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From José Echegaray to Mario Vargas Llosa: these are the winners of the Nobel Prize in the Spanish language


Mario Vargas Llosa receives the Nobel Prize
Mario Vargas Llosa receives the Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prizes of 2023 are being delivered during this same week, and while the winners for Medicine, Physics and Chemistry have already been announced, those for literature are announced this Thursday, October 4. Although there are many writers who sound like favorites, the truth is that there is not a large presence of Spanish writers among the possible contenders, but there is a large presence of Spanish speakers.

The Chilean Raúl Zurita, the Mexican Elena Poniatowska or the Argentine Cesar Aira are some of those who are running as candidates for the 2023 Nobel Prize in Literature. Although no one is a clear favorite, it would be a great opportunity to recover this prize in the Spanish language, since no one has won it for more than ten years. . The last was the Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa, who in 2010 won the prestigious award, joining the select list of writers who have been worthy of the award. For this reason, we review all the winners of the Nobel Prizes in Spanish.

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Born in 1832 in Madrid, Jose Echegaray He was nothing less than the first Spanish Nobel Prize winner and also the first Spanish-speaking. All of this without even being a writer as such, since Echegaray carried out many functions: mathematician, playwright, engineer… he even became a renowned politician, and first served as general director of Public Works appointed after the Revolution of 1868, and later as Minister of Finance, a position he held up to three times, the last during the reign of Alfonso XIII despite Echegaray’s republican past. It was precisely his time after leaving politics that allowed him to develop as a writer, and his most notable works were The natural daughter, Don Juan’s son either Stain that cleans.

Portrait of José Echegaray
Portrait of José Echegaray

“For the happy way in which he has continued the illustrious traditions of Spanish drama”: that is the reason given by the Nobel Prize commission to certify that Jacinto Benavente was worthy of the prize. The Madrid native was presented with the award in 1922, thus becoming the second Spaniard and Spanish speaker to achieve it. Benavente was a prolific playwright, and among his works stand out Losi vested interests, Saturday night either The bad dear.

Image by Jacinto Benavente
Image by Jacinto Benavente

Mistral was an exceptional woman, not only for being the first Ibero-American woman to win the award in 1945, but also for being the first to win the award coming from Latin America, and opening the door for future writers who would follow her path. In her acceptance speech, the Chilean woman pointed out the same thing: “By a chance that surpasses me, I am at this moment the direct voice of the poets of my race and the indirect voice of the very noble Spanish and Portuguese languages. “Both are happy to have been invited to the coexistence of Nordic life, all of it assisted by her ancient folklore and poetry.” His most notable works Sonnets of death, Desolation either Winerypublished after the award.

Gabriela Mistral, Chilean Nobel Prize winner
Gabriela Mistral, Chilean Nobel Prize winner

The next Nobel Prize in Literature fell again on Spanish lands, and it was none other than the great Juan Ramón Jiménez, one of the great poets in the history of Spain and who, however, was never finished, not even in the Generation of ’98. nor later in that of 27, of which he was the father to a large extent but was never recognized as such. As a poet, Jiménez is recognized for works as important as Poems, sad arias either Diary of a poetalthough without a doubt the best known is Platero and me.

The Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez
The Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez

Another writer who was key to the development of Latin American writing was Miguel Ángel Asturias, Nobel Prize winner in 1967. The Guatemalan captured in his works both a reliable and valuable portrait of the different indigenous cultures of his country while recounting life under the dictatorship of Manuel Estrada Cabrera. Asturias would end up emigrating to Paris, where he would write corn menconsidered by many to be his masterpiece and one of the best examples of magical realism.

Image of the writer Miguel Ángel Asturias
Image of the writer Miguel Ángel Asturias

Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes, known to everyone as Pablo Neruda, received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971, two years before he died. By then, the poet had already given many joys through notable works.Eight love poems and a desperate song, Spain in the heart -in which he exposed the horrors of the Spanish Civil War- either Bird art.

Photograph of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda
Photograph of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda

The Sevillian poet belonging to the Generation of ’27 was one of the most prominent in Spanish literature of the 20th century. Not in vain did he receive the prestigious award in 1977, based on “a creative poetic writing that illuminates the condition of man in the cosmos and in today’s society, at the same time that it represents the great renewal of the traditions of Spanish poetry between wars.” ”. Among his works stand out Destruction or love, The shadow of paradise either world alone.

Image by Vicente Aleixandre
Image by Vicente Aleixandre

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Just five years later, another Spanish-speaking writer received the award, which is normally spread much more widely over time. But a giant of modern literature like Gabriel García Márquez could not be left without his prize. The author of One hundred years of loneliness He won the Nobel Prize in 1982 “for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the real are combined in a world richly composed of imagination, reflecting the life and conflicts of a continent.”

The writer Gabriel Garcçia Márquez
The writer Gabriel Garcçia Márquez

The last Nobel Prize in literature that we find in our country dates back to 1989, when the illustrious Camilo José Cela won the prize “for rich and intense prose that with moderate compassion forms a challenging vision of man’s vulnerability.” The author of such important novels in the 20th century as Beehive either The Pascual Duarte familyCela is one of the greatest exponents of postwar Spanish literature.

Image of the novelist Camilo José Cela
Image of the novelist Camilo José Cela

The year after Cela won the Nobel Prize, he was succeeded by the also Spanish-speaking Octavio Paz. The Mexican poet and essayist began writing from a very young age, and in 1933 he had already published Wild Moon, his first work of poetry. Others would happen to her like sun stone either Salamanderas well as great essays such as The Labyrinth of Solitude or its sequel published twenty years later, Postscript.

Photography by Octavio Paz
Photography by Octavio Paz

Last but not least, we find the Nobel Prize to Mario Vargas Llosa, awarded in 2010. The Peruvian writer is the last winner in the Spanish language to date, “for his cartography of power structures and his scathing images of resistance.” of the individual, rebellion and defeat.” Vargas Llosa is one of the greatest exponents of the so-called latin american boom and one of the most prolific writers of his generation, highlighting The city and the dogs, The goat festival either The green House as capital works in his career.

Mario Vargas Llosa was the author of Latin American classics such as "The War of the End of the World", "The party of the goat" and "Conversation in the Cathedral" (Composition: Carlos Oré Arroyo/Infobae)
Mario Vargas Llosa was the author of Latin American classics such as “The War at the End of the World”, “The Feast of the Goat” and “Conversation in the Cathedral” (Composition: Carlos Oré Arroyo/Infobae)



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