June 13, 2021

Caballero Bonald, the penultimate of the generation of 50, dies

Madrid, May 9 (EFE) .- The poet, novelist and essayist José Manuel Caballero Bonald, 2012 Cervantes Prize, who died this Sunday in a Madrid hospital at the age of 94, was the penultimate of the architects of the great poetic renewal of the generation of 50 and who made critical thinking and insubordination a constant in his work.

Caballero Bonald, born in Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz) on November 11, 1926, died after being hospitalized for a few days, and left “calm, without suffering and in peace, just as he wanted,” one of his sons explained to Efe. . His remains have been transferred to the funeral home on the M-30, where the wake will be held, to be later cremated.

Numerous messages of condolence and recognition have followed each other since, early Sunday morning, the death of the writer was known.

Through social networks, personalities and institutions of culture and politics have recalled on social networks the verses of Caballero Bonald, penultimate survivor of the generation of 50, along with the poet Francisco Brines, Cervantes 2020 prize winner.

Poet, novelist and essayist, Caballero Bonald was recognized throughout his literary career with the most prestigious awards in the Spanish language and, in addition to the Cervantes Award, he won the Critics Award on three occasions, the Nacional las Letras Españolas in 2005 and the Nacional de Poesía in 2006, as well as the Reina Sofía de Poesía Iberoamericana in 2004, or the Francisco Umbral for the book of the year, among others.

Critical, insubordinate and sly, he always defended the “consoling” power of poetry in the face of the upheavals and discouragement that history may bring and this was stated on several occasions throughout his life.

In 1952 he published his first literary work, the collection of poems “Las adivinaciones”. Later appeared the anthology “Live to tell it” (1969), the novel “Ágata, ojos de gato” (1975, Critics Award) and the poetry book “Descrédito del hero” (1978, Critics Award).

In poetry, and after the shout of insubordination and nonconformity that was “Manual de infringers”, published eight after “Diario de Argónida”, he displayed the same spirit in “The night has no walls” (2009), where he immersed himself in “the abyss of memory” and claimed the need to doubt because “the one who has no doubts, the one who is sure of everything, is the closest thing there is to an imbecile.”

And then in 2012 came what was perhaps his most risky adventure, “Entreguerras”, a long autobiographical poem, of almost three thousand verses, without rhyme or predetermined meter and without punctuation marks.

As a novelist he published “Two days of September” (Short Library Prize, 1961), “All night they heard the birds pass by” (Seville Athenaeum Prize, 1981), “In the father’s house” (Plaza and Janés Prize, 1988) or “Campo de Agramante”.

Also memoir books, and as an essayist and columnist he was the author of titles such as “Notes on Andalusian cante”; “Cuban narrative of the revolution”; “Lights and shadows of flamenco”; “Luis Góngora: Poetry”; “Seville in the time of Cervantes”; “Copies al natural” or “Sea inside”.

Considered “the poet of the great metaphor”, at the age of 90 he explained how he lived a good part of the year at the mouth of the Guadalquivir, in front of Doñana, something that comforted him because it was like a tonic to strengthen himself against what was happening in the world , with “all those outrages in charge of the fanatics, the submissive, the gregarious” that he did not like.

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, praised his figure this Sunday and described him as “a benchmark in recent times of culture in our country.”

The president of the Congress, Meritxell Batet, also mourned the death of the Cervantes Prize; the Ministry of Culture and Sports; the Cervantes Institute; the Government spokesperson, María Jesús Montero; the president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno; its former president, Susana Díaz; the mayor of Seville, Juan Espadas; parties such as the PSOE, Podemos or the president of Ciudadanos, Inés Arrimadas.

The publishing houses Seix Barral and Alianza Editorial and writers such as Fernando Aramburu have also expressed their sorrow for the death of the “teacher.”

The province of Cádiz mourns the deceased writer and the Jerez City Council is going to declare a day of official mourning for the death of the writer. Tomorrow, Monday, there will be a minute of silence at the headquarters of the Caballero Bonald Foundation. Its mayor, Mamen Sánchez, has guaranteed that this city will pamper its legacy so that its memory survives.

A legacy of his has also been guarded for eleven years in the Caja de las Letras of the Instituto Cervantes, and its content will not be revealed until November 11, 2051, on the 125th anniversary of his birth.

“It moves me that in forty years someone opens this box, tear open the envelope and remember that I was a writer from the 20th century, who looked into the 21st, who came to the old town and wrote something that was worth guarding “he said then.


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