Monday, September 16, 2013

Gabriel García Márquez #Biography.

Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez born March 6, 1928) is a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist, known affectionately as Gabo throughout Latin America. Considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century, he was awarded the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature, and is the earliest remaining living recipient. He pursued a self-directed education that resulted in his leaving law school for a career in journalism. From early on, he showed no inhibitions in his criticism of Colombian and foreign politics. In 1958, he married Mercedes Barcha; they have two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo.

He started as a journalist, and has written many acclaimed non-fiction works and short stories, but is best known for his novels, such as One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Autumn of the Patriarch (1975) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985). His works have achieved significant critical acclaim and widespread commercial success, most notably for popularizing a literary style labeled as magic realism, which uses magical elements and events in otherwise ordinary and realistic situations. Some of his works are set in a fictional village called Macondo (the town mainly inspired by his birthplace Aracataca), and most of them express the theme of solitude. An interesting collection of conversations between Marquez and Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza titled 'The Fragrance of Guava' provides insights into the influences that informed narratives writer's life and narrative.


Early life

Gabriel García Márquez was born on March 6, 1928 in the town of Aracataca, Colombia, to Gabriel Eligio García and Luisa Santiaga Márquez. Soon after García Márquez was born, his father became a pharmacist. In January 1929, his parents moved to Sucre while García Marquez stayed in Aracataca. He was raised by his maternal grandparents, Doña Tranquilina Iguarán and Colonel Nicolás Ricardo Márquez Mejía.When he was nine, his grandfather died, and he moved to his parents' home in Sucre where his father owned a pharmacy.
When his parents fell in love, their relationship met with resistance from Luisa Santiaga Marquez's father, the Colonel. Gabriel Eligio García was not the man the Colonel had envisioned winning the heart of his daughter: he (Gabriel Eligio) was a Conservative, and had the reputation of being a womanizer.Gabriel Eligio wooed Luisa with violin serenades, love poems, countless letters, and even telegraph messages after her father sent her away with the intention of separating the young couple. Her parents tried everything to get rid of the man, but he kept coming back, and it was obvious their daughter was committed to him.Her family finally capitulated and gave her permission to marry him (The tragicomic story of their courtship would later be adapted and recast as Love in the Time of Cholera).

Since García Márquez's parents were more or less strangers to him for the first few years of his life, his grandparents influenced his early development very strongly. His grandfather, whom he called "Papalelo", was a Liberal veteran of the Thousand Days War. The Colonel was considered a hero by Colombian Liberals and was highly respected. He was well known for his refusal to remain silent about the banana massacres that took place the year García Márquez was born. The Colonel, whom García Márquez has described as his "umbilical cord with history and reality,"was also an excellent storyteller.He taught García Márquez lessons from the dictionary, took him to the circus each year, and was the first to introduce his grandson to ice—a "miracle" found at the United Fruit Company store.He would also occasionally tell his young grandson "You can't imagine how much a dead man weighs", reminding him that there was no greater burden than to have killed a man, a lesson that García Márquez would later integrate into his novels.

García Márquez's political and ideological views were shaped by his grandfather's stories.In an interview, García Márquez told his friend Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, "my grandfather the Colonel was a Liberal. My political ideas probably came from him to begin with because, instead of telling me fairy tales when I was young, he would regale me with horrifying accounts of the last civil war that free-thinkers and anti-clerics waged against the Conservative government."This influenced his political views and his literary technique so that "in the same way that his writing career initially took shape in conscious opposition to the Colombian literary status quo, García Márquez's socialist and anti-imperialist views are in principled opposition to the global status quo dominated by the United States."

García Márquez's grandmother, Doña Tranquilina Iguarán Cotes, played an equally influential role in his upbringing. He was inspired by the way she "treated the extraordinary as something perfectly natural."The house was filled with stories of ghosts and premonitions, omens and portents, all of which were studiously ignored by her husband. According to García Márquez she was "the source of the magical, superstitious and supernatural view of reality". He enjoyed his grandmother's unique way of telling stories. No matter how fantastic or improbable her statements, she always delivered them as if they were the irrefutable truth. It was a deadpan style that, some thirty years later, heavily influenced her grandson's most popular novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Journalism

García Márquez began his career as a journalist while studying law at the National University of Colombia. In 1948 and 1949 he wrote for El Universal in Cartagena. Later, from 1950 until 1952, he wrote a "whimsical" column under the name of "Septimus" for the local paper El Heraldo in Barranquilla. García Márquez noted of his time at El Heraldo, "I'd write a piece and they'd pay me three pesos for it, and maybe an editorial for another three." During this time he became an active member of the informal group of writers and journalists known as the Barranquilla Group, an association that provided great motivation and inspiration for his literary career. He worked with inspirational figures such as Ramon Vinyes, whom García Márquez depicted as an Old Catalan who owns a bookstore in One Hundred Years of Solitude. At this time, García Márquez was also introduced to the works of writers such as Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner. Faulkner's narrative techniques, historical themes and use of rural locations influenced many Latin American authors. The environment of Barranquilla gave García Márquez a world-class literary education and provided him with a unique perspective on Caribbean culture. From 1954 to 1955, García Márquez spent time in Bogotá and regularly wrote for Bogotá's El Espectador. He was a regular film critic which drove his interest in film.

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Since García Márquez was eighteen, he had wanted to write a novel based on his grandparents' house where he grew up. However, he struggled with finding an appropriate tone and put off the idea until one day the answer hit him while driving his family to Acapulco. He turned the car around and the family returned home so he could begin writing. He sold his car so his family would have money to live on while he wrote, but writing the novel took far longer than he expected, and he wrote every day for eighteen months. His wife had to ask for food on credit from their butcher and their baker as well as nine months of rent on credit from their landlord. Fortunately, when the book was finally published in 1967 it became his most commercially successful novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cien años de soledad) (1967; English translation by Gregory Rabassa 1970). The story chronicles several generations of the Buendía family from the time they founded the fictional South American village of Macondo, through their trials and tribulations, instances of incest, births and deaths. The history of Macondo is often generalized by critics to represent rural towns throughout Latin America or at least near García Márquez's native Aracataca.

This novel was widely popular and led to García Márquez's Nobel Prize as well as the Rómulo Gallegos Prize in 1972. William Kennedy has called it "the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race," and hundreds of articles and books of literary critique have been published in response to it. However, García Márquez himself does not completely understand the success of this particular book: "Most critics don't realize that a novel like One Hundred Years of Solitude is a bit of a joke, full of signals to close friends; and so, with some pre-ordained right to pontificate they take on the responsibility of decoding the book and risk making terrible fools of themselves."

Marriage and family

García Márquez met Mercedes Barcha while she was in college; they decided to wait for her to finish before getting married. When he was sent to Europe as a foreign correspondent, Mercedes waited for him to return to Barranquilla. They were finally wed in 1958. The following year, their first son, Rodrigo García, now a television and film director, was born. In 1961, the family traveled by Greyhound bus throughout the southern United States and eventually settled in Mexico City. García Márquez had always wanted to see the Southern United States because it inspired the writings of William Faulkner. Three years later the couple's second son, Gonzalo, was born in Mexico. Gonzalo is currently a graphic designer in Mexico City.