Camilo José Cela Analysis

Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

The novels of Camilo José Cela (SAY-lah) constitute but a fraction of his literary production. He excelled as a short-story writer and author of travel books, having published more than half a dozen volumes in each of these genres. Esas nubes que pasan (1945; passing clouds) contains twelve tales previously published in periodicals. It was followed by El bonito crimen del carabinero y otras invenciones (1947; the patrolman’s nice crime and other inventions), El gallego y su cuadrilla (1949; the Galician and his team), Baraja de invenciones (1953; deck of inventions), El molino de viento (1956; the windmill), Gavilla de fábulas sin amor (1962; bag of loveless fables), Once cuentos de fútbol (1963; eleven soccer tales), and others.

Cela’s early travel books were superior to the later ones, the better ones including Viaje a la Alcarria (1948; Journey to Alcarria, 1964), Del Miño al Bidasoa (1952; from the Miño to the Bidasoa), Judíos, moros, y cristianos (1956; Jews, Moors, and Christians), Primer viaje andaluz (1959; first Andalusian trip), Viaje al Pirineo de Lérida (1965; trip to the Lérida Pyrenees), Páginas de geografía errabunda (1965; pages of vagabond geography), and Viaje a U.S.A. (1967; trip to the U.S.).

Cela has many volumes of essays to his credit, including Mesa revuelta (1945;...

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(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

With the death and exile of many writers of previous generations, Spanish literature languished during and after the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The first sign of rebirth was Camilo José Cela’s novel The Family of Pascual Duarte, which sparked a host of imitators and set the pattern for the novel during much of the 1940’s, a movement known as tremendismo. His next novels were successful, if less imitated, and his fame was assured with The Hive, which became the prototype for the social novel of the 1950’s and 1960’s. It is extremely rare that a Spanish writer is able to live by his or her pen, and Cela managed to do so. He was elected to the prestigious Royal Spanish Academy in 1957 and was appointed independent senator to represent intellectual interests and views by King Juan Carlos in 1978. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Many of his works have been translated, and for nearly four decades he was considered one of Spain’s foremost novelists. Cela was a trendsetter, interesting as an innovator, stylist, and caricaturist but not as a creator of memorable characters or plots.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Busette, Cedric.“La Familia de Pascual Duarte” and “El Túnel”: Correspondences and Divergencies in the Exercise of Craft. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1994. Busette compares and contrasts the debut novels of Cela and Ernesto Sábato, analyzing their narrative, language, protagonists, and other aspects of the two novels.

Cela, Camilo José. “Eulogy to the Fable.” The Georgia Review 49 (Spring, 1995): 235-245. The text of Cela’s speech upon receiving the Nobel Prize, December 8, 1989.

Cela, Camilo José. Interview by Valerie Miles. Paris Review 38, no. 139 (Summer, 1996): 124-163. A lengthy interview in which Cela discusses his personal life and career, including his family and academic background, literary training, some of his works, and thoughts on censorship.

Charlebois, Lucile C. Understanding Camilo José Cela. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1998. A thorough but difficult study of Cela’s progressively difficult novels. Each chapter focuses on one of the novels, beginning with The Family of Pascual Duarte through La cruz de San Andres. Includes a chronology and a select bibliography.

Henn, David. C. J. Cela: La Colmena. 1974. Reprint. London: Grant & Cutler, 1997. An eighty-page brief study of The...

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