Miguel Delibes dies


The great Spanish author Miguel Delibes died on Friday 12 March. His love of the rural life and landscape of Castilla and hunting surfaced repeatedly in his books.

He won the Spanish-speaking world’s top literary award, the Premio Cervantes in 1993, along with the Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Letras, and was a member of the Spanish Royal Academy. The Cervantes Institute said Delibes’ passion for the countryside — and hunting — had given him a true feel for the decline of rural life and the fragility of the environment. “It is not going too far to say that this hunter who writes measures his passions with a shotgun resting on his shoulder, and in this he finds joy, anxieties and even fineness of spirit,” the institute said in a biography of Delibes.

TP notes on the forum

“The recurring theme of his works was social injustice and the contrast between rural life and modernity. His ability to portray the harshness of rural life in Castilla and the language of its people was amazing. Many of his novels deal with hunting – deeply rooted in Castilla – and his famous essay justifying his love of hunting, “La caza: mi punto de vista” , and in which he vehemently criticises the mass slaughter of captive pieces, which will undoubtedly strike a chord among some iberianatureforumers, expresses very well the sentiment of many people, hunters and critics alike.”

One of his most famous novels, “Los Santos Inocentes” (The Innocent Saints), starkly portrays the impoverished existence of peasants living under a selfish and wealthy landowner. The book was made into a movie in 1984 by Spanish director Mario Camus. Watching it was probably one of my twelve(?) odd reasons for starting iberianature. Now it’s time I read the novel…

Guardian obituary by Michael Euede

Miguel Delibes, who has died aged 89, was the 20th century’s foremost writer about Castile, Spain‘s central tableland. Born in the city of Valladolid, he lived there all his life. In his 20 novels and numerous short stories, he portrayed this provincial city, where apparently nothing much happens, but “you see people clearly, in the round. You see people live and die, and this gives a melancholy and serene drama to existence.” Passion in ordinary lives, sobriety and melancholy are the flavours of Delibes’s writing.

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