Javier Marías

Javier Marías (born 20 September 1951) is a Spanish novelist, translator, and columnist.[1] He is one of Spain's most celebrated novelists, and his work has been translated into 42 languages.[2]

Javier Marías
Javier Marías (Feria del Libro de Madrid, 31 de mayo de 2008)
Born20 September 1951 (age 67)
Madrid, Spain
OccupationNovelist, translator, columnist
Notable worksAll Souls, A Heart So White, Tomorrow In The Battle Think On Me, Your Face Tomorrow


Javier Marías was born in Madrid. His father was the philosopher Julián Marías, who was briefly imprisoned and then banned from teaching for opposing Franco (the father of the protagonist of Your Face Tomorrow was given a similar biography). Marías is the fourth of five sons [3] and spent parts of his childhood in the United States, where his father taught at various institutions, including Yale University and Wellesley College. His mother died when Javier was 26 years old. His first literary employment consisted in translating Dracula scripts for his maternal uncle, Jesús Franco.[4][5] He was educated at the Colegio Estudio in Madrid.


Marías began writing in earnest at an early age. "The Life and Death of Marcelino Iturriaga", one of the short stories in While the Women are Sleeping (2010), was written when he was just 14.[6] He wrote his first novel, Los dominios del lobo (The Dominions of the Wolf), at the age of 17, after running away to Paris. His second novel, Travesía del horizonte (Voyage Along the Horizon), was an adventure story about an expedition to Antarctica.

After attending the Complutense University of Madrid, Marías turned his attention to translating English novels into Spanish. His translations included work by Updike, Hardy, Conrad, Nabokov, Faulkner, Kipling, James, Stevenson, Browne, and Shakespeare. In 1979 he won the Spanish national award for translation for his version of Sterne's Tristram Shandy. Between 1983 and 1985 he lectured in Spanish literature and translation at the University of Oxford.[7]

In 1986 Marías published El hombre sentimental (The Man of Feeling), and in 1988 he published Todas las almas (All Souls), which was set at Oxford University. The Spanish film director Gracia Querejeta released El Último viaje de Robert Rylands, adapted from Todas las almas, in 1996.

His 1992 novel Corazón tan blanco was a commercial and critical success and for its English version A Heart So White, translated by Margaret Jull Costa, Marías and Costa were joint winners of the 1997 International Dublin Literary Award. His 1994 novel, Mañana en la batalla piensa en mí, won the Venezuelan Rómulo Gallegos Prize.

The protagonists of the novels written since 1986 are all interpreters or translators of one kind or another, based on his own experience as a translator and teacher of translation at Oxford University. Of these protagonists, Marías has written, "They are people who are renouncing their own voices."[3]

In 2002 Marías published Tu rostro mañana 1. Fiebre y lanza (Your Face Tomorrow 1: Fever and Spear), the first part of a trilogy that is his most ambitious literary project. The first volume is dominated by a translator, an elderly don based on an actual professor emeritus of Spanish studies at Oxford University, Sir Peter Russell. The second volume, Tu rostro mañana 2. Baile y sueño (Your Face Tomorrow 2: Dance and Dream), was published in 2004. In 2007, Marías completed the final installment, Tu rostro mañana 3. Veneno y sombra y adiós (Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell).

Marías operates a small publishing house under the name of Reino de Redonda. He also writes a weekly column in El País. In 2005-06 an English version of his column, "La Zona Fantasma", appeared in the monthly magazine The Believer.[8]

Marías was elected to Seat R of the Real Academia Española on 29 June 2006, he took up his seat on 27 April 2008.[9] At his investiture he agreed with Robert Louis Stevenson that the work of novelists is "pretty childish," but also argued that it is impossible to narrate real events, and that “you can only fully tell stories about what has never happened, the invented and imagined.”[10]

In 2013, Marías was awarded the prestigious Prix Formentor.[11]


See also Kingdom of Redonda.

