty, thelr tender
mlndedness, thelr goodness, thelr convulslveness, the
recklessness wlth whlch they experlment wlth drugs and
touchtheraples and bombs. Jhe ex|esult Malachl Martln
ln hls book on the Church compares the modern Amerl
can to Mlchelangelo`s sculpture, Tlc Coptivc. He sees 'an
unflnlshed struggle to emerge whole" from a block of
matter. Jhe Amerlcan 'captlve" ls beset ln hls struggle by
'lnterpretatlons, admonltlons, forewarnlngs and descrlp
tlons of hlmself by the selfappolnted prophets, prlests,
judges and prefabrlcators of hls travall," says Martln.
l08
_ÉääçïW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI NO aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVTS ai_ POV
Let me take a llttle tlme to look more closely at thls
travall. In prlvate llfe, dlsorder or nearpanlc. In famllles÷
for husbands, wlves, parents, chlldren÷confuslon; ln clvlc
behavlor, ln personal loyalltles, ln sexual practlces (I wlll
not reclte the whole llst; we are tlred of hearlng lt)÷further
confuslon. And wlth thls prlvate dlsorder goes publlc
bewllderment. In the papers we read what used to amuse
us ln sclence flctlon÷qÜÉ kÉï vçêâ qáãÉë speaks of death
rays and of Russlan and Amerlcan satellltes at war ln
space. In the November båÅçìåíÉê so sober and responsl
ble an economlst as my colleague, Mllton Irledman,
declares that Great Brltaln by lts publlc spendlng wlll
soon go the way of poor countrles llke Chlle. He ls
appalled by hls own forecast. What÷the source of that
noble tradltlon of freedom and democratlc rlghts that
began wlth Magna Carta endlng ln dlctatorshlp? 'It ls
almost lmposslble for anyone brought up ln that tradltlon
to utter the word that Brltaln ls ln danger of loslng free
dom and democracy; and yet lt ls a fact!"
It ls wlth these facts that knock us to the ground
that we try to llve. If I were debatlng wlth Professor Irled
man I mlght ask hlm to take lnto account the reslstance of
lnstltutlons, the cultural dlfferences between Great Brltaln
and Chlle, dlfferences ln natlonal character and tradltlons,
but my purpose ls not to get lnto debates I can`t wln but
to dlrect your attentlon to the terrlble predlctlons we have
to llve wlth, the background of dlsorder, the vlslons of
ruln.
You would thlnk that one such artlcle would
be enough for a slngle number of a magazlne but on
another page of båÅçìåíÉê Professor Hugh Seton
Watson dlscusses George Kennan`s recent survey of
Amerlcan degeneracy and lts dlre meanlng for the
world. Descrlblng Amerlca`s fallure, Kennan speaks of
crlme, urban decay, drugaddlctlon, pornography, frl
vollty, deterlorated educatlonal standards and concludes
that our lmmense power counts for nothlng. We cannot
lead the world and, undermlned by slnfulness, we may
not be able to defend ourselves. Professor SetonWatson
wrltes, 'Nothlng can defend a soclety lf lts upper l00,000
men and women, both the declslonmakers and those
who help to mould the thlnklng of the declslonmakers,
are resolved to capltulate."
So much for the capltallst superpower. Now what
about lts ldeologlcal adversarles? I turn the pages of
båÅçìåíÉê to a short study by Mr. George Watson, Lec
turer ln Engllsh at Cambrldge, on the raclallsm of the
Left. He tells us that Hyndman, the founder of the Soclal
Democratlc Iederatlon, called the South Afrlcan war the
|ews` war; that the Webbs at tlmes expressed raclallst
vlews (as dld Ruskln, Carlyle and J. H. Huxley before
them); he relates that Engels denounced the smaller Slav
peoples of Eastern Europe as counterrevolutlonary eth
nlc trash; and Mr. Watson ln concluslon cltes a publlc
statement by Llrlke Melnhof of the West German 'Red
Army Iactlon" made at a judlclal hearlng ln l972 approv
lng of 'revolutlonary extermlnatlon." Ior her, German
antlSemltlsm of the Hltler perlod was essentlally antlcapl
tallst. 'Auschwltz," she ls quoted as saylng, 'meant that
slx mllllon |ews were kllled and thrown on the waste heap
of Europe for what they were. money |ews (Geldjuden)."
I mentlon these raclallsts of the Left to show that for
us there ls no slmple cholce between the chlldren of llght
and the chlldren of darkness. Good and evll are not sym
metrlcally dlstrlbuted along polltlcal llnes. But I have
made my polnt; we stand open to all anxletles. Jhe
decllne and fall of everythlng ls our dally dread, we are
agltated ln prlvate llfe and tormented by publlc questlons.
And art and llterature÷what of them? Well, there ls
a vlolent uproar but we are not absolutely domlnated by
lt. We are stlll able to thlnk, to dlscrlmlnate, and to feel.
Jhe purer, subtler, hlgher actlvltles have not succumbed
to fury or to nonsense. Not yet. Books contlnue to be
wrltten and read. It may be more dlfflcult to reach the
whlrllng mlnd of a modern reader but lt ls posslble to cut
through the nolse and reach the qulet zone. In the qulet
zone we may flnd that he ls devoutly waltlng for us.
When compllcatlons lncrease, the deslre for essentlals
lncreases too. Jhe unendlng cycle of crlses that began
wlth the Ilrst World War has formed a klnd of person,
one who has llved through terrlble, strange thlngs, and ln
whom there ls an observable shrlnkage of prejudlces, a
castlng off of dlsappolntlng ldeologles, an ablllty to llve
wlth many klnds of madness, an lmmense deslre for cer
taln durable human goods÷truth, for lnstance, or free
dom, or wlsdom. I don`t thlnk I am exaggeratlng; there ls
plenty of evldence for thls. Dlslntegratlon? Well, yes.
Much ls dlslntegratlng but we are experlenclng also an
odd klnd of reflnlng process. And thls has been golng on
for a long tlme. Looklng lnto Proust`s qáãÉ oÉÖ~áåÉÇ I flnd
that he was clearly aware of lt. Hls novel, descrlblng
Irench soclety durlng the Great War, tests the strength of
hls art. Wlthout art, he lnslsts, shlrklng no personal or col
lectlve horrors, we do not know ourselves or anyone else.
Only art penetrates what prlde, passlon, lntelllgence and
hablt erect on all sldes÷the seemlng realltles of thls world.
Jhere ls another reallty, the genulne one, whlch we lose
slght of. Jhls other reallty ls always sendlng us hlnts,
whlch, wlthout art, we can`t recelve. Proust calls these
hlnts our 'true lmpresslons." Jhe true lmpresslons, our
perslstent lntultlons, wlll, wlthout art, be hldden from us
and we wlll be left wlth nothlng but a 'termlnology for
practlcal ends whlch we falsely call llfe." Jolstoy put the
matter ln much the same way. A book llke hls fî~å fäóáíÅÜ
also descrlbes these same 'practlcal ends" whlch conceal
both llfe and death from us. In hls flnal sufferlngs fî~å
fäóáíÅÜ becomes an lndlvldual, a 'character," by tearlng
l09
ai_ POV _ÉääçïW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI NO aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVTS
down the concealments, by seelng through the 'practlcal
ends."
Proust was stlll able to keep a balance between art
and destructlon, lnslstlng that art was a necesslty of llfe, a
great lndependent reallty, a maglcal power. But for a long
tlme art has not been connected, as lt was ln the past, wlth
the maln enterprlse. Jhe hlstorlan Edgar Wlnd tells us ln
^êí ~åÇ ^å~êÅÜó that Hegel long ago observed that art no
longer engaged the central energles of man. Jhese ener
gles were now engaged by sclence÷a 'relentless splrlt of
ratlonal lnqulry." Art had moved to the marglns. Jhere lt
formed 'a wlde and splendldly varled horlzon." In an age
of sclence people stlll palnted and wrote poetry but, sald
Hegel, however splendld the gods looked ln modern
works of art and whatever dlgnlty and perfectlon we
mlght flnd 'ln the lmages of God the Iather and the Vlr
gln Mary" lt was of no use. we no longer bent our knees.
It ls a long tlme slnce the knees were bent ln plety. Ingenu
lty, darlng exploratlon, freshness of lnventlon replaced the
art of 'dlrect relevance." Jhe most slgnlflcant achleve
ment of thls pure art, ln Hegel`s vlew, was that, freed from
lts former responslbllltles, lt was no longer 'serlous."
Instead lt ralsed the soul through the 'serenlty of form
above any palnful lnvolvement ln the llmltatlons of real
lty." I don`t know who would make such a clalm today
for an art that ralses the soul above palnful lnvolvements
wlth reallty. Nor am I sure that at thls moment, lt ls the
splrlt of ratlonal lnqulry ln pure sclence that engages the
central energles of man. Jhe center seems (temporarlly
perhaps) to be fllled up wlth the crlses I have been
descrlblng.
Jhere were European wrlters ln the l9th century
who would not glve up the connectlon of llterature wlth
the maln human enterprlse. Jhe very suggestlon would
have shocked Jolstoy and Dostoevskl. But ln the West a
separatlon between great artlsts and the general publlc
took place. Jhey developed a marked contempt for the
average reader and the bourgeols mass. Jhe best of them
saw clearly enough what sort of clvlllzatlon Europe had
produced, brllllant but unstable, vulnerable, fated to be
overtaken by catastrophe, the hlstorlan Erlch Auerbach
tells us. Some of these wrlters, he says, produced 'strange
and vaguely terrlfylng works, or shocked the publlc by
paradoxlcal and extreme oplnlons. Many of them took no
trouble to facllltate the understandlng of what they
wrote÷whether out of contempt for the publlc, the cult of
thelr own lnsplratlon, or a certaln traglc weakness whlch
prevented them from belng at once slmple and true."
In the 20th century, thelrs ls stlll the maln lnfluence,
for desplte a show of radlcallsm and lnnovatlon our con
temporarles are really very conservatlve. Jhey follow
thelr l9thcentury leaders and hold to the old standard,
lnterpretlng hlstory and soclety much as they were lnter
preted ln the last century. What would wrlters do today lf
lt would occur to them that llterature mlght once agaln
engage those 'central energles," lf they were to recognlze
that an lmmense deslre had arlsen for a return from the
perlphery, for what was slmple and true?
Of course we can`t come back to the center slmply
because we want to; but the fact that we are wanted mlght
matter to us and the force of the crlsls ls so great that lt
may summon us back to such a center. But prescrlptlons
are futlle. One can`t tell wrlters what to do. Jhe lmaglna
tlon must flnd lts own path. But one can fervently wlsh
that they÷that we÷would come back from the perlphery.
We do not, we wrlters, represent manklnd adequately.
What account do Amerlcans glve of themselves, what
accounts of them are glven by psychologlsts, soclologlsts,
hlstorlans, journallsts, and wrlters? In a klnd of contrac
tual dayllght they see themselves ln the ways wlth whlch
we are so desperately famlllar. Jhese lmages of contrac
tual dayllght, so borlng to RobbeGrlllet and to me, orlgl
nate ln the contemporary world vlew. We put lnto our
books the consumer, clvll servant, football fan, lover, tele
vlslon vlewer. And ln the contractual dayllght verslon
thelr llfe ls a klnd of death. Jhere ls another llfe comlng
from an lnslstent sense of what we are whlch denles these
dayllght formulatlons and the false llfe÷the death ln llfe÷
they make for us. Ior lt ls false, and we know lt, and our
secret and lncoherent reslstance to lt cannot stop, for that
reslstance arlses from perslstent lntultlons. Perhaps
humanklnd cannot bear too much reallty, but nelther can
lt bear too much unreallty, too much abuse of the truth.
We do not thlnk well of ourselves; we do not thlnk
amply about what we are. Our collectlve achlevements
have so greatly 'exceeded" us that we 'justlfy" ourselves
by polntlng to them. It ls the jet plane ln whlch we com
monplace human belngs have crossed the Atlantlc ln four
hours that embodles such value as we can clalm. Jhen we
hear that thls ls closlng tlme ln the gardens of the West,
that the end of our capltallst clvlllzatlon ls at hand. Some
years ago Cyrll Connolly wrote that we were about to
undergo 'a complete mutatlon, not merely to be deflned
as the collapse of the capltallst system, but such a sea
change ln the nature of reallty as could not have been
envlsaged by Karl Marx or Slgmund Ireud." Jhls means
that we are not yet sufflclently shrunken; we must prepare
to be smaller stlll. I am not sure whether thls should be
called lntellectual analysls or analysls by an lntellectual.
Jhe dlsasters are dlsasters. It would be worse than stupld
to call them vlctorles as some statesmen have trled to do.
But I am drawlng attentlon to the fact that there ls ln the
lntellectual communlty a slzeable lnventory of attltudes
that have become respectable÷notlons about soclety,
human nature, class, polltlcs, sex, about mlnd, about the
physlcal unlverse, the evolutlon of llfe. Iew wrlters, even
among the best, have taken the trouble to reexamlne
these attltudes or orthodoxles. Such attltudes only glow
ll0
_ÉääçïW kçÄÉä iÉÅíìêÉI NO aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVTS ai_ POV
more powerfully ln |oyce or D. H. Lawrence than ln the
books of lesser men; they are everywhere and no one
challenges them serlously. Slnce the Jwentles, how many
novellsts have taken a second look at D. H. Lawrence, or
argued a dlfferent vlew of sexual potency or the effects of
lndustrlal clvlllzatlon on the lnstlncts? Llterature has for
nearly a century used the same stock of ldeas, myths,
strategles. 'Jhe most serlous essaylsts of the last flfty
years," says RobbeGrlllet. Yes, lndeed. Essay after essay,
book after book, conflrm the most serlous thoughts÷
Baudelalrlan, Nletzschean, Marxlan, Psychoanalytlc,
etcetera, etcetera÷of these most serlous essaylsts. What
RobbeGrlllet says about character can be sald also about
these ldeas, malntalnlng all the usual thlngs about mass
soclety, dehumanlzatlon and the rest. How weary we are
of them. How poorly they represent us. Jhe plctures they
offer no more resemble us than we resemble the recon
structed reptlles and other monsters ln a museum of pale
ontology. We are much more llmber, versatlle, better
artlculated, there ls much more to us, we all feel lt.
What ls at the center now? At the moment, nelther
art nor sclence but manklnd determlnlng, ln confuslon
and obscurlty, whether lt wlll endure or go under. Jhe
whole specles÷everybody÷has gotten lnto the act. At
such a tlme lt ls essentlal to llghten ourselves, to dump
encumbrances, lncludlng the encumbrances of educatlon
and all organlzed platltudes, to make judgments of our
own, to perform acts of our own. Conrad was rlght to
appeal to that part of our belng whlch ls a glft. We must
hunt for that under the wreckage of many systems. Jhe
fallure of those systems may brlng a blessed and neces
sary release from formulatlons, from an overdeflned and
mlsleadlng consclousness. Wlth lncreaslng frequency I
dlsmlss as merely respectable oplnlons I have long held÷
or thought I held÷and try to dlscern what I have really
llved by, and what others llve by. As for Hegel`s art freed
from 'serlousness" and glowlng on the marglns, ralslng
the soul above palnful lnvolvement ln the llmltatlons of
reallty through the serenlty of form, that can exlst
nowhere now, durlng thls struggle for survlval. However,
lt ls not as though the people who engaged ln thls struggle
had only a rudlmentary humanlty, wlthout culture, and
knew nothlng of art. Our very vlces, our mutllatlons,
show how rlch we are ln thought and culture. How much
we know. How much we even feel. Jhe struggle that con
vulses us makes us want to slmpllfy, to reconslder, to ellm
lnate the traglc weakness whlch prevented wrlters÷and
readers÷from belng at once slmple and true.
Wrlters are greatly respected. Jhe lntelllgent publlc
ls wonderfully patlent wlth them, contlnues to read them
and endures dlsappolntment after dlsappolntment, walt
lng to hear from art what lt does not hear from theology,
phllosophy, soclal theory, and what lt cannot hear from
pure sclence. Out of the struggle at the center has come
an lmmense, palnful longlng for a broader, more flexlble,
fuller, more coherent, more comprehenslve account of
what we human belngs are, who we are, and what thls llfe
ls for. At the center humanklnd struggles wlth collectlve
powers for lts freedom, the lndlvldual struggles wlth
dehumanlzatlon for the possesslon of hls soul. If wrlters
do not come agaln lnto the center lt wlll not be because
the center ls preempted. It ls not. Jhey are free to enter. If
they so wlsh.
Jhe essence of our real condltlon, the complexlty,
the confuslon, the paln of lt ls shown to us ln gllmpses, ln
what Proust and Jolstoy thought of as 'true lmpresslons."
Jhls essence reveals, and then conceals ltself. When lt
goes away lt leaves us agaln ln doubt. But we never seem
to lose our connectlon wlth the depths from whlch these
gllmpses come. Jhe sense of our real powers, powers we
seem to derlve from the unlverse ltself, also comes and
goes. We are reluctant to talk about thls because there ls
nothlng we can prove, because our language ls lnadequate
and because few people are wllllng to rlsk talklng about lt.
Jhey would have to say, 'Jhere ls a splrlt" and that ls
taboo. So almost everyone keeps qulet about lt, although
almost everyone ls aware of lt.
Jhe value of llterature lles ln these lntermlttent
'true lmpresslons." A novel moves back and forth
between the world of objects, of actlons, of appearances,
and that other world from whlch these 'true lmpresslons"
come and whlch moves us to belleve that the good we
hang onto so tenaclously÷ln the face of evll, so obstl
nately÷ls no llluslon.
No one who has spent years ln the wrltlng of novels
can be unaware of thls. Jhe novel can`t be compared to
the eplc, or to the monuments of poetlc drama. But lt ls
the best we can do just now. It ls a sort of latterday lean
to, a hovel ln whlch the splrlt takes shelter. A novel ls bal
anced between a few true lmpresslons and the multltude
of false ones that make up most of what we call llfe. It tells
us that for every human belng there ls a dlverslty of exls
tences, that the slngle exlstence ls ltself an llluslon ln part,
that these many exlstences slgnlfy somethlng, tend to
somethlng, fulflll somethlng; lt promlses us meanlng, har
mony and even justlce. What Conrad sald was true, art
attempts to flnd ln the unlverse, ln matter as well as ln the
facts of llfe, what ls fundamental, endurlng, essentlal.
|¹ Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l976. Saul Bellow ls the sole
author of the text.|
lll
g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ
(12 Zugust 1S66 - 14 ¸uly 19á4)
jçåíëÉêê~í ^ä•ëJ_êìå
Uvivcrsity of Ilorido
BOOKS. Tcotro fovt•stico (Madrld. Jlpograf∞a Iranco
Española, l892; revlsed, Madrld. Iortanet, l905);
!ilovos (Madrld. Iortanet, l893);
!crsos (Madrld. Jlpograf∞a IrancoEspañola, l893);
Cortos dc mujcrcs: Colcciovodos, flrst serles (Madrld.
Jlpograf∞a IrancoEspañola, l893);
Il vido ojcvo: Comcdio cv trcs octos, cv proso (Madrld. R.
Velasco, l891);
Ccvtc covocido: Isccvos dc lo vido modcrvo: Divididos cv cuo-
tro octos (Madrld. Imp. y llt. del Asllo de Huér
fanos, l896);
Il morido dc lo Tcllc·: ßoccto dc comcdio cv uv octo (Madrld.
Admlnlstraclón L∞rlcoDram•tlca, l897);
Io comido dc los ficros: Comcdio cv trcs octos y uv cuodro
(Madrld. B. Rodr∞guez, l898);
Io for•vdulo: Comcdio cv dos octos (Madrld. Iortanet,
l898);
Iigulivos (Madrld. Iortanet, l898);
!iojc dc ivstrucciov: ¸or·uclo cv uv octo y cuotro cuodros
(Madrld. R. Velasco, l900);
Dcspcdido crucl: Comcdio cv uv octo (Madrld. R. Velasco,
l90l);
Io gobcrvodoro: Comcdio cv trcs octos (Madrld. R. Velasco,
l90l);
Modos: Soivctc cv uv octo y cv proso (Madrld. R. Velasco,
l90l);
Io cursi: Comcdio dc trcs octos (Madrld. R. Velasco, l90l);
Cortos dc mujcrcs, 2 volumes, second and thlrd serles
(Madrld. Mazo, l90l, l902);
Il trcv dc los moridos: ¸uguctc comico cv dos octos y cv proso
(Madrld. R. Velasco, l902);
Zmor dc omor: Comcdio cv dos octos y cv proso (Madrld. R.
Velasco, l902);
Il primo Iom•v: Comcdio cv trcs octos (Madrld. R. Velasco,
l902);
Socrificios: Dromo cv trcs octos (Madrld. Vluda de Jello,
l902);
Zlmo triuvfovtc: Dromo cv trcs octos (Madrld. R. Velasco,
l902);
Il criodo dc Dov ¸uov (Madrld. Centro Edltorlal
HlspanoAmerlcano, l902);
Il outomovil: Comcdio cv dos octos y cv proso (Madrld. R.
Velasco, l903);
Io voclc dcl s•bodo: `ovclo csccvico cv civco cuodros (Madrld.
R. Velasco, l903);
g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉI O aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVOO
E^m tçêäÇ táÇÉF
ll2
g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ ai_ POV
Il lombrccito: Comcdio cv trcs octos, origivol (Madrld. R.
Velasco, l903);
Zl voturol: Comcdio cv dos octos y cv proso (Madrld. R.
Velasco, l901);
Tcotro, 38 volumes (Madrld. Iortanet, l901-l93l)÷
comprlses volume l, Il vido ojcvo, Ccvtc covocido, Il
morido dc lo Tcllc·, and Dc olivio; volume 2, Dov
¸uov, Io for•vdulo, Io comido dc lo ficros, and Tcotro
fcmivisto; volume 3, Cucvto dc omor, Upcrociov quir∫r-
gico, Dcspcdido crucl, Io goto dc Zvgoro, !iojc dc
ivstrucciov, and Ior lo lcrido; volume 1, Modos, Io
cursi, Siv qucrcr, and Socrificios; volume 5, Io gobcr-
vodoro and Il primo Iom•v; volume 6, Zmor dc omor
and Il trcv dc los moridos; volume 7, Zlmo triuvfovtc,
Il outomovil, and Io voclc dcl s•bodo; volume 8, Ios
fovoritos, Il lombrccito, Modcmoiscllc dc ßcllc-Islc, and
Ior quc sc omo; volume 9, Zl voturol, Io coso dc lo
diclo, and Il drogov dc fucgo; volume l0, Iiclclicu,
Io privccso ßcbc, and `o fumodorcs; volume ll,
Iosos dc otovo and ßucvo bodo; volume l2, Il susto
dc lo covdcso, Cucvto ivmorol, Io sobrcsolicvto, and Ios
mollcclorcs dcl bicv; volume l3, Ios cigorros lormigos
and M•s fucrtc quc cl omor; volume l1, Movov Ics-
cout, Ios b∫los, and Zbuclo y victo; volume l5, Io
privccso siv coro·ov, Il omor osusto, Io copo cvcovtodo,
and Ios ojos dc los mucrtos; volume l6, Io listorio dc
Utclo, Io sovriso dc Ciocovdo, Il ∫ltimo mivuc, Todos
somos uvos, and Ios ivtcrcscs crcodos; volume l7,
Scvoro omo, Il morido dc su viudo, and Io fucr·o
bruto; volume l8, Dc pcqucvos cousos, Hocio lo vcr-
dod, Ior los vubcs, Dc ccrco, and flZ vcr quc locc uv
lombrc! volume l9, Io cscuclo dc los privccsos, Io
scvorito sc oburrc, Il pr∞vcipc quc todo lo oprcvdio cv los
libros, and Covorsc lo vido; volume 20, Il victccito,
Io loso dc los sucvos, and Io molqucrido; volume 2l,
Il dcstivo movdo, Il collor dc cstrcllos, and Io vcrdod;
volume 22, Io propio cstimociov and Compo dc ormivo
|second edltlon|; volume 23, Io t∫vico omorillo and
Io ciudod olcgrc y covfiodo |second edltlon|; volume
21, Il mol quc vos loccv, Ios coclorros, and Coridod;
volume 25, Mcfistofclo and Io Ivmoculodo dc los
Dolorcs; volume 26, Io lcy dc los lijos, Ior scr cov todos
lcol, scr poro todos troidor, and Io lovro dc los lombrcs;
volume 27, Io vcstol dc occidcvtc, Uvo scvoro, and
Uvo pobrc mujcr; volume 28, Io ccvicicvto, M•s oll•
dc lo mucrtc, and Ior quc sc quito ¸uov dc lo bcbido;
volume 29, Iccciovcs dc bucv omor, Uv por dc botos,
and Io otro lovro; volume 30, Io virtud sospccloso,
`odic sobc lo quc quicrc o cl boilor∞v y cl trobojodor, and
flSi crccr•s t∫ quc cs por mi gusto! volume 3l, Zlfilcro-
·os, Ios vucvos ycrvos, and Il suicidio dc Iuccrito; vol
ume 32, Io moriposo quc volo sobrc cl mor, Il lijo dc
Ioliclivclo, and Z los pucrtos dcl ciclo; volume 33, Io
voclc ilumivodo and J vo dc cucvto; volume 31, flIl
dcmovio fuc ovtcs •vgcl! and fl`o quicro, vo quicro! vol
ume 35, Icpo Dovccl and Ioro cl ciclo y los oltorcs; vol
ume 36, !idos cru·odos and Ios omigos dcl lombrc;
volume 37, Ios ovdrojos dc lo p∫rpuro and Dc muy
bucvo fomilio; and volume 38, Iitcroturo and Io
mclod∞o dcl ¸o··-ßovd;
Iosos dc otovo (Madrld. Iortanet, l905);
Tcotro r•pido (Barcelona. A. López, l906)÷comprlses Il
criodo dc Dov ¸uov, Comcdio itoliovo, Ios primcros,
Motcrvidod, Iotcrvidod, Covfidcvcios, Modcrvismo,
Ilirt, Io cortcro, Iv lo ployo, ßodos rcolcs, Ivtrc ortis-
tos, Il cvcovto dc uvo loro, and Io scvdo dcl omor;
Ios ojos dc los mucrtos: Dromo cv trcs octos y cv proso (Madrld.
R. Velasco, l907);
M•s fucrtc quc cl omor (Barcelona, l907);
Todos somos uvos: Soivctc l∞rico cv uv octo y cv proso (Madrld.
R. Velasco, l907);
Io copo cvcovtodo: ¸or·uclo cv uv octo (Madrld. R. Velasco,
l907);
Ios ivtcrcscs crcodos: Comcdio dc policlivclos cv dos octos, uv
prologo y trcs cuodros (Madrld. R. Velasco, l907);
Il morido dc su viudo: Comcdio cv uv octo (Madrld. R.
Velasco, l908);
Io fucr·o bruto: Comcdio cv uv octo y dos cuodros, cv proso
(Madrld. R. Velasco, l908);
Ios bulos: Comcdio cv trcs octos y cv proso (Madrld. Suce
sores de Hernando, l908);
Il omor osusto: Comcdio cv uv octo y cv proso (Madrld. Suce
sores de Hernando, l908);
Il tcotro dcl pucblo (Madrld. Iernando Ie, l909);
Io scvorito sc oburrc: Comcdio cv uv octo bosodo cv uvo pocs∞o
dc Tcvvysov (Madrld. R. Velasco, l909);
Il pr∞vcipc quc todo lo oprcvdio cv los libros: Cucvto cv dos octos
y sictc cuodros (Madrld. Artes Gr•flcas Mateu, l9l0);
Ubros cscogidos (Madrld. Blblloteca Renaclmlento, l9l0);
Io cscuclo dc los privccsos: Comcdio cv trcs octos y cv proso
(Madrld. R. Velasco, l9l0);
Il drogov dc fucgo: Dromo cv trcs octos y uv cp∞logo, divididos
cv vucvc cuodros (Barcelona. E. Domenech, l9l0);
Dc sobrcmcso: Crovicos, 6 volumes (Madrld. Imp. Española,
l9l0-l9l6);
Iolobros, polobros (Madrld. I. Ié, l9ll);
Io loso dc los sucvos: Comcdio cv dos octos, cv proso (Madrld.
Nuevo Mundo, l9ll);
Zcotociovcs (Madrld. Gr•flcas Mateu, l9l1);
Io goto dc Zvgoro: Comcdio cv cuotro octos (Madrld. R.
Velasco, l9l1);
Upcrociov quir∫rgico: Comcdio cv uv octo y cv proso (Madrld.
R. Velasco, l9l1);
Io molqucrido: Dromo cv trcs octos y cv proso (Madrld.
Nuevo Mundo, l9l1);
Il collor dc cstrcllos: Comcdio cv cuotro octos, cv proso
(Madrld. R. Velasco, l9l5);
ll3
ai_ POV g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ
Compo dc ormivo: Comcdio cv trcs octos (Madrld. R. Velasco,
l9l6);
Io ciudod olcgrc y covfiodo: Comcdio cv trcs cuodros y uv pro-
logo covsidcrodos como trcs octos, 2
~
portc dc 'Ios ivtcrcscs
crcodos¨ (Madrld. R. Velasco, l9l6);
Crovicos y di•logos (Valencla. |. Pallarés, l9l6);
Io propio cstimociov: Comcdio cv trcs octos y cv proso (Madrld.
