Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Virginia Woolf's Orlando: The Book as Critic

by Kelly Tetterton
A paper presented to The Fifth Annual Virginia Woolf Conference at Otterbein College, June 18, 1995

As well-seasoned critics and readers, we are often accustomed to reading a text against itself, and Virginia Woolf's Orlando invites us to do so quite explicitly. The text asks us to reconsider the very notions of literature and sexuality that it itself seems so invested in. So far so good. But we are not accustomed to looking at the critical relationship between the physical book and the text we read, and in our failure to do so, we risk acquiescence to the reading of that text as it's been handed to us. I want to focus on Woolf's Orlando for several reasons: it is itself a complicated text to read, open to many interpretations, and publishers have felt quite free to exploit those various interpretations visually on the covers of the book; and because Woolf herself is a well-known author whose critical acceptance has always been inflected by her gender, and that too has spilled over onto the book's covers. Orlando the book has been packaged in distinctive ways throughout this century, and that packaging has recapitulated certain attitudes towards the text that have been cemented into potential blockades against other readings.

But before we get into all of that, a reminder of how things change. We read Orlando now most often as a feminist work that explores the boundaries of gender and sexuality and the limits of women writers within literary history, or as a sharp critique on the possibilities of biography. But Orlando was often first read by its contemporary audience as a gossipy portrait of Vita Sackville-West; the reviewer at the Daily Mail entitled his buzz on Orlando, "A Fantastic Biography: Mrs. H. Nicholson and 'Orlando': 300 Years as Man and Woman." And if it was not taken as straight Bloomsbury dish, it was taken as the delightful joke that Woolf herself claimed it to be. It was a hugely successful joke -- not just critically, but financially as well, both in England and America.It was Orlando that enabled the Woolfs to purchase their first car, and it put them on stable financial footing for the rest of their lives.

It was simultaneously read as a serious work of literature. The reviews in 1928 range (as book reviews do today) from mere plot summaries to gushing, vapid praise to thoughtful consideration of the work. It is the latter category that I'm interested in, of course. The writer for the Saturday Review feels that Woolf doesn't pursue her goose chase far enough, and that "it is the tragedy of one of the rarest and most strenuous intellects now at work that she persists in approaching fiction through a theory of fiction" (474); the reviewer for the Manchester Guardian notes her use of modernist technique to comment on the genre of biography. Critics writing through the mid-forties continued to approach the novel from different angles: Joseph Warren Beach, for instance, noted that "the point of the book seems to be that there is more than one person in each body, that each individual has, at least potentially, many selves..." (491), and Deborah Newton focused on Woolf's concern with time.

This is not to suggest that Woolf's novel came into its own early in its publishing history -- far from it. There is really a dearth of discussion about Orlando from its initial publication (and the attendant book reviews) until about the mid-1950s when the conversation begins to get going again. But that said, that initial conversation essentially lays the primitive foundations for almost all critical discussion to come later.

Almost all. Where are the feminist interpretations? Well, they hadn't happened yet. In part, it's a deliberately anachronistic question- -the women's movement of the 60s and 70s hadn't happened, and neither had academic feminist criticism come into its own. And yet now it's almost impossible to escape such interpretations of the novel. Why is that? have we become so much more astute than readers of nearly 70 years ago?

Partly yes -- we are far more sensitive to issues of gender than those readers of long agobecause it's now part of our social consciousness; even those who might disagree with such a critical approach must now acknowledge the validity of the approach itself. And partly no -- we are simply reacting to what we're given to read. Take a look at the most recent paperback covers for Orlando -- one from Harcourt Brace Jovanovich and one from the Quality Paperback Book Club. Anyone casually glancing at these covers is likely to suspect that issues of gender and sexuality are involved in the text beneath the covers. The 1973 HBJ paperback gives us two almost identical figures, one male and one female, divided by a clock; the 1993 QBC book cover is more abstract, but there's a prominent pink triangle on its spine and back. If we are better readers today, it's because we have some help from the publishers.

