Social Scientist. v 11, no. 116 (Jan 1983) p. 53.

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez

GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ ('the Gabo9 as he is known in the South American continent) is the first Colombian and the fourth Latin American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, the previous Laureates being the Chilean poetess Gabriela Mestral (1945), the Guatemalan novelist Miguel Angel Asturias (1967) and the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1971). Best known for his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude^ Marquez was commended by the Swedish Academy for his "overwhelming narrative talent", for capturing the rich Latin American landscapes which reflect "a continent's life and conflicts".

The period in which Gabriel Garcia Marquez began to write was an important one for Hispanic American literature. Upto 1950, literature of the continent was characterised by three specific features:

the realist-modernist duality, super-regionalism and the striving towards universalisation. The realist-modernist trend continued upto 1910—the year of the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Mexico. This event reverberated in the consciousness of Latin American writers. Their ability to perceive and depict the violent reality, which the modernists tried to black out, made the need for realist writing •imperative. However, literary realism in the Latin American context meant portrayal of peculiar problems and conflicts of the region, which accounts for the incorporation of the qualifying term 'regionalism'. The writers groped for an understanding of the American situation, searching for the causes of economic backwardness and the misery of their people. This led to over-emphasising the antagonism between civilisation and barbarism in their works. Nature versus civilisation became the focal point in fiction writing. Social problems continued to find an echo but nature was depicted as an all-powerful (Doria Barbara) force in their writings.

The period from the first world war to 1950 left an indelible imprint on the people of Latin America. Fascism was directly experienced in the Spanish Civil War (many Latin American writers and intellectuals saw its stark reality as partisans in the international brigades) and the fall of the Spanish Republic in 1936 was an intensely felt personal loss for Latin American writers.

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