Marías's novel, Todas las almas (All Souls), included a portrayal of the poet John Gawsworth, who was also the third King of Redonda. Although the fate of this monarchy after the death of Gawsworth is contested, the portrayal by Marías so affected the "reigning" king, Jon Wynne-Tyson, that he abdicated and left the throne to Marías in 1997. This course of events was chronicled in his "false novel," Negra espalda del tiempo (Dark Back of Time). The book was inspired by the reception of Todas las almas by many people who, falsely according to Marías, believed they were the source of the characters in Todas las almas. Since "taking the throne" of Redonda, Marías has begun a publishing imprint named Reino de Redonda ("Kingdom of Redonda").

Marías has conferred many titles during his reign upon people he likes, including upon Pedro Almodóvar (Duke of Trémula), António Lobo Antunes (Duke of Cocodrilos), John Ashbery (Duke of Convexo), Pierre Bourdieu (Duke of Desarraigo), William Boyd (Duke of Brazzaville), Michel Braudeau (Duke of Miranda), A. S. Byatt (Duchess of Morpho Eugenia), Guillermo Cabrera Infante (Duke of Tigres), Pietro Citati (Duke of Remonstranza), Francis Ford Coppola (Duke of Megalópolis), Agustín Díaz Yanes (Duke of Michelín), Roger Dobson (Duke of Bridaespuela), Frank Gehry (Duke of Nervión), Francis Haskell (Duke of Sommariva), Eduardo Mendoza (Duke of Isla Larga), Ian Michael (Duke of Bernal), Orhan Pamuk (Duke of Colores), Arturo Pérez-Reverte (Duke of Corso), Francisco Rico (Duke of Parezzo), Sir Peter Russell (Duke of Plazatoro), Fernando Savater (Duke of Caronte), W. G. Sebald (Duke of Vértigo), Jonathan Coe (Duke of Prunes), Luis Antonio de Villena (Duke of Malmundo), and Juan Villoro (Duke of Nochevieja).

In addition, Marías created a literary prize, to be judged by the dukes and duchesses. In addition to prize money, the winner receives a duchy. Winners: 2001John Maxwell Coetzee (Duke of Deshonra); 2002John H. Elliott (Duke of Simancas); 2003Claudio Magris (Duke of Segunda Mano); 2004Eric Rohmer (Duke of Olalla); 2005Alice Munro (Duchess of Ontario); 2006Ray Bradbury (Duke of Diente de León); 2007George Steiner (Duke of Girona); 2008Umberto Eco (Duke of la Isla del Día de Antes); 2009Marc Fumaroli (Duke of Houyhnhnms).[3][12][13][14][15]

Awards and honours


Spanish titles

  • Los dominios del lobo (1971)
  • Travesía del horizonte (Voyage Along the Horizon, 1973)
  • El monarca del tiempo (1978)
  • El siglo (1983)
  • El hombre sentimental (The Man of Feeling, 1986)
  • Todas las almas (All Souls, 1989)
  • Corazón tan blanco (A Heart So White, 1992)
  • Vidas escritas (Written Lives, 1992) (literary biography)
  • Mañana en la batalla piensa en mí (Tomorrow in the Battle Think On Me, 1994)
  • Cuando fui mortal (When I Was Mortal 1996) (short stories)
  • Negra espalda del tiempo (Dark Back of Time, 1998)
  • Tu rostro mañana 1. Fiebre y lanza (Your Face Tomorrow 1: Fever and Spear, 2002)
  • Tu rostro mañana 2. Baile y sueño (Your Face Tomorrow 2: Dance and Dream, 2004)
  • Tu rostro mañana 3. Veneno y sombra y adiós (Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell, 2007)
  • Los enamoramientos (The Infatuations, 2011)
  • Así empieza lo malo (Thus Bad Begins) (2014)
  • Berta Isla (2017)

English translations

All English translations by Margaret Jull Costa and published in the United States by New Directions unless otherwise indicated:

Further reading

  • Berg, Karen, Javier Marías's Postmodern Praxis: Humor and Interplay between Reality and Fiction in his Novels and Essays (2008)
  • Cunado, Isabel, El Espectro de la Herencia: La Narrativa de Javier Marías (2004)
  • Herzberger, David K. A Companion to Javier Marías. Rochester, NY: Tamesis Books, 2011. ISBN 978-1-85566-230-8
  • Miles, Valerie (2014). A Thousand Forests in One Acorn. Rochester: Open Letter. pp. 585–616. ISBN 978-1-934824-91-7.