Help -- and possible hindrance. If we are more attuned to the sexual issues in Orlando today because of the novel's packaging, we are also less immediately aware of other aspects of the novel for the very same reason. The glory in whimsy and fantasy is lost from these contemporary covers, but these very elements were the ones highlighted in previous incarnations. The 1946 Penguin paperback features a young boy in Renaissance dress writing beneath a tree while an airplane flies overhead; the 1960 Signet cover features a technicolor version of the ice skaters from the Great Frost. These covers present the text to the reader as wonderful escapist fantasy, at the very least de-emphasizing feminist interpretations of the novel.

This may seem like an amusing bit of publishing trivia, but I think it's far more than that. Paperbacks are the primary medium through which we read almost all our texts today -- especially "the classics" -- and while we seem to have become quite sophisticated about critiquing some of the flashier aspects of popular culture -- TV, movies, advertising- -we have yet to learn how to critique the texts of paperbacks with the same sort of sophistication. Paperback books grew up with television, after all; they only became commercially viable just prior to World War II, and college students didn't even begin to buy them for their courses until the late 1950s. Paperback books are every bit asmuch a part of contemporary popular culture as television and movies, and just as ideologically insidious -- if we aren't paying attention.

You can trace Woolf's and Orlando's changing reputations, for instance, by reading the print advertising on the back of the paperback covers of Orlando. The 1946 Penguin says this, in part: "No writer was ever born into a more felicitous environment. . . . Her father was Sir Leslie Stephen, editor of the Cornhill Magazine. She was related to half the scholarly families of England. . . . The great literary men of the day . . . were often in the house and made a pet of the little girl. She was too delicate to go to school . . . ." There is nothing about Orlando itself, and this biography/advertisement is more interested in defining Woolf through others rather than by her own achievements. The 1960 Signet focuses far more on the book at hand: ". . . Orlando's story is a wild farce, a humorous history, a gay romance filled with the delightful experiences of one of the most fascinating and fantastic characters to ever rule the realm of fiction"; we also get commentary from three critics who praise the book. But compare that blurb to the 1973 HBJ: ". . . Virginia Woolf has created a character liberated from the restraints of time and sex. . . . A brilliantly imagined pageant of English history, society, and literature, Orlando is also a witty, feminist reappraisal of the nature of the sexes." We've come a long way from the 1946 Penguin, both in the cover art and the cover text. Nor do the changes end there. The 1946 Penguin doesn't include any of Woolf's photographs; the 1960 includes them, but reduced in size and all clustered together in the center of the novel; not until 1973 are the photographs restored to their 1928 locations (at least for American readers). Thus readers between 1928 and 1973 were either not given any indication that accompanying photographs existed at all, or they were given the photographs in an incidental way.

Which leads me to my next point. Woolf herself tries to direct our reading of the text with visual cues -- the photographs -- in much the same way the publishers do with their various covers. And in a postmodernist aesthetic, one is not necessarily more or less valuable than the other; but bothsorts of direction have to be acknowledged critically before the reader can take control of the free play of interpretive multiplicities available.

My point here is that paperback covers both reflect and reinforce the critical attitudes of the day, both visually and textually, and yet we very rarely pay attention to what those covers are saying. As Jerome McGann has pointed out, "all imaginative work appears to us in specific material forms. Many people -- even many textual scholars -- don't realize the imaginative importance of those material forms" (Black Riders, 168). And further: "a textual history is a psychic history . . . because it is first a social history. This is not a metaphysical fact about literary works, but one which is functionally related to and determined by the purposes of literary works, on the one hand, and the programs which seek to study them on the other" (Critique, 62). Paperbacks are a powerful ideological force -- they can persuade a reader to focus on one particular reading of a novel as complex as Orlando before he or she ever turns to the first page -- and we need to reckon with that force as readers and teachers of readers if we are to free our critical faculties to as many readings as possible.