R. Velasco, l9l6);
Mis mcjorcs csccvos (Madrld. Hesperla, l9l6);
Io sobrosolicvto: Soivctc l∞rico (Madrld, l9l6);
Il mol quc vos loccv: Comcdio cv trcs octos y cv proso
(Madrld. Sanz Calleja, l9l7);
Ios vivos (Madrld. Hesperla, l9l7);
Ios mcjorcs p•givos dc ¸ocivto ßcvovcvtc, 2 volumes, com
plled by Alejandro Mlquls (Madrld. S•enz de
|ubera, l9l7-l9l8);
Ios coclorros: Comcdio cv trcs octos, cv proso (Madrld. Sanz
Calleja, l9l8);
Mcfistofclo: Comcdio-opcrcto cv trcs octos, cv proso, text by
Benavente, muslc by Prudenclo Muñoz (Madrld.
Sanz Calleja, l9l8);
Io Ivmoculodo dc los Dolorcs: `ovclo csccvico cv civco cuodros,
covsidcrodos trcs octos (Madrld. Sanz Calleja, l9l8);
I•givos sclcctos (San |osé, Costa Rlca. Ialcó × Borrasé,
l9l8)÷comprlses Il covtor dc lo miscrio, Icycs sov-
tuorios, Io rcbcld∞o, Il pov vucstro, Cortos dc mujcrcs,
Iotcrvidod, Ios ivtcrcscs crcodos, Io cscuclo dc los priv-
ccsos, Il vido ojcvo, Il pr∞vcipc quc todo oprcvdio cv los
libros, and Io loso dc los sucvos;
Io privccso siv coro·ov: Cucvto dc lodos (Madrld. Blblloteca
Estrella, l9l8);
Covfcrcvcios (Madrld. Sucesores de Hernando, l921)÷
comprlses 'La moral en el teatro," 'Influencla del
escrltor en la vlda moderna," 'Illosof∞a de la
moda," 'Pslcolog∞a del autor dram•tlco," 'Algu
nas mujeres de Shakespeare," 'La mujer y su
mayor enemlgo," and 'Algunas partlcularldades
del teatro antlguo español";
Iccciovcs dc bucv omor (Madrld. R. Velasco, l921);
Cuovdo los lijos dc Ivo vo sov los lijos dc Zd•v, based on
Margaret Kennedy`s novel Tlc Covstovt `ympl
(Madrld. Hernando, l93l);
Icvsomicvtos (Madrld. Hernando, l93l);
Io morol dcl divorcio: Covfcrcvcio diologodo, dividido cv trcs
portcs (Madrld. Helénlca, l932);
Io duqucso gitovo: Comcdio dc mogio cv civco octos divididos cv
dic· cuodros (Madrld. Helénlca, l932);
Sovto Iusio: Irimcro portc dc uvo trilog∞o (Madrld.
Helénlca, l932);
Io vcrdod ivvcvtodo: Comcdio cv trcs octos (Madrld. Artes
gr•flcas, Sucesores de Rlvadeneyra, l933);
Il rivol dc su mujcr: Comcdio cv trcs octos y cv proso (Madrld.
Artes gr•flcas, Sucesores de Rlvadeneyra, l933);
Io vovio dc vicvc: Comcdio cv uv prologo y trcs octos (Madrld.
Artes gr•flcas, Sucesores de Rlvadeneyra, l931);
Il pov comido cv lo movo: Comcdio cv trcs octos (Madrld.
Artes gr•flcas, Sucesores de Rlvadeneyra, l931);
Mcmorios dc uv modrilcvo, pucstos cv occiov cv civco cuodros
(Madrld. Artes gr•flcas, Sucesores de Rlvade
neyra, l931);
`i ol omor vi ol mor: Dromo cv cuotro octos y uv cp∞logo
(Madrld. Artes gr•flcas, Sucesores de Rlvade
neyra, l931);
'`o jugucis cov csos cosos¨: Comcdio cv trcs octos y cv proso
(Madrld. Artes gr•flcas, Sucesores de Rlvadeneyra,
l935);
Cuolquicro lo sobc: Comcdio cv trcs octos y cv proso (Madrld.
Artes gr•flcas, Sucesores de Rlvadeneyra, l935);
Ios ivtcrcscs crcodos. Scvoro omo (Madrld. EspasaCalpe,
l938);
Io molqucrido y Io voclc dcl s•bodo (Madrld. Espasa
Calpe, l939);
Ilov dc cstudios poro uvo cscuclo dc ortc csccvico (Madrld.
Agullar, l910);
Ubros complctos, ll volumes (Madrld. Agullar, l912-l958);
Zs∞ picvsov los pcrsovojcs dc ßcvovcvtc, edlted by |osé Marla
Vlquelra (Madrld. Agullar, l958);
Iccucrdos y olvidos: Mcmorios (Madrld. Agullar, l959);
Ios tcrccros dc ZßC, edlted by Adolfo Prego (Madrld.
Prensa Española, l976).
bÇáíáçåë ~åÇ `çääÉÅíáçåëW Ios ivtcrcscs crcodos. Io
molqucrido, edlted by |osé Montero Padllla
(Madrld. Castalla, l996);
Ios ivtcrcscs crcodos, edlted by Iranclsco |avler D∞az de
Castro and Almudena del Olmo Iturrlarte
(Madrld. EspasaCalpe, l998);
Ios ivtcrcscs crcodos. Io ciudod olcgrc y covfiodo, edlted by
Eduardo Gal•n (Madrld. Blblloteca Nueva, l998);
Tcotro fovt•stico. Io sovriso dc Ciocovdo, edlted by |avler
Huerta Calvo and Emlllo Peral Vega (Madrld.
EspasaCalpe, 200l);
Scvoro omo. Io molqucrido, edlted by Vlrtudes Serrano
(Madrld. C•tedra, 2002).
bÇáíáçåë áå båÖäáëÜW Tlc Smilc of Movo Iiso: Z Iloy iv
Uvc Zct, translated by |ohn Armstrong Herman
(Boston. R. G. Badger, l9l5);
Iloys, 1 volumes, edlted and translated by |ohn Garrett
Lnderhlll (New York. Scrlbners, l9l7-l921)÷
comprlses volume l, His !idow`s Husbovd, Tlc
ßovds of Ivtcrcst, Tlc Ivil Docrs of Cood, and Io
Molqucrido; volume 2, `o Smolivg, Irivccss ßcbc,
Tlc Covcrvor`s !ifc, and Zutumvol Ioscs; volume 3,
Tlc Irivcc !lo Icorvcd Ivcrytlivg out of ßools, Sotur-
doy `iglt, Iv tlc Clouds, and Tlc Trutl; and volume
1, Tlc Sclool of Irivccsscs, Z Iody, Tlc Mogic of ov
Hour, and Iicld of Irmivc;
ll1
g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ ai_ POV
Zt Closc Iovgc: Z Comcdy iv Uvc Zct, translated by Lnder
hlll (New York. S. Irench, l936).
PLAY PRODLCJIONS. Il vido ojcvo, Madrld, Jeatro
de la Comedla, 6 October l891;
Ccvtc covocido, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, 2l Octo
ber l896;
Il morido dc lo Tcllc·, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, l3 Iebruary
l897;
Dc olivio, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, 27 Iebruary
l897;
Dov ¸uov, translated from Moll≠re`s play, Madrld,
Jeatro de la Prlncesa, 3l October l897;
Io for•vdulo, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, 30 November l897;
Io comido dc los ficros, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, 7
November l898;
Tcotro fcmivisto, text by Benavente, muslc by Pablo Bar
bero, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, 28 Decem
ber l898;
Cucvto dc omor, translated from Wllllam Shakespeare`s
Twclftl `iglt, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, ll
March l899;
Upcrociov quir∫rgico, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, 1 May l899;
Dcspcdido crucl, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, 7 December l899;
Io goto dc Zvgoro, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, 3l
March l900;
!iojc dc ivstrucciov, text by Benavente, muslc by Amadeo
Vlves, Madrld, Jeatro Eslava, 6 Aprll l900;
Ior lo lcrido, Barcelona, Jeatro de Novedades, l5 |uly
l900;
Modos, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, l8 |anuary l90l;
Io cursi, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, l9 |anuary l90l;
Siv qucrcr, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, 3 March
l90l;
Socrificios, Barcelona, Jeatro de Novedades, l9 |uly l90l;
Io gobcrvodoro, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, 8 Octo
ber l90l;
Il primo Iom•v, Saragossa, Spaln, Jeatro Prlnclpal, l2
November l90l;
Zmor dc omor, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, 21 Iebru
ary l902;
flIibcrtod! based on Santlago Ruslñol y Prats`s play,
Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, l7 March l902;
Il trcv dc los moridos, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, l8 Aprll
l902;
Zlmo triuvfovtc, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, 2
December l902;
Il outomovil, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, l9 December l902;
Io voclc dcl s•bodo, Madrld, Jeatro Español, l7 March
l903;
Ios fovoritos, adapted from Shakespeare`s Mucl Zdo Zbout
`otlivg, Sevllle, Jeatro de San Iernando de
Sevllla, 20 March l903;
Il lombrccito, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, 23 March
l903;
Ior quc sc omo, Madrld, Jeatro Español, 26 October
l903;
Modcmoiscllc dc ßcllc-Islc, based on Alexandre Dumas
p≠rc`s play, Valladolld, Spaln, El Gran Jeatro
Calderón de la Barca, 29 October l903;
Zl voturol, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, 20 November l903;
Io coso dc lo diclo, Barcelona, Jeatro de las Artes, 9
December l903;
`o fumodorcs, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, 3 March l901;
Iiclclicu, based on Edward BulwerLytton`s play, Mex
lco Clty, l5 March l901;
Il drogov dc fucgo, Madrld, Jeatro Español, l6 March
l901;
ßucvo bodo, adapted from Emlle Augler`s Uv bcou
morriogc, Madrld, l905;
Iosos dc otovo, Madrld, Jeatro Español, l3 Aprll l905;
Il susto dc lo covdcso, Barcelona, Jeatro Novedades, l8
|uly l905;
Cucvto ivmorol, Barcelona, Jeatro Novedades, 22 |uly
l905;
Movov Icscout, by Benavente and Alfonso Danvlla,
adapted from Abbe Prevost`s novel, Madrld,
Jeatro Español, 30 November l905;
Ios mollcclorcs dcl bicv, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, l Decem
ber l905;
Io sobrcsolicvto, text by Benavente, muslc by Ruperto
Chap∞, Madrld, Jeatro Español, 23 December
l905;
Ios cigorros lormigos, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, 21
December l905;
Il cvcovto dc uvo loro, Madrld, 30 December l905;
M•s fucrtc quc cl omor, Madrld, Jeatro Español, 22 Iebru
ary l906;
Io privccso ßcbc, Madrld, 3l March l906;
Il omor osusto, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, l0 |anuary l907;
Ios b∫los, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, 8 Iebruary l907;
Zbuclo y victo, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, 2l Iebruary l907;
Io copo cvcovtodo, adapted from Ludovlco Arlosto`s
story, text by Benavente, muslc by Vlcente Lleó,
Madrld, Jeatro de la Zarzuela, l6 March l907;
Todos somos uvos, Madrld, Jeatro Eslava, 2l September
l907;
Io listorio dc Utclo, Madrld, Jeatro Apolo, ll October
l907;
Ios ojos dc los mucrtos, Madrld, Jeatro de la Prlncesa, 7
November l907;
Ios ivtcrcscs crcodos, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, 9 December
l907;
Scvoro omo, Madrld, Jeatro de la Prlncesa, 22 Iebruary
l908;
Dc pcqucvos cousos . . . , Madrld, Jeatro de la Prlncesa, l1
March l908;
ll5
ai_ POV g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ
bä ã~êáÇç ÇÉ ëì îáìÇ~I Madrld, Jeatro Pr∞nclpe Alfonso,
l9 October l908;
i~ ÑìÉêò~ Äêìí~I Madrld, Jeatro Lara, l0 November
l908;
e~Åá~ ä~ îÉêÇ~ÇI Madrld, Jeatro del Pr∞nclpe Alfonso, 23
December l908;
mçê ä~ë åìÄÉëI Madrld, Jeatro Lara, 20 |anuary l909;
aÉ ÅÉêÅ~I Madrld, Jeatro Lara, l0 Aprll l909;
i~ ÉëÅìÉä~ ÇÉ ä~ë éêáåÅÉë~ëI Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla,
l1 October l909;
bä ∫äíáãç ãáåì¨I Madrld, 23 October l909;
i~ ëÉ¥çêáí~ ëÉ ~ÄìêêÉI adapted from Alfred Jennyson`s
poem, Madrld, Jeatro del Pr∞nclpe Alfonso, l
December l909;
bä éê∞åÅáéÉ èìÉ íçÇç äç ~éêÉåÇáµ Éå äçë äáÄêçëI Madrld, Jeatro
del Pr∞nclpe Alfonso, 20 December l909;
d~å~êëÉ ä~ îáÇ~I Madrld, Jeatro del Pr∞nclpe Alfonso, 20
December l909;
bä åáÉíÉÅáíçI adapted from a Brothers Grlmm story,
Madrld, Jeatro del Pr∞nclpe Alfonso, 27 |anuary
l9l0;
`~êáÇ~ÇI Madrld, l9ll;
bä Åêá~Çç ÇÉ açå gì~åI Madrld, 29 March l9ll;
i~ äçë~ ÇÉ äçë ëìÉ¥çëI Madrld, Jeatro Lara, 9 November
l9ll;
bå ÉëíÉ j~ÇêáÇI Madrld, 2 Aprll l9l3;
i~ ã~äèìÉêáÇ~I Madrld, Jeatro de la Prlncesa, l2 Decem
ber l9l3;
bä ÇÉëíáåç ã~åÇ~I translated from Paul Hervleu`s iÉ ÇÉëíáå
Éëí ã~≤íêÉI Madrld, Jeatro de la Prlncesa, 25 March
l9l1;
bä Åçää~ê ÇÉ ÉëíêÉää~ëI Madrld, Jeatro de la Prlncesa, 1
March l9l5;
i~ éêçéá~ Éëíáã~ÅáµåI Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, 22
December l9l5;
`~ãéç ÇÉ ~êãá¥çI Madrld, Jeatro de la Prlncesa, l1 Ieb
ruary l9l6;
i~ í∫åáÅ~ ~ã~êáää~I translated from George C. Hazelton
|r. and Harry Benrlmo`s play, Madrld, Jeatro de
la Prlncesa, 22 Aprll l9l6;
i~ ÅáìÇ~Ç ~äÉÖêÉ ó ÅçåÑá~Ç~I Madrld, Jeatro Lara, l8 May
l9l6;
bä ã~ä èìÉ åçë Ü~ÅÉåI Madrld, Jeatro de la Prlncesa, 23
March l9l7;
içë Å~ÅÜçêêçëI Madrld, Jeatro de la Prlncesa, 8 March
l9l8;
i~ jÉÑáëíµÑÉä~I text by Benavente, muslc by Prudenclo
Muñoz, Madrld, Jeatro Relna Vlctorla, 29 Aprll
l9l8;
i~ fåã~Åìä~Ç~ ÇÉ äçë açäçêÉëI Madrld, Jeatro Lara, 30
Aprll l9l8;
i~ äÉó ÇÉ äçë ÜáàçëI Madrld, Jeatro de la Zarzuela, 23
December l9l8;
i~ ÑìÉêò~ Äêìí~I text by Benavente, muslc by Iederlco
Chaves, Madrld, l9l9;
i~ îÉëí~ä ÇÉ çÅÅáÇÉåíÉI Madrld, Jeatro de la Prlncesa, 2
March l9l9;
mçê ëÉê Åçå íçÇçë äÉ~äI ëÉê é~ê~ íçÇçë íê~áÇçêI Madrld, Jeatro
del Centro, 5 March l9l9;
i~ Üçåê~ ÇÉ äçë ÜçãÄêÉëI Madrld, Jeatro Lara, 2 May
l9l9;
bä ~ìÇ~òI adapted from Benlto Pérez Galdós`s novel,
Madrld, Jeatro Español, 6 December l9l9;
i~ ÅÉåáÅáÉåí~I adaptatlon of `áåÇÉêÉää~I Madrld, Jeatro
Español, 20 December l9l9;
v î~ ÇÉ ÅìÉåíçI Madrld, Jeatro de la Prlncesa, 22 Decem
ber l9l9;
rå~ ëÉ¥çê~I Madrld, Jeatro del Centro, 2 |anuary l920;
rå~ éçÄêÉ ãìàÉêI Madrld, Jeatro de la Prlncesa, 3 Aprll
l920;
j•ë ~ää• ÇÉ ä~ ãìÉêíÉI Buenos Alres, l920;
mçê èì¨ ëÉ èìáíµ gì~å ÇÉ ä~ ÄÉÄáÇ~I Montevldeo, Jeatro
Sol∞s, 30 August l922;
iÉÅÅáçåÉë ÇÉ ÄìÉå ~ãçêI Madrld, Jeatro Español, 2 Aprll
l921;
rå é~ê ÇÉ Äçí~ëI Madrld, Jeatro de la Prlncesa, 25 May
l921;
i~ çíê~ Üçåê~I Madrld, Jeatro Lara, l9 September l921;
i~ îáêíìÇ ëçëéÉÅÜçë~I Madrld, Jeatro Iontalba, 20 Octo
ber l921;
flpá ÅêÉÉê•ë í∫ èìÉ Éë éçê ãá Öìëíç> Madrld, l925;
k~ÇáÉ ë~ÄÉ äç èìÉ èìáÉêÉI ç bä Ä~áä~ê∞å ó Éä íê~Ä~à~ÇçêI Madrld,
Jeatro Cómlco, l1 March l925;
^äÑáäÉê~òçëI Buenos Alres, Jeatro Avenlda, l8 |une l925;
Madrld, Jeatro del Centro, 5 October l925;
bä ëìáÅáÇáç ÇÉ iìÅÉêáíçI Madrld, Jeatro Alc•zar, l7 |uly
l925;
içë åìÉîçë óÉêåçëI Madrld, Jeatro Iontalba, 2 October
l925;
i~ ã~êáéçë~ èìÉ îçäµ ëçÄêÉ Éä ã~êI Madrld, Jeatro Iontalba,
22 December l926;
bä Üáàç ÇÉ mçäáÅÜáåÉä~I Madrld, l6 Aprll l927;
i~ åçÅÜÉ áäìãáå~Ç~I Madrld, Jeatro Iontalba, 22 Decem
ber l927;
bä ÇÉãçåáç ÑìÉ ~åíÉë •åÖÉäI Madrld, Jeatro Calderón, l8
Iebruary l928;
flkç èìáÉêçI åç èìáÉêç> Madrld, Jeatro Iontalba, l0 March
l928;
mÉé~ açåÅÉäI Madrld, Jeatro Calderón, 2l November
l928;
sáÇ~ë Åêìò~Ç~ëI Madrld, Jeatro de Relna Vlctorla, 30
March l929;
içë ~ãáÖçë ÇÉä ÜçãÄêÉI Madrld, Jeatro Avenlda, 27 Octo
ber l930;
içë ~åÇê~àçë ÇÉ ä~ é∫êéìê~I Madrld, Jeatro Muñoz Seca, 6
November l930;
ll6
g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ ai_ POV
Dc muy bucvo fomilio, Madrld, Jeatro Muñoz Seca, ll
March l93l;
Iitcroturo, Madrld, Jeatro Alc•zar, l1 Aprll l93l;
Io mclod∞o dcl ¸o··-ßovd, Madrld, Jeatro Iontalba, 30
October l93l;
Cuovdo los lijos dc Ivo vo sov los lijos dc Zd•v, based on
Margaret Kennedy`s novel Tlc Covstovt `ympl,
Madrld, Jeatro Calderón, 5 November l93l;
Sovto Iusio, Madrld, Jeatro Beatrlz, 6 October l932;
Io duqucso gitovo, Madrld, Jeatro Iontalba, 28 October
l932;
Io morol dcl divorcio, Madrld, Jeatro Avenlda, 1 Novem
ber l932;
Io vcrdod ivvcvtodo, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, 27 October
l933;
Il rivol dc su mujcr, Buenos Alres, Jeatro Odeón, l933;
Il pov comido cv lo movo, Madrld, Jeatro Iontalba, l2
|anuary l931;
`i ol omor vi ol mor, Madrld, Jeatro Español, l9 |anuary
l931;
Mcmorios dc uv modrilcvo, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, 8 Novem
ber l931;
Io vovio dc vicvc, Madrld, Jeatro Español, 29 November
l931;
'`o jugucis cov csos cosos,¨ Madrld, Jeatro Eslava, l8 |an
uary l935;
Cuolquicro lo sobc, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, l3
Iebruary l935;
Io ivcrc∞blc, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, 25 October
l910;
Zvcs y p•joros, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, 30 October l910;
Zbuclo y victo, San Sebastl•n, Spaln, Jeatro del Pr∞nclpe,
29 August l91l;
J omorgobo, Madrld, Jeatro de la Zarzuela, l9 Novem
ber l91l;
Io ∫ltimo corto, Madrld, Jeatro Alc•zar, 9 December
l91l;
Io lovrodc· dc lo ccrroduro, Madrld, Jeatro Español, Aprll
l912;
Zl fiv, mujcr, San Sebastl•n, Spaln, Jeatro del Pr∞nclpe,
l3 September l912;
flHijo dcl olmo! Madrld, Jeatro Lara, l7 September l912;
Io cvlutodo, Saragossa, Spaln, Jeatro Prlnclpal, 6 Octo
ber l912;
Il dcmovio dcl tcotro, Madrld, Jeatro Cómlco, 28 October
l912;
Io culpo cs tuyo, San Sebastl•n, Spaln, Jeatro de la Zarzu
ela, l6 December l912;
Ios vivos pcrdidos cv lo sclvo, San Sebastl•n, Spaln, Jeatro
Prlnclpal, l1 |anuary l911;
Dov Mog∞v, cl dc los mogios, Barcelona, Jeatro Barcelona,
l6 March l911;
Ispcjo dc grovdcs, Jeatro Escuela de Arte, Penal del
Dueso, Cantabrla, Spaln, l2 October l911;
Madrld, Jeatro Lara, ll |une l916;
`icvc cv moyo, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, l9 |anu
ary l915;
Io ciudod dolicvtc, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, l1
Aprll l915;
Titovio, Buenos Alres, 25 September l915;
Io ivfov·ovo, Buenos Alres, 6 December l915; Madrld,
l0 |anuary l917;
Zl scrvicio dc su Mojcstod Impcriol, Madrld, l917;
Zbdicociov, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, 27 March l918;
Divorcio dc olmos, Madrld, Jeatro Iontalba, 30 Septem
ber l918;
Zdorociov, Madrld, Jeatro Cómlco, 3 December l918;
Zl omor loy quc movdorlo ol colcgio, Madrld, Jeatro Lara,
29 September l950;
Su omovtc csposo, Madrld, Jeatro Infanta Isabel, 20 Octo
ber l950;
T∫ uvo vc· y cl dioblo dic·, Valladolld, Spaln, Jeatro Lope
de Vega, 23 October l950;
Motcr Impcrotrix, Madrld, Jeatro de la Comedla, 29
November l950;
Io vido cv vcrso, Madrld, Jeatro Infanta Isabel, 9
November l95l;
Ho llcgodo Dov ¸uov, Barcelona, Jeatro Comedla, l2
Aprll l952;
Il lcbrcl dcl ciclo, lnsplred by Irancls Jhompson`s Tlc
Houvd of Hcovcv, Madrld, Jeatro Calderón, 25
Aprll l952;
Scrvir, Madrld, Jeatro Naclonal Mar∞a Guerrero, 22
|anuary l953;
Il olfilcr cv lo boco, Madrld, Jeatro Infanta Isabel, l3 Ieb
ruary l953;
Zlmos prisiovcros, Madrld, Jeatro Alvarez _ulntero, 26
Iebruary l953;
Copcrucito osusto ol lobo, Madrld, Jeatro Infanta Isabel, 23
September l953;
Hijos, podrcs dc sus podrcs, Madrld, Jeatro Lara, ll Iebru
ary l951;
Il morido dc brovcc, Madrld, Jeatro Infanta Isabel, 23
Aprll l951;
Ior solvor su omor, Madrld, Jeatro Calderón, 2 Novem
ber l951;
Il bufov dc Homlct, Madrld, Jeatro Goya, l958.
OJHER. Lope de Vega, Iour Iloys, lntroductlon by
Benavente, translated by |ohn Garrett Lnderhlll
(New York. Scrlbners, l936).
JRANSLAJIONS. Wllllam Shakespeare, Cucvto dc
omor: Comcdio fovt•stico dc Slolcspcorc (Madrld.
Revlsta Nueva, l899);
ll7
ai_ POV g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ
Alexandre Dumas p≠rc, Modcmoiscllc dc ßcllc-Islc: Comcdio
cv civco octos y cv proso dc Zlcjovdro Dumos ( podrc)
(Madrld. R. Velasco, l903);
Moll≠re, Dov ¸uov: Comcdio dc Moli≠rc cv civco octos
(Madrld. Iortanet, l901);
Paul Hervleu, Il dcstivo movdo: Dromo cv dos octos, origivol
y cv proso (Madrld. R. Velasco, l9l1);
George C. Hazelton |r. and Harry Benrlmo, Io t∫vico
omorillo: Icycvdo clivo cv trcs octos, cv proso (Madrld.
Sanz Calleja, l9l6).
|aclnto Benavente, the author of more than l70
plays, domlnated the Spanlsh stage for half a century.
He achleved fame and offlclal recognltlon ln hls long
career, but also had many detractors. After he recelved
the Nobel Prlze ln Llterature ln l922, hls place ln the llt
erary canon was flrmly establlshed; but the decllne of
hls creatlvlty had already started by then and became
more pronounced ln the followlng decades. Ior a large
part of the twentleth century, he was slmultaneously the
most revered and the most crltlclzed playwrlght ln
Spaln. He had great success wlth the Spanlsh publlc ln
commerclal theaters and lnsplred many lmltators; but
desplte hls popularlty and lnfluence, a large group of
respected lntellectuals and crltlcs malntalned negatlve
vlews about hls plays and hls lmpact on contemporary
Spanlsh theater. Jhese crltlcs, lncludlng Ramón Pérez
de Ayala, consldered Benavente`s work outdated and
unworthy of pralse. Pérez de Ayala later rectlfled hls
posltlon, but other crltlcs stlll blamed Benavente for the
percelved crlsls of Spanlsh theater. Jhey belleved that
he was too selfcomplacent because of hls success wlth
the Spanlsh mlddleclass publlc. After belng attacked by
crltlcs and almost forgotten by the theatergolng publlc
slnce the l970s, Benavente`s dlsputed place ln the canon
has been serlously revlsed by scholars. Slnce the l990s,
hls most lmportant plays and hls early works have reap
peared ln crltlcal edltlons, and a younger generatlon of
academlcs ls evaluatlng hls role ln the renovatlon of the
Spanlsh stage from new perspectlves.
|aclnto Benavente y Mart∞nez was born ln Madrld
on l2 August l866. He was the youngest chlld of
Venancla Mart∞nez and Marlano Benavente, a respected
doctor who ls consldered a ploneer ln the fleld of pedl
atrlc medlclne ln Spaln. Jhe couple, who had two more
sons, enjoyed a prlvlleged place ln Madrld soclety
because of the doctor`s reputatlon. Among hls patlents
and frlends were wellknown actors and wrlters, lnclud
lng the flrst Spanlsh wlnner of the Nobel Prlze ln Lltera
ture, dramatlst |osé Echegaray. Jhe famlly had the
opportunlty to attend premleres and go to the theaters
regularly.
Young |aclnto learned how to read at home and
was ready to start hls prlmary educatlon at age flve.
Beglnnlng ln l87l, he attended Coleglo San |osé, a
munlclpal school afflllated wlth San Isldoro Hlgh
School. Durlng hls chlldhood and early teenage years,
he bullt several toy theaters and performed puppet
shows for hls frlends and nelghbors and the household
malds. Hls flrst play was a falry tale ln one act, 'El gato
pardo" (Jhe Leopard). He wrote and performed more
plays for hls puppet theater, such as the spectacle 'Los
cazadores de leones" (Jhe Llon Hunters) and an adap
tatlon of `otrc-Domc dc Ioris (l83l, translated as Tlc
Huvclbocl of `otrc Domc, l833) by Vlctor Hugo. He even
wrote an ambltlous fulllength play, 'Las mll y una
noches" (Arablan Nlghts), ln hls last year ln hlgh
school, but lt was never produced and none of these
adolescent works were ever publlshed. Besldes orlglnal
plays, he memorlzed and reclted for hls admlrlng audl
ence scenes from classlc and contemporary authors,
lncludlng Wllllam Shakespeare, Moll≠re, Irledrlch
Schlller, and the Spanlsh playwrlghts Lope de Vega,
Pedro Calderón de la Barca, and |osé Zorrllla.