  1. ^ Nicholas Wroe (22 February 2013). "Javier Marías: a life in writing". The Guardian. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  2. ^ Stephen Heyman (25 September 2014). "Javier Marías: Spain's Elegant Master Novelist". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Aida Edemariam, "Looking for Luisa", The Guardian, 7 May 2005.
  4. ^ Hardworking King of Redonda.
  5. ^ New new Directions Publishing biography Archived 2008-07-04 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Smith, Zadie (March 2011). "New Books: While the Women are Sleeping". Harper's. 322 (1, 930): 69. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  7. ^ "100 years". mod-langs.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  8. ^ Contributors - Javier Marías, Believer Magazine.
  9. ^ "Javier Marías" (in Spanish). Real Academia Española. Archived from the original on 25 October 2015.
  10. ^ Javier Marias joins Spanish Royal Academy.
  11. ^ a b Winston Manrique Sabogal (April 23, 2013). "El Formentor rinde homenaje a la literatura de Javier Marías". El Pais (in Spanish). Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  12. ^ Pablo Martín Cerone, "Historia del Reino de Redonda", Quinta Dimension.(in Spanish)
  13. ^ "El Espejo del Mar – Recuerdos e impresiones".
  14. ^ "Fallo del VII Premio Reino de Redonda", 3 May 2007.
  15. ^ [1] Archived January 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (May 12, 2015). "Previous Winners". IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  17. ^ Kirsten Reach (January 14, 2014). "NBCC finalists announced". Melville House Books. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  18. ^ "Announcing the National Book Critics Awards Finalists for Publishing Year 2013". National Book Critics Circle. January 14, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.

External links

A Heart So White

A Heart So White by Javier Marías was first published in Spain in 1992 (original title Corazón tan blanco.) Margaret Jull Costa's English translation was first published by The Harvill Press in 1995. The book received the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 1997. An edition was published by Penguin Books in 2012, with an introduction by Jonathan Coe.

All Souls

All Souls may refer to:

All Souls' Day

All Souls College, Oxford

All Souls, a 1989 novel by Javier Marías

All Souls: A Family Story From Southie, a memoir by Michael Patrick MacDonald

All Souls (film), a 1919 German silent film

"All Souls" (The X-Files), an episode from the fifth season

All Souls (TV series), a short-lived 2001 television supernatural drama

Dark Back of Time

Dark Back of Time is a 1998 book by the Spanish writer Javier Marías. Ester Allen’s English translation was published by New Directions in 2001. The book is a meditation on the sources of, and reactions to the author's 1992 novel, All Souls.

Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford

The Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages at the University of Oxford, England, was established in 1903. It is part of Oxford's Humanities Division.

European languages (other than Latin and Ancient Greek, taught as part of classics) were first taught at Oxford in the 19th century. The Jesus Professorship of Celtic is the oldest of the chairs in the faculty, dating from 1877. A range of languages are studied at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Julián Marías

Julián Marías Aguilera (17 June 1914 – 15 December 2005) was a Spanish philosopher associated with the Generation of '36 movement. He was a pupil of the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset.

Libri Publishing Hungary

Libri Kiadó was founded in Budapest in August 2011 by Ákos Balogh, the owner of the Libri bookselling chain, Ádám Halmos, owner of the publishing house Nyitott Könyvműhely, and Bence Sárközy, former editor-in-chief of Magvető Kiadó.

Libri Publishing, led by Halmos and Sárkozy, publishes contemporary Hungarian writers as well as international titles in non-fiction, entertainment fiction and literary fiction, focusing on works of cultural and social importance. In 2012, Libri established an imprint for young adult and children's books called Kolibri Kiadó, and acquired a share in Helikon Kiadó, a 70-year-old prestigious publisher of authors such as Márai Sándor, Weöres Sándor, Bánffy Miklós and Alessandro Baricco.

