Gabriel García Márquez. Biography: (born: March 6, 1927, Aracataca, Colombia—died April 17, 2014, Mexico City, Mexico).
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Short story writer, novelist and journalist. One of the greatest writers of the 20th century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, mostly for his masterpiece of fiction, Cien años de soledad (1967; One Hundred Years of Solitude).
García Márquez is the best-known Latin American writer in history. In addition to his masterly approach to the novel, he was a superb crafter of short stories and a highly accomplished journalist. In both his shorter and longer fictions, García Márquez achieved the rare feat of being adored by the ordinary reader while satisfying the most demanding of sophisticated critics and academic scholars.
Although he studied law, García Márquez became a journalist, the trade at which he earned his living before attaining literary fame. As a newspaper correspondent in Paris during the mid-1950s, he expanded his education, reading a great deal of American literature (in particular, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway), some of it in French translation. In the early 1950s and ’60s, he worked in Bogotá, Colombia, and then in New York City, for Prensa Latina, the news service created by the regime of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Later he moved to Mexico City, where he wrote the novel that brought him fame and wealth. The move from N.Y.C. to Mexico City was by bus which took him and his family through Faulkner country of the south, U.S.A.
From 1967 to 1975 he lived in Barcelona, Spain, where he solidified his relationship with his literary agent, Carmen Balcells, whose agency was in Barcelona. Subsequently he kept a house in Mexico City and an apartment in Paris, but he also spent much time in Havana, where Castro (whom García Márquez supported) provided him with a mansion.
Before 1967 García Márquez had published three novellas, La hojarasca (1955; Leaf Storm and Other Stories); El coronel no tiene quien le escriba (1961; No One Writes to the Colonel); and La mala hora (1962; In Evil Hour); plus a collection of short stories; Los funerales de la Mamá grande (1962; Big Mama’s Funeral).
Then came One Hundred Years of Solitude, in which García Márquez tells the story of Macondo, an isolated town whose history is a microcosm of the history of Latin America. While the setting is realistic, there are fantastic episodes, a combination that has come to be known as “magical realism,” mixing historical facts and stories with instances of the fantastic, wrongly thought to be the peculiar feature of all Latin American literature.
García Márquez likely derived his style from reading Alejo Carpentier, Arturo Uslar-Pietri, Miguel Angel Asturias, and Jorge Luis Borges, considered to be the founders of magical realism. The inhabitants of Macondo are driven by elemental passions—lust, greed, thirst for power—which are thwarted by crude societal, political, or natural forces, as in Greek tragedy and myth.
Continuing his magisterial output, García Márquez issued El otoño del patriarca (1975; The Autumn of the Patriarch), Crónica de una muerte anunciada (1981; Chronicle of a Death Foretold), El amor en los tiempos del cólera (1985; Love in the Time of Cholera; a 2007 film), El general en su laberinto (1989; The General in His Labyrinth), and Del amor y otros demonios (1994; Of Love and Other Demons).
The most popular among those books are Love in the Time of Cholera, about a touching love affair that takes decades to be consummated, and The General in His Labyrinth, a chronicle of Simón Bolívar’s last days. In 1996 García Márquez published a journalistic chronicle of drug-related kidnappings in his native Colombia, Noticia de un secuestro (News of a Kidnapping).
After being diagnosed with lymphoma in 1999, García Márquez wrote the memoir Vivir para contarla (2002; Living to Tell the Tale), which focuses on his first 30 years. He returned to fiction with Memoria de mis putas tristes (2004; Memories of My Melancholy Whores), a novel about a lonely man who finally discovers the meaning of love when he hires a virginal prostitute to celebrate his 90th birthday.
García Márquez was known for his capacity to create vast, minutely woven plots and brief, tightly knit narratives in the fashion of his two North American models, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. The easy flow of even the most intricate of his stories has been compared to that of Miguel de Cervantes (1605; Don Quixote) as have his irony and overall humor. García Márquez’s novelistic world is mostly that of provincial Colombia, where medieval and modern practices and beliefs clash both comically and tragically creating a rich tapestry of mid-20th century Latin America. By Roberto González Echevarría with permission.
The Gabriel García Márquez Collection (on line in the near future) is in the form of an annotated bibliography. It is a comprehensive database that will allow visitors to search, sort, and select from over 7,000 items (citations) by and about GGM. Items such as books, magazines and ephemera are cross-referenced within 19 categories such as film, criticism, journalism, speeches, interviews, books in English, piracy editions, and etc. There are over 10,000 color illustrations that include book covers, title pages, copyright pages and colophons. There is also a category for books in translation that comprise 45 languages.
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