Benavente started to go to the theaters wlth hls
famlly at an early age; later on he lnslsted that he could
vlvldly remember all the plays and muslcals he
attended between ages four and twelve. He also read
plays by both Spanlsh and forelgn authors, especlally
Shakespeare, whom hls father admlred greatly. Because
the young man studled Irench, Engllsh, Itallan, and
some Latln ln hls hlghschool years, he was able to read
many plays ln thelr orlglnal languages. He read Homlct
(clrca l600-l60l) ln translatlon at flrst, ln Spanlsh and
Irench, but was able to read lt ln Engllsh at age slxteen.
He also attended the performances of Echegaray`s
plays, lncludlng hls blggest success, Il grov Colcoto (Jhe
Great Galeoto), produced ln l88l, when Benavente
was flfteen. He sald ln hls memolrs (publlshed ln vol
ume eleven of hls Ubros complctos |Complete Works|,
l912-l958) that he had always admlred Echegaray,
who later became unpopular wlth the young lntellectu
als of the early twentleth century because they consld
ered hlm outdated.
Benavente`s father was concerned that hls young
est son spent too much tlme and energy rehearslng and
performlng plays lnstead of studylng, so he told hlm to
stop these actlvltles. Benavente was dlsappolnted, slnce
he wanted to be an actor. He confessed ln hls memolrs
that actlng was 'toda la lluslón de ml vlda" (the blg
dream of my llfe). He was so affected by hls father`s
declslon that he became depressed, and he consldered
that moment the end of hls chlldhood. Hls father, who
wanted hlm to become an englneer, convlnced hlm that
he should attend college. He enrolled ln the Lnlverslty
of Madrld ln l882 but was not lnterested ln academlcs.
He often sklpped class, was not a brllllant student, and
swltched from englneerlng to law after the flrst year
ll8
g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ ai_ POV
because he dlsllked mathematlcs. When hls father dled
ln l885, Benavente dropped out of college wlthout hesl
tatlon and devoted hlmself to readlng, wrltlng, and trav
ellng abroad between l885 and l892. Hls famlly`s
posltlon allowed hlm to enjoy a comfortable llfe and
avold the precarlous bohemlan llfestyle that character
lzed other wrlters of the late nlneteenth century.
Benavente attended the íÉêíìäá~ äáíÉê~êá~ (llterary
gatherlngs, wlth poetry readlngs and lnformal book dls
cusslons) at the Café Iberla, where he met establlshed
wrlters such as the poet Gaspar N∫ñez de Arce. He
later jolned a clrcle of young lntellectuals who were
hlghly crltlcal of the status quo. He spent most of hls
tlme wrltlng comedles and poems at home and readlng
the classlcs. Homer, Aeschylus, Vlrgll, Dante, Mlguel
de Cervantes, Alfred de Musset, and Glacomo Leo
pardl. He also read the works of contemporary Spanlsh
wrlters such as the novellsts Benlto Pérez Galdós and
|uan Valera, and the poets Ramón de Campoamor and
N∫ñez de Arce. One of Benavente`s older brothers,
Marlano, encouraged hlm to contlnue wrltlng.
Benavente had a close relatlonshlp wlth hls
mother, wlth whom he llved as an adult untll her death
ln l922. It appears that he never had a slgnlflcant emo
tlonal relatlonshlp wlth anyone else. He prlded hlmself
on belng a conflrmed bachelor. Blographer žngel
L•zaro states that 'Nadle le ha conocldo novla en su
juventud, y él nlega que haya estado enamorado jam•s"
(No one knows of any sweetheart from hls youth, and
he denles that he has ever been ln love). L•zaro goes on
to assert that no one has ever been able to ldentlfy any
woman as Benavente`s lover, and no actress ever
bragged of belng the object of hls affectlons.
Crltlcs such as Eduardo Gal•n have wondered
about the fact that there ls so llttle avallable lnformatlon
about the prlvate llfe of such a famous wrlter. Even ln
hls memolrs, Benavente mostly tells anecdotes of the
people he knew and the clty where he llved, and only
talks ln detall about hls chlldhood. Jhere have always
been perslstent but unconflrmed rumors, mostly ln the
atrlcal clrcles, about hls alleged homosexuallty. When
he was told about rumors regardlng 'clertas anomal∞as
flslológlcas" (certaln physlologlcal anomalles), the
wrlter slmply shrugged; he also lgnored mallclous whls
perlngs about hls sexual orlentatlon. L•zaro wonders lf
Benavente ls 'el hombre despreocupado que qulere
asustar a los morallstas o el escéptlco que se consldera
m•s all• del Blen y del Mal" (the carefree man who
wants to scare morallsts or the skeptlc who conslders
hlmself beyond Good and Evll). Homosexuallty was
taboo ln Spanlsh soclety at that tlme and, for a large
part of the twentleth century, was penallzed as a crlme.
Jradltlonally, Benavente`s blographers have
avolded the toplc, for the most part, or addressed lt ln a
rather lndlrect manner. Only latetwentlethcentury
studles approach the subject more openly, but they,
wlth few exceptlons, reach no deflnlte concluslons.
Slnce the late l990s, there have been alternate readlngs
of hls work, uncoverlng homoerotlc currents. Gérard
Dufour was the flrst one to dlscuss the amblgultles ln
Leandro, one of the maln characters ln Benavente`s
most famous play, içë áåíÉêÉëÉë ÅêÉ~Ççë (l907, Jhe Bonds
of Interest). Others have percelved homoerotlc under
tones ln the frlendshlp between Leandro and Crlsp∞n ln
that play. Echolng the oplnlon of the crltlcs Iranclsco
|avler D∞az de Castro and Almudena del Olmo Itu
rrlarte ln a l998 edltlon of içë áåíÉêÉëÉë ÅêÉ~ÇçëI |avler
Huerta Calvo and Emlllo Peral Vega assert ln a 2003
artlcle that there are many references to homosexuallty
ln Benavente`s llfe as well as ln hls plays. Jhey state
that Benavente`s short story from l938, 'Ganlmedes"
(lncluded ln lÄê~ë ÅçãéäÉí~ë), a sensual retelllng of the
classlc myth of Ganymede, the handsome ephebus who
became Zeus`s lover, offers a hldden confesslon of hls
alleged tendencles.
Huerta Calvo and Peral Vega also flnd manlfesta
tlons of 'ldeales heterodoxos en materlas de amor"
(heterodox ldeals regardlng love) ln other works by
Benavente, mostly ln hls early plays, publlshed ln the
volume qÉ~íêç Ñ~åí•ëíáÅç (l892, Iantasy Jheater). Jhey
see these ldeals at work partlcularly ln `ìÉåíç ÇÉ éêáã~J
îÉê~ (Sprlng Story), an unproduced work that seems to
follow the splrlt of Shakespeare`s comedles. Benavente
was famlllar wlth slxteenth and seventeenthcentury
classlc plays wlth crossdresslng roles from England and
Spaln, and they may have lnsplred hlm to portray char
acters of amblguous sexual ldentlty ln hls early works
and beyond. In `ìÉåíç ÇÉ éêáã~îÉê~I one of the maln
characters ls Ganlmedes (Ganymede), a poet and page
ln the royal court who ls descrlbed wlth androgynous
characterlstlcs but assumed to be male. After some
amblguous sltuatlons lnvolvlng mlstaken ldentltles and
crossdresslng, the endlng of the play seems to relnforce
tradltlonal expectatlons about heterosexual attractlon,
but the plot twlsts are loaded wlth destablllzlng lronles.
Addlng another layer to the amblgultles of the play,
Ganlmedes`s role ls supposed to be played by an
actress, as revealed ln the prologue.
qÉ~íêç Ñ~åí•ëíáÅç was a compllatlon of unproduced
short plays publlshed ln l892 and agaln ln l905 ln a
revlsed, expanded edltlon. Besldes `ìÉåíç ÇÉ éêáã~îÉê~I
the l892 edltlon also lncluded three more plays. bä
ÉåÅ~åíç ÇÉ ìå~ Üçê~ (Jhe Maglc of an Hour), ^ãçê ÇÉ
~êíáëí~ (Artlst`s Love), and içë Ñ~îçêáíçë (Jhe Iavorltes).
Jhe latter, based on Shakespeare`s play jìÅÜ ^Çç ^Äçìí
kçíÜáåÖ (clrca l598-l599), was produced ln Sevllle ln
l903. bä ÉåÅ~åíç ÇÉ ìå~ Üçê~ was produced ln Madrld ln
l905, shortly after the second edltlon was publlshed.
ll9
ai_ POV g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ
Jhe other two plays from the flrst edltlon of qÉ~íêç
Ñ~åí•ëíáÅç have never been performed. All of them have
one act only, except `ìÉåíç ÇÉ éêáã~îÉê~I whlch ls a two
act comedy. Jhe l905 edltlon omltted içë Ñ~îçêáíçë and
added two more oneact plays. `çãÉÇá~ áí~äá~å~ (Itallan
Comedy) and bä Åêá~Çç ÇÉ açå gì~å (Don |uan`s Ser
vant). In addltlon, lt lncluded a puppet play, i~ ëÉåÇ~ ÇÉä
~ãçê (Jhe Path of Love); the plot for a mlme`s act, i~
Ää~åÅìê~ ÇÉ máÉêêçí (Jhe Whlteness of Plerrot); and a dla
logue, jçÇÉêåáëãç (Modernlsm). Of the new plays
added ln l905, only bä Åêá~Çç ÇÉ açå gì~å was ever pro
duced; lt was performed ln Madrld ln l9ll.
Most crltlcs tend to conslder bä åáÇç ~àÉåç
(Another`s Nest), produced ln l891, as the beglnnlng of
Benavente`s career as a dramatlst, whlle dlsmlsslng or
lgnorlng hls early plays entlrely. One of the few excep
tlons among the crltlcs of hls tlme was the Nlcaraguan
poet Rubén Dar∞o, who, ln an artlcle publlshed ln
bëé~¥~ `çåíÉãéçê•åÉ~I pralsed qÉ~íêç Ñ~åí•ëíáÅç as an out
standlng example of 'la joven llteratura" (the young llt
erature) and even compared lt to Shakespeare`s qÜÉ
qÉãéÉëí (l6ll) and ^ jáÇëìããÉê káÖÜíÛë aêÉ~ã (clrca
l595-l596). Huerta Calvo and Peral Vega have pald
close attentlon to Benavente`s fantasy plays, whlch they
conslder hlghly lnnovatlve and an lmportant part of
modernlst theater. Jhey vlew qÉ~íêç Ñ~åí•ëíáÅç as the
foundatlon of symbollst theater ln Spaln, whlch had an
lmportant lnfluence on the most lnnovatlve Spanlsh
playwrlghts of the twentleth century, such as Iederlco
Garc∞a Lorca and Ramón del ValleIncl•n. In thelr vlew,
Benavente antlclpates avantgarde trends later devel
oped ln Europe by such wrlters as Gordon Cralg. Jhls
antlclpatlon ls especlally apparent ln bä ÉåÅ~åíç ÇÉ ìå~
Üçê~I wlth lts antlreallstlc premlse and lts expllclt reac
tlon agalnst a mlmetlc lmltatlon of ordlnary llfe.
In l893 Benavente expanded hls llterary output
and publlshed three books. a collectlon of sketches,
sáä~åçë (Jhe Down of the Jhlstle), reprlnted ln l905;
sÉêëçë (Verses); and a serles of flctlonal letters, `~êí~ë ÇÉ
ãìàÉêÉë (Women`s Letters), whlch became a commerclal
success and was also pralsed by crltlcs; the second and
thlrd serles followed ln l90l and l902. Hls early poems
from sÉêëçë have been conslstently consldered medlocre,
even by the author hlmself. He never publlshed another
poetry book durlng hls llfetlme, although more than
one hundred poems, found among hls papers, appeared
posthumously ln the appendlx to volume ten of lÄê~ë
ÅçãéäÉí~ëK Marcellno C. Peñuelas flnds them slmllar to
Benavente`s early sÉêëçë ln thelr themes, tone, and qual
lty.
Benavente`s flrst experlences wlth the stage were
far more lmportant for hls future career as a respected
wrlter than hls early experlments ln poetry, whlch he
soon abandoned. In l890 he flnally reallzed hls llfelong
dream and jolned the Mar∞a Jubeau theater company
as an actor. Jhere he met La Bella Geraldlne (Geral
dlne the Beautlful), a strlklngly attractlve Engllsh
actress and clrcus artlst who was popular wlth Madrld
audlences. He later toured several provlnclal towns ln
Spaln as an lmpresarlo of her show. Hls fasclnatlon for
the clrcus world ls reflected ln the settlngs of several
plays, such as i~ åçÅÜÉ ÇÉä ë•Ä~Çç (l903, Saturday Nlght),
içë Å~ÅÜçêêçë (l9l8, Jhe Cubs), and i~ ÑìÉêò~ Äêìí~ (l9l9,
Brute Iorce).
Benavente loved the backstage atmosphere. In an
lntervlew quoted by L•zaro, he confessed to a journallst
that lf he could not have been a playwrlght, he would
have llked to have been a fulltlme actor, lmpresarlo, or
stagehand. When he was a wellknown playwrlght, he
stlll enjoyed lnterpretlng roles ln hls own plays; he llked
to play Crlsp∞n`s role ln içë áåíÉêÉëÉë ÅêÉ~ÇçëI for lnstance.
Occaslonally, he also played parts ln productlons of
other authors` plays, such as the leadlng role ln a pro
ductlon of Zorrllla`s açå gì~å qÉåçêáç (l811), a famous
drama that was performed annually ln Spaln ln early
November. In l899 he performed a role ln the premlere
of `Éåáò~ë (Ashes), the flrst play produced by Valle
Incl•n, who eventually replaced Benavente as the major
flgure ln the canon of the earlytwentlethcentury the
ater ln Spaln.
In the late years of the nlneteenth century,
Benavente partlclpated actlvely ln the lntellectual llfe of
Madrld and jolned the wrlters who were assoclated
wlth the modernlst movement and the socalled Gener
atlon of l898. He collaborated on the modernlst jour
nal eÉäáçë and attended the íÉêíìäá~ äáíÉê~êá~ of Café de
Madrld, along wlth wellknown wrlters such as Dar∞o,
ValleIncl•n, Gregorlo Mart∞nez Slerra, and the novellst
P∞o Baroja and hls brother, the palnter Rlcardo Baroja.
Because of dlfferences ln personalltles and styles, the
íÉêíìäá~ spllt lnto two groups ln the early twentleth cen
tury, and Benavente, hls frlends and admlrers started
thelr own íÉêíìäá~ ln the Cervecer∞a Inglesa (Engllsh
Brewery), whlle ValleIncl•n and hls followers chose to
go to the Horchater∞a Candela. (Benavente and Valle
Incl•n nevertheless remalned frlends.) At the turn of the
century, Benavente also traveled to Irance and Italy
and acqulred more cosmopolltan vlews, whlch are
reflected ln hls flrst successful plays, especlally ln i~
åçÅÜÉ ÇÉä ë•Ä~ÇçI whlch ls set ln a summer resort for the
European ellte.
Whlle he was establlshlng hlmself ln the lntellec
tual scene, Benavente trled to convlnce a famlly frlend,
Emlllo Marlo, who was the respected lmpresarlo of
Jeatro de la Comedla (Comedy Jheater) ln Madrld, to
perform one of hls early plays. Ior slx or seven years,
Benavente brought Marlo about a dozen plays untll
Marlo flnally accepted one of them, bä åáÇç ~àÉåçK It pre
l20
g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ ai_ POV
mlered on 6 October l891 and was performed by a
wellestabllshed company of actors, lncludlng Carmen
Cobeña and Emlllo Jhulller. Desplte the lmpeccable
credentlals of the lmpresarlo and the lead actors,
Benavente`s flrst produced play was a resoundlng fall
ure. It was poorly recelved by the publlc, and the major
lty of the crltlcs wrote negatlve revlews. Most scholars
attrlbute the fallure of the play to the publlc`s rejectlon
of the thesls behlnd the plot, whlch offers a moral justl
flcatlon for a hypothetlcal case of adultery that ls never
consummated. Jhere were loud complalnts agalnst the
alleged lmmorallty of the play. After the three perfor
mances stlpulated by law as the mlnlmum at that tlme,
lt was replaced by another play.
In appearance, the plot may have remlnded the
publlc of latenlneteenthcentury dramas, lncludlng
those by the popular Echegaray; but there are key dlf
ferences that antlclpate characterlstlcs that are more
fully developed ln Benavente`s later plays and that
mark the advent of naturallst theater ln Spaln, as
opposed to the postRomantlc melodramas to whlch the
Spanlsh publlc had grown accustomed. Gal•n has
polnted out the maln lnnovatlve aspects of bä åáÇç ~àÉåçW
the use of prose lnstead of verse, the effectlve use of dla
logue, the predomlnance of dramatlc tenslon over
actlon, the development of the characters` psychologlcal
complexlty, the lack of vlolence and outbursts of pas
slon, and the reallstlc tone that prevalls ln the play. In
addltlon to lts formal lnnovatlons, bä åáÇç ~àÉåç also
takes a subverslve approach to the classlc toplc devel
oped for centurles ln Spanlsh 'dramas de honor" (dra
mas ln whlch the hero`s loss of reputatlon results ln
crlmes of passlon to restore hls honor). Benavente ques
tlons the conventlons of the subgenre and denounces
the oppresslve sltuatlon of marrled women ln Spanlsh
soclety.
Jhe publlc`s and crltlcs` adverse reactlons to hls
flrst produced play undoubtedly affected young
Benavente and forced hlm to be more cautlous ln hls
crltlclsm of soclety`s values. Irom then on, hls theater ls
a balanclng act. hls subsequent plays offered soclal sat
lre as long as lt could be tolerated by the mlddleclass
audlence that fllled the theaters at the tlme. He was
fully aware of the llmlts lmposed by the expectatlons of
the theatergolng publlc and by the structure of commer
clal theater, and he dld not cross that lnvlslble llne. He
offered a type of crltlclsm that was easy to agree wlth
and condemned the vlces of contemporary soclety such
as excesslve ambltlon or greed. Over tlme, hls theater
showed a marked tendency toward morallzlng that the
author hlmself regretted.
Benavente comblned hls early theatrlcal actlvltles
wlth the practlce of journallsm. He wrote hls flrst artlcle
for i~ °éçÅ~ ln l895. Over hls long career he wrote
hundreds of newspaper artlcles that were collected later
ln lÄê~ë ÅçãéäÉí~ë (volumes seven, nlne, and eleven). In
l898 he edlted the satlrlcal magazlne j~ÇêáÇ `µãáÅç
(Iunny Madrld), whose chlef edltor was the prestlglous
novellst and crltlc Clar∞n (Leopoldo Alas). At the turn
of the century he also contrlbuted to dÉêãáå~äI bäÉÅíê~I
sáÇ~ kìÉî~ (New Llfe), oÉîáëí~ kìÉî~ (New Magazlne),
^äã~ bëé~¥çä~ (Spanlsh Soul), i~ iÉÅíìê~ (Jhe Readlng),
i~ fäìëíê~Åáµå bëé~¥çä~ (Jhe Spanlsh Enllghtment), and
bä ^êíÉ ÇÉä qÉ~íêç (Jhe Art of Jheater). He contrlbuted a
regular column, 'Notas de un lector" (A Reader`s
Notes), to the respected oÉîáëí~ `çåíÉãéçê•åÉ~ (Contem
porary Magazlne). He eventually stopped thls frantlc
pace, although he resumed hls journallstlc actlvltles at
the beglnnlng of the twentleth century. He later con
fessed ln an lntervlew lncluded ln volume eleven of
lÄê~ë ÅçãéäÉí~ë that he was tlred of meetlng deadllnes. In
l899 Benavente was the flrst edltor of the journal sáÇ~
äáíÉê~êá~ (Llterary Llfe), whlch was consldered a platform
for a new generatlon of wrlters. Benavente left hls post
the followlng year, statlng that lt dlstracted hlm from
wrltlng plays, a task that he never abandoned, desplte
the fallure of hls flrst play.
Jwo years after the dlsastrous and brlef run of bä
åáÇç ~àÉåçI Benavente managed to convlnce the theater
company of Cobeña and Jhulller to glve hlm another
chance wlth hls comedy dÉåíÉ ÅçåçÅáÇ~ (People of Impor
tance), whlch he had wrltten before hls flrst produced
play. dÉåíÉ ÅçåçÅáÇ~ premlered ln l896, and the publlc
llked the sharp, wltty dlalogue and the contemporary
sltuatlons presented. It was hls flrst success, to be fol
lowed by many more.
Ior hls thlrd produced play, performed ln l897, bä
ã~êáÇç ÇÉ ä~ q¨ääÉò (Jhe Jéllez Woman`s Husband),
Benavente took advantage of a recent soclety event that
was much talked about ln Madrld. the marrlage of lead
lng lady Mar∞a Guerrero, who had been the lmpresarlo
of Jeatro Español (Spanlsh Jheater) slnce l895 and
was adored by the Spanlsh publlc, and leadlng man
Iernando D∞az Mendoza. Jhe publlc enjoyed the exer
clse of decodlng the posslble parallels between the plot
of the play and real llfe, and the comedy was successful.
Guerrero later played the lead ln many plays by
Benavente. Her actlng style was partlcularly well sulted
for the naturallstlc tone that was the trademark of the
author`s early plays, ln contrast wlth the oldfashloned
declamatory style that prevalled ln the nlneteenth cen
tury. One of the most famous roles of her lllustrlous act
lng career was as Ralmunda, the protagonlst of
Benavente`s rural drama i~ ã~äèìÉêáÇ~ (l9l3, Jhe Pas
slon Ilower).
Crltlcs agree that the talented Spanlsh actresses of
the early twentleth century contrlbuted greatly to the
success of Benavente`s plays. Benavente hlmself sald
l2l
ai_ POV g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ
that actress and dlrector Rosarlo Plno was the ldeal
lnterpreter of many of hls plays. It ls also true that
many actresses became popular because of thelr leadlng
roles ln hls plays. Plno, for lnstance, was remembered
ln partlcular for her role as the protagonlst of Iosos dc
otovo (l905, Autumnal Roses). Besldes Plno and Gue
rrero, who domlnated the Spanlsh stages ln the early
years of the twentleth century, a new generatlon of
actresses dlsplayed thelr actlng talent ln Benavente`s
plays ln the l920s and l930s. Lola Membrlves and
Margarlta Xlrgu are among thls dlstlngulshed group.
Llke Guerrero, they both dlrected thelr own theater
companles and toured Spaln and Latln Amerlca wlth
other plays by Benavente ln thelr repertolre, besldes the
ones that they premlered.
After Plno starred ln Il morido dc lo Tcllc· ln l897,
Benavente`s presence on the Spanlsh stage was almost
constant for the next flftyseven years. Lntll hls death
ln l951, he produced at least two or three new plays a
year, and often four or flve. Sometlmes as many as
seven or elght of hls plays were performed ln a slngle
year, not lncludlng reruns. As early as l90l, he had slx
new plays produced ln the same year. four premlered ln
Madrld, one ln Barcelona, and one ln Saragossa. Some
of the crltlcs who had attacked hlm so harshly ln hls
flrst attempts as a playwrlght pralsed hlm enthuslastl
cally a few years later.
Benavente reached hls creatlve peak and also
achleved hls status as the most vlslble author on the
Spanlsh stage ln the flrst decade of the twentleth cen
tury, a posltlon consolldated at the beglnnlng of the
next decade wlth the spectacular success of Io molquc-
rido ln l9l3. Several plays recelved unlform crltlcal
acclalm ln the early l900s. Among them, Io voclc dcl
s•bodo marked the deflnlte recognltlon of Benavente as
the leadlng Spanlsh playwrlght of hls tlme. It ls consld
ered one of the hlghllghts ln hls career, and the author
held lt ln great esteem.
K
Others also conslder Iosos dc
otovo one of Benavente`s most memorable plays. He pro
duced slx other new plays and publlshed four unpro
duced plays that same year. Another play that earned
both popular success and the crltlcs` pralse was Ios mol-
lcclorcs dcl bicv (l905, Jhe Evlldoers of Good), desplte
the fact that the play was percelved as antlCathollc ln
some conservatlve clrcles because of lts denunclatlon of
rellglous hypocrlsy.
In the early years of the twentleth century,
Benavente also devoted hlmself to journallsm, a com
mon actlvlty for Spanlsh lntellectuals at the tlme. Irom
l906 to l908 and from l9l1 to l9l6, he publlshed
weekly artlcles ln 'Los Lunes del Imparclal" (Mondays
of Jhe Impartlal), the llterary sectlon of Il Imporciol,
one of Madrld`s leadlng newspapers. In l9l2 and l9l3
he wrote regularly for the popular magazlne ßlovco y
`cgro (Black and Whlte). Hls column was tltled 'Sobre
mesa" (AfterDlnner Conversatlons). In addltlon, he
contrlbuted to ZßC, a wellknown conservatlve newspa
per from Madrld, ln a regular column called 'La ter
cera" (Jhe Jhlrd One).
In thls perlod, Benavente managed to comblne hls
actlve career ln journallsm wlth resoundlng and undls
puted success on the Spanlsh stage. He wrote and pro
duced hls most acclalmed plays between l907 and
l9l3. Ios ivtcrcscs crcodos, Scvoro omo (l908, A Lady), and
Io molqucrido. Jhe flrst one, consldered hls masterplece,
remalned popular through the entlre twentleth century,
as attested by the number of performances and edltlons
of the play and the ample corpus of crltlcal studles
devoted to lt. Jhe other two, consldered the best of hls
rural dramas, also achleved endurlng success and have
attracted conslderable crltlcal attentlon.
Ios ivtcrcscs crcodos, subtltled 'comedla de poll
chlnelas" (puppet show), premlered ln Jeatro Lara ln
Madrld on 9 December l907. Jhe settlng ls an lmagl
nary country at the beglnnlng of the seventeenth cen
tury. Some of the characters are lnsplred ln the tradltlon
of the Itallan commedla dell`arte, as stated ln the pro
logue. Jhe maln characters and the plot are lnsplred by
the tradltlon of Spanlsh classlc llterature. Crlsp∞n, the
central character, recalls the flgure of the plcaro, the
antlhero ln a subverslve subgenre of the Spanlsh
Golden Age novel. Jhe archetyplcal frlendshlp of the
ldeallstlc Leandro and the commonsenslcal Crlsp∞n also
evokes that of Don _ulxote and Sancho Panza and the
relatlonshlp of masters and servants as represented ln
seventeenthcentury Spanlsh theater. Leandro ls a pen
nlless youth who falls ln love wlth beautlful Sllvla, who
also loves hlm, but her rlch father, Pollchlnela, opposes
the marrlage. Crlsp∞n, a consummate trlckster, poses as
Leandro`s servant and convlnces everyone ln town that
Leandro ls an lmportant gentleman on a secret mlsslon.
Both of them are actually drlfters who are fleelng from
the law. When the truth ls exposed and they are
brought to trlal by those they cheated, Crlsp∞n shows
the other characters that lt ls ln thelr best lnterest to
drop all the charges and allow the weddlng of Leandro
and Sllvla, so that Leandro can repay hls debts. Jhe
father ls forced by the others to accept the marrlage,
slnce the arrangement beneflts everyone else. Jhus, the
story has a happy endlng, provlng Crlsp∞n`s cynlcal
polnt that 'mejor que crear afectos es crear lntereses" (lt
ls better to create bonds of lnterest rather than bonds of
love). Llke a skllled puppeteer, Crlsp∞n masterfully
manlpulates all the threads of the plot. In the play, hls
determlnatlon to take advantage of others` foollshness,
based on hls knowledge of human nature, ls far more
convlnclng and engaglng than Leandro`s groundless
ldeallstlc attltude. At the end, although lt may seem that
l22
g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ ai_ POV
love conquers all, the moral lesson conveys a deep skep
tlclsm and a pesslmlstlc vlew of humanklnd.
Ios ivtcrcscs crcodos has recelved unlform pralse,
even by those crltlcs who generally dlsllke Benavente`s
plays. Iranclsco Rulz Ramón, one of the most lnfluen
tlal hlstorlans of contemporary Spanlsh drama, consld
ers Ios ivtcrcscs crcodos one of the masterpleces of
twentlethcentury Spanlsh theater. It ls one of the few
plays by Benavente that ls stlll staged ln Spaln, and lt
has gone through many edltlons. Jhe publlc and crltlcs
of the tlme reacted wlth enthuslasm when lt was pre
mlered, and theater scholars have always pralsed lt
hlghly. Jhe Spanlsh Royal Academy awarded the Pre
mlo Plquer (Plquer Award) to thls play ln l9l2. In a
l930 poll, flfty thousand people chose lt as the best
comedy by Benavente. In 'Orlentaclones para el mon
taje" (Suggestlons for Staglng the Play), lncluded ln the
l998 edltlon of Ios ivtcrcscs crcodos. Io ciudod olcgrc y cov-
fiodo, the playwrlght |osé Luls Alonso de Santos has
placed Ios ivtcrcscs crcodos among the most lmportant and
slgnlflcant Spanlsh plays of all tlme. Its sequel, Io ciudod
olcgrc y covfiodo (Jhe Happy and Confldent Clty), whlch
premlered ln l9l6, ls a lesser play that provoked scan
dal and achleved momentary success because of the
polltlcal clrcumstances. Crltlcs consldered lt a justlflca
tlon of Benavente`s support of Germany ln World War
I, an uncommon posltlon among Spanlsh lntellectuals
that earned the author many enemles and the scorn of
fellow wrlters.