Source: http://www.tetterton.net/orlando/orlando95_talk.html

Thursday, 27 September 2007

The First Crusade: Sanctifying War

The Roman Empire had remained, to a limited degree, multiethnic, multicultural, and multireligious, even after Christianity became its official religion. With the breakup of the Empire, the Western Church increasingly sought to assert its authority in the secular as well as in the spiritual realm. The society it envisioned was Christian in conformity with the doctrine laid down by the Roman Church. Within it the status of non-Chrisitians or unorthodox Christians became at best anomalous; at worst, these groups came to be threatened with persecution and even extinction.

In the eleventh century, Christian teaching about war changed. The religion that had emphasized passive suffering and martyrdom began a program of "holy wars," glorifying those who took up the cross not only as a badge of suffering but as a battle standard. To make peace among the barons who had been fighting one another, the Church enlisted them in crusades against the Moslems who had conquered the Middle East, North Africa, southern Spain, and much of Asia Minor. [Click on image to enlarge] The crusaders were to be soldiers of God who fought with the promises of indulgence for sins and of salvation. Culminating in the capture of Jerusalem in 1099, with the slaughter of its Moslem and Jewish inhabitants, the First Crusade led to the establishment of Crusader kingdoms in the Middle East. These conquests were eventually eroded and the Christians driven out of their fortified cities. Jerusalem itself was recaptured by the armies of the great Arab general Saladin in 1187.

However, crusades were still being waged through the fourteenth century. The "worthiness" of Chaucer's Knight in "The General Prologue" to The Canterbury Tales is summed up by a long list of the crusades in which he took part (NAEL 8, 1.219-20, lines 47–68). For Chaucer's audience, ignorant of the sordidness of some of the campaigns waged in God's name, crusades still held an aura of heroism and glory, a spell they would continue to cast over the Western imagination for centuries. [link source]

King Arthur: Romancing Politics

The illustration on the right shows a detail of a magnificent 21-by-16-foot tapestry of King Arthur woven about 1385. The tapestry comes from a set of the "Nine Worthies," who were regarded in the late Middle Ages as the greatest military leaders of all times. Chaucer's French contemporary Eustace Deschamps wrote a ballade about them as a reproach to what he regarded as his own degenerate age. Arthur and his knights, although believed by most medieval people to be historical, are almost entirely products of legend and literature, made up by many authors writing in different genres, beginning not long after the fifth and early sixth centuries, the time when he supposedly lived, and culminating with Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur in the latter part of the fifteenth century (NAEL 8, 1.439-56). The very absence of historical fact to underpin the legends about Arthur left writers of history and romance free to exploit those stories in the service of personal, political, and social agendas.

The man who inspired the Arthurian legend would have been a Briton, a leader of the Celtic people who had been part of the Roman Empire and had converted to Christianity after it became the official religion of Rome. At the time, the Britons were making a temporarily successful stand against the Anglo-Saxon invaders who had already occupied the southeastern corner of Britain. The Roman Empire was crumbling before the incursions of Germanic tribes, and by the late fifth century the Britons were cut off from Rome and forced to rely for protection on their own strength instead of on the Roman legions (NAEL 8, 1.4).

Arthur was never a "king"; he may well have been commander-in-chief of British resistance to the Anglo-Saxons. In the Welsh elegiac poem Gododdin, composed ca. 600, a hero is said to have fed ravens with the corpses of his enemies, "though he was not Arthur," indicating that the poet knew of an even greater hero by that name. According to a Latin History of the Britons around the year 800, ascribed to Nennius, "Arthur fought against the Saxons in those days together with the kings of Britain, but he was himself the leader of battles." Nennius names twelve such battles, in one of which Arthur is said to have carried an image of the Virgin Mary on his shoulders. The Latin Annals of Wales (ca. 950) has an entry for the year 516 concerning "the Battle of Badon, in which Arthur carried the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ on his shoulders for three days and three nights, and the Britons were victorious."

