Associate 2004-05

Michael Palencia-Roth

Comparative & World Literature


During his Center appointment Professor Palencia-Roth will complete his second book on Gabriel García Márquez. The first treated García Márquez’s work up to 1982, the year in which he won the Nobel Prize in Literature; this second book will focus on work published after that date.

Written in Spanish and titled Las Pasiones Otoñales de Gabriel García Márquez, the new book opens with an analysis of the “poetics” of the 1982 Nobel Prize address, setting the stage for subsequent analysis and commentary. A chapter on the relationship between Mario Vargas Llosa and García Márquez corrects one of the most fundamental misunderstandings concerning García Márquez’s creative motivations and processes. Another chapter describes Professor Palencia-Roth’s experiences with García Márquez during a workshop in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1996, which he attended on the personal invitation of the author. The tenth chapter explores García Márquez’s relationship to World Literature, from his childhood obsession with A Thousand and One Nights to his discovery of Kafka in his teens; to Faulkner, Joyce, Hemingway, and Woolf in his early twenties; and then to the authors he read subsequently. The book’s eleventh and final chapter recounts Professor Palencia-Roth’s intellectual journey as a reader and interpreter of García Márquez for more than thirty years.

The eleven chapters, taken together, are intended to demonstrate and analyze García Márquez’s “autumnal wisdom,” the poetics of his maturity that he set before the world in his Nobel Prize address and that he has been elaborating ever since. It is the absorption of World Literature into modern Spanish-American literature that has enabled the latter to achieve its universality. García Márquez is the pre-eminent example of that process and its results.