In Iebruary l908, just two months after the trl
umphant premlere of Ios ivtcrcscs crcodos, Benavente tem
porarlly set aslde hls trademark urban comedles to
produce hls flrst drama ln a rural settlng, Scvoro omo. By
then he was the most soughtafter playwrlght ln Spaln.
He was stlll ln hls early fortles and had already pro
duced more than flfty plays. Scvoro omo was a strlklng
departure from the cynlcal world of hls 'puppet show."
Jhe lnsplratlon for the story and the maln characters
came to the author ln one of hls stays ln Aldeancabo, a
small vlllage
K
near Joledo, ln Castlle. In the early part
of the twentleth century, he used to rest ln hls country
house there and vlslt hls godchlld, Rosarlo, a llttle glrl
who llved ln the vlllage. Jhere he met a woman who
condoned the behavlor of her notorlously phllanderlng
husband and even seemed to take prlde ln lt. Benavente
modeled Domlnlca, the protagonlst of Scvoro omo, after
her. In the play, the chlldless Domlnlca ls proud of the
attractlon that her unfalthful husband, Iellclano, exerts
over other women, and even concerns herself wlth the
welfare of hls former lovers and the lllegltlmate chlldren
that he has had wlth them. Once she dlscovers that she
ls pregnant, however, Domlnlca changes her attltude
completely; she becomes consumed by jealousy and
decldes she wlll not tolerate her husband`s lnfldellty
anymore. Her sudden transformatlon almost leads to a
tragedy when she suspects Iellclano may be havlng an
affalr wlth hls brother`s wlfe. Ilnally, the mlsunder
standlng ls cleared up, and Iellclano rejolces at the news
that Domlnlca wlll glve hlm a legltlmate helr.
Most crltlcs have pralsed Scvoro omo and tend to
place lt at the level of Io molqucrido, Benavente`s best
known drama; the author hlmself sald that lt was hls
favorlte among all the plays he wrote. Peñuelas, how
ever, conslders lt 'medlocre" and 'second rate" because
of the lack of dramatlc actlon and the relatlve weakness
of the maln character. Benavente avolds the traglc end
lng that would have been the loglcal development of the
confllct. Vlrtudes Serrano, by contrast, sets out to prove
ln her lntroductlon to a 2002 edltlon of the play that
Domlnlca ls a great character and that there ls true dra
matlc confllct ln the play.
In l909, one year after the premlere of Scvoro omo,
Benavente founded the Jeatro para Nlños (Jheater for
Chlldren) wlth the lmpresarlo Iernando Porredón.
Wlth thls project he lntended to promote quallty plays
for chlldren, performed ln the Jeatro Pr∞nclpe Alfonso
ln Madrld. He wrote sketches for puppet shows, and ln
some cases he was also the puppeteer. He also wrote
plays for thls project such as Covorsc lo vido (l909, Earn
lng a Llvlng). Jhe best known of hls chlldren`s plays ls
Il pr∞vcipc quc todo lo oprcvdio cv los libros (Jhe Prlnce Who
Learned Everythlng from Books), whlch premlered ln
l909. As part of the project, he produced plays wrltten
by Modernlst playwrlghts such as Santlago Ruslñol,
Eduardo Marqulna, Mart∞nez Slerra, and even Valle
Incl•n, who contrlbuted Iorso ivfovtil dc lo cobc·o dcl
drogov (Chlldren`s Iarce of the Dragon`s Head) ln l9l0.
Jhls play was the last one performed for the Jeatro
para Nlños. Benavente was enthuslastlc about the
project but soon encountered dlfflcultles; he dld not
have all the necessary resources, and the publlc dld not
respond wlth much lnterest. He abandoned Jeatro para
Nlños ln l9l0 but contlnued wrltlng chlldren`s plays on
occaslon. In l9l9 he wrote two chlldren`s plays. Io
ccvicicvto (Clnderella) and J vo dc cucvto (And Once
Lpon a Jlme). Years later, ln l931, he premlered Io
vovio dc vicvc (Jhe Snow Brlde), hls last experlment ln
that genre. Ior Llnda S. Glaze, these three plays are
'outstandlng examples of the modern comcdio dc mogio"
or maglc play, a subgenre that orlglnated ln the early
elghteenth century and survlved untll the early twentl
eth century.
Benavente`s lnterest ln the renovatlon of the Span
lsh stage and the educatlon of the publlc was not llmlted
to hls efforts to promote chlldren`s theater. As early as
l899, whlle he was bulldlng hls reputatlon as a success
ful playwrlght, he was lnvolved ln another project,
Jeatro Art∞stlco (Artlstlc Jheater). It was an attempt to
l23
ai_ POV g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ
brlng to the Spanlsh publlc alternatlve plays, produc
tlons dlfferent from those usually seen ln the commer
clal theaters. He dlrected the plays and occaslonally
played roles ln them, as he dld ln ValleIncl•n`s `Éåáò~ëK
He premlered one of hls own plays, aÉëéÉÇáÇ~ ÅêìÉä
(Cruel Iarewell), ln Jeatro Lara for the flrst perfor
mance of Jeatro Art∞stlco ln l899. Subsequent produc
tlons lncluded plays by classlc and contemporary
authors, such as Shakespeare`s qÜÉ q~ãáåÖ çÑ íÜÉ pÜêÉï
(l591) and |oaqu∞n Dlcenta`s gì~å gçë¨ (l895).
Benavente`s contrlbutlons to Spanlsh theater were
awarded not only wlth lmmense popularlty ln hls llfe
tlme but also wlth publlc recognltlon and offlclal hon
ors. In l9l2 he was elected to the Real Academla
Española, or RAE (Spanlsh Royal Academy), to replace
the respected scholar Marcellno Menéndez Pelayo, who
had dled.
In l920, Benavente was named dlrector of
Jeatro Español (the Spanlsh Natlonal Jheater). In
l922, ten years after hls nomlnatlon to the RAE, he
recelved the Nobel Prlze ln Llterature, becomlng the
second Spanlard to recelve the honor. Benavente`s
reputatlon was enhanced among the publlc, but not
necessarlly among the crltlcs. Jhe hostlle atmosphere
agalnst hlm among Spanlsh lntellectuals and the neg
atlve crltlclsm spurred by Pérez de Ayala`s revlews
dld not dlsappear after Benavente recelved the Nobel
Prlze. Pérez de Ayala, however, dld declde to partlcl
pate ln an homage to Benavente ln the mld l930s.
Benavente could not attend the Nobel award
ceremony because he was ln Argentlna at that tlme
partlclpatlng ln a theatrlcal tour wlth Membrlves`s
company, an opportunlty he had welcomed ln order
to cope wlth hls grlef over hls mother`s death earller
that year. It was hls second trlp to South Amerlca; he
had gone wlth Guerrero`s company to Argentlna ln
l906. After he was awarded the Nobel Prlze, he vls
lted Mexlco, Cuba, and the Lnlted States, recelvlng
more honors along the way. He was named an hon
orary cltlzen of New York Clty, for lnstance. It was
really a vlctory tour for the author, who was then ln
the zenlth of hls career. Lpon hls return to Spaln, he
recelved the Great Cross of Alfonso el Sablo (Klng
Alfonso the Wlse), and the Clty Councll of Madrld
named hlm Iavorlte Son of the clty ln l921.
Benavente`s thlrd and last transatlantlc tour took
place under dlfferent clrcumstances, more than twenty
years later, ln l915, when he was ln hls late seventles.
Jhat year, he went to Argentlna and premlered hls last
rural drama, i~ áåÑ~åòçå~ (Jhe Noble Woman), ln Bue
nos Alres. At that tlme, Argentlna`s capltal was an
lmportant center for Spanlsh theater and also had a
large communlty of Spanlsh refugees. Several famous
actresses who had played leads ln Benavente`s plays,
such as Membrlves, Xlrgu, and Catallna B•rcena, went
to South Amerlca as exlles after the Spanlsh Clvll War
ln the late l930s. Benavente, however, chose to stay ln
Spaln.
In l917 Benavente resumed hls contrlbutlons to
Madrld`s conservatlve newspaper ^_`K In one of hls
flrst artlcles ln thls stage of hls journallstlc career, 'Al
dlctado" (Jaklng Dlctatlon), he defended Marshal
Phllllpe Pétaln, the dlsgraced Irench mllltary leader
who had been lmprlsoned for treason ln l915 for
cooperatlng wlth the Vlchy government durlng
World War II. Jhe artlcle had a conslderable lmpact
ln Spaln, then ruled by General Iranclsco Iranco. In
l918 Benavente won the coveted Marlano de Cavla
Prlze ln journallsm for 'Al dlctado." Both the artlcle
and the award may have been polltlcally motlvated,
conslderlng that by the end of the Spanlsh Clvll War,
Benavente had moved from hls defense of the loyallst
cause ln favor of the Spanlsh Republlc to an apology
for Iranco`s government, a former ally of the Axls
powers.
Benavente`s attempts to lngratlate hlmself wlth
the Iranco reglme were nevertheless deemed lnslncere.
Because of hls reputatlon as a llberal and hls lnltlal
endorsement of the Spanlsh Republlc, he was black
llsted by Iranco`s government ln the l910s. Hls name
could not appear ln the Spanlsh press, whlch was con
trolled by rlgld government censors. Instead, he had to
be referred to ln theatrlcal revlews as 'the author of i~
ã~äèìÉêáÇ~K" Even the ads and the playbllls for hls plays
could not use hls name.
Desplte the problems wlth censorshlp, Bena
vente`s plays were not banned, and the Spanlsh publlc
contlnued to hold hlm ln hlgh esteem. When he dled
ln Madrld on l1 |uly l951, at age elghtyseven, he
was stlll actlve on the Spanlsh stage. Jwo of hls new
plays were produced that year, and another one pre
mlered posthumously ln the same year. Jen years ear
ller, ln l911, trlbutes to Benavente had taken place ln
Spanlsh cltles to commemorate the flftleth annlversary
of the premlere of bä åáÇç ~àÉåçI and there were reruns
of hls most famous plays. Many lntellectuals, however,
had dlstanced themselves from hlm because of hls
defense of the German cause durlng World War I ln
hls controverslal play i~ ÅáìÇ~Ç ~äÉÖêÉ ó ÅçåÑá~Ç~ ln l9l6.
Moreover, hls apology for Iranco`s reglme ln lesser
plays such as ^îÉë ó é•à~êçë (l910, Blrds and Iowl) or
^ÄìÉäç ó åáÉíç (l91l, Grandfather and Grandson) and
ln several newspaper artlcles dld llttle to reconclle hlm
wlth hls peers. Even after hls death, ldeologlcal blases
have often talnted the appreclatlon of |aclnto
Benavente`s contrlbutlons to Spanlsh theater for half a
century.
l21
g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ ai_ POV
_áçÖê~éÜóW
žngel L•zaro, sáÇ~ ó çÄê~ ÇÉ _Éå~îÉåíÉ (Madrld. A.
Aguado, l961).
oÉÑÉêÉåÅÉëW
Gerald G. Brown, eáëíçêá~ ÇÉ ä~ äáíÉê~íìê~ Éëé~¥çä~K bä ëáÖäç
uuI nlnth edltlon (Barcelona. Arlel, l98l), pp.
l76-l82;
Gérard Dufour, 'Note sur le personnage de Leandro
dans içë áåíÉêÉëÉë ÅêÉ~Ççë de |aclnto Benavente,"
`~ÜáÉê ÇÛbíìÇÉë oçã~åÉëI 7 (l982). 85-92;
Eduardo Gal•n, '|aclnto Benavente y el drama bur
gués," ln Gal•n and others, qÉ~íêç ó éÉåë~ãáÉåíç Éå
ä~ êÉÖÉåÉê~Åáµå ÇÉä VU (Madrld. Iundaclón Pro
RESAD, l998), pp. l19-206;
Llnda S. Glaze, 'Jhe Jradltlon of the Comedla de
Magla ln |aclnto Benavente`s Jheater for Chll
dren," eáëé~åá~I 76, no. 2 (l993). 2l3-223;
|avler Huerta Calvo and Emlllo Peral Vega, 'Benavente
y otros autores," ln eáëíçêá~ ÇÉä íÉ~íêç Éëé~¥çäK aÉä
ëáÖäç usfff ~ ä~ ¨éçÅ~ ~Åíì~äI volume 2, edlted by
Iernando Doménech Rlco and Peral Vega
(Madrld. Gredos, 2003), pp. 2272-23l0;
Ana Marlscal, `áåÅìÉåí~ ~¥çë ÇÉ íÉ~íêç Éå j~ÇêáÇ (Madrld.
El Avaplés, l981);
Carmen Menéndez Onrubla, 'Doña Mar∞a la Brava,"
ln ^ìíçê~ë ó ~ÅíêáÅÉë Éå ä~ Üáëíçêá~ ÇÉä íÉ~íêç Éëé~¥çäI
edlted by Luclano Garc∞a Lorenzo (Murcla. Lnl
versldad de Murcla, 2000), pp. l55-l77;
César Ollva, qÉ~íêç Éëé~¥çä ÇÉä ëáÖäç uu (Madrld. S∞ntesls,
2001), pp. 33-37;
Marcellno C. Peñuelas, g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ (New York.
Jwayne, l968);
Iranclsco Rulz Ramón, eáëíçêá~ ÇÉä íÉ~íêç Éëé~¥çä ëáÖäç uuI
fourth edltlon (Madrld. C•tedra, l980), pp. 2l-
38.

NVOO kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ
mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ
Äó mÉê e~ääëíê∏ãI `Ü~áêã~å çÑ íÜÉ kçÄÉä `çããáííÉÉ çÑ íÜÉ
pïÉÇáëÜ ^Å~ÇÉãóI NM aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVOO
|aclnto Benavente has devoted hls lmaglnatlve
glfts malnly to the theatre, and lt seems as lf he has sys
tematlcally gulded the course of hls development ln thls
dlrectlon through many varletles of experlence. But
wlth thls lmaglnatlve artlst, system seems to be a free
and dlrect expresslon of hls whole belng. It appears that
no one could have reached hls goal wlth less effort and
broodlng ln comparlson wlth the value of the achleve
ment.
Jhe feellng whlch has carrled hlm on has also
been of an unusually complete and harmonlous nature.
lt ls not only the dramatlc art and the atmosphere of the
theatre that he has loved; he has cherlshed an equally
warm affectlon for llfe outslde, for the world of realltles
whlch lt was hls task to brlng to the stage. It ls not a
matter of mere uncrltlcal and superflclal worshlp of llfe.
He has observed hls world wlth extremely clear and
keen eyes, and what he has seen he has measured and
welghed wlth an alert and flexlble lntelllgence. He has
not allowed hlmself to be duped elther by men or by
ldeas, not even by hls own ldeas or hls own pathos.
Nevertheless, he does not strlke one as belng ln the
least bltter, or even blasé.
Hls wrltlng has thus obtalned lts most dlstlnctlve
quallty÷grace. Jhls ls such a rare value, especlally ln
our own tlmes, that there ls llttle demand for lt on the
market and lt ls not recognlzed by most people. Grace,
however, ls as preclous as lt ls uncommon. It ls the
token of the balance of powers, of the selfdlsclpllne and
assurance of art, especlally when lt ls not an end ln ltself
and a mere frlvollty, but when, wlthout apparent effort,
lt stamps lts mark on the entlre formglvlng process. It
does not, then, merely play on the surface, affectlng the
style; lt also determlnes each proportlon ln the treat
ment of the subject and every llne ln lts deplctlon.
Jhls ls preclsely the case wlth Benavente. Jhe
effect he attalns may vary greatly ln strength, but lt ls
based on unfalllng tact and strlct loyalty to the subject.
He glves what the subject ls able to glve wlthout effort
and wlthout bombast. Jhe fare he provldes may be
more or less rlch and lnterestlng, but lt ls always
unadulterated. Jhls ls a classlc feature ln Benavente.
Nevertheless, hls bent ls above all reallstlc, lf we
ellmlnate from that label all the customary flavour of
soclal tendency, commonplace phllosophy, or gross
strlvlng for effect. Jo reproduce the wealth and moblllty
of llfe, the play of characters, and the struggle between
wllls, ln a way that comes as near truth as posslble÷that
ls hls chlef alm. When he alms at somethlng beyond
thls÷to stlmulate thought, to solve problems, to demol
lsh prejudlces, to enlarge human sympathy÷he does so
wlth the most scrupulous care not to tamper wlth the
objectlve accuracy of the llterary descrlptlon. He exer
clses thls unusual dlsclpllne even when he ls faced wlth
the strongest temptatlon for a dramatlst÷dramatlc and
scenlc effect. However easlly a scene could be made
more telllng by lncreaslng the tenslon of the confllct and
plot, by puttlng on more flarlng colours, by flogglng up
the emotlons to thelr hlghest pltch, Benavente never
does thls at the expense of truth. he permlts no blurrlng
of the tone. He ls a rare example of a born dramatlst,
one whose lmaglnatlon, by ltself, creates ln accordance
l25
ai_ POV g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ
wlth the laws of the stage, but yet avolds anythlng theat
rlcal as fully as all other false conventlons.
Hls actlvlty lles especlally ln comedy, but that
term ln Spanlsh ls more lncluslve than wlth us; lt com
prlses what we may ln general call mlddleclass plays
wlthout traglc concluslons. If there ls such a concluslon,
the pleces are called dramas, and Benavente has also
wrltten such plays, lncludlng the remarkable and mov
lng play, i~ ã~äèìÉêáÇ~ (l9l3) |Jhe Wrongly Loved|. He
has also composed many romantlc and fantastlc pleces,
among whlch are exqulslte achlevements of poetlc art,
especlally on a small scale.
But hls central slgnlflcance lles ln hls comedles,
whlch, as we have seen, may well be as serlous as they
are gay; and ln the short forms of comedy, whlch ln
Spanlsh llterature have been developed lnto speclal spe
cles wlth old and glorlous tradltlons. In the latter
Benavente ls an enchantlng master because of hls unla
boured wlt and comlc verve, hls radlant good nature,
and hls grace, whlch comblnes all these qualltles. I have
tlme for only a few names. aÉ éÉèìÉ¥~ë Å~ìë~ë (l908)
|Ior Small Reasons|; bä ~ãçê ~ëìëí~ (l907) |Love Irlght
ens|; kç Ñìã~ÇçêÉë (l901) |Smoklng Prohlblted|. But
there are many others, an entlre treasury of merry jest,
where the battle ls waged so llghtly and so elegantly
that lt ls always goodtempered, however sharp the
weapon ltself may be.
In the larger works we encounter an amazlng
range of spheres of llfe and subject matter. Jhey are
taken from peasant llfe, from all clrcles of soclety ln the
town, from the artlst`s world down to the travelllng clr
cus people whom the poet embraces wlth a strong
human sympathy and whom he values more hlghly
than many other classes.
But lt ls malnly the llfe of the upper classes that he
has treated ln lts two characterlstlc centres, Madrld and
Moraleda, the latter a place not found on the map, but
whlch ln lts sunny and allurlng varlety comprlses the
typlcal features of a provlnclal town ln Castlle. In i~
Ñ~ê•åÇìä~ (l897) |Jhe Company of Comedlans| the
ambltlous polltlclan goes to thls town ln order to rally
and to galn the support of the uncorrupted energles of
the people for a somewhat vaguely deflned ldeal; ln the
play i~ ÖçÄÉêå~Ççê~ (l90l) |Jhe Governor`s Wlfe|, con
celted ambltlon dreams of a larger stage for lts greater
talents. Moraleda ls really a planetary world, whlch ls
attracted and lllumlnated by Madrld and does not
reveal the full force of lts comedy except ln comparlson
wlth Madrld.
Jhe capltal and lts splrltual content are made
understandable much more fully through personal
vlclssltudes of fortune whlch are determlned, as are lts
fashlons and lts culture, by the strata of lts soclety. We
see a dlstlnct development ln the art of Benavente. He
beglns by stresslng the descrlptlon of envlronment, wlth
an abundant wealth of colour and llfe and features that
reveal character. Jhe dramatlc element proper÷
unsought, llke all the rest of the apparatus÷exlsts for
the most part merely to keep the actlon golng. Its func
tlon ls to arrange the whlrl of llfe ln a plcture, composed
ln groups, wlth strong lndlvldual scenes. He has taken
palns to create a falthful and artlstlc mlrror of reallty,
whlch ls then left to speak for ltself.
Later hls composltlon becomes more rlgld.
Although lt ls arranged flrmly around a stronger,
deeper, and more splrltual dramatlc confllct, lt ls, never
theless, almost as slmple as when Benavente was merely
wrltlng eplsodes descrlblng soclety. Jhere ls nothlng
artlflclal, nothlng abstract and lsolated, ln the human
fates whlch are represented. As before, they are stlll
connected wlth the world around them, but the llght ls
strlctly llmlted, reveallng only what ls central from a
dramatlc polnt of vlew. Jhe sharp characterlzatlon ls
carrled just far enough to make the actlon clear; the
psychology ls merely a means, not an end. Nothlng ls
laborlously prepared beforehand; nothlng strlkes one
really as belng prepared at all. every feature ln the
actlon comes, as lt were, wlth the lmprovlsatlon of llfe
and may take one by surprlse untll one has reflected for
a moment, just as happens ln llfe ltself. Jhe technlque,
too, ls purely reallstlc and has not searched for models
ln anclent tragedy. Summlng up the past ls not the maln
functlon of thls klnd of drama, nor ls the dlalogue a
klnd of crossexamlnatlon to dlscover the past. Jhe
requlred dlscoverles are made by llfe ltself by means of
the unforced course of the actlon.
Broadly speaklng, Benavente does not seek to
harrow the spectator; hls object ls a solutlon of confllcts
that ls harmonlous even ln melancholy and sorrow.
Jhls harmony ls usually galned by reslgnatlon, not
weary or aloof or pathetlc, and wlthout great gestures.
Jhe characters suffer, tear at thelr bonds, are attracted
by fortune (the way to whlch ls to pass over others` for
tune), wrestle ln confllcts, measure thelr world and
themselves, and galn a clearer and wlder vlslon through
thelr constralnt. Jhat whlch has the last word ls not
passlon, ln fact not the ego at all, but the splrltual value
that proves so great that, were lt lost, the ego would be
poor and fortune empty. Jhe declslon ls made wlthout
capltulatlon, merely through the fact that the personal
lty ls face to face wlth the consequences of lts cholce of
fate and chooses freely, on the basls of lnstlnctlve feel
lng rather than ln accordance wlth theorles.
I have tlme for only one or two tltles of hls
strange, slmple, and qulet dramas. ^äã~ íêáìåÑ~åíÉ (l902)
|Conquerlng Soul|, i~ éêçéá~ Éëíáã~Åáµå (l9l5) |Self
Respect|, and `~ãéç ÇÉ ~êãá¥ç (l9l6) |Jhe Whlte
Scutcheon|. Jhere are many others of equal value
l26
g~Åáåíç _Éå~îÉåíÉ ai_ POV
whlch are more or less llke these. Jhe dlstlnctlve mark
of them all ls a pecullarly pure humanlty, whlch at flrst
glance ls surprlslng ln the keen and flashlng satlrlst,
whlle the moderatlon and the freedom from all sentl
mentallty ln the mode of expresslon are ln complete
accordance wlth hls schoollng. As a matter of fact hls
qualltles go well together. as hls grace of form ls a clas
slc feature, so are hls feellng and hls lnslght classlc,
strlctly schooled, well balanced, farslghted, and clear.
Hls slmpllclty of expresslon and hushed tone come
from the same source.
Nevertheless, Jeutonlc readers are often remlnded,
even when lt comes to an art as good as thls, that lt has
sprung from a natlonal temperament other than ours
and from other poetlc tradltlons. Jhe klnd of lyrlc we
deslre, at least ln the atmosphere of the world of drama,
ls on the whole probably unknown to the Romance
natlons. Halfllght, both ln nature and ln the human
soul, ls lacklng ln them. all that human belngs contaln ls
expressed, or lt seems that lt cov be expressed. Jhelr
thoughts may have brllllance, rapldlty, and, of course,
clarlty; but they strlke us as lacklng ln power, as belong
lng to a somewhat more vacant atmosphere, and as
havlng less llfe ln thelr lnner belng. What southerners
say of our art may reveal equally great defects; but we
must mutually accustom ourselves to admlre what we
understand and to leave outslde our aesthetlc judg
ments thlngs whlch, for the reasons mentloned, fall to
satlsfy us.
In the works ln whlch the Spanlard Benavente has
abandoned hls comedy descrlptlve of soclety and lndl
vlduals, and lnstead has ranged over larger complexes
of ldeas and has sought to lnterpret all the unrest and
yearnlng of our tlmes, we cannot follow hlm wlth the
admlratlon that has been bestowed upon hlm by hls
countrymen. Jhls ls true of Il collor dc cstrcllos (l9l5)
|Jhe Belt of Stars| and several other pleces.
I have not dwelt on the llmltatlons of hls art, but
sought to lndlcate the central qualltles of hls craftsman
shlp ln hls country and ln hls tlme. I belleve that
scarcely any other contemporary dramatlst has any
where captured the llfe about hlm ln such a manyslded
and falthful manner and glven lt a form so lmmedlate
and, through lts slmple and noble art, so durable. Jhe
tradltlons of Spanlsh poetry comprlse a strong, bold,
and sound reallsm, a prollflc power of growth, and an
lnlmltable charm ln the comlc splrlt whlch ls merry and
bullt on realltles, not on conversatlonal wlt. Benavente
has shown that he belongs to thls school and, ln a form
pecullar to hlmself, has worked out a modern comedy
of character contalnlng much of the classlc splrlt. He
has proved hlmself to be a worthy adherent of an
anclent and elevated style of poetry; and that ls to say a
great deal.
|¹ Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l922.|

_Éå~îÉåíÉW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ
Ivtroductory rcmorls by Irofcssor H. C. S∏dcrboum ot tlc
`obcl ßovquct ot Crovd H∑tcl, Stocllolm, 10 Dcccmbcr 1922:
Jhe art of poetry has thls year donned the gleam
lng attlre of drama and greets us from the farreachlng
lands where the noble speech of Castlle, the mother
tongue of Lope de Vega and Calderón, forms the
means of communlcatlng thought for a conslderable
part of the populatlon of our globe.
It has been sald that 'the buslness of the drama
tlst ls to keep hlmself out of slght and to let nothlng
appear but hls characters." We regret that clrcum
stances have compelled the Prlze wlnner ln Llterature to
follow thls rule so llterally that on thls occaslon also he
has kept out of slght; but we hope that the near future
wlll glve us the opportunlty of formlng a closer acqualn
tance wlth hlm and also wlth hls work.