Not until the twelfth century, though, did Arthur achieve a quasi-historical existence as the greatest of British kings in the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth, Wace, and Layamon (NAEL 8, 1.118-28). At the same time, Arthur was flourishing in Welsh tales as a fairy-tale king, attended by courtiers named Kei (Kay), Bedwyn (Bedivere), and Gwalchmain (Gawain). It was in the French literature of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries that Arthur and his knights came to embody the rise, and eventual decline, of a court exemplifying an aristocratic ideal of chivalry. In the verse romances of Chrétien de Troyes, the focus shifts from the "history" of Arthur to the deeds of his knights who ride out from his court on fabulous adventures and exemplify the chivalric ethos. Chrétien's works were adapted and imitated by writers in German, English, Dutch, and Icelandic. The new genre of romance focused not only on the exploits of knights fighting in wars and tournaments or battling against monstrous foes but also on the trials and fortunes of love, and romances addressed mixed audiences of men and women.

In the thirteenth century, a group of French writers produced what modern scholars refer to as the Vulgate Cycle, in prose. This consists of a huge network of interlocking tales, featuring hundreds of characters. The Vulgate Cycle presents a darker side to Arthur and to the Round Table as a center of courtesy and culture.

In the chronicle histories, as a Christian king, Arthur had borne the cross and fought valiantly against barbarian enemies and an evil giant. In romance, both Arthur's role and his character undergo changes inconsistent with his reputation as one of the worthies. His court continues to be the center from which the adventures of his knights radiate, but Arthur himself becomes something of a figurehead, someone whom French scholars refer to as a roi fainéant — a do-nothing king — who appears weak and is ruled and sometimes bailed out by one of his knights, especially by his nephew Sir Gawain. The very idea of Arthurian chivalry as a secular ideal undergoes a critique, especially in the Vulgate Cycle. While for the aristocracy Arthur's reign continued to provide an ancient model of courtesy, justice, and prowess, as it does in Deschamps's ballade on the Nine Worthies, moralists and satirists pointed out, with varying degrees of subtlety, how far Arthur and his knights fall short of the highest spiritual ideals. Sir Lancelot's adultery with Arthur's queen became an especially troubling factor.

In French romance, along with his uncle's, Sir Gawain's chivalry becomes equivocal and, in many respects, more interesting. In Chrétien's Yvain, Gawain serves as the advocate for male bonding, who succeeds in wooing the hero of the romance away from his newly wedded wife. In courtly romances at least (there is an exception in popular romance), Gawain never acquires a wife or even a permanent mistress like Lancelot, although there are covert and, occasionally, overt affairs with different ladies. In one late tale, Gawain agrees to woo a cruel lady on behalf of another knight, who then discovers Gawain in bed with that lady. The poet of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight may well be referring to such episodes when in the first of the three titillating bedroom scenes, he has the lady of the castle reproach Gawain for his lack of courtesy:

"So good a knight as Gawain is given out to be,
And the model of fair demeanor and manners pure,
Had he lain so long at a lady's side,
Would have claimed a kiss, by his courtesy,
Through some touch or trick of phrase at some tale's end."
(NAEL 8, 1.189, lines 1297–1301)

French romance can help one appreciate the subtlety and delicacy of the humor with which the Gawain poet and Chaucer treat bedroom scenes. The Gauvain of French romances, however, contrasts with his English counterpart. In English romance before Malory, Sir Gawain remains Arthur's chief knight. Chaucer's Squire's Tale praises the speech and behavior of a strange knight by saying that "Gawain, with his olde curteisye, / Though he were come again out of fairye, / Ne coude him nat amende with a word." In Arthur's nightmarish dream in Layamon's Brut, Gawain sits astride the roof of the hall in front of the king, holding his sword (NAEL 8, 1.125, lines 13985–87). The English Gawain does get married in The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle, which is one of eleven popular Gawain romances surviving in English in all of which Sir Gawain is the best of Arthur's knights. That story is of special interest because it has the same plot as The Wife of Bath's Tale, except that in this tale the hero is not getting himself but King Arthur off the hook.