Libri publishes foreign authors including Laurence Norfolk, Jennifer Egan, Don DeLillo, Julie Orringer, Erin Morgenstern, Isaac Marion, Darren Shan, Javier Marías, Jaume Cabré, Claudio Magris, Kader Abdolah, Anna Enquist, Kari Hotakainen, Mons Kallentoft, Alexander Soderberg, Virginie Despentes, Ryu Murakami; as well as non-fiction authors such as Siddhartha Mukherjee, Richard Dawkins and David Brooks. Among Hungarian writers, Libri publishes the most distinguished young poets such as Térey János and Závada Péter, as well as many of the leading young prose writers such as Benedek Szabolcs, Papp Sándor Zsigmond, Finy Petra, and Szabó Róbert Csaba.

Foreign rights to their Hungarian authors' books are represented by the Sárközy & Co. Literary Agency.

Louisiana Literature festival

Louisiana Literature festival is an annual literary festival which takes place around the third weekend of August at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 35 km (22 mi) north of Copenhagen, Denmark. The festival began in 2010, and each year it features around forty writers from all over the world over a span of four days.

Situated throughout the museum and the sculpture garden, the festival encompasses conversations between writers as well as between writers and critics, readings and various performances.

Past festivals have featured notable writers such as: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Adonis, César Aira, Svetlana Alexievich, Laurie Anderson, Margaret Atwood, Paul Auster, Julian Barnes, Anne Carson, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Péter Esterházy, Richard Ford, David Grossman, Günter Grass, Siri Hustvedt, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Daniel Kehlmann, Karl Ove Knausgård, Ibrahim al-Koni, Christian Kracht, Chris Kraus, Yan Lianke, Édouard Louis, Claudio Magris, Javier Marías, Ian McEwan, Eileen Myles, Herta Müller, Péter Nádas, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Ondaatje, Marilynne Robinson, Sally Rooney, Sjón, Patti Smith, Zadie Smith, Dag Solstad, Vladimir Sorokin, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Colm Tóibín, Olga Tokarczuk, Delphine de Vigan and many more.

Margaret Jull Costa

Margaret Elisabeth Jull Costa OBE(born 2 May 1949) is a British translator of Portuguese- and Spanish-language fiction and poetry, including the works of Nobel Prize winner José Saramago, Eça de Queiroz, Fernando Pessoa, Bernardo Atxaga, Carmen Martín Gaite, Javier Marías, and José Régio.

Premio de la Crítica Española

The "Premios de la Crítica" are literary prizes awarded on a yearly basis by the Asociación Española de Críticos Literarios to the best narrative and poetic works published in Spain on the preceding year. The prizes cover all four official languages of Spain: Spanish or Castilian, Catalan, Galician, Euskera.

There is no monetary award associated with the prizes. The awarding jury is composed of 22 members of the Associación de Criticos Literarios.

The award for narrative literature in Castilian has been won by writers including Miguel Delibes, Ana María Matute and Javier Marías. In 2016 it was awarded to Cristina Fernández Cubas for her collection of short stories La habitación de Nona (Nona's Room).

The categories are:

Premio de la Crítica de narrativa castellana, created in 1956.

Premio de la Crítica de poesía castellana, created in 1956.

Premio de la Crítica de narrativa catalana, awarded for the first time in 1962, and the second time in 1976, acquired regular status in 1978.

Premio de la Crítica de poesía catalana, awarded for the first time in 1962, and the second time in 1976, acquired regular status in 1978.

Premio de la Crítica de narrativa gallega, created in 1976.

Premio de la Crítica de poesía gallega, created in 1976.

Premio de la Crítica de narrativa en euskera, created in 1978.

Premio de la Crítica de poesía en euskera, created in 1978.

Robert Rylands' Last Journey

Robert Rylands' Last Journey (Spanish: El último viaje de Robert Rylands) is a Spanish-British film directed by Gracia Querejeta that premiered on 18 October 1996. It was the director's second feature film. Her script is a loose adaptation of the novel Todas las almas by Javier Marías, which the novelist repudiated. The subsequent controversy ended with a lawsuit, which resulted in a indemnification towards the writer and an order to withdraw his name from the credits of the film.

Roger Dobson

Roger Alan Dobson (1954–2013) was a British author, journalist, editor and literary researcher.