Zs ßcvovcvtc wos uvoblc to bc prcscvt, tlc spcccl wos givcv by
Couvt dc Toroto, Spovisl Zmbossodor (Trovslotiov from tlc
Spovisl):
It ls dlfflcult to express the deep satlsfactlon I feel
today. It would take Benavente`s talent to come up to
the level of my task and that of my audlence. Also, I
doubly regret the absence of the great author, for my
sake as well as yours. Jhe honour you have so rlght
fully bestowed on |aclnto Benavente you have also
bestowed on Spaln and all those countrles ln whlch our
language ls spoken, some of whose representatlves I am
happy to see among us. I hope that thls Prlze wlll con
trlbute to a strengthenlng of the tles whlch unlte us, to a
mutual understandlng between our countrles, to reln
forclng the cordlallty of our frlendshlp. Ilnally, permlt
me to express all the admlratlon and affectlon I feel for
your country.
| ¹ Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l922.|
l27
eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå
(1S Uctobcr 1Sá9 - 4 ¸ovuory 1941)
mÜáäáé _K aÉã~ííÉáë
Soivt Ico Uvivcrsity
BOOKS. Io spcciolitc (Angers. Lach≠se × Dolbeau,
l882);
Ixtroits dc Iucr≠cc, ovcc uv commcvtoirc, dcs votcs ct uvc ctudic
sur lo pocsic, lo plilosoplic, lo plysiquc, lc tcxtc ct lo
lovguc dc Iucr≠cc (Parls. Delagrave, l881); edlted
and translated by Wade Baskln as Tlc Ililosoply of
Ioctry: Tlc Ccvius of Iucrctius (New York. Phllo
sophlcal Llbrary, l959);
Issoi sur lcs dovvccs immcdiotcs dc lo covscicvcc (Parls. Alcan,
l889); translated by I. L. Pogson as Timc ovd Ircc
!ill: Zv Issoy ov tlc Immcdiotc Doto of Covsciousvcss
(London. Sonnenscheln / New York. Macmlllan,
l9l0);
Ic bov scvs ct lcs ctudcs clossiqucs: Discours provovcc o lo distri-
butiov dcs prix du Covcours gcvcrol lc J0 juillct 1S9á
(Parls. Delalaln, l895);
Moti≠rc ct mcmoirc: Issoi sur lo rclotiov du corps o l`csprit
(Parls. Alcan, l896); translated by Nancy Marga
ret Paul and W. Scott Palmer as Mottcr ovd Mcmory
(London. Allen × Lnwln, l9ll; New York. Holt,
l9ll);
Ic rirc: Issoi sur lo sigvificotiov du comiquc (Parls. Alcan,
l90l); translated by Cloudesley Brereton and
Ired Rothwell as Iougltcr: Zv Issoy ov tlc Mcovivg
of tlc Comic (New York. Macmlllan, l9ll);
Ivtroductiov o lo mctoplysiquc, Cahlers de la qulnzalne,
fourth serles, no. l2 (Parls. Suresnes, l903);
translated by J. E. Hulme as Zv Ivtroductiov to
Mctoplysics (London. Macmlllan, l9l3; Indlanap
olls. BobbsMerrlll, l955);
`oticc sur lo vic ct lcs ocuvrcs dc M. Iclix Iovoissov-Mollicv
(Parls. IlrmlnDldot, l901);
I`cvolutiov crcotricc (Parls. Alcan, l907); translated by
Arthur Mltchell as Crcotivc Ivolutiov (London ×
New York. Macmlllan, l9ll);
Io Icrccptiov du clovgcmcvt: Covfcrcvccs foitcs o l`Uvivcrsitc
d`Uxford lcs 26 ct 27 moi 1911 (Oxford. Clarendon
Press, l9ll);
Drcoms, translated by Edwln E. Slosson (New York.
Huebsch, l9l1);
Io plilosoplic (Parls. Larousse, l9l5);
Io sigvificotiov dc lo gucrrc, 'Pages actuelles," l9l1-l9l5,
no. l8 (Parls. Bloud × Gay, l9l5); translated as
Tlc Mcovivg of tlc !or: Iifc c Mottcr iv Covflict
(London. Lnwln, l9l5);
I`cvcrgic spiritucllc: Issois ct covfcrcvccs (Parls. Alcan, l9l9);
translated by H. Wlldon Carr as Mivd-Ivcrgy: Icc-
turcs ovd Issoys (New York. Holt, l920; London.
Macmlllan, l920);
eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçåI ÅáêÅ~ NVOM E éÜçíçÖê~éÜ
Äó eìäíçå ^êÅÜáîÉLdÉííó fã~ÖÉëF
l28
eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå ai_ POV
Durcc ct simultovcitc o propos dc lo tlcoric d`Iivstciv (Parls.
Alcan, l922; enlarged, l923); translated by Leon
|acobson as Durotiov ovd Simultovcity, witl Icfcrcvcc
to Iivstciv`s Tlcory (Indlanapolls. BobbsMerrlll,
l965);
I`ivtuitiov plilosopliquc: Commuvicotiov foitc, ou Covgr≠s
plilosopliquc dc ßologvc lc x ovril M. CM. XI. (Parls.
Helleu × Sergent, l927);
Ics dcux sourccs dc lo morolc ct dc lo rcligiov (Parls. Alcan,
l932); translated by Brereton, R. Ashley Audra,
and W. Horsfall Carter as Tlc Two Sourccs of Morol-
ity ovd Icligiov (New York. Holt, l935; London.
Macmlllan, l935);
Io pcvscc ct lc mouvovt: Issois ct covfcrcvccs (Parls. Alcan,
l931)÷comprlses 'Crolssance de la vérlté. Mou
vement rétrograde du vral," 'De la posltlon des
probl≠mes," 'Le posslble et le réel," 'L`lntultlon
phllosophlque," 'La perceptlon du changement,"
'Introductlon a la métaphyslque," 'La phlloso
phle de Claude Bernard," 'Sur le pragmatlsme de
Wllllam |ames. Vérlté et réallté," and 'La vle et
l`oeuvre de Ravalsson"; translated by Mabelle L.
Andlson as Tlc Crcotivc Mivd (New York. Phllo
sophlcal Llbrary, l916)÷comprlses 'Growth of
Jruth. Retrograde Movement of the Jrue," 'Stat
lng the Problems," 'Jhe Posslble and the Real,"
'Phllosophlcal Intultlon," 'Jhe Perceptlon of
Change," 'Introductlon to Metaphyslcs," 'Jhe
Phllosophy of Claude Bernard," 'On the Pragma
tlsm of Wllllam |ames. Jruth and Reallty," and
'Jhe Llfe and Work of Ravalsson";
Mcmoirc ct vic: Tcxtcs cloisis, edlted by Gllles Deleuze
(Parls. Presses unlversltalres de Irance, l957);
Icrits ct porolcs: Tcxtcs, 3 volumes, edlted by RoseMarle
MosséBastlde (Parls. Presses unlversltalres de
Irance, l957-l959);
Ucuvrcs, Edltlon du Centenalre, edlted by André Robl
net (Parls. Presses unlversltalres de Irance, l959);
Io voturc dc l`omc: Suivi dc Ic probl≠mc dc lo pcrsovolitc,
edlted by André and Martlne Roblnet, Les Etudes
bergsonlennes, no. 7 (Parls. Presses unlversltalres
de Irance, l966);
Mclovgcs: I`idcc dc licu clc· Zristotc, Durcc ct simultovcitc, cor-
rcspovdovcc, pi≠ccs divcrscs, documcvts (Parls. Presses
unlversltalres de Irance, l972); translated by Mel
lssa McMahon, edlted by Kelth Ansell Pearson
and |ohn Mullarkey as Icy !ritivgs (New York ×
London. Contlnuum, 2002);
Cours I: Icçovs dc psyclologic ct dc mctoplysiquc (Parls.
Presses unlversltalres de Irance, l990);
Cours II: Icçovs d`cstlctiquc. Icçovs dc morolc, psyclologic ct
mctoplysiquc (Parls. Presses unlversltalres de
Irance, l992);
Cours III: Icçovs d`listoirc dc lo plilosoplic modcrvc, tlcorics
dc l`omc, edlted by Henrl Hude and |eanLouls
Dumas (Parls. Presses unlversltalres de Irance,
l995);
ßcrgsov profcsscur: Zu lyccc ßloisc Ioscol dc Clcrmovt-Icrrovd
(1SSJ-1SSS); cours 1SSá-1SS6; Issoi sur lo voturc
dc l`cvscigvcmcvt plilosopliquc ivitiol, edlted by |ean
Bardy (Parls. L`Harmattan, l998);
Cours dc ßcrgsov sur lo plilosoplic grccquc, edlted by Hude
and Irançolse Vlnel (Parls. Presses unlversltalres
de Irance, 2000).
bÇáíáçåë áå båÖäáëÜW Sclcctiovs from ßcrgsov, edlted by
Harold A. Larrabee (New York. Appleton
CenturyCrofts, l919);
Tlc !orld of Drcoms, translated by Wade Baskln (New
York. Phllosophlcal Llbrary, l958);
Durotiov ovd Simultovcity, edlted by Robln Durle
(Manchester, L.K.. Cllnamen Press, l999).
Between the publlcatlon of hls bestknown work,
I`cvolutiov crcotricc (translated as Crcotivc Ivolutiov, l9ll),
ln l907 and the outbreak of World War I ln l9l1, the
Irench phllosopher Henrl Bergson developed a vlrtu
ally cultllke lnternatlonal followlng among professlonal
phllosophers and laypersons allke. Hls colleague and
dlsclple Edouard Le Roy could wrlte wlth only sllght
exaggeratlon ln l9l3.
Jhere ls a thlnker whose name ls today on every
body`s llps, who ls deemed by acknowledged phlloso
phers worthy of comparlson wlth the greatest, and
who, wlth hls pen as well as hls braln, has overleapt all
technlcal obstacles, and won hlmself a readlng both
outslde and lnslde the schools. Beyond any doubt, and
by common consent, Mr. Henrl Bergson`s work wlll
appear to future eyes among the most characterlstlc,
fertlle, and glorlous of our era. It marks a nevertobe
forgotten date ln hlstory; lt opens up a phase of meta
physlcal thought; lt lays down a prlnclple of develop
ment the llmlts of whlch are lndetermlnable; and lt ls
after cool conslderatlon, wlth full consclousness of the
exact value of words, that we are able to pronounce the
revolutlon whlch lt effects equal ln lmportance to that
effected by Kant, or even by Socrates. Everybody,
lndeed, has become aware of thls more or less clearly.
Among hls contemporarles, Bergson lnfluenced not only
other phllosophers but also flgures ln llterature, art, and
muslc. Hls vltallstlc, nonmechanlstlc concept of evolutlon
appealed to many educated people who felt compelled to
accept the sclentlflc underplnnlngs of Darwlnlsm but
wanted to belleve ln a more exalted conceptlon of human
lty than descent from apellke ancestors seemed to lmply.
Hls emphasls on lntultlon rather than lntellect as provld
lng an lnslght lnto ultlmate reallty seemed to many a wel
come antldote to sclentlflc ratlonallsm. Iurthermore,
l29
ai_ POV eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå
Bergson`s ldeas were presented ln an elegant and lucld
style, rlch ln metaphor, lmage, and analogy, that won hlm
the Nobel Prlze ln Llterature ln l927. But hls lnfluence
decllned preclpltously wlthln a few years after hls death ln
l91l, and he left no 'Bergsonlan" school or movement.
As Leszek Kolakowskl notes, 'Bergson has survlved only
as a dead classlc. Even ln Irance lnterest ln hls work ls
only resldual. Jo be sure, sometlmes, somewhere, some
one wrltes a doctoral thesls on 'Bergsonlsm,` yet lt may
falrly be sald that today`s phllosophers, both ln thelr
research and ln thelr teachlng, are almost entlrely lndlffer
ent to hls legacy."
Bergson developed hls phllosophy ln four major
books. Issoi sur lcs dovvccs immcdiotcs dc lo covscicvcc (l889;
translated as Timc ovd Ircc !ill: Zv Issoy ov tlc Immcdiotc
Doto of Covsciousvcss, l9l0), Moti≠rc ct mcmoirc: Issoi sur lo
rclotiov du corps o l`csprit (l896; translated as Mottcr ovd
Mcmory, l9ll), I`cvolutiov crcotricc, and Ics dcux sourccs dc lo
morolc ct dc lo rcligiov (l932; translated as Tlc Two Sourccs of
Morolity ovd Icligiov, l935). Although he dellberately
eschewed the constructlon of a comprehenslve phllosoph
lcal system, hls ldeas are conslstent throughout as each
successlve work bullds on the precedlng ones by applylng
to new toplcs hls fundamental dlstlnctlon between the fac
ultles of lntultlon and lntelllgence.
HenrlLouls Bergson was born ln Parls on l8 Octo
ber l859÷as many commentators have noted, the year ln
whlch Charles Darwln publlshed Uv tlc Ivolutiov of Spccics
by Mcovs of `oturol Sclcctiov. He was the second of the seven
chlldren÷four boys and three glrls÷of |ewlsh parents,
Mlchel and Catherlne Levlson Bergson. Mlchel Bergson,
a planlst and composer, was the son of a Pollsh trader
named Berek Zbltkower; hls adopted surname derlves
from ßcrcl-sov (the son of Berek). Catherlne Bergson was
from Doncaster ln northern England; Henrl Bergson
learned Engllsh from her as a chlld and was later able to
supervlse the translatlons of hls books. Jhe famlly llved
at l8 rue Lamartlne, near the Opéra. In l863 they moved
to Swltzerland when Mlchel Bergson took a posltlon as a
professor at the Geneva Conservatory; there they llved
on the boulevard de Phllosophes. Jhey returned to Parls
ln l866 and settled at l51 boulevard Magenta.
In l868 Bergson enrolled at the Lycée Impérlal
Bonaparte (now the Lycée Condorcet) and boarded at the
|ewlsh Sprlnger Instltutlon at 31 rue de La Jour
d`Auvergne. In l870 the rest of the famlly moved to Lon
don, where Bergson vlslted them durlng vacatlons from
school. One of hls brothers became a banker, another a
buslnessman, and the thlrd an actor; thelr slster Mlna
marrled the maglclan and occultlst Samuel Llddell
MacGregor Mathers, cofounder of the Hermetlc Order of
the Golden Dawn, and changed her name to Molna.
Mlchel Bergson dled ln l898; Catherlne Bergson dled ln
Iolkestone, England, at age nlnetyelght.
In l875 Bergson won the flrst prlze ln rhetorlc ln
the prestlglous Concours Général, a natlonal competltlon
for the best students ln each fleld taught ln Irench col
leges; ln l876 he won the flrst prlze ln phllosophy; and ln
l877 he won the prlze ln mathematlcs for hls solutlon to
the problem of the three clrcles, posed by the seventeenth
century Irench phllosopher and mathematlclan Blalse
Pascal. Hls solutlon appeared the followlng year ln the
Zvvolcs dc motlcmotiqucs÷hls flrst publlshed work, lt has
been collected ln Icrits ct porolcs: Tcxtcs (l957-l959, Wrlt
lngs and Speeches. Jexts) and ln Mclovgcs: I`idcc dc licu clc·
Zristotc, Durcc ct simultovcitc, corrcspovdovcc, pi≠ccs divcrscs, doc-
umcvts (l972, Mélanges. Arlstotle`s Concept of Place,
Duratlon and Slmultanelty, Correspondence, Dlverse
Pleces, Documents; translated as Icy !ritivgs, 2002).
When he declded to enroll ln the letters and humanltles
sectlon of the Ecole Normale Supérleure, the lnstltutlon at
whlch unlverslty teachers were tralned, hls mathematlcs
teacher complalned to hls parents that thelr son could
have been a mathematlclan but would lnstead be a mere
phllosopher.
Bergson entered the Ecole Normale Supérleure ln
l878, along wlth the future soclallst polltlclan |ean |aur≠s
and the future soclologlst Emlle Durkhelm. He studled
under the splrltuallst phllosophers Iéllx Ravalsson and
|ules Lacheller and dlscovered the wrltlngs of the Engllsh
phllosopher of evolutlon, Herbert Spencer. He scored sec
ond hlghest ln the ogrcgotiov dc plilosoplic, a natlonal com
petltlve examlnatlon requlred of prospectlve teachers, ln
l88l and took a teachlng posltlon at the lyccc ln Angers.
Jwo years later he moved to ClermontIerrand, where he
taught both at the Lycée BlalsePascal and at the unlver
slty. In l881 he publlshed a volume of selectlons from the
Roman Eplcurean phllosopher Lucretlus`s poem Dc rcrum
voturo (On the Nature of Jhlngs), wlth a crltlcal study of
the texts, that went through several edltlons.
Bergson submltted Issoi sur lcs dovvccs immcdiotcs dc lo
covscicvcc, along wlth the requlred Latln thesls, '_uld Arls
toteles de loco senserlt" (Arlstotle`s Conceptlon of Place),
for the degree of docteur≠slettres from the Lnlverslty of
Parls ln l889; the essay was publlshed that same year by
Iéllx Alcan ln Parls ln the serles La blblloth≠que de phl
losophle contemporalne (Jhe Llbrary of Contemporary
Phllosophy). Bergson argues that the tradltlonal phllo
sophlcal lssue of the confllct of free wlll and determlnlsm
ls a pseudoproblem that has arlsen from mlsapprehendlng
subjectlve experlence as a successlon of statlc mental
states that follow one another as events ln the external
world do; accordlngly, mental 'states" are vlewed ln
causeandeffect terms just as external events are, and later
states are taken to be determlned by earller ones. Jhls
mlstake arlses from vlewlng the mlnd through the faculty
of the lntelllgence or lntellect, whlch evolved to deal wlth
and control external objects ln space. Jhe mlnd, however,
l30
eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå ai_ POV
ls not spatlal, and mental states do not exlst. One`s lnner
experlence should lnstead be apprehended by means of
lntultlon; ln thls case lt wlll be seen correctly as ä~ Çìê¨É
(duratlon), llved tlme as opposed to the tlme measured
externally by clocks÷a contlnuous, lrreverslble, unrepeat
able flow. In duratlon there ls no juxtaposltlon of events;
therefore, there ls no causatlon of one event by another.
Jhe deeper self thus reached ls the seat of free wlll; ln
duratlon freedom ls experlenced dlrectly.
Il y auralt donc enfln deux mol dlfférents, dont l`un
seralt comme la projectlon extérleure de l`autre, sa
représentatlon spatlale et pour alnsl dlre soclale. Nous
attelgnons le premler par une réflexlon approfonle, qul
nous falt salslr nos états lnternees comme des êtres
vlvants, sans cesse en vole de formatlon, comme des
états réfractalres a la mesure, qul se pén≠trent les uns
les autres, et dont la successlon dans la durée n`a rlen
de commun avec une juxtaposltlon dans l`espace
homog≠ne. Mals les moments ou nous ressalslssons
alnsl nousmêmes sont rares, et c`est pourquol nous
sommes rarement llbres. La plupart du temps, nous
vlvons extérleurement a nousmêmes, nous n`aper
cevons de notre mol que son fant∑me décoloré, ombre
que la pure durée projette dans l`espace homog≠ne.
Notre exlstence se déroule donc dans l`espace plut∑t
que nous ne pensons; nous 'sommes agls" plut∑t que
dans le temps. nous vlvons pour le monde extérleur
plut∑t que pour nous; nous parlons plut∑t que nous
n`aglssons nousmêmes. Aglr llbrement, c`est reprendre
possesslon do sol, c`est se replacer dans la pure durée.
(Hence there are flnally two dlfferent selves, one of
whlch ls, as lt were, the external projectlon of the other,
lts spatlal and, so to speak, soclal representatlon. We
reach the former by deep lntrospectlon, whlch leads us
to grasp our lnner states as llvlng thlngs, constantly
ÄÉÅçãáåÖI as states not amenable to measure, whlch per
meate one another and of whlch the successlon ln dura
tlon has nothlng ln common wlth juxtaposltlon ln
homogeneous space. But the moments at whlch we
thus grasp ourselves are rare, and that ls just why we
are rarely free. Jhe greater part of the tlme we llve out
slde ourselves, hardly percelvlng anythlng of ourselves
but our own ghost, a colorless shadow whlch pure
duratlon projects lnto homogeneous space. Hence our
llfe unfolds ln space rather than ln tlme; we llve for the
external world rather than for ourselves; we speak
rather than thlnk; we 'are acted" rather than act our
selves. Jo act freely ls to recover possesslon of oneself,
and to get back lnto pure duratlon |translated by F. L.
Pogson.)
bëë~á ëìê äÉë Ççåå¨Éë áãã¨Çá~íÉë ÇÉ ä~ ÅçåëÅáÉåÅÉ was wldely
revlewed ln phllosophy journals. Some revlewers sug
gested that the baslc ldeas came from the Amerlcan Prag
matlst phllosopher Wllllam |ames`s artlcle 'On Some
Omlsslons of Introspectlve Psychology" (l881), whlch
deplcts thought as a stream of consclousness that the lntel
lect dlstorts by dlvldlng lt lnto concepts. Bergson, how
ever, denled havlng read or heard of |ames`s artlcle when
he wrote bëë~á ëìê äÉë Ççåå¨Éë áãã¨Çá~íÉë ÇÉ ä~ ÅçåëÅáÉåÅÉK
In l889 Bergson began teachlng at the coll≠ge
Rollln ln Parls; he moved to the Lycée Henrl V. the fol
lowlng year. In l89l he marrled Loulse Neuberger, a
cousln of Marcel Proust; the future author served as best
man at the weddlng. Jhe Bergsons` only chlld, |eanne,
was born the followlng year. Deaf from blrth, she went on
to study under the expresslonlst palnter and sculptor
Emlle Antolne Bourdelle.
In l896, after spendlng flve years ln a detalled
study of recent research lnto pathologlcal mental condl
tlons÷especlally aphasla, the loss of the ablllty to use lan
guage÷Bergson publlshed j~íá≠êÉ Éí ã¨ãçáêÉI whlch ls
generally regarded as the most dlfflcult of hls works. In
thls volume he deals wlth another venerable phllosophlcal
lssue. the relatlonshlp of mlnd and body, or, more speclfl
cally, of mlnd and the braln.
D`une manl≠re générale, l`état psychologlque nous
paralt, dans la plupart des cas, déborder énormément
l`état cérébral. |e veux dlre que l`état cérébral n`en dess
lne qu`une petlte partle, celle qul est capable de se tra
dulre par des mouvements de locomotlon. . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Le cerveau ne dolt donc pas être autre chose, a notre
avls, qu`une esp≠ce de bureau téléphonlque central. son
r∑le est de 'donner la communlcatlon," ou de la falre
attendre. Il n`ajoute rlen a ce qu`ll reçolt. . . .
(Speaklng generally, the psychlcal state seems to us to
be, ln most cases, lmmensely wlder than the cerebral
state. I mean that the braln state lndlcates only a very
small part of the mental state, the part whlch ls capable
of translatlng ltself lnto movements of locomotlon. . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
In our oplnlon, then, the braln ls no more than a klnd
of central telephonlc exchange. lts offlce ls to allow
communlcatlon, or to delay lt. It adds nothlng to what
lt recelves. . . . |translated by Nancy Margaret Paul and
W. Scott Palmer|)
Matter, accordlng to Bergson, ls just what lt appears to
be ln perceptlon and nothlng else; there ls no Kantlan
'thlnglnltself " that lles beyond the lmages one per
celves. Jherefore, matter has no occult or unknown
powers; and the braln ls materlal.
La vérlté est qu`ll y auralt un moyen, et un seul, de
réfuter le matérlallsme. ce seralt d`établlr que la matl≠re
est absolument comme elle paralt être. Par la on éllmln
eralt de la matl≠re tout vlrtuallté, toute pulssance
l3l
ai_ POV eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå
cachée, et les phénom≠nes de l`esprlt auralent une réal
lté lndépendante.
(Jhe truth ls that there ls one, and only one,
method of refutlng materlallsm. lt ls to show that mat
ter ls preclsely that whlch lt appears to be. Jhereby we
ellmlnate all vlrtuallty, all hldden power from matter,
and establlsh the phenomena of splrlt as an lndepen
dent reallty |translated by Paul and Palmer|.)
Jhe occurrence of aphasla shows that memorles are not
stored ln speclflc areas of the braln. a person wlth a leslon
ln the braln that causes aphasla understands what others
say, knows what he or she wants to say, and does not suf
fer from paralysls of the speech organs, yet ls unable to
speak; also, ln some forms of aphasla the parts of speech
are forgotten ln a semantlc order, beglnnlng wlth proper
names, proceedlng through common nouns, and endlng
wlth verbs, whlle ln other forms some letters of the alpha
bet are forgotten but others are not. Jhus, lt ls not mem
ory that has been lost but the bodlly mechanlsm that ls
needed to express lt.
Bergson dlstlngulshes two klnds of memory. One
klnd ls a set of acqulred bodlly hablts, dlsposltlons to
actlon such as walklng or recltlng a poem that one has
learned; these hablts can be put lnto effect wlthout con
sclous thought, and they can be affected by leslons ln the
braln. Jhe other ls pure memory, whlch records every
thlng that ever occurs durlng the course of one`s llfe ln
every detall. Perceptlon ls permeated by thls klnd of mem
ory; pure perceptlon, unaccompanled by memory, does
not exlst. Jhe braln fllters out the vast amount of pure
memory that ls not needed for consclous actlon ln the
present. Jhe mlnd ls, thus, lndependent of the braln and
uses the braln to carry out lts purposes.
In l898 Bergson became ã~≤íêÉ ÇÉ ÅçåѨêÉåÅÉëÔ
roughly equlvalent to a reader ln a Brltlsh unlverslty÷at
hls alma mater, the Ecole normale supérleure. Jhe follow
lng year he publlshed an artlcle ln the oÉîìÉ ÇÉ m~êáë that ls
a departure from hls metaphyslcal speculatlons but consls
tent wlth them; based on a lecture he had glven durlng hls
early years ln Auvergne, lt appeared ln book form ln l900
as iÉ êáêÉW bëë~á ëìê ä~ ëáÖåáÑáÅ~íáçå Çì ÅçãáèìÉ (translated as
i~ìÖÜíÉêW ^å bëë~ó çå íÜÉ jÉ~åáåÖ çÑ íÜÉ `çãáÅI l9ll). Berg
son says that humor results from the lncongrulty between
the essentlal freedom of the human splrlt and sltuatlons ln
whlch someone acts ln a mechanlstlc fashlon slmllar to a
marlonette or a jacklnthebox. clowns tumbllng ln the
clrcus, someone sllpplng on a banana peel, or a person
belng made the vlctlm of a practlcal joke that depends on
people belng creatures of hablt. He analyzes verbal
humor accordlng to the same prlnclples, saylng that lt
depends applylng to language, as lf to a llfeless thlng, the
mechanlcal processes of repetltlon, reversal, transposltlon,
and mutual lnterference. Each of these processes ls the
opposlte of a llvlng process. llfe ls contlnually changlng
and never repeats ltself or goes backward ln tlme; and a
llvlng belng ls a system of lnterdependent elements so
excluslvely made for one another that none of them could
belong to two dlfferent organlsms and so could not lnter
fere wlth elements ln another system. Humor ls dlslnter
ested. one cannot laugh lf one cares too deeply about the
butt of the joke. Jhe comlcal sltuatlon ls unlversal, where
the traglc one ls lndlvldual. thus, the tltles of comedles
tend to refer to character types, such as the mlser, the mls
anthrope, or the shrew, whereas tragedles tend to be
named for lndlvlduals, such as Oedlpus, Antlgone, Klng
Lear, or Hamlet. Laughter ls lntrlnslcally soclal. one
laughs as a member of a group, even lf the other mem
bers of the group are only present ln one`s lmaglnatlon.
Laughter corrects the unsoclal lndlvldual by punlshment
ln the form of humlllatlon. Llterary theorlsts lnfluenced
by Bergson`s book on laughter lnclude Arthur Koestler,
who wrote qÜÉ ^Åí çÑ `êÉ~íáçå (l961).
In l900 Bergson succeeded Charles Leveque as
professor of Greek and Latln phllosophy at the Coll≠ge
de Irance, the most prestlglous academlc lnstltutlon ln the
country. At the Ilrst Internatlonal Congress of Phlloso
phy, held ln Parls ln August l900, Bergson presented the
paper 'Sur les orlglnes psychologlques de notre croyance
a la lol de causallte" (On the Psychologlcal Orlglns of the
Bellef ln the Law of Causallty). In l90l he was elected to
the Academle des sclences morales et polltlques.
In |anuary l903 Bergson contrlbuted to the prestl
glous oÉîìÉ ÇÉ ãÉí~éÜóëáèìÉ Éí ÇÉ ãçê~äÉ the essay 'Introduc
tlon a la métaphyslque"; lt was publlshed ln book form
that same year (translated as ^å fåíêçÇìÅíáçå íç jÉí~éÜóëáÅëI
l9l3). Jhe method of lntultlve lntrospectlon÷the dlrect
apprehenslon of process lntroduced ln bëë~á ëìê äÉë Ççåå¨Éë
áãã¨Çá~íÉë ÇÉ ä~ ÅçåëÅáÉåÅÉÔls here applled to the cognltlon of
ultlmate reallty. lntultlon provldes truth about the world.
Jhe lntellect ls gulded by the needs of the organlsm; the
knowledge lt acqulres ls not dlslnterested but ls related to
those needs. It gathers knowledge through analysls, dlvld
lng objects lnto the perspectlves from whlch they are
vlewed and then reconstructlng them by syntheslzlng the
perspectlves. Jhls synthesls, whlle enabllng the organlsm
to satlsfy lts needs, never penetrates to the lnner belng of
the objects. Intultlon conslsts ln enterlng lnto the object
sympathetlcally, rather than looklng at lt from the outslde,
and provldes absolute knowledge.
les phllosophes s`accordent, en déplt de leurs dlver
gences apparentes, a dlstlnguer deux manl≠res pro
fondément dlfférentes de conna≤tre une chose. La
preml≠re lmpllque qu`on tourne autour de cette chose;
la seconde, qu`on entre en elle. La preml≠re dépend du
polnt de vue ou l`on se place et des symboles par
lesquels on s`exprlme. La seconde ne se prend d`aucun
polnt de vue et ne s`appule sur aucun symbole. De la
l32
eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå ai_ POV
preml≠re connalssance on dlra qu`elle s`arrête au êÉä~íáÑX
de la seconde, la ou elle est posslble, qu`elle attelnt
l`~ÄëçäìK
(phllosophers, ln splte of thelr apparent dlvergencles,
agree ln dlstlngulshlng two profoundly dlfferent ways
of knowlng a thlng. Jhe flrst lmplles that we move
round the object; the second that we enter lnto lt. Jhe
flrst depends on the polnt of vlew at whlch we are
placed and on the symbols by whlch we express our
selves. Jhe second nelther depends on a polnt of vlew
nor relles on any symbol. Jhe flrst klnd of knowledge
may be sald to stop at the êÉä~íáîÉX the second, ln those
cases where lt ls posslble, to attaln the ~ÄëçäìíÉ |trans
lated by J. E. Hulme|.)
