Cunqueiro, Álvaro 1911–1981

views updated

Cunqueiro, Álvaro 1911–1981

(Álvaro Cunqueiro Mora, Álvaro Labrado)

PