The Man and His Work
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
Preface to the Second Edition
García Márquez: The Man and His Work first came out in 1990. In the intervening years, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the warm reception it initially drew and then continued to receive, both in and outside of the academy. Besides being awarded a Latin American Studies prize and garnering special journal citations shortly after its appearance...
I wish to extend my sincerest thanks to all who have aided in making this book possible. The earliest ideas I ever entertained about García Márquez were first heeded and encouraged in the 1970s by Enrique Anderson-Imbert and by the late Raimundo Lida, both of Harvard University. At different times over the years, insights and...
A Note on the Text
All page references to García Márquez’s work are given in parentheses within
the main text. The Spanish-language edition is cited first, followed by the English
translation. By way of example: a passage documented as (CAS, 83–84;
OYS, 34–35) is to be found in
A Map of García Márquez Country
PART ONE: BACKGROUNDS
1 | The Novel
“ The second half of the twentieth century will be remembered as the era of the Latin American novel.” Only time will tell whether such a speculation, raised individually by critics Maurice Nadeau and Raymond Sokolov, is actually to be borne out. Still, it cannot be doubted that, beginning with Borges and Carpentier in...
2 | The Country
In colonial times the area then known as Nueva Granada was to inspire Spanish imaginations as the land of El Dorado, “the Golden One,” referring to an inaugural ritual of the Chibcha Indians in the mountains near Bogotá. The actual ceremony consisted of the new tribal chief, covered with gold dust, being borne on a raft along...
3 | The Writer’s Life
The story of García Márquez’s life is one of steady growth of a number of vocations, all of them interrelated. First, obviously, there is that of writer, both of fiction and journalism (the two of course being narrative crafts), and more broadly his role as lyrical historian of his region and of Hispanic America. Closely linked with his mission...
4 | The Man and His Politics
Garcia Marquez’s mornings have been traditionally reserved exclusively for writing. Awake at six o’clock, he sips a cup of coffee and reads the newspaper in bed. He then puts on his writing gear (blue one-piece coveralls with a front zipper), and if in Mexico City he heads for the specially made bungalow he has in his backyard. There...
5 | The Readings
For all his ordinariness, his plebeian perspective, and his insistence that he is still basically one of the eleven offspring of the telegraph operator of Aracataca, García Márquez is a man of wide erudition, literary and otherwise. It is also true that he makes little display of his book learning, owing in part to his healthy suspicion of any pomp...
PART TWO: WORKS
6 | The History of Macondo
To approach One Hundred Years of Solitude is not just to read a novel but to stumble onto a vast cultural territory and glimpse a dizzying array of people and patterns, horizons and meanings. Its chronology actually spans from the beginnings of European settlement in America to the dislocations of recent times — later sixteenth century to approximately mid-twentieth. Its characters and their actions represent...
7 | The Master of Short Forms
Had García Márquez never put any of his novels to paper, his shorter fiction would have still gained him some niche in literary history. Already in 1967 the Uruguayan writer Mario Benedetti was to observe that “some of the stories gathered in Big Mama’s Funeral can be considered among the most perfect instances of the genre ever written in Latin America.”1 We might venture yet further and say that those pieces...
8 | Juvenilia and Apprenticeship (A Brief Interlude)
A still-developing Shakespeare wrote as his first tragic play the amorphous and sensationalistic Titus Andronicus. Faulkner in his thirtieth year published his thoroughly uncharacteristic and weak second novel Mosquitoes. Many a great author-to-be serves a public apprenticeship in the craft and fashions early writings scarcely suggestive...
9 | The Anatomy of Tyranny
We all know the stereotype: the Latino military general, with mustache and dark glasses perhaps, his chest colorfully adorned with stacks of medals and/ or ribbons, a man crudely, grotesquely vicious, but also faintly clownish in his role as dictator-in-perpetuity of a mixed-race republic located somewhere in the Andes or the tropics. It...
10 | The Novelist of Love
It was only when he was in his late fifties that García Márquez came to be regarded as one of the great writers of romantic love. While Caribbean magic and politics stand out as the subjects most commonly associated with his art, the truth is also that few novelists have written as wisely and in such full depth about that banal yet elusive world of male-female attraction, courtship, and love, with all its attendant...
11 | The Bolívar Novel
In the decades that followed his Nobel Prize, García Márquez showed no sign of settling into high complacency, contenting himself with past achievements, or becoming a public mouthpiece. On the contrary, as an artist he continued to astound his readers by taking on subject matters as grand and risky as those depicted in his previous...
12 | The Unending Love Story
Well into his sixties and seventies García Márquez continued his narrative explorations of the subject of male-female attraction and love. The result was two brief yet luminous novels that push the customary boundaries of romantic experience, plumbing hitherto unknown emotional depths and coming up with some strange surprises...
13 | The Journalist and Memoirist
García Márquez, we saw in chapter 3, started his professional writing career as a journalist, first churning out personal columns and, later, news stories for the daily press. In many ways he was to stay with the job and its craft. “A reporter,” he noted in a Playboy interview, “is something I’ve never stopped being.”1 At different moments in his long life as a narrative artist he would take a break from fiction and produce...
14 | The Legacy
Because of the enormous reach of his reputation, García Márquez is now seen not just as another major author, but as the prime symbol of the surge of creativity in Latin American letters in our twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Doubtless there are other novelists who at the very least came close to equaling the Colombian’s achievement: Alejo Carpentier from Cuba, Julio Cortázar from Argentina, Carlos...
Page Count: 266
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2010
Edition: Second Edition, Revised and Expanded
MUSE Marc Record: Download for García Márquez