In l901 Bergson succeeded Gabrlel Jarde ln the chalr of
modern phllosophy at the Coll≠ge de Irance. Jhree
years later he publlshed hls bestknown work, iÛ¨îçäìíáçå
ÅêÉ~íêáÅÉI ln whlch he lntroduces the concept of the ¨ä~å
îáí~ä (vltal lmpulse) as the motlve force ln evolutlon. Jhe
¨ä~å îáí~ä ls the llvlng, endurlng splrlt wlth whlch one
becomes acqualnted ln lntultlve lntrospectlon. Llfe began
ln the form of slmple unlcellular organlsms; lf survlval
were all that counted, lt could have remalned at that
level, slnce such organlsms stlll exlst and are, therefore,
adapted to thelr envlronments. But the ¨ä~å îáí~ä could
not rest at that level; lt wanted to break free of matter
entlrely, but thls goal was unachlevable. At flrst lts effort
took the form of lncrease ln slze, but matter ls elastlc
only to a llmlted degree; therefore, the ¨ä~å îáí~ä began to
dlvlde lnto varlous organs and organlsms and ultlmately
lnto mllllons of lndlvlduals pursulng dlvergent paths of
development, and lt has strlven ever upward lnto greater
and greater complexlty. Jhe slmllar development of a
complex organ such as the eye ln such wldely dlvergent
organlsms as mollusks and vertebrates shows that the
baslc lmpulse ls the same ln all of these organlsms. It also
shows the lnadequacy both of a mechanlstlc theory of
evolutlon, such as that advanced by Darwln, and of a
teleologlcal one that poslts some flnal goal that the evolu
tlonary process was deslgned to reach.
La machlne qu`est l`oell est donc composée d`une
lnflnlté de machlnes, toutes d`une complexlté extrême.
Pourtant la vlslon est un falr slmple. D≠s que l`oell
s`oeuvre, la vlslon s`op≠re. Préclsément parce que la
fonctlonnement est slmple, la plus lég≠re dlstractlon de
la nature dans la constructlon de la machlne lnflnlment
compllquée eût rendu la vlslon lmposslble. C`est ce
contraste entre la complexlté de l`organe et l`unlté de la
fonctlon qul déconcerte l`esprlt.
Lne théorle mécanlstlque sera celle qul nous fera
asslster a la constructlon graduelle de la machlne sous
l`lnfluence des clrconstances extérleures, lntervenant
dlrectement par une actlon sur les tlssus ou lndlrecte
ment par la sélectlon des mleux adaptés. Mals, quelque
forme que prenne cette th≠se, a supposer qu`elle vallle
quelque chose pour le détall des partles, elle ne jette
aucune luml≠re sur leur corrélatlon.
Survlent alors la doctrlne de la flnallté. Elle dlt que
les partles on été assemblées, sur un plan préconçu, en
vue d`un but. En quol elle asslmlle le travall de la
nature a celul de l`ouvrler qul proc≠de, lul aussl, par
assemblage de partles en vue de la réallsatlon d`une
ldée ou de l`lmltatlon d`un mod≠le. Le mécanlsme
reprochera donc avec ralson au flnallsme son caract≠re
anthropomorphlque. Mals ll ne s`aperçolt pas qu`ll
proc≠de lulmême selon cette méthode, en la tronquant
slmplement. Sans doute ll a fall table rase de la fln pour
sulvle ou du mod≠le ldéal. Mals ll veut, lul aussl, que la
nature alt travalllé comme l`ouvrler humaln, en assem
blant des partles. Ln slmple coup d`oell jeté sur le
développement d`un embryon lul eût pourtant montré
que la vle s`y prend tout autrement. bääÉ åÉ éêçÅ≠ÇÉ é~ë
é~ê ~ëëçÅá~íáçå Éí ~ÇÇáíáçå ÇÛ¨ä¨ãÉåíë ã~áë é~ê ÇáëëçÅá~íáçå Éí
ǨÇçìÄäÉãÉåíK
(Jhe mechanlsm of the eye ls . . . composed of an lnfln
lty of mechanlsms, all of extreme complexlty. Yet vlslon
ls one slmple fact. As soon as the eye opens, the vlsual
act ls effected. |ust because the act ls slmple, the sllght
est negllgence on the part of nature ln the bulldlng of
the lnflnltely complex machlne would have made
vlslon lmposslble. Jhls contrast between the complex
lty of the organ and the unlty of the functlon ls what
must glve us pause.
A mechanlstlc theory ls one whlch means to show
us the gradual bulldlng up of the machlne under the
lnfluence of external clrcumstances lntervenlng elther
dlrectly by actlon on the tlssue or lndlrectly by the
selectlon of betteradapted ones. But, whatever form
thls theory may take, supposlng lt avalls at all to
explaln the detall of the parts, lt throws no llght on thelr
correlatlon.
Jhen comes the doctrlne of flnallty, whlch says that
the parts have been brought together on a preconcelved
plan wlth a vlew to a certaln end. In thls lt llkens the
labor of nature to that of the workman, who also pro
ceeds by the assemblage of parts wlth a vlew to the real
lzatlon of an ldea or the lmltatlon of a model.
Mechanlsm, here, reproaches flnallsm wlth lts anthro
pomorphlc character, and rlghtly. But lt falls to see that
ltself proceeds accordlng to thls method÷somewhat
mutllated! Jrue, lt has got rld of the end pursued or the
ldeal model. But lt also holds that nature has worked
llke a human belng by brlnglng parts together, whlle a
mere glance at the development of an embryo shows
that llfe goes to work ln a very dlfferent way. iáÑÉ ÇçÉë
åçí éêçÅÉÉÇ Äó íÜÉ ~ëëçÅá~íáçå ~åÇ ~ÇÇáíáçå çÑ ÉäÉãÉåíëI Äìí Äó
ÇáëëçÅá~íáçå ~åÇ Çáîáëáçå |translated by Arthur Mltchell|.)
l33
ai_ POV eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå
Evolutlon, then, ls truly creatlve. It does not proceed by
the rearrangement of preexlstlng parts; nor does lt alm
for an end that ls already determlned. In one of hls best
known metaphors, Bergson compares the movement of
evolutlon to 'un obus qul a tout de sulte éclaté en frag
ments, lesquels, étant euxmêmes des esp≠ces d`obus,
ont éclaté a leur tour en fragments destlnés a éclater
encore, et alnsl de sulte pendent fort longtemps" (a
shell, whlch suddenly bursts lnto fragments, whlch frag
ments, belng themselves shells, burst ln thelr turn lnto
fragments destlned to burst agaln, and so on for a tlme
lncommensurably long). Jhe ¨ä~å îáí~ä has taken many
paths as lt cut lts way through matter ln lts quest for
freedom; lt has had to adapt ltself to lts lnorganlc envl
ronment, just as a road has to follow the ups and downs
of the hllls through whlch lt passes. Jhe path that has
led to the vegetable klngdom ls a retrogresslon to tor
por; the path that has led to the anlmal klngdom has
contlnued the quest for freedom. Wlthln the anlmal
world two successful hlghways have been formed. that
of the lnvertebrates and that of the vertebrates. On the
slde of consclousness or splrlt, these orders have oppo
slte and complementary means of actlng on the world.
In the lnvertebrates lt ls lnstlnct, the faculty of uslng
organlzed lnstruments÷that ls, lnstruments that form a
part of the body of the organlsm that ls uslng them,
such as claws and teeth. In the vertebrates lt ls lntelll
gence or lntellect, the faculty of manufacturlng and
uslng unorganlzed lnstruments÷that ls, tools. Instlnct
culmlnates ln the hymenoptera, the soclal lnsects such
as bees and ants; lntelllgence culmlnates ln the human
specles. Humanlty, accordlng to Bergson, should be
deslgnated not as eçãç ë~éáÉåë (man the wlse) but as
eçãç Ñ~ÄÉê (man the maker). Jhe lntellect has devel
oped as a means of survlval; lt thlnks ln a 'spatlallzlng"
manner that ls useful ln deallng wlth matter; lt dlvldes
up the flow of reallty, ln whlch everythlng lnterpene
trates, lnto lndlvldual objects that exlst beslde one
another. It applles the same procedure to tlme, dlvldlng
lt lnto equal parts such as seconds, mlnutes, hours, and
so on. Jhus, lntellect ls lnadequate for grasplng the
duratlon that characterlzes ultlmate reallty.
But lnstlnct and lntelllgence are not selfcontalned
and mutually excluslve; both are manlfestatlons of the
¨ä~å îáí~äK Jhere ls, therefore, some lntelllgence ln all anl
mals, lncludlng the lnsects, and some lnstlnct ln human
belngs. Instlnct that ls dlvorced from practlcal concerns
and made dlslnterested and contemplatlve ls lntultlon÷
whlch, as Bergson showed ln hls earller works, ls the
means by whlch the phllosopher can grasp duratlon,
splrlt, and llfe, whlch ls the ultlmate reallty.
Lne évolutlon autre eût pu condulre a une humanlté
ou plus lntelllgente encore, ou plus lntultlve. En falt,
dans l`humanlté dont nous falsons partle, l`lntultlon est
a peu pr≠s compl≠tement sacrlflcée a l`lntelllgence. Il
semble qu`a conquérlr la matl≠re, et a se reconquérlr de
sa force. Cette conquête . . . exlgealt que la consclence
s`adaptât aux habltudes de la matl≠re et concentrât
toute son attentlon sur elles, enfln se détermlnât plus
spéclalment en lntelllgence. L`lntultlon est la cependant,
mals vague et surtout dlscontlnue. C`est une lampe
presque ételnte, qul ne se ranlme que de loln en loln,
pour quelques lnstants a pelne. Mals elle se ranlme, en
somme, la ou un lntérêt vltal est en jeu. Sur notre per
sonnallté, sur notre llberté, sur la place que nous occu
pons dans l`ensemble de la nature, sur notre orlglne et
peutêtre aussl sur notre destlnée, elle projette une
luml≠re vaclllante et falble, mals qul n`en perce pas
molns l`obscurlté de la nult ou nous lalsse l`lntelll
gence.
De ces lntultlons évanoulssantes, et qul n`éclalrent
leur objet que de dlstance en dlstance, la phllosophle
dolt s`emparer, d`abord pour les soutenlr, ensulte pour
les dllater et les raccorder alnsl entre elles. Plus elle
avance dans ce travall, plus elle s`aperçolt que l`lntu
ltlon est l`esprlt même et, en un certaln sens, la vle
même. l`lntelllgence s`y découpe par un processus lml
tateur de celul qul a engendré la matl≠lre.
(A dlfferent evolutlon mlght have led to a humanlty
elther more lntellectual stlll or more lntultlve. In the
humanlty of whlch we are a part, lntultlon ls, ln fact,
almost completely sacrlflced to lntellect. It seems that to
conquer matter, and to reconquer lts own self, con
sclousness has had to exhaust the best part of lts power.
Jhls conquest . . . has requlred that consclousness
should adapt ltself to the hablts of matter and concen
trate all lts attentlon on them, ln fact determlne ltself
more especlally as lntellect. Intultlon ls there, however,
but vague and above all dlscontlnuous. It ls a lamp
almost extlngulshed, whlch only gllmmers now and
then, for a few moments at most. But lt gllmmers wher
ever a vltal lnterest ls at stake. On our personallty, on
our llberty, on the place we occupy ln the whole of
nature, on our orlgln and perhaps also on our destlny,
lt throws a llght feeble and vaclllatlng, but whlch none
the less plerces the darkness of the nlght ln whlch the
lntellect leaves us.
Jhese fleetlng lntultlons, whlch llght up thelr object
only at dlstant lntervals, phllosophy ought to selze, flrst
to sustaln them, then to expand them and so unlte
them together. Jhe more lt advances ln thls work, the
more lt wlll percelve that lntultlon ls mlnd ltself, and ln
a certaln sense, llfe ltself. the lntellect has been cut out
of lt by a process resembllng that whlch has generated
matter |translated by Mltchell|.)
Jhe fourth and flnal chapter of iÛ¨îçäìíáçå Åê¨~íêáÅÉI
'Le mécanlsme clnématographlque de la pensée et l`lllu
slon mécanlque" (Jhe Clnematographlcal Mechanlsm of
Jhought and the Mechanlstlc Illuslon), revlews the hls
l31
eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå ai_ POV
tory of Western phllosophy from Zeno of Elea to Herbert
Spencer to show that by relylng on the lntellect, phlloso
phers have falled to grasp the true nature of tlme and
change and have falslfled reallty by lmposlng statlc and
dlscrete concepts on experlence. Jhe book lncreased
Bergson`s popularlty not only wlth professlonal phlloso
phers but also wlth the general readlng publlc; by l9l8 lt
had gone through twentyone edltlons.
In l908 Bergson met Wllllam |ames ln London. In a
1 October l908 letter |ames wrote, 'So modest and unpre
tendlng a man but such a genlus lntellectually! I have the
strongest susplclons that the tendency whlch he has
brought to a focus, wlll end by prevalllng, and that the
present epoch wlll be a sort of turnlng polnt ln the hlstory
of phllosophy." Shortly after thelr meetlng, |ames pre
sented the Hlbbert Lectures at Manchester College of the
Lnlverslty of Oxford, ln whlch he sald that Bergson had
led hlm 'to renounce the lntellectuallst method and the
current notlon that loglc ls an adequate measure of what
can or cannot be" and 'JO GIVE LP JHE LOGIC,
squarely and lrrevocably" as a method, because 'reallty,
llfe, experlence, concreteness, lmmedlacy, use what word
you wlll, exceeds our loglc, overflows, and surrounds lt."
Jhe lectures were publlshed ln l909 as Z Ilurolistic Uvivcrsc
and led many Brltlsh and Amerlcan readers to lnvestlgate
Bergson`s phllosophy themselves. At that tlme |ames was
asslstlng Arthur Mltchell ln translatlng I`cvolutiov crcotricc
lnto Engllsh and planned to wrlte an lntroductlon to the
volume, but Mltchell dled ln August l9l0. Crcotivc Ivolu-
tiov appeared the followlng year and resulted ln even more
lnterest ln Bergson ln the Engllshspeaklng world. Jhat
same year Bergson wrote a preface tltled 'Sur le pragma
tlsme de Wllllam |ames. Vérlté et réallté" (translated as
'On the Pragmatlsm of Wllllam |ames. Jruth and Real
lty," l916) for the Irench translatlon of |ames`s Irogmotism;
ln thls preface he expressed both sympathy for and reser
vatlons about |ames`s work.
Irom 5 to ll Aprll l9ll Bergson attended the
Iourth Internatlonal Congress of Phllosophy ln Bolo
gna, Italy, where he gave the address 'L`lntultlon
phllosophlque" (translated as 'Phllosophlcal Intultlon,"
l916). In May he dellvered two lectures at the Lnlver
slty of Oxford; they were publlshed that year ln Irench
by the Clarendon Press as Io pcrccptiov du Clovgcmcvt
(translated as 'Jhe Perceptlon of Change," l916).
Oxford conferred on hlm an honorary doctor of sclence
degree. Jwo days later, he dellvered the Huxley Memo
rlal Lecture 'La consclence et la vle" (translated as 'Llfe
and Consclousness," l920) at Blrmlngham Lnlverslty;
lt appeared ln Tlc Hibbcrt ¸ourvol ln October.
By l9ll students were calllng the Coll≠ge de
Irance 'the house of Bergson." Jhe followlng decade was
the hlgh polnt of the Bergson cult. Hls lectures were fllled
not only wlth students, lncludlng the future emlnent phl
losophers Etlenne Gllson and |ean Wahl, but also wlth
other academlcs, soclety ladles and thelr escorts, tourlsts,
and poets, lncludlng J. S. Ellot. Many of the attendees sat
through lectures by other professors to be sure of hearlng
Bergson.
Even at the helght of the 'Bergson boom," how
ever, dlssentlng volces were heard. Among them was the
Brltlsh phllosopher Bertrand Russell, who publlshed
'Jhe Phllosophy of Bergson" ln Tlc Movist ln l9l2. Rus
sell quotes from Crcotivc Ivolutiov:
the great cllmax ln whlch llfe ls compared to a cavalry
charge. 'All organlzed belngs, from the humblest to the
hlghest, from the flrst orlglns of llfe to the tlme ln whlch
we are, and ln all places as ln all tlmes, do but evldence
a slngle lmpulslon, the lnverse of the movement of mat
ter, and ln ltself lndlvlslble. All the llvlng hold together,
and all yleld to the same tremendous push. Jhe anlmal
takes lts stand on the plant, man bestrldes anlmallty,
and the whole of humanlty, ln space and ln tlme, ls one
lmmense army galloplng beslde and before and behlnd
each of us ln an overwhelmlng charge able to beat
down every reslstance and to clear many obstacles, per
haps even death."
Russell asks 'whether there are any reasons for acceptlng
such a restless vlew of the world" and answers that 'there
ls no reason whatever for acceptlng thls vlew, elther ln the
unlverse or ln the wrltlngs of M. Bergson." Russell says
that the 'two foundatlons of Bergson`s phllosophy, ln so
far as lt ls more than an lmaglnatlve and poetlc vlew of
the world, are hls doctrlnes of space and tlme," and Rus
sell goes on to argue ln some detall that both doctrlnes are
erroneous. Bergson was also crltlclzed by the Irench phl
losopher |ullen Benda, who attacked hlm from a Carte
slan ratlonallst standpolnt ln many artlcles and two
books. Ic ßcrgsovismc; ou, Ililosoplic dc mobilitc (l9l2, Berg
sonlsm; or, Phllosophy of Moblllty) and Uvc plilosoplic
potlctiquc (l9l3, A Pathetlc Phllosophy). Benda held that
Bergson wanted to replace loglcal thought wlth emotlon,
and phllosophy wlth poetry; the supposed lnslght lnto
absolute reallty avallable through lntultlon ls unverlflable
and, therefore, unsclentlflc. Bergsonlsm, he sald, was a
symptom of the cultural degradatlon of a democratlc age
ln whlch sclence and phllosophy were consldered elltlst.
In |anuary l9l3 Bergson made hls flrst vlslt to the
Lnlted States, at the lnvltatlon of Columbla Lnlverslty. In
Iebruary he gave two lectures at the unlverslty; the flrst
trafflc jam ln the hlstory of Broadway ls sald to have
occurred before the flrst lecture. Bergson went on to lec
ture before large audlences ln several other Amerlcan clt
les. In May he accepted the presldency of the Brltlsh
Soclety for Psychlcal Research and dellvered the address
''Iant∑mes de vlvants` et 'recherche psychlque`" (trans
lated as ''Phantasms of the Llvlng` and 'Psychlcal
l35
ai_ POV eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå
Research,`" l920). Jranslatlons of hls works appeared ln
Engllsh, German, Itallan, Danlsh, Swedlsh, Hungarlan,
Pollsh, and Russlan.
In l9l1 Bergson was elected presldent of the Acad
emle des sclences morales et polltlques and named Offl
cler de la Léglon d`honneur and Offlcler de l`Instructlon
publlque. Jhat same year he was the flrst |ew elected to
membershlp ln the Academle françalse; he succeeded the
hlstorlan Emlle Olllvler, who had dled ln l9l3. In May
and |une he dellvered a course of eleven Glfford Lectures
under the tltle 'Jhe Problem of Personallty" at Edln
burgh Lnlverslty.
Also ln l9l1, however, Bergson`s work was
attacked by |acques Marltaln from the standpolnt of
Jhomlsm÷the Chrlstlan Arlstotellanlsm of St. Jhomas
Aqulnas, whlch forms the offlclal phllosophy of the
Roman Cathollc Church÷ln hls Io Ililosoplic bcrgsovicvvc:
Itudcs-critiqucs (Jhe Bergsonlan Phllosophy. Crltlcal Stud
les; translated as ßcrgsoviov Ililosoply ovd Tlomism, l955).
Marltaln, who had been a dlsclple of Bergson before
becomlng a Jhomlst, charged that Bergson`s metaphyslcs
of pure becomlng has no room for the concept of sub
stance and, therefore, for the dlstlnctlon between sub
stance and accldent, whlch ls essentlal to the notlon of
transubstantlatlon that underlles the sacrament of the
Eucharlst. Also, Bergson`s denlal of flxed essences ls
lncompatlble wlth the notlon that created belngs have
essences that reflect ldeas ln the mlnd of the Creator and,
therefore, wlth the clalm that the human essence was cor
rupted by Adam`s sln and requlres redemptlon through
Chrlst. Iurthermore, by maklng the clov vitol lmmanent ln
the unlverse, Bergson`s vlew ellmlnates the dlstlnctlon
between God and creatlon and, therefore, amounts to
panthelsm. On l |une l9l1 the Roman Cathollc Church
placed Issoi sur lcs dovvccs immcdiotcs dc lo covscicvcc, Moti≠rc ct
mcmoirc, and I`cvolutiov crcotricc on the Index of Prohlblted
Books.
A second course of Glfford Lectures planned for
the fall was canceled because of the outbreak of World
War I ln August. On 1 November l9l1 Bergson pub
llshed the artlcle 'La force qul s`use et celle qul ne s`use
pas" (Wearlng and Nonwearlng Iorces) ln Ic ßullctiv dcs
Zrmccs dc lo Icpubliquc Irovçoisc. In December he dellvered
the presldentlal address to the Academle des sclences
morales et polltlques; lt was publlshed ln l9l5 as Io sigvi-
ficotiov dc lo gucrrc and, along wlth the artlcle 'La force qul
s`use et celle qul ne s`use pas," was translated that same
year as Tlc Mcovivg of tlc !or: Iifc c Mottcr iv Covflict. Jo
concentrate on polltlcal and dlplomatlc actlvltles related to
the war, Bergson retlred from all actlve dutles at the Col
l≠ge de Irance at the end of l9l1 but dld not reslgn from
hls professorshlp; hls lectures were taken over by hls assls
tant, Le Roy, who served as hls 'permanent substltute."
In l9l5 Bergson was succeeded as presldent of the
Academle des sclences morales et polltlques by Alexandre
Rlbot. He also publlshed a short summary of Irench phl
losophy at the request of the mlnlster of publlc lnstruc
tlon. He began hls dlplomatlc career wlth a trlp to Spaln
ln l9l6, whlch was followed ln l9l7 by a mlsslon to the
Lnlted States as an emlssary to Presldent Woodrow Wll
son. Bergson was offlclally lnducted lnto the Academle
françalse ln |anuary l9l8.
In l9l9 Bergson was made a commander of the
Léglon d`honneur. A collectlon of hls shorter pleces
appeared ln l9l9 as I`cvcrgic spiritucllc: Issois ct covfcrcvccs
(Splrltual Energy. Essays and Lectures; translated as
Mivd-Ivcrgy: Iccturcs ovd Issoys, l920). It comprlses 'La
consclence et la vle"; 'L`âme et le corps" (translated as
'Jhe Soul and the Body"); ''Iant∑mes de vlvants` et
'recherche psychlque`"; 'Le rêve" (translated as
'Dreams"); 'Le souvenlr du présent et la fausse recon
nalssance" (translated as 'Memory of the Present and
Ialse Recognltlon"); 'L`effort lntellectuel" (translated as
'Intellectual Effort"); and 'Le cerveau et la pensée. Lne
llluslon phllosophlque" (translated as 'Braln and
Jhought. A Phllosophlcal Illuslon"), a lecture he had
glven to the Congress of Phllosophy ln Geneva ln l901
under the tltle 'Le paraloglsme psychophyslologlque"
(Jhe PsychoPhyslologlcal Paraloglsm).
In |une l920 Bergson recelved an honorary degree
of doctor of letters from the Lnlverslty of Cambrldge. He
reslgned hls professorshlp at the Coll≠ge de Irance ln
l92l and was appolnted presldent of the Internatlonal
Commlsslon for Intellectual Cooperatlon of the League
of Natlons, the forerunner of the Lnlted Natlons Educa
tlonal, Sclentlflc, and Cultural Organlzatlon (LNESCO).
At a meetlng of the Socleté de Phllosophle ln Aprll l922
he partlclpated ln a debate wlth Albert Elnsteln, who had
won the Nobel Prlze ln physlcs the prevlous year, on Eln
steln`s theory of relatlvlty; Bergson publlshed hls vlews as
Durcc ct simultovcitc o propos dc lo tlcoric d`Iivstciv (l922;
translated as Durotiov ovd Simultovcity, witl Icfcrcvcc to Iiv-
stciv`s Tlcory, l965). He crltlclzes the speclal theory of rela
tlvlty on both mathematlcal and phllosophlcal grounds.
Irom a mathematlcal standpolnt, he attacks the notlon of
multlpllclty ln Rlemannlan geometry that forms the basls
of Elnsteln`s theory. Phllosophlcally, he holds that relatlv
lty depends on the notlons of lnstants of tlme and slmulta
nelty, whlch are spatlallzed abstractlons that are
lncompatlble wlth the real, lrreverslble, nonquantlflable
tlme of duratlon. Bergson`s vlews were attacked by the
physlclsts |ean Becquerel and André Metz; he admltted ln
an appendlx to the second edltlon of Durcc ct simultovcitc o
propos dc lo tlcoric d`Iivstciv that the mathematlcs he had
used were lnadequate, but he contlnued to uphold hls
phllosophlcal crltlque of Elnsteln. He ls generally÷though
not unlversally÷regarded as havlng lost the debate wlth
l36
eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå ai_ POV
Elnsteln, and some scholars contend that the dlspute dealt
a blow to hls reputatlon from whlch lt never recovered.
He dld not allow the book to be republlshed durlng hls
llfetlme, and lt was not lncluded ln the flrst edltlon of hls
lÉìîêÉë (Works) ln l959.
Bergson suffered from crlppllng bouts of arthrltls
from l925 untll the end of hls llfe. Hls term as presldent
of the Internatlonal Commlsslon for Intellectual Coopera
tlon ended ln l926. In l927 he won the Nobel Prlze ln
Llterature 'ln recognltlon of hls rlch and vltallzlng ldeas
and the brllllant sklll wlth whlch they have been pre
sented." Because of hls lllness, Bergson was unable to
attend the Nobel banquet at the Grand Hotel ln Stock
holm on l0 December l928; thus, lnstead of an address
by the laureate, a letter from Bergson was read by the
Irench mlnlster, Armand Bernard. It was preceded by a
brlef comment by Professor G∏sta Iorssell. 'Henrl Berg
son has glven us a phllosophlcal system whlch could have
served Nobel`s ldea as a basls and support, the ldea of
acknowledglng wlth hls Prlzes not human deeds but new
ldeas revealed through select personalltles. Bergson`s
hlghmlnded works strlve to regaln for man`s consclous
ness the dlvlne glft of lntultlon and to put reason ln lts
proper place. servlng and controlllng ldeas." Whlle the llt
erature prlze ls usually conferred on poets, playwrlghts, or
flctlon wrlters, Bergson`s enormous contemporary lmpor
tance and the gracefulness of hls style made lt lmposslble
for the Nobel commlttee to lgnore hlm. Also, slnce there
ls no Nobel Prlze ln phllosophy, and phllosophy ls not a
hard sclence llke physlcs, chemlstry, or medlclne, the llter
ature prlze was the only avallable means of recognltlon at
the commlttee`s dlsposal. (In l950 Bertrand Russell÷who,
llke Bergson, was renowned for hls wrltlng style as well as
for hls accompllshments ln phllosophy÷won the llterature
prlze. Slnce l993 the Schock Prlze has been awarded
every two years by the Royal Swedlsh Academy of Scl
ences ln the flelds of loglc and phllosophy and of mathe
matlcs; lt ls consldered the equlvalent of the Nobel Prlze
ln those flelds, although lt ls much less wldely known.)
In l932 Bergson publlshed the last of hls four
major works, iÉë ÇÉìñ ëçìêÅÉë ÇÉ ä~ ãçê~äÉ Éí ÇÉ ä~ êÉäáÖáçå. Cer
taln specles, Bergson says, have evolved ln such a way
that lndlvlduals of the specles cannot exlst ln lsolatlon but
requlre the support of a communlty; bees and ants are the
prlme examples among the arthropods, and human
belngs are the prlme example among the vertebrates. Jhe
communltles, or socletles, formed by the members of
such specles must be held together by some force that can
overcome the selflsh lmpulses of the lndlvldual members.
In the lnsects, thls role ls played by lnstlnct, whlch
lmposes preclse and detalled obllgatlons on each lndlvld
ual to assure the coheslon and orderly functlonlng of the
group. In human socletles, where more latltude ls left to
lndlvldual cholce, lt ls played by hablt.