The legendary king of the Celtic Britons and his nephew were eventually adopted as national heroes by the English, against whose ancestors Arthur and Gawain had fought, and that is how they are presented by William Caxton in the Preface to his edition of Malory's Morte Darthur in 1485, the same year in which Henry Tudor, who thanks to his Welsh ancestry made political capital of King Arthur, became Henry VII of England. Caxton valiantly, and perhaps somewhat disingenuously, seeks to refute the notion, "that there was no such Arthur and that all such books as been made of him been but feigned and fables." Yet even after Arthur's historicity had been discredited, his legend continued to fuel English nationalism and the imagination of epic poets. Spenser made Prince Arthur the destined but never-to-be consort of Gloriana, the Faerie Queene (NAEL 8, 1.808-12, Canto 9.1–153); the young Milton had contemplated Arthur as a possible epic subject (NAEL 8, 1.1813, note 2). [link source]

Medieval Estates and Orders: Making and Breaking Rules

Near the beginning of Chaucer's General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, the narrator tells his audience that he will describe the "condicioun" of the pilgrims, their "degree" (social rank), "whiche they were," and also "what array that they were inne"; at the end he says that he has now told their "estaat" and "array" and apologizes if he has not arranged them in the "degree . . . as that they sholde stonde," i.e., their correct social order (NAEL 8, 1.219, lines 38–41; 235, line 718; 236, lines 745–47). This professed concern for putting people in their proper place is obviously of great interest to the poet and his audience. It should also be a matter of interest and amusement to modern readers, especially if they realize that the poet's ostensible concern for propriety is a mask he puts on. What is interesting about Chaucer's Prologue is not that it portrays an archaic and closed social order but that it reveals that order in the process of breaking down. Most of Chaucer's pilgrims are by no means content to stay in their proper places but are engaged in the pursuit of wealth, status, and respectability. The conflict between the old and the new, between tradition and ambition is evident not only in the General Prologue but throughout The Canterbury Tales in the individual pilgrims' prologues and tales.

Every society devises terminology meant to express social stratifications but also often used to disguise them. Class, the principal term in both popular and academic discourse about our society, is not very useful or accurate in analyzing medieval society or the ways in which that society thought about itself. Although there may be some justification in applying notions of class, especially middle-class, to Chaucer's world, that of the late fourteenth century, one needs to keep in mind that the Middle Ages cover the period of a millennium during which social structures and social theory were constantly changing. The main purpose of the following selections is to define more precisely such terms as condition, degree, estate, and order, a word that can signify both the (theoretically) harmonious arrangement of the cosmos and society and individual units of the general order, such as a religious order or an order of chivalry.

[Click on image to enlarge] One of the main differences between the order of medieval and the order of modern society is the preeminent role played in the former by the Church and its many institutions. One-third of the Canterbury pilgrims either belong to the Church — the Prioress, the Second Nun (her chaplain), the Nun's Priest (one of three priests who are said to accompany her), the Monk, the Friar, the Clerk, and the Parson — or are laymen who make a corrupt living out of it — the Summoner and the Pardoner. >> note 1 The Church was in itself a complex social structure and inevitably constituted one of the divisions made in medieval social theory, which was written in Latin by churchmen. An obvious division is the bipartite one between the clergy and the laity — those belonging to the Church and those outside it. Another — one of several tripartite divisions — which stems from the Roman Church's doctrine of celibacy of the clergy, is based on sexual activity: virgins, widowers and widows, and married people. This is a classification that the Wife of Bath in her Prologue professes to accept while defending her right to remarry as often as she pleases (NAEL 8, 1.256–60).