Dobson wrote the Arthur Machen entry in the Dictionary of National Biography. He also edited John Gawsworth's biography of Machen and co-edited Machen's Selected Letters (with Godfrey Brangham and R. A. Gilbert, 1988). He was a regular contributor to Antiquarian Book Monthly Review, Faunus (the journal of the Friends of Arthur Machen), All Hallows (the journal of the Ghost Story Society), Wormwood and The Doppelganger Broadsheet.

Stephen Chambers

Stephen Chambers (born 1960) is a British artist and Royal Academician (elected 2005).Chambers studied at Winchester School of Art from 1978 to 1979 and at Saint Martin's School of Art, from 1979 to 1982. in 1983, he received a master's degree from Chelsea School of Art. He has won many scholarships and awards, including a Rome Scholarship, a Fellowship at Winchester School of Art, and a Mark Rothko Memorial Trust Travelling Award.From 1998 to 1989, Chambers was the Kettle’s Yard/Downing College Cambridge Fellow. In 2016, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Downing College in the University of Cambridge.He has exhibited widely, with more than 40 solo presentations, including The Big Country at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 2012, and at the Pera Museum, Istanbul, in 2014.His work is held in many international collections including Arts Council England; Deutsche Bank, London; Downing College, Cambridge;Government Art Collection, London; Metropolitan Museum, New York; Pera Museum, Istanbul, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.He has collaborated with Ashley Page and Orlando Gough on three contemporary dance productions for The Royal Ballet, London: Sleeping with Audrey (1996),Room of Cooks (1997,1999), and This House Will Burn (2001).According to the artist, his work “speaks of states of mind, behaviours and sensibilities.” Critics have praised Chamber’s use of colour and his painterly exploration of his medium.In May 2017, Chambers staged an exhibition entitled The Court of Redonda as an official collateral event at the Biennale Arte 2017 (Venice Biennale). The exhibition took its name from the literary legend of the Kingdom of Redonda, to which Chambers was introduced by the writings of the Spanish novelist Javier Marías.

Following the Venice exhibition, Chambers was awarded the title of Viscount Biennale of Redonda, and his Redondan works featured in 2018 at The Heong Gallery at Downing College, Cambridge.

The Infatuations

The Infatuations (Spanish: Los enamoramientos) is a National Novel Prize-winning novel by Javier Marías, published in 2012. The translation into English by Margaret Jull Costa was published by Hamish Hamilton in 2013.

It was shortlisted for the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award (Fiction).

Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me

Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me (Spanish: Mañana en la batalla piensa en mí) by Javier Marías was first published in 1994. Margaret Jull Costa’s English translation was published by The Harvill Press in 1996. The title is taken from William Shakespeare's Richard III, Act V, Scene 3.

When his would-be lover, another man's wife, dies suddenly in his arms, the narrator Victor is faced with the dilemma of whether to contact help or her family, or to quit the scene without admitting his presence, and chooses the latter option. This brings about many unforeseen consequences for the narrator and for others.

When I Was Mortal

When I Was Mortal is a short story collection by the Spanish writer Javier Marías. It was translated into English by Margaret Jull Costa and published in the United States in 2002 by New Directions.

Written Lives

Written Lives (Spanish: Vidas Escritas) is a collection of biographical sketches of famous literary figures, written by Spanish author Javier Marías and originally published in 2000. Margaret Jull Costa's English translation was published by New Directions in 2006.Authors featured include:

Djuna Barnes

Joseph Conrad

Arthur Conan Doyle

Isak Dinesen

Marie du Deffand

William Faulkner

Henry James

James Joyce

Rudyard Kipling

Malcolm Lowry

Thomas Mann

Yukio Mishima

Vladimir Nabokov

Rainer Maria Rilke

Arthur Rimbaud

Laurence Sterne

Robert Louis Stevenson

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Ivan Turgenev

Oscar WildeThere is also, towards the end of the book, a section entitled 'Fugitive Women', which includes shorter sketches of Emily Brontë, Julie de Lespinasse, Violet Hunt, Vernon Lee, Adah Isaacs Menken and Lady Hester Stanhope. The final chapter, 'Perfect Artists', looks more generally at the tradition of the literary artist.

Awards received by Javier Marías

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