Chacune de ces habltudes, qu`on pourra appeler
'morales," sera contlngente. Mals leur ensemble, je
veux dlre l`habltude de contracter ces habltudes, étant a
la base même des soclétés et condltlonnant leur exlst
ence, aura une force comparable a celle de l`lnstlnct, et
comme lntenslté et comme régularlté. C`est la préclsé
ment ce que nous avons appelé 'le tout de l`obllgatlon."
Il ne s`aglra d`allleurs que des soclétés humalnes telles
qu`elles sont au sortlr des malns de la nature. Il s`aglra
de soclétés prlmltlves et élémentalres. Mals la soclété
humalne aura beau progresser, se compllquer et se splr
ltuallser. le statut de sa fondatlon demeurera, ou plut∑t
l`lntentlon de la nature.
(Each of these hablts, whlch may be called 'moral,"
would be lncldental. But the aggregate of them, I mean
the hablt of contractlng these hablts, belng at the very
basls of socletles and a necessary condltlon of thelr
exlstence, would have a force comparable to that of
lnstlnct ln respect of both lntenslty and regularlty. Jhls
ls exactly what we have called the 'totallty of obllga
tlon." Jhls, be lt sald, wlll apply only to human soclet
les at the moment of emerglng from the hands of
nature. It wlll apply to prlmltlve and to elementary socl
etles. But, however much human soclety may progress,
grow compllcated and splrltuallzed, the orlglnal deslgn,
expresslng the purpose of nature, wlll remaln |trans
lated by R. Ashley Audra, Cloudesley Brereton, and
W. Horsfall Carter|.)
In human belngs, the hablt of acqulrlng moral obllga
tlons ls natural and lnstlnctlve, but the partlcular obllga
tlons are not; they vary from soclety to soclety, just as
the capaclty for language ls lnstlnctlve but the syntax
and grammar vary from language to language.
Both lnsect and human socletles are 'soclétés
closes" (closed socletles). each such soclety dlstln
gulshes ltself from other socletles formed by members
of the same specles, and the rules obeyed ln each case
are pecullar to the soclety ln questlon; thus, ln the case
of the human soclety, the sum total of moral obllgatlons
ls what Bergson calls a 'morale close" (closed morallty).
Closed morallty ensures the survlval of the partlcular
soclety and excludes other socletles; thus, closed moral
lty ls necessarlly concerned wlth war.
Bergson dlsagrees wlth the German phllosopher
Immanuel Kant that morallty can be based on reason;
morallty ls rooted ln emotlon, whlle reason, or what
Bergson calls lntelllgence, can only ratlonallze and try
to flnd support for the moral rules lmposed by soclety.
But lntelllgence allows the lndlvldual to questlon the
norms of hls or her soclety and ls, therefore, a danger
ous and potentlally dlsruptlve force. Nature, however,
steps ln and creates rellglon by means of 'la fonctlon
fabulatrlce" (the mythmaklng functlon) of the lmaglna
tlon. Deltles are created who serve as the sources and
enforcers of the moral rules. Rellglon also serves the
l37
ai_ POV eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå
vltal functlon of provldlng an lmage of a llfe after death,
slnce human belngs, alone among the anlmals, are able
to envlslon thelr own deaths and would, wlthout the
hope of an afterllfe, become too depressed to act at all.
Rellglon further allows people to belleve that nature ls
controlled by frlendly powers whose help may be
lnvoked or even by unfrlendly ones who mlght be pro
pltlated, and thus lt glves people a bellef ln thelr ablllty
to exerclse some control over thelr envlronment. Jhls
klnd of rellglon, whlch serves to support the closed
morallty of a closed soclety, Bergson calls 'rellglon sta
tlque" (statlc rellglon).
Closed morallty and statlc rellglon are character
lstlc of prlmltlve socletles, but they contlnue to exlst ln
more hlghly developed socletles, whlch are stlll closed
socletles. In these more hlghly developed socletles, how
ever, the vlslon of another klnd of soclety becomes pos
slble. the 'soclété ouverte" (open soclety), whlch would
lnclude all of humanlty, and, correspondlng to thls socl
ety, a 'morale ouverte" (open morallty). Whereas
closed morallty ls a morallty of obllgatlon and ls felt as
presslng on the lndlvldual from outslde, the open
morallty ls a morallty of asplratlon and attractlon and ls
felt as pulllng on the lndlvldual from wlthln. It results
from the contact, whether ln person or by hearsay, wlth
exceptlonal moral teachers÷prophets, sages, and salnts.
Jhese lndlvlduals, ln turn, are lnsplred by thelr ablllty
to percelve the clov vitol ln mystlcal experlences ln
whlch they feel at one wlth the unlverse as a whole and
the source of all belng. Jhe rellglon that results from
such experlences ls 'rellglon dynamlque" (dynamlc rell
glon). It does not lnvoke personlfled deltles who may
be appeased through rltuals but ls a dlrect lntultlon of
the creatlve llfeforce ltself. It does not have doctrlnes;
rellglon wlth rlgld doctrlnes ls statlc. Open morallty
and dynamlc rellglon are concerned wlth creatlvlty and
progress, not wlth soclal coheslon; open morallty ls unl
versal and alms at peace. Genulne, or complete, mystl
cal experlence must result ln actlon; lt cannot rest ln
contemplatlon of God.
Ics dcux sourccs dc lo morolc ct dc lo rcligiov had a
respectful receptlon from the phllosophlcal communlty
and the publlc, but Bergson`s days as a phllosophlcal
lumlnary were past. Jhe flnal book he publlshed dur
lng hls llfetlme was Io pcvscc ct lc mouvovt: Issois ct cov-
fcrcvccs (l931; translated as Tlc Crcotivc Mivd, l916), a
collectlon of essays and lectures from earller years.
By the tlme he wrote Ics dcux sourccs dc lo morolc ct dc
lo rcligiov, Bergson consldered hlmself a Cathollc ln all but
name. In hls wlll, wrltten on 8 Iebruary l937, he sald.
Mes réflexlons m`ont amené de plus en plus pr≠s du
cathollclsme ou je vols l`ach≠vement complet du
juda≥sme. |e me serals convertl, sl je n`avals vu se pré
parer depuls des années la formldable vague d`antl
sémltlsme qul va déferler sur le monde. |`al voulu rester
parml ceux qul seront demaln des persécutés.
(My reflectlons have led me closer and closer to
Cathollclsm, ln whlch I see the complete fulflllment of
|udalsm. I would have become a convert, had I not
foreseen for years a formldable wave of antlSemltlsm
about to break upon the world. I wanted to remaln
among those who tomorrow were to be persecuted.)
He went on to request that a prlest pray at hls funeral lf
the cardlnal archblshop of Parls would authorlze lt; lf
not, he asked that a rabbl be lnvlted to do so, wlthout
conceallng from the clergyman or anyone else Berg
son`s moral adherence to Cathollclsm or hls preference
for a prlest. After Irance fell to the Germans on l1 |une
l910, he refused the Vlchy government`s offer to
exempt hlm from lts antlSemltlc laws and renounced
all posltlons and honors he had recelved from the
Irench government that could be construed as lndlcat
lng hls approval of the German puppet reglme. In |uly,
Bergson and hls wlfe and daughter left Parls to spend
the rest of the summer ln SalntCyrsurLolre. Jhey
returned ln November to the apartment at 17 boulevard
Beauséjour where they had llved slnce l929. At the end
of the year, wearlng a bathrobe and supported by a ser
vant, Bergson stood ln llne to reglster as a |ew; some
sources clalm that he there contracted the bronchltls
from whlch he dled on 1 |anuary l91l. A prlest he had
called to hls deathbed arrlved too late to admlnlster last
rltes. He was burled ln the small Garches Cemetery.
After hls death, Marltaln`s wlfe, Ra≥ssa, clalmed that
Bergson had secretly been baptlzed a Cathollc; but ln a
letter to Emmanuel Mounler that was publlshed ln the
Co·cttc dc Iousovvc on 9 September l91l, Bergson`s
wldow denled the allegatlon and quoted the passage
from hls wlll ln whlch he gave hls reason for not con
vertlng. She dled ln l916; thelr daughter, |eanne, dled
ln l96l.
Bergson`s popularlty wlth the publlc and hls pres
tlge among phllosophers had dlmlnlshed well before hls
death. After World War II, they decllned even further.
Jhe graceful, flowlng style and vlvld metaphors that
had been admlred ln the early years of the twentleth
century came to be regarded as rhetorlcal flourlshes
conceallng thought that would not wlthstand close scru
tlny. Iurthermore, tlmes had changed. As Harold A.
Larrabee noted ln the lntroductlon to hls edltlon of
Sclcctiovs from ßcrgsov, publlshed ln l919.
Phllosophers are stlll debatlng whether Bergson`s phl
losophy as a whole deserves the eplthets 'lrratlonal" or
'antllntellectual" whlch some have applled to lt. But
l38
eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå ai_ POV
the mere susplclon that those tags are not wholly lnap
proprlate ls enough to put us on our guard.
For we, unllke Bergson`s earller readers, are survl
vors of the Axls onslaught of l939-15. In l907, the
enemy appeared to be what Wllllam |ames called 'the
beast, Intellectuallsm," and as agalnst lt, and all manner
of nlneteenthcentury sclentlflc and soclal rlgldltles,
vltallty and anlmal vlgor had much ln thelr favor.
When Bergson attacked all the dead hands whlch close
ln upon the llvlng, he spoke for the romantlc rebel ln all
of us. But far worse beasts than lntellectuallsm, over
flowlng, too, wlth savage vltallty, have slnce come
forth; and pralse of bllnd lnstlnct at the apparent
expense of lntelllgent dlscrlmlnatlon has a hollow rlng
lndeed to those who have wltnessed the abomlnatlons
commltted by the fanatlcs who boasted that they
'thought wlth thelr blood."
Jhls ls not to accuse Bergson of the sllghtest sympa
thy wlth the lnstlncttrustlng madmen who emblttered
hls own last years on earth.
Bergson left behlnd no 'Bergsonlan" school, but hls
work lnfluenced phllosophers such as |ames, George
Santayana, Alfred North Whltehead, Arnold Hauser,
Claude Slmon, the polltlcal theorlst Georges Sorel, and
the exlstentlallsts Martln Heldegger, Maurlce Merleau
Ponty, and |eanPaul Sartre; Sartre sald that Issoi sur lcs
dovvccs immcdiotcs dc lo covscicvcc was the text that flrst
attracted hlm to phllosophy. Llke Bergson, the exlsten
tlallsts wanted to attaln a pure vlew of phenomena that
was not colored by concepts and categorles borrowed
from the physlcal sclences; they, however, preferred the
more rlgorous cpoclc, or 'bracketlng," method of the
phenomenologlst Edmund Husserl to Bergson`s lntu
ltlon. In llterature, Bergson made an lmpact on Charles
Péguy, Paul Valéry, George Bernard Shaw, |ohn Dos
Passos, Wallace Stevens, Wllla Cather, and hls wlfe`s
cousln Proust; ln art, on the palnter Claude Monet; and
ln muslc, on the composer Claude Debussy. Interest ln
Bergson was brlefly reawakened ln Irance by Gllles
Deleuze`s Ic ßcrgsovismc (l966; translated as ßcrgsovism,
l988) and hls use of Bergson`s ldeas ln hls analysls of
the clnema. Deleuze hlmself dled ln l995, and Berg
son`s phllosophy ls now prlmarlly of hlstorlcal lnterest.
iÉííÉêëW
Corrcspovdcvccs, edlted by André Roblnet, Nelly Bruy≠re,
Brlgltte SltbonPelllon, and Suzanne SternGlllet
(Parls. Presses unlversltalres de Irance, 2002);
Hcvri ßcrgsov ct Zlbcrt Iolv: Corrcspovdovccs, edlted by
Sophle Coeuré and Irédérlc Worms (Strasbourg.
Desmaret / Boulogne. Musée départemental Albert
Kahn, 2003).
_áÄäáçÖê~éÜóW
P. A. Y. Gunter, Hcvri ßcrgsov: Z ßibliogroply (Bowllng
Green, Ohlo. Phllosophy Documentatlon Cen
ter, Bowllng Green Lnlverslty, l971; revlsed,
l986).
_áçÖê~éÜáÉëW
|ean Gultton, Io vocotiov dc ßcrgsov (Parls. Galllmard,
l960);
|eanLouls VlelllardBaron, ßcrgsov (Parls. Presses unl
versltalres de Irance, l99l);
Phlllppe Soulez and Irédérlc Worms, ßcrgsov: ßiogroplic
(Parls. Ilammarlon, l997).
oÉÑÉêÉåÅÉëW
Lydle Adolphe, Io diolcctiquc dcs imogcs clc· ßcrgsov
(Parls. Presses unlversltalres de Irance, l95l);
Adolphe, Io plilosoplic rcligicusc dc ßcrgsov (Parls. Presses
unlversltalres de Irance, l916);
Ian W. Alexander, ßcrgsov, Ililosoplcr of Icflcctiov (Lon
don. Bowes × Bowes, l957; New York. Hlllary
House, l957);
Mark Antllff, ed., Ivvcvtivg ßcrgsov: Culturol Iolitics ovd tlc
Iorisiov Zvovt-Cordc (Prlnceton. Prlnceton Lnlver
slty Press, l993);
Roméo Arbour, Hcvri ßcrgsov ct lcs lcttrcs frovçoiscs (Parls.
Cortl, l955);
Randall E. Auxler, 'A Dlalogue on Bergson," Iroccss
Studics, 28 (Iall-Wlnter l999). 339-315;
Gaston Bachelard, Tlc Diolcctic of Durotiov, translated by
Mary McAllester |ones (Manchester, L.K.. Cllna
men Press, 2000);
Mlchel Barlow, Hcvri ßcrgsov (Parls. Edltlons unlversl
talres, l966);
Madelelne BarthélemyMaudale, ßcrgsov (Parls. Seull,
l967);
BarthélemyMaudale, ßcrgsov, odvcrsoirc du Iovt (Parls.
Presses unlversltalres de Irance, l961);
BarthélemyMaudale, ßcrgsov ct Tcillord dc Clordiv
(Parls. Seull, l963);
Albert Béguln and Plerre Jhevenaz, eds., Hcvri ßcrgsov:
Issois ct tcmoigvogcs (Neuchâtel. La Baconnl≠re,
l913);
|ullen Benda, Ic bcrgsovismc; ou, Ililosoplic dc lo mobilitc
(Parls. Mercure de Irance, l9l2);
Benda, Uvc plilosoplic potlctiquc (Parls. |. Crémleu,
l9l3);
Benda, Sur lc succ≠s du bcrgsovismc: Ircccdc d`uvc rcpovsc oux
dcfcvscurs dc lo doctrivc (Parls. Mercure de Irance,
l9l1);
Rlchard Bllsker, Uv ßcrgsov (Belmont, Cal.. Wadsworth,
2002);
l39
ai_ POV eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå
Rlchard L. Brougham, 'Reallty and Appearance ln
Bergson and Whltehead," Iroccss Studics, 21
(l995). 39-13;
Walter Bruntlng, 'La fllosofla lrraclotlallsta de la hlsto
rla en la actualldad," Icvisto dc Iilosofio, 5, no. 2
(l958). 3-l7;
Irederlck Burwlck and Paul Douglass, eds., Tlc Crisis iv
Modcrvism: ßcrgsov ovd tlc !itolist Covtrovcrsy (Cam
brldge × New York. Cambrldge Lnlverslty Press,
l992);
Mlllk Capec, ßcrgsov ovd Modcrv Ilysics: Z Icivtcrprctotiov
ovd Ic-cvoluotiov (Dordrecht. Reldel, l97l);
Marle Carlou, I`otomismc: Trois cssois. Cosscvdi, Icibvi·,
ßcrgsov ct Iucr≠cc (Parls. Montalgne, l978);
Carlou, ßcrgsov ct ßoclclord (Parls. Presses unlversltalres
de Irance, l995);
Carlou, ßcrgsov ct lc foit mystiquc (Parls. Montalgne,
l976);
Carlou, Iccturcs ßcrgsovicvvcs (Parls. Presses unlversl
talres de Irance, l990);
Herbert Wlldon Carr, Hcvri ßcrgsov: Tlc Ililosoply of
Clovgc (London. |ack / New York. Dodge, l9l2);
|acques Chevaller, ßcrgsov (Parls. Plon, l926); trans
lated by Llllan A. Clare as Hcvri ßcrgsov (New
York. Macmlllan, l928); Irench verslon revlsed
and enlarged as ßcrgsov (Parls. Plon, l918);
Chevaller, Ivtrcticvs ovcc ßcrgsov (Parls. Plon, l955);
Irederlck C. Copleston, ßcrgsov ov Morolity (London.
Oxford Lnlverslty Press, l955);
André Cresson, ßcrgsov: So vic, sov ocuvrc, ovcc uv cxposc
dc so plilosoplic (Parls. Presses unlversltalres de
Irance, l91l);
Gustavus Watts Cunnlngham, Z Study iv tlc Ililosoply of
ßcrgsov (New York. Longmans, Green, l9l6);
Vlctor Delbos, 'Matl≠re et Mémolre, essal sur la rela
tlon du corps a l`esprlt," Icvuc dc mctoplysiquc ct dc
morolc (l897). 353-389;
Gllles Deleuze, 'Bergson. l859-l91l," ln Ics plilosoplcs
cclcbrcs, edlted by Maurlce MerleauPonty (Parls.
Mazenod, l956), pp. 292-299;
Deleuze, Ic ßcrgsovismc (Parls. Presses unlversltalres de
Irance, l966); translated by Hugh Jomllnson
and Barbara Habberjam as ßcrgsovism (New York.
Zone Books, l988);
Deleuze, Civcmo: I`imogc-mouvcmcvt (Parls. Mlnult,
l983); translated by Jomllnson and Habberjam
as Civcmo 1: Tlc Movcmcvt-Imogc (Mlnneapolls.
Lnlverslty of Mlnnesota Press, l986);
Deleuze, Civcmo: I`imogc-tcmps (Parls. Mlnult, l985);
translated by Jomllnson and Robert Galeta as
Civcmo 2: Tlc Timc-Imogc (Mlnneapolls. Lnlverslty
of Mlnnesota Press, l989);
Deleuze, Diffcrcvcc ct rcpctitiov (Parls. Presses unlversl
talres de Irance, l968); translated by Paul Patton
as Diffcrcvcc ovd Icpctitiov (New York. Columbla
Lnlverslty Press, l991);
|eanne Delhomme, 'Nletzsche et Bergson. La représen
tatlon de la vérlté," Itudcs bcrgsovicvvcs, 5 (l960).
37-62;
Delhomme, !ic ct covscicvcc dc lo vic: Issoi sur ßcrgsov
(Parls. Presses unlversltalres de Irance, l951);
Matteo Iabrls, Io filosofio sociolc dc Hcvri ßcrgsov (Barl.
Resta, l966);
Augustln Iressln, Io pcrccptiov clc· ßcrgsov ct clc· Mcrlcou-
Iovty (Parls. Soclété d`édltlon d`enselgnement
supérleur, l967);
Bernard Gllson, Io rcvisiov ßcrgsovicvvc dc l`csprit (Parls.
Vrln, l996);
Lorenzo Glusso, ßcrgsov (Mllan. Bocca, l919);
|eanChrlstophe Goddard, Mysticismc ct folic: Issoi sur lo
simplicitc (Parls. Desclée de Brouwer, 2002);
Henrl Gaston Gouhler, ßcrgsov ct lc Clrist dcs cvovgilcs
(Parls. Iayard, l96l);
P. A. Y. Gunter, 'Bergson, Mathematlcs, and Creatlv
lty," Iroccss Studics, 28 (Iall-Wlnter l999). 268-
288;
Gunter, ed. and trans., ßcrgsov ovd tlc Ivolutiov of Ilysics
(Knoxvllle. Lnlverslty of Jennessee Press, l969);
Jhomas Hanna, ed., Tlc ßcrgsoviov Hcritogc (New York.
Columbla Lnlverslty Press, l962);
Irançols Heldsleck, Hcvri ßcrgsov ct lo votiov d`cspocc
(Parls. Le Cercle du llvre, l957);
Harald H›ffdlng, Io plilosoplic dc ßcrgsov: Ixposc ct cri-
tiquc, translated by |acques de Coussange (pseu
donym of Barbe de _ulrlelle) (Parls. Alcan, l9l6);
Léon Husson, I`Ivtcllcctuolismc dc ßcrgsov (Parls. Presses
unlversltalres de Irance, l917);
Vladlmlr |ankélévltch, ßcrgsov (Parls. Alcan, l93l);
|ankélévltch, Hcvri ßcrgsov (Parls. Presses unlversltalres
de Irance, l959);
Robert Klawltter, 'Henrl Bergson and |ames |oyce`s
Ilctlonal World," Comporotivc Iitcroturc Studics, 3,
no. 1 (l966). 129-137;
Leszek Kolakowskl, ßcrgsov (Oxford × New York.
Oxford Lnlverslty Press, l985);
R. Lacey, ßcrgsov (London × New York. Routledge,
l989);
Roger Etlenne Lacombe, Io psyclologic ßcrgsovicvvc
(Parls. Alcan, l933);
Leonard Lawlor, Tlc Clollcvgc of ßcrgsovism: Ilcvomcvol-
ogy, Uvtology, Itlics (London. Contlnuum, 2003);
Georges Lechalas, 'Matl≠re et mémolre, d`apr≠s un
nouveau llvre de M. Bergson," Zvvolcs dc pliloso-
plic clrcticvvc (May l897). l17-l61; ( |une l897).
3l1-331;
Edouard Le Roy, Uvc plilosoplic vouvcllc: Hcvri ßcrgsov
(Parls. Alcan, l9l2); translated by Vlncent Ben
l10
eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå ai_ POV
son as Tlc `cw Ililosoply of Hcvri ßcrgsov (London.
Wllllams × Norgate / New York. Holt, l9l3);
D. Llndsay, Tlc Ililosoply of ßcrgsov (London. Dent,
l9ll);
Alfred Ilrmln Lolsy, J o-t-il dcux sourccs dc lo rcligiov ct lo
morolc? revlsed and enlarged edltlon (Parls.
Nourry, l931);
|acques Marltaln, Io Ililosoplic bcrgsovicvvc: Itudcs-
critiqucs (Parls. Rlvl≠re, l9l1); translated by
Mabelle L. Andlson and |. Gordon Andlson as
ßcrgsoviov Ililosoply ovd Tlomism (New York.
Phllosophlcal Llbrary, l955);
Vlttorlo Mathleu, ßcrgsov: Il profovdo c lo suo csprcssiovc
(Jurln. Edlzlonl dl 'Illosofla," l951);
André Metz, ßcrgsov ct lc bcrgsovismc (Parls. Vrln, l933);
Irançols Meyer, Iour covvoitrc lo pcvscc dc ßcrgsov (Parls.
Bordas, l961);
I. C. J. Moore, ßcrgsov: Tlivlivg ßoclwords (Cambrldge
× New York. Cambrldge Lnlverslty Press, l996);
|ohn Morrlson Moore, Tlcorics of Icligious Ixpcricvcc,
witl Spcciol Icfcrcvcc to ¸omcs, Utto ovd ßcrgsov (New
York. Round Jable Press, l938);
RoseMarle MosséBastlde, ßcrgsov, cducotcur (Parls.
Presses unlversltalres de Irance, l955);
MosséBastlde, ßcrgsov ct Ilotiv (Parls. Presses unlversl
talres de Irance, l960);
|ohn Mullarkey, ed., Tlc `cw ßcrgsov (Manchester,
L.K.. Manchester Lnlverslty Press, l999);
Andrew C. Papanlcolaou and P. A. Y. Gunter, eds.,
ßcrgsov ovd Modcrv Tlouglt: Towords o Uvificd Scicvcc
(Chur, L.K. × New York. Harwood Academlc,
l987);
Kelth Ansell Pearson, Ililosoply ovd tlc Zdvcvturc of tlc
!irtuol: ßcrgsov ovd tlc Timc of Iifc (London. Rout
ledge, 2002);
GΩnther Pflug, Hcvri ßcrgsov: _ucllcv uvd Iovscqucv·cv
civcr ivdultivcv Mctoplysil (Berlln. De Gruyter,
l959);
Anthony Edward Pllklngton, ßcrgsov ovd His Ivflucvcc: Z
Icosscssmcvt (Cambrldge. Cambrldge Lnlverslty
Press, l976);
Bento Prado, Ircscvcc ct clomp trovsccvdcvtol: Covscicvcc ct
vcgotivitc dovs lo plilosoplic dc ßcrgsov, translated by
Renaud Barbaras (Hlldeshelm. Olms, 2002);
Emlle Rldeau, Ics ropports dc lo mot≠rc ct dc l`csprit dovs lc
bcrgsovismc (Parls. Alcan, l932);
André Roblnet, ßcrgsov ct lcs mctomorploscs dc lo durcc
(Parls. Seghers, l965);
Roblnet, 'Le Passage a la conceptlon blologlque de la
perceptlon, de l`lmage et du souvenlr chez Berg
son," Itudcs plilosopliqucs, l5, no. 3 (l960). 375-
388;
Algot Henrlk Leonard Ruhe and Nancy Margaret Paul,
Hcvri ßcrgsov: Zv Zccouvt of His Iifc ovd Ililosoply
(London. Macmlllan, l9l1);
Bertrand Russell, 'Jhe Phllosophy of Bergson," Movist,
22 ( |uly l9l2). 32l-317; republlshed ln Tlc Ili-
losoply of ßcrgsov, witl o Icply by Mr. H. !ildov Corr
ovd o Icjoivdcr by Mr. Iusscll (Cambrldge. Pub
llshed for 'Jhe Heretlcs" by Bowes × Bowes,
l9l1; New York. Iolcroft, l97l);
George Santayana, !ivds of Doctrivc (New York. Scrlb
ners, l9l3), pp. 58-l09;
BenAml Scharfsteln, Ioots of ßcrgsov`s Ililosoply (New
York. Columbla Lnlverslty Press, l913);
|oseph Louls Paul Segond, I`ivtuitiov bcrgsovicvvc (Parls.
Alcan, l9l3);
A. G. Sertlllanges, Hcvri ßcrgsov ct lc Cotlolicismc (Parls.
Ilammarlon, l91l);
|oseph Solomon, ßcrgsov (New York. Dodge, l9ll;
London. Constable, l9l2);
Phlllppe Soulez, ßcrgsov politiquc (Parls. Presses unlversl
talres de Irance, l989);
Newton Phelps Stallknecht, Studics iv tlc Ililosoply of Crc-
otiov, witl Ispcciol Icfcrcvcc to ßcrgsov ovd !litclcod
(Prlnceton. Prlnceton Lnlverslty Press, l931);
Karln Stephen, Tlc Misusc of Mivd: Z Study of ßcrgsov`s
Zttocl ov Ivtcllcctuolism (New York. Harcourt,
Brace / London. Kegan Paul, Jrench, JrΩbner,
l922);
|ohn McKellar Stewart, Z Criticol Ixpositiov of ßcrgsov`s
Ililosoply (London. Macmlllan, l9ll);
Albert Jhlbaudet, Ic bcrgsovismc, 2 volumes (Parls. Edl
tlons de la nouvelle revue françalse, l923);
|oseph de Jonquédec, Dicu dovs l`cvolutiov crcoticc, ovcc
dcux lcttrcs dc M. ßcrgsov (Parls. Beauchesne,
l9l2);
Plerre Jrotlgnon, I`idcc dc vic clc· ßcrgsov ct lo critiquc dc
lo mctoplysiquc (Parls. Presses unlversltalres de
Irance, l968);
Irédérlc Worms, 'Audela de l`hlstolre et du caract≠re.
L`ldée de phllosophle Irançalse, la Preml≠re
Guerre mondlale et le moment l900," Icvuc dc
mctoplysicquc ct dc morolc, no. 3 (200l). 63-8l;
Worms, 'L`Intelllgence gagnée par l`lntultlon? La rela
tlon entre Bergson et Kant," Itudcs plilosopliqucs,
no. 1 (200l). 153-161;
Worms, Ivtroductiov o Matl≠re et mémolre. Suivic d`uvc
br≠vc ivtroductiov oux outrcs livrcs dc ßcrgsov (Parls.
Presses unlversltalres de Irance, l998);
Worms, Ic !ocobuloirc dc ßcrgsov (Parls. Elllpses, 2000);
Worms, ed., ßcrgsov dovs lc si≠clc (Parls. Presses unlversl
talres de Irance, 2002).
m~éÉêëW
Henrl Bergson`s wlll dlrected that all of hls papers be
destroyed, and hls wldow burned them ln the flre
l1l
ai_ POV eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå
place. Jhus, the Bergson Archlves at the Llbralrle
|acques Doucet ln Parls contaln only Bergson`s per
sonal llbrary.