Religious orders were so called because they were "ordered" or "regulated" by a regula, i.e., a "rule" (the latter noun comes into English from Old French reule via Latin regula), and a division was recognized between regular clergy, those subject to the rule of a monastic order, who lived in a religious community, and secular clergy, those subject to the bishop of a diocese, who lived in the world. Both regulars and seculars were ultimately subject to the pope. The oldest religious rule in this sense is the Rule of Saint Benedict devised in the sixth century by the founder of the Benedictine order, who has been called the "Father of Western Monasticism."

[Click on image to enlarge] Over the course of the Middle Ages, a schema of three mutually dependent estates developed, one of the earliest articulations of which is that of the English Benedictine monk Aelfric. According to this theory, Christian society was comprised of those who pray (the clergy), those who fight (the nobility), and those who work (the laborers). The clergy see to it that the souls of all may be saved; the laborers see to it that the bodies of all may be fed and clothed; the nobility see to it that the other two estates may carry out their functions in peace and with justice.

[Click on image to enlarge] In practice, such a schema does not begin to account for the varieties of religious, social, or professional experience during the Middle Ages. The Rule of Saint Benedict sets forth the basic principles and practices of monks and nuns and helps one to grasp the violations of the rule by the likes of Chaucer's fourteenth-century Monk. But the religious and social world kept changing. The Benedictine order itself changed as it grew more powerful and politically influential. In the twelfth century new orders appeared — the Cistercians and the orders of friars founded by St. Dominic and St. Francis. Also, in emulation of the early Christian desert fathers, both men and women often chose to live as hermits or recluses instead of joining religious communities. The Ancrene Riwle (Rule for Anchoresses) (NAEL 8, 1.157–59), written for three English sisters, contains elements of passionate devotional experience absent from the Benedictine rule.

In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the nobility developed a taste for romances of chivalry — many of them about King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table. The Round Table itself came to be thought of as an "order," in some respects like a religious order. Ramón Lull's The Book of the Order of Chivalry, one of the most popular works of the Middle Ages, lays out that concept in the form of a book of instruction presented like a rule by an older knight to a young squire who is about to be dubbed into the order of knighthood.

Nuns belonged to religious orders following a rule. But St. Benedict's Rule, Aelfric, Ramón Lull, and most discussions of estates and orders, except those, like Ancrene Riwle, addressed to women, are silent about woman's estate. Women worked beside their husbands in the fields, in the textile industry, and in shops; but there was a body of antifeminist literature that dealt with women as though they belonged to a separate order whose sole enterprise was sex, love, and marriage. In the Romance of the Rose, Jean de Meun, the second of its two authors, created a satiric character named La vieille, the Old Woman, who holds a long discourse on how to take advantage of men and succeed in that enterprise (in which, she confesses, she has failed). Her discourse is an important source for Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Prologue.

[Click on image to enlarge] Although the three estates were supposed to work together for the common good, their actual history is one of constant friction and conflict. The murder of Thomas á Becket by four of Henry II's knights, for which the king was forced to do penance, is an example of an ongoing dispute between church and state about jurisdiction over the clergy. Mutual hatred of the lower and higher estates is seen in the bloody English Uprising of 1381, which is represented here by a series of rebel manifestos preserved in chronicles and an allegorical diatribe against the rebels in the Vox Clamantis of the poet John Gower. That work, as well as Gower's Mirour de l'Omme, illustrates the late-medieval genre of estates satire to which the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales is, in some respects, related. In estates satires the idealism projected by St. Benedict, the author of Ancrene Riwle, and Ramón Lull has given way to a profound pessimism and even despair about the social order. The different estates now include — in addition to bishops, monks, barons, knights, and peasants — merchants, doctors, lawyers, and other more specialized professions whose activities provide an unrelieved, if occasionally colorful, catalogue of greed, fraud, and hypocrisy. [source: www.wwnorton.com]