NVOT kçÄÉä mêáòÉ áå iáíÉê~íìêÉ
mêÉëÉåí~íáçå péÉÉÅÜ
Äó mÉê e~ääëíê∏ãI mêÉëáÇÉåí çÑ íÜÉ kçÄÉä `çããáííÉÉ çÑ íÜÉ
pïÉÇáëÜ ^Å~ÇÉãóI NM aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVOU
In hls iÛ¨îçäìíáçå Åê¨~íêáÅÉ (l907) x`êÉ~íáîÉ bîçäìíáçåzI
Henrl Bergson has declared that the most lastlng and
most frultful of all phllosophlcal systems are those whlch
orlglnate ln lntultlon. If one belleves these words, lt
appears lmmedlately wlth regard to Bergson`s system
how he has made frultful the lntultlve dlscovery that
opens the gate to the world of hls thought. Jhls dlscov
ery ls set forth ln hls doctoral thesls, bëë~á ëìê äÉë Ççåå¨Éë
áãã¨Çá~íÉë ÇÉ ä~ ÅçåëÅáÉåÅÉ (l889) xqáãÉ ~åÇ cêÉÉ táää zI ln
whlch tlme ls concelved not as somethlng abstract or for
mal but as a reallty, lndlssolubly connected wlth llfe and
the human self. He glves lt the name 'duratlon," a con
cept that can be lnterpreted as 'llvlng tlme," by analogy
wlth the llfe force. It ls a dynamlc stream, exposed to con
stant qualltatlve varlatlons and perpetually lncreaslng. It
eludes reflectlon. It cannot be llnked wlth any flxed
polnt, for lt would thereby be llmlted and no longer exlst.
It can be percelved and felt only by an lntrospectlve and
concentrated consclousness that turns lnward toward lts
orlgln.
What we usually call tlme, the tlme whlch ls mea
sured by the movement of a clock or the revolutlons of
the sun, ls somethlng qulte dlfferent. It ls only a form cre
ated by and for the mlnd and actlon. At the end of a most
subtle analysls, Bergson concludes that lt ls nothlng but
an appllcatlon of the form of space. Mathematlcal precl
slon, certltude, and llmltatlon prevall ln lts domaln; cause
ls dlstlngulshed from effect and hence rlses that edlflce, a
creatlon of the mlnd, whose lntelllgence has enclrcled the
world, ralslng a wall around the most lntlmate asplra
tlons of our mlnds toward freedom. Jhese asplratlons
flnd satlsfactlon ln 'llvlng tlme". cause and effect here are
fused; nothlng can be foreseen wlth certalnty, for cer
talnty resldes ln the act, slmple ln ltself, and can be estab
llshed only by thls act. Llvlng tlme ls the realm of free
cholce and new creatlons, the realm ln whlch somethlng
ls produced only once and ls never repeated ln qulte the
same manner. Jhe hlstory of the personallty orlglnates ln
lt. It ls the realm where the mlnd, the soul, whatever one
may call lt, by castlng off the forms and hablts of lntelll
gence becomes capable of percelvlng ln an lnner vlslon
the truth about lts own essence and about the unlversal
llfe whlch ls a part of our self.
In hls purely sclentlflc account, the phllosopher
tells us nothlng of the orlgln of thls lntultlon, born per
haps of a personal experlence skllfully selzed upon and
probed, or perhaps of a llberatlng crlsls of the soul. One
can only guess that thls crlsls was provoked by the heavy
atmosphere of ratlonallstlc blology that ruled toward the
end of the last century. Bergson had been brought up
and educated under the lnfluence of thls sclence, and
when he declded to take up arms agalnst lt, he had a rare
mastery of lts own weapons and full knowledge of the
necesslty and grandeur lt had ln lts own realm, the con
ceptual constructlon of the materlal world. Only when
ratlonallsm seeks to lmprlson llfe ltself ln lts net does
Bergson seek to prove that the dynamlc and fluld nature
of llfe passes wlthout hlndrance across lts meshes.
Even lf I were competent, lt would stlll be lmpossl
ble to glve an account of the subtlety and scope of Berg
son`s thought ln the few mlnutes at my dlsposal. Jhe task
ls even more lmposslble for one who possesses only a
very llmlted sense of phllosophy and has never studled lt.
At hls startlng polnt, the lntultlon of a llvlng tlme,
Bergson borrows ln hls analysls, ln the development of
hls concepts, and ln the sequence of hls proofs, some
thlng of the dynamlc, flowlng, and almost lrreslstlble
essence of thls lntultlon. One has to follow every move
ment; every moment lntroduces a new element. One has
to follow the current, trylng to breathe as best one can.
Jhere ls scarcely tlme for reflectlon, for the moment one
becomes statlc oneself, one loses all contact wlth the
chaln of reasonlng.
In a slngularly penetratlng refutatlon of determln
lsm our phllosopher demonstrates that a unlversal lntel
lect, whlch he calls Plerre, could not predlct the llfe of
another person, Paul, except ln so far as he can follow
Paul`s experlences, sensatlons, and voluntary acts ln all
thelr manlfestatlons, to the extent of becomlng ldentlcal
wlth hlm as completely as two equal trlangles colnclde. A
reader who wants to understand Bergson completely
must to a certaln extent ldentlfy hlmself wlth the author
and fulfll enormous requlrements of power and flexlblllty
of mlnd.
Jhls ls by no means to say that there ls no polnt ln
followlng the author ln hls course, for good or lll. Imagl
natlon and lntultlon are sometlmes capable of fllghts
where lntelllgence lags behlnd. It ls not always posslble to
declde whether the lmaglnatlon ls seduced or whether the
lntultlon recognlzes ltself and lets ltself be convlnced. In
any event, readlng Bergson ls always hlghly rewardlng.
In the account, so far deflnltlve, of hls doctrlne,
iÛ¨îçäìíáçå Åê¨~íêáÅÉI the master has created a poem of strlk
lng grandeur, a cosmogony of great scope and unflagglng
power, wlthout sacrlflclng a strlctly sclentlflc termlnology.
l12
eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå ai_ POV
It may be dlfflcult at tlmes to proflt from lts penetratlng
analysls or from the profundlty of lts thought; but one
always derlves from lt, wlthout any dlfflculty, a strong
aesthetlc lmpresslon.
Jhe poem, lf one looks at lt ln that way, presents a
sort of drama. Jhe world has been created by two con
fllctlng tendencles. One of them represents matter whlch,
ln lts own consclousness, tends downwards; the second ls
llfe wlth lts lnnate sentlment of freedom and lts perpetu
ally creatlve force, whlch tends lncreaslngly toward the
llght of knowledge and llmltless horlzons. Jhese two ele
ments are mlngled, prlsoners of each other, and the prod
uct of thls unlon ls ramlfled on dlfferent levels.
Jhe flrst radlcal dlfference ls found between the
vegetable and the anlmal world, between lmmoblle and
moblle organlc actlvlty. Wlth the help of the sun, the veg
etable world stores up the energy lt extracts from lnert
matter; the anlmal ls exempt from thls fundamental task
because lt can draw energy already stored up ln the vege
tables from whlch lt frees the exploslve force slmulta
neously and proportlonately to lts needs. At a hlgher level
ln the chaln, the anlmal world llves at the expense of the
anlmal world, belng able, due to thls concentratlon of
energy, to accentuate lts development. Jhe evolutlonary
paths thus become more and more dlverse and thelr
cholce ls ln no way bllnd. lnstlnct ls born at the same tlme
as the organs that lt utlllzes. Intellect ls also exlstent ln an
embryonlc stage, but stlll mlnd ls lnferlor to lnstlnct.
At the top of the chaln of belng, ln man, lntelll
gence becomes predomlnant and lnstlnct subsldes, wlth
out however dlsappearlng entlrely; lt remalns latent ln
the consclousness that unltes all llfe ln the current of 'llv
lng tlme"; lt comes lnto play ln the lntultlve vlslon. Jhe
beglnnlngs of lntelllgence are modest and manlfestly
tlmld. Intelllgence ls expressed only by the tendency and
the ablllty to replace organlc lnstruments lnstlnctlvely by
lnstruments sprung from lnert matter, and to make use of
them by a free act. Instlnct was more consclous of lts
goal, but thls goal was, on the other hand, greatly llm
lted; lntelllgence engaged ltself, on the contrary, ln
greater rlsks, but tended also toward lnflnltely vaster
goals, toward goals reallzed by the materlal and soclal
culture of the human race. Inevltably a rlsk exlsted, how
ever. lntelllgence, created to act ln the spatlal world,
mlght dlstort the lmage of the world by the modallty thus
acqulred from lts concept of llfe and mlght remaln deaf to
lts lnnermost dynamlc essence and to the freedom that
presldes over lts eternal varlatlon. Hence the mechanlstlc
and determlnlstlc conceptlon of an external world cre
ated by the conquests of lntelllgence ln the natural scl
ences.
We wlll flnd ourselves, then, lrremedlably cornered
ln an lmpasse, wlthout any consclousness of freedom of
mlnd and cut off from the sources of llfe we carry wlthln
us, unless we also possess the glft of lntultlon when we
trace ourselves back to our orlgln. Perhaps one can apply
to thls lntultlon, the central polnt of the Bergsonlan doc
trlne, the brllllant expresslon that he uses about lntelll
gence and lnstlnct. the perllous way toward vaster
posslbllltles. Wlthln the llmlts of lts knowledge, lntelll
gence possesses loglcal certalnty, but lntultlon, dynamlc
llke everythlng that belongs to llvlng tlme, must wlthout
doubt content ltself wlth the lntenslty of lts certalnty.
Jhls ls the drama. creatlve evolutlon ls dlsclosed,
and man flnds hlmself thrust on stage by the éä~å îáí~ä of
unlversal llfe whlch pushes hlm lrreslstlbly to act, once
he has come to the knowledge of hls own freedom, capa
ble of dlvlnlng and gllmpslng the endless route that has
been travelled wlth the perspectlve of a boundless fleld
openlng onto other paths. Whlch of these paths ls man
golng to follow?
In reallty we are only at the beglnnlng of the
drama, and lt can scarcely be otherwlse, especlally lf one
conslders Bergson`s concept that the future ls born only
at the moment ln whlch lt ls llved. However, somethlng ls
lacklng ln thls beglnnlng ltself. Jhe author tells us noth
lng of the wlll lnherent ln the free personallty, of the wlll
that determlnes actlon and that has the power to trace
stralght llnes across the unforeseeable curves of thls per
sonallty. Iurthermore, he tells us nothlng about the prob
lem of llfe domlnated by wlll power, about the exlstence
or nonexlstence of absolute values.
What ls the essence of the lrreslstlble ¨ä~å îáí~äI that
onslaught of llfe agalnst the lnertla of matter, whlch,
accordlng to Bergson`s audaclous and magnlflcent
expresslon, wlll one day trlumph perhaps over death
ltself? What wlll lt make of us when lt places at our feet
all earthly power?
However compllcated they may be, one cannot
escape these questlons. Is the phllosopher perhaps at thls
very moment on hls way to the solutlon, certalnly as ten
tatlve and audaclous as hls prevlous work has been and
rlcher stlll ln posslbllltles?
Jhere stlll remaln some polnts to clarlfy. Does he
perhaps seek to put an end to the duallsm of the lmage he
glves of the world ln seeklng out a klnd of ¨ä~å îáí~ä that
applles to matter? We know nothlng ln thls regard, but
Bergson has hlmself presented hls system as constltutlng,
on many polnts, only an outllne that must be completed
ln lts detalls by the collaboratlon of other thlnkers.
We are lndebted to hlm, nevertheless, for one
achlevement of lmportance. by a passage he has forced
through the gates of ratlonallsm, he has released a cre
atlve lmpulse of lnestlmable value, openlng a large access
to the waters of llvlng tlme, to that atmosphere ln whlch
the human mlnd wlll be able to redlscover lts freedom
and thus be born anew.
l13
ai_ POV eÉåêá _ÉêÖëçå
If the outllnes of hls thought prove sound enough
to serve as guldes to the human splrlt, Bergson can be
assured, ln the future, of an lnfluence even greater than
the lnfluence he ls already enjoylng. As styllst and as
poet, he ylelds place to none of hls contemporarles; ln
thelr strlctly objectlve search for truth, all hls asplratlons
are anlmated by a splrlt of freedom whlch, breaklng the
servltude that matter lmposes, makes room for ldeallsm.
|¹ Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l928.|

_ÉêÖëçåW _~åèìÉí péÉÉÅÜ
fåíêçÇìÅíçêó êÉã~êâë Äó mêçÑÉëëçê d∏ëí~ cçêëëÉää ~í íÜÉ
kçÄÉä _~åèìÉí ~í dê~åÇ e∑íÉäI píçÅâÜçäãI NM aÉÅÉãÄÉê NVOUW
Henrl Bergson has glven us a phllosophlcal system
whlch could have served Nobel`s ldea as a basls and sup
port, the ldea of acknowledglng wlth hls Prlzes not human
deeds but new ldeas revealed through select personalltles.
Bergson`s hlghmlnded works strlve to regaln for man`s
consclousness the dlvlne glft of lntultlon and to put reason
ln lts proper place. servlng and controlllng ldeas.
_ÉêÖëçåÛë ëéÉÉÅÜ EêÉ~Ç Äó íÜÉ cêÉåÅÜ jáåáëíÉêI ^êã~åÇ _Éêå~êÇI ~ë
_ÉêÖëçå ÅçìäÇ åçí ~ííÉåÇF Eqê~åëä~íáçåF
I wlsh I had been able to express my feellngs ln per
son. Permlt me to do so through the Irench Mlnlster, Mr.
Armand Bernard, who has klndly consented to convey
my message. I thank the Swedlsh Academy from the bot
tom of my heart. It has bestowed upon me an honour to
whlch I should not have dared asplre. I recognlze lts value
even more, and I am even more moved by lt, when I con
slder that thls dlstlnctlon, glven to a Irench wrlter, may be
regarded as a slgn of sympathy glven to Irance.
Jhe prestlge of the Nobel Prlze ls due to many
causes, but ln partlcular to lts twofold ldeallstlc and lnterna
tlonal character. ldeallstlc ln that lt has been deslgned for
works of lofty lnsplratlon; lnternatlonal ln that lt ls
awarded after the productlon of dlfferent countrles has
been mlnutely studled and the lntellectual balance sheet of
the whole world has been drawn up. Iree from all other
conslderatlons and lgnorlng any but lntellectual values, the
judges have dellberately taken thelr place ln what the phl
losophers have called a communlty of the mlnd. Jhus they
conform to the founder`s expllclt lntentlon. Alfred Bern
hard Nobel declared ln hls wlll that he wanted to serve the
causes of ldeallsm and the brotherhood of natlons. By
establlshlng a peace Prlze alongslde the hlgh awards ln arts
and sclences, he marked hls goal wlth preclslon.
It was a great ldea. Its orlglnator was an lnventlve
genlus and yet he apparently dld not share an llluslon
wldespread ln hls century. If the nlneteenth century made
tremendous progress ln mechanlcal lnventlons, lt too
often assumed that these lnventlons, by the sheer accumu
latlon of thelr materlal effects, would ralse the moral level
of manklnd. Increaslng experlence has proved, on the
contrary, that the technologlcal development of a soclety
does not automatlcally result ln the moral perfectlon of
the men llvlng ln lt, and that an lncrease ln the materlal
means at the dlsposal of humanlty may even present dan
gers unless lt ls accompanled by a correspondlng splrltual
effort. Jhe machlnes we bulld, belng artlflclal organs that
are added to our natural organs, extend thelr scope, and
thus enlarge the body of humanlty. If that body ls to be
kept entlre and lts movements regulated, the soul must
expand ln turn; otherwlse lts equlllbrlum wlll be threat
ened and grave dlfflcultles wlll arlse, soclal as well as pollt
lcal, whlch wlll reflect on another level the dlsproportlon
between the soul of manklnd, hardly changed from lts
orlglnal state, and lts enormously enlarged body. Jo take
only the most strlklng example. one mlght have expected
that the use of steam and electrlclty, by dlmlnlshlng dls
tances, would by ltself brlng about a moral ê~ééêçÅÜÉãÉåí
between peoples. Joday we know that thls was not the
case and that antagonlsms, far from dlsappearlng, wlll rlsk
belng aggravated lf a splrltual progress, a greater effort
toward brotherhood, ls not accompllshed. Jo move
toward such a ê~ééêçÅÜÉãÉåí of souls ls the natural ten
dency of a foundatlon wlth an lnternatlonal character and
an ldeallstlc outlook whlch lmplles that the entlre clvlllzed
world ls envlsaged from a purely lntellectual polnt of vlew
as constltutlng one slngle and ldentlcal republlc of mlnds.
Such ls the Nobel Ioundatlon.
It ls not surprlslng that thls ldea was concelved and
reallzed ln a country as hlghly lntellectual as Sweden,
among a people who have glven so much attentlon to
moral questlons and have recognlzed that all others fol
low from them, and who, to clte only one example, have
been the flrst to grasp that the polltlcal problem par excel
lence ls the problem of educatlon.
Jhus the scope of the Nobel Ioundatlon seems to
wlden as lts slgnlflcance ls more deeply reallzed, and to
have beneflted from lt becomes an honour all the more
deeply appreclated. No one ls more fully aware of thls
than I am. I wlshed to say so before thls lllustrlous audl
ence, and I conclude, as I began, wlth the expresslon of
my profound gratltude.
| ¹ Jhe Nobel Ioundatlon, l928. Henrl Bergson ls the
sole author of hls speech.|
l11
_à›êåëíàÉêåÉ _à›êåëçå
(S Scptcmbcr 1SJ2 - 26 Zpril 1910)
e~åë eK pâÉá
Uvivcrsity of Uslo
BOOKS. Syvv›vc Solbollcv (Chrlstlanla. |ohan Dahls,
l857); translated by Augusta Bethell and Augusta
Plesner as Iovc ovd Iifc iv `orwoy (London. Cas
sell, Petter × Galpln, l870);
Mcllcm slogcvc (Chrlstlanla. C. A. Dybwad, l857);
Holtc-Huldo (Bergen. H. |. Geelmuydens Enkes Offlcln
og Iorlag, l858);
Zrvc (Bergen. H. |. Geelmuydens Enkes Offlcln og Ior
lag, l859); translated as Zrvc, or Icosovt Iifc iv `or-
woy: Z `orwcgiov Tolc (Bergen, l860);
Sm™styllcr (Chrlstlanla, l860)÷lncludes 'Jhrond," Iv
glod gut, and 'Iaderen";
Iovg Svcrrc (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l86l);
Sigurd Slcmbc (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l862); trans
lated by Wllllam Morton Payne as Sigurd Slcmbc:
Z Dromotic Trilogy (Boston. Houghton, Mlfflln,
l888);
Morio Stuort i Slottlovd (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l861);
Dc `ygiftc (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l865); translated
by |ohn Volk as Tlc `cwly Morricd (Chlcago.
Scandlnavla, l885);
Iislcrjcvtcv (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l868); translated
from the author`s German edltlon by M. E. Nlles
as Tlc Iislcr-Moidcv: Z `orwcgiov Tolc (New York.
Leypoldt × Holt, l869);
Zrvljot Ccllivc (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l870); trans
lated by Payne as Zrvljot Ccllivc (New York. Amer
lcanScandlnavlan Ioundatlon, l9l7);
Digtc og Sovgc (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l870; revlsed
and enlarged edltlons, l880, l890, and l9l1);
Iort‹llivgcr, 2 volumes (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l872)÷
comprlses volume l, Zrvc, Syvv›vc Solbollcv, ¸‹rv-
bovcv og Iirlcgoordcv, and Sm™styllcr; and volume
2, Iv glod gut, Iislcrjcvtcv, and ßrudcsl™ttcv;
Sigurd ¸orsolfor (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l872);
ßrudcsl™ttcv (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l873);
Iv follit (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l875);
Icdolt›rcv (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l871 |l.e., l875|);
Iovgcv (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l877);
Mogvlild (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l877);
!is-Ivut (Chlcago. Skandlnavens boghandel, l878);
translated by Bernard Stahl as !isc-Ivut (New
York. Brandu`s, l909);
Dct vy systcm (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l879);
Ioptciv Movsovo (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l879);
Icovordo (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l879);
Iv lovslc (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l883); translated
by Osman Edwards as Z Couvtlct (London × New
York. Longmans, Green, l891);
_à›êåëíàÉêåÉ _à›êåëçå E Ñêçã mä~óëI íê~åëä~íÉÇ Äó bÇïáå _à›êâã~åI
NVNPX qÜçã~ë `ççéÉê iáÄê~êóI råáîÉêëáíó çÑ
pçìíÜ `~êçäáå~F
l15
ai_ POV _à›êåëíàÉêåÉ _à›êåëçå
Uvcr ‹vvc I (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l883); translated
by Wllllam Wllson as Iostor Sovg (London × New
York. Longmans, Green, l893);
Dct flogcr i bycv og p™ lovvcv (Copenhagen. Gyldendal,
l881); translated by Cecll Ialrfax as Tlc Hcritogc
of tlc Iurts (London. Helnemann, l892);
Ccogrofi og lj‹rliglcd (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l885);
Ivgiftc og movgcgiftc: It forcdrog (Iagerstrand pr. H›vlk.
Blbllothek for de tusen hjem, l888);
I™ Cuds vcjc (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l889); translated
by Ellzabeth Carmlchael as Iv Cod`s !oy (London.
Helnemann, l890; New York. Lovell, l890);
`yc fort‹llivgcr (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l891)÷com
prlses Zbsolovs l™r, It stygt borvdomsmivdc, Mors
l‹vdcr, and Iv dog;
Uvcr ‹vvc II (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l895);
Ioul Iovgc og Toro Iorsbcrg (Copenhagen. Gyldendal,
l898); translated by H. L. Braekstad as Ioul Iovgc
ovd Toro Iorsbcrg (London × New York. Harper,
l899);
Ioborcmus (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l90l); translated
as Ioborcmus (London. Chapman × Hall, l90l);
To fort‹llivgcr (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l90l)÷com
prlses St›v and Ivor ßyc;
I™ Storlovc (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l902);
Doglovvct (Copenhagen × Chrlstlanla. Gyldendal,
l901);
Mory (Copenhagen × Chrlstlanla. Gyldendal, l906);
To tolcr (Copenhagen. Gyldendal, l906);
`™r dcv vy viv blomstrcr (Copenhagen × Chrlstlanla. Gyl
dendal, l909).
`çääÉÅíáçåW Somlcdc digtcrv‹rlcr, 9 volumes, edlted by
Irancls Bull (Copenhagen × Chrlstlanla. Gylden
dal, l9l9-l920).
bÇáíáçåë áå båÖäáëÜW Iifc by tlc Iclls ovd Iiords: Z `orwc-
giov Slctcl-ßool (London. Strahan, l879)÷lncludes
Zrvc and ßrudc-Sloottcv;
!orls, 5 volumes, translated by Rasmus B. Anderson
(New York. Doubleday, Page, l882)÷comprlses
volume l, Syvvovc Solbollcv; volume 2, Mogvild
and Dust; volume 3, Tlc ßridol Morcl and Coptoiv
Movsovo; volume 1, Tlc Iislcr Moidcv; and vol
ume 5, Z Hoppy ßoy, ßlollcv, Iidclity, and Z Iroblcm
of Iifc;
Tlc `ovcls of ßj∏rvstjcrvc ßj∏rvsov, l3 volumes, edlted by
Edmund Gosse (New York. Macmlllan, l895-
l909)÷comprlses volume l, Syvv∏vc Solbollcv,
translated by |ulle Sutter (l895); volume 2, Zrvc,
translated by Wllllam Low (l895); volume 3, Z
Hoppy ßoy, translated by Mrs. W. Archer (l896);
volume 1, Tlc Iislcr Ioss (l896); volume 5, Tlc
ßridol Morcl c Uvc Doy (l896); volume 6, Mog-
vlild c Dust (l897); volume 7, Coptoiv Movsovo c
Motlcr`s Hovds (l897); volume 8, Zbsolom`s Hoir c
Z Ioivful Mcmory (l898); volumes 9-l0, Iv Cod`s
!oy, translated by Ellzabeth Carmlchael (l908);
volumes ll-l2, Tlc Hcritogc of tlc Iurts, translated
by Cecll Ialrfax (l908); and volume l3, Mory,
translated by Mary Morlson (l909);
Tlrcc Comcdics, translated by R. Iarquharson Sharp
(London. Dent, l9l2)÷comprlses Tlc `cwly-
Morricd Couplc, Icovordo, and Tlc Couvtlct;
Iloys, translated by Edwln Bj›rkman (New York. Scrlb
ners, l9l3)÷comprlses Tlc Couvtlct, ßcyovd Uur
Iowcr, and Tlc `cw Systcm;
Iloys, 2d Scrics, translated by Bj›rkman (New York.
Scrlbners, l9l1)÷comprlses Iovc ovd Ccogroply,
ßcyovd Humov Miglt, and Ioborcmus;
Tlrcc Dromos, translated by Sharp (London. Dent / New
York. E. P. Dutton, l9l1)÷comprlses Tlc Iditor,
Tlc ßovlrupt, and Tlc Iivg;
Iocms ovd Sovgs, translated by Arthur Hubbell Palmer
(New York. AmerlcanScandlnavlan Ioundatlon,
l9l5).
PLAY PRODLCJIONS. Mcllcm slogcvc, Chrlstlanla
|Oslo|, Chrlstlanla Jheater, 27 October l857;
Iovg Svcrrc, Chrlstlanla, Chrlstlanla Norske Jeater, 9
October l86l;
Holtc-Huldo, Chrlstlanla, Chrlstlanla Norske Jeater, 25
Aprll l862;
Sigurd Slcmbc, parts l and 3, Jrondhelm, Jrondhjems
Jeater, 30 September l863;
Dc `ygiftc, Copenhagen, Det Kongellge Jheater, 23
November l865;
Morio Stuort i Slottlovd, Chrlstlanla, Chrlstlanla Jheater,
29 March l867;
Sigurd ¸orsolfor, Chrlstlanla, Chrlstlanla Jheater, l0
Aprll l872;
Iv follit, Stockholm, Nya Jeatern, l9 |anuary l875;
Icdolt›rcv, Stockholm, Nya Jeatern, l7 Iebruary l875;
Dct vy systcm, Berlln, ResldenzJheater, l9 December
l878;
Icovordo, Chrlstlanla, Chrlstlanla Jheater, 22 Aprll
l879;
Iv lovslc, Hamburg, StadtJheater, ll October l883;
Ccogrofi og lj‹rliglcd, Chrlstlanla, Chrlstlanla Jheater,
2l October l885;
Uvcr ‹vvc I, Stockholm, Nya Jeatern, 3 |anuary l886;
Uvcr ‹vvc II, Parls, Jhéâtre de l`oeuvre, l897;
Ioul Iovgc og Toro Iorsbcrg, Stuttgart, sprlng l90l;
Ioborcmus, Chrlstlanla, Natlonaltheateret, 29 Aprll
l90l;
Iovgcv, Chrlstlanla, Natlonaltheateret, ll September
l902;
I™ Storlovc, Chrlstlanla, Natlonaltheateret, 1 November
l902;
l16
_à›êåëíàÉêåÉ _à›êåëçå ai_ POV
a~Öä~ååÉíI Chrlstlanla, Natlonaltheateret, 3l August
l905;
k™ê ÇÉå åó îáå ÄäçãëíêÉêI Chrlstlanla, Natlonaltheateret, 29
September l909.
JRANSLAJION. Vlctor Hugo, üêÜìåÇêÉÇÉåÉë äÉÖÉåÇÉ
(Oslo, l9ll).
Bj›rnstjerne Bj›rnson was awarded the Nobel
Prlze ln Llterature for l903, as the thlrd wrlter to
recelve thls honor. He was an obvlous cholce for the
Swedlsh Academy, especlally slnce he, more than most
wrlters, fulfllled the requlrement that the reclplent`s llt
erary works ought to be wrltten ln an 'ldeallstlc splrlt."
In addltlon to a llfelong career of wrltlng poetry, storles,
novels, and plays wlth hlgh but shlftlng ldeals, Bj›rnson
had used hls posltlon as an author of lnternatlonal
renown to help persecuted lndlvlduals and oppressed
natlons. He was thus a more natural cholce for the
Swedlsh Academy than hls contemporary and fellow
Norweglan, Henrlk Ibsen, although tlme has shown
that Ibsen`s work has more lastlng value and appeal;
Bj›rnson`s work ls no longer read much, even ln hls
natlve country, and hls once so radlcally new and
trendsettlng plays are rarely performed. Yet, Bj›rnson
remalns a slgnlflcant author ln Norweglan llterary hls
tory, because he wrote ln all genres and was the flrst
author÷before Ibsen÷to produce hlstorlcal dramas as
well as reallstlc plays from the contemporary scene,
wlth thelr lmplled dlscusslons of soclal problems of
many sorts.
Bj›rnson was an lmportant and declslve flgure
both as a wrlter and as a publlc volce ln a natlon that
had obtalned lts freedom (from Denmark) and lts own
constltutlon only ln l8l1 and had had to accept a unlon
wlth Sweden and a Swedlsh klng who was also the klng
of Norway. Wrlters could, ln the days when Bj›rnson
publlshed hls earllest work, really be 'the trumpets that