Postcolonial Author: "Gabriel García Márquez"

Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez, also known as Gabo (born March 6, 1927 in Aracataca, Magdalena) is a Colombian novelist, journalist, editor, publisher, political activist, and recipient of the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature. His second novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), is the best-selling of all books originally written in the Spanish language (36 million copies sold as of July 2007). Márquez has lived mostly in Mexico and Europe and currently spends much of his time in Mexico City. Widely credited with introducing the global public to magical realism, he has secured both significant critical acclaim and widespread commercial success. Many people hold that García Márquez ranks alongside his co-writers of the Latin American Boom, Jorge Luis Borges, Alejo Carpentier, Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa and Julio Cortázar as one of the world's greatest 20th-century authors.

Gabriel García Márquez is the father of television and film director Rodrigo Garcia.

García Márquez's first major work was The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor (Relato de un náufrago), which he wrote as a newspaper series in 1955. The book told the true story of a shipwreck by exposing the fact that the existence of contraband aboard a Colombian Navy vessel had contributed to the tragedy due to overweight. This resulted in public controversy, as it discredited the official account of the events, which had blamed a storm for the shipwreck and glorified the surviving sailor. This led to the beginning of his foreign correspondence, as García Márquez became a sort of persona non grata to the government of General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. The series was later published in 1970 and taken by many to have been written as a novel.

Several of his works have been classified as both fiction and non-fiction, notably Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Crónica de una muerte anunciada) (1981), which tells the tale of a revenge killing recorded in the newspapers, and Love in the Time of Cholera (El amor en los tiempos del cólera) (1985), which is loosely based on the story of his parents' courtship. Many of his works, including those two, take place in the "García Márquez universe," in which characters, places, and events reappear from book to book. The works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez often cross genres and most integrate at least a few elements of magical realism. Furthermore, many of his novels and short stories integrate actual history as well as complete fabrication, making his genres sometimes difficult to pin down.

His most commercially successful novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cien años de soledad) (1967; English translation by Gregory Rabassa 1970), has sold more than 36 million copies worldwide. It chronicles several generations of the Buendía family who live in a fictional South American village called Macondo. García Márquez won the Rómulo Gallegos Prize in 1972 for One Hundred Years of Solitude. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, with his short stories and novels cited as the basis for the award.[1]

In 2002, he published the memoir Vivir para contarla, the first of a projected three-volume autobiography. The book was a bestseller in the Spanish-speaking world. Edith Grossman's English translation, Living to Tell the Tale, was published in November 2003 and has become another bestseller. On September 10, 2004, the Bogotá daily El Tiempo announced a new novel, Memoria de mis putas tristes (Memories of My Melancholy Whores), a love story that follows the romance of a 90-year old man and a drugged, pubescent concubine, was published the following October with a first print run of one million copies.


* In Evil Hour 1962
* One Hundred Years of Solitude 1967
* The Autumn of the Patriarch 1975
* Chronicle of a Death Foretold 1981
* Love in the Time of Cholera 1985
* The General in His Labyrinth 1989
* Of Love and Other Demons 1994
* Memories of My Melancholy Whores 2004

Short Stories

* A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (1968)
* The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World (1971)
* Blacaman the Good, Vendor of Miracles (1972)
* The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship (1972)
* Death Constant Beyond Love (1973)
* The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother (1973)
* The Sea of Lost Time (1974)
* Eyes of a Blue Dog (1978)
* The Night of the Curlews (1978)
* Someone Has Been Disarranging These Roses (1978)
* The Woman Who Came at Six O'Clock (1978)
* Artificial Roses (1984)
* Balthazar's Marvelous Afternoon (1984)
* Big Mama's Funeral (1984)
* Bitterness for Three Sleepwalkers (1984)
* Dialogue with the Mirror (1984)
* Eva is Inside Her Cat (1984)
* Monologue of Isabel Watching It Rain in Macondo (1984)
* Montiel's Widow (1984)
* Nabo: The Black Man Who Made the Angels Wai (1984)
* One Day After Saturday (1984)
* One of These Days (1984)
* The Other Side of Death (1984)
* There Are No Thieves in This Town (1984)
* The Third Resignation (1984)
* Tuesday Siesta (1984)
* Bon Voyage, Mr. President (1992)
* The Saint (1992)
* Sleeping Beauty and the Airplane (1992)
* I Sell My Dreams (1992)
* "I Only Came to Use the Phone" (1992)
* Maria dos Prazeres(1992)
* Seventeen Poisoned Englishmen (1992)
* Tramontana (1992)
* Miss Forbes's Summer of Happiness (1992)
* Light is Like Water (1992)
* The Trail of Your Blood in the Snow (1992)
* The Ghosts of August (1993)
* Caribe Mágico (1996)

Short Story Collections

* No One Writes to the Colonel 1968
* Leaf Storm 1972
* Innocent Erendira 1978
* Strange Pilgrims 1992


* The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor 1955
* The Fragrance of Guava 1982
* Clandestine in Chile 1987
* News of a Kidnapping 1996
* A Country for Children 1998
* Living to Tell the Tale 2002

Further reading

* Bhalla, Alok (1987). Garcia Marquez and Latin America.
* Bell, Michael (1993). Gabriel García Márquez: Solitude and Solidarity.
* Bloom, Harold (1989). Gabriel García Márquez (Modern Critical Views).
* Bloom, Harold (1999). Gabriel García Márquez (Modern Critical Views).
* Bloom, Harold (1999). Gabriel García Márquez (Modern Critical Views).
* Bloom, Harold (2007). Gabriel García Márquez (Modern Critical Views).
* Bloom, Harold (2006). Gabriel García Márquez (Bloom's BioCritiques).
* Bloom, Harold (2006). One Hundred Years of Solitude (Modern Critical Interpretations).
* Bloom, Harold (2003). One Hundred Years of Solitude (Modern Critical Interpretations).
* Bloom, Harold (2005). Love in the time of cholera (Modern Critical Interpretations).
* Darraj, Susan (2006). Gabriel García Márquez(The great Hispanic heritage).
* Fahy, Thomas (2003). Gabriel García Márquez's Love in the time of cholera : a reader's guide.
* Fiddian, Robin W. (1995). García Márquez.
* Fuentes, Carlos (1987). Gabriel García Márquez and the Invention of America.
* Janes, Regina (1981). Gabriel García Márquez: Revolutions in Wonderland.
* McGuirk, Bernard (1987). Gabriel García Márquez: New Readings.
* McMurray, George R. (1977). Gabriel García Márquez.
* McMurray, George R. (1987). Critical essays on Gabriel García Márquez.
* McMurray, George R. (1987). Gabriel García Márquez: Life, Work, and Criticism.
* McNerney, Kathleen (1989). Understanding Gabriel García Márquez.
* Mellen, Joan (2000). Gabriel Garcia Márquez.
* Miller, Yvette E. (1985). Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
* Oberhelman, Harley D. (1991). Gabriel García Márquez: A Study of the Short Fiction.
* Ortega, Julio (1988). Gabriel García Márquez and the Powers of Fiction.
* Oyarzún, Kemy (1984). Essays on Gabriel García Márquez.
* Penuel, Arnold M. (1994). Intertextuality in García Márquez.
* Pelayo, Rubén (2001). Gabriel García Márquez: A Critical Companion.
* Shaw, Bradley A. (1986). Critical Perspectives on Gabriel García Márquez.
* Vergara, Isabel (1998). Haunting demons : critical essays on the works of Gabriel García Márquez.
* Villada, Gene (2002). Gabriel García Márquez's One hundred years of solitude : a casebook.
* Williams, Raymond L. (1984). Gabriel García Márquez (Twayne's World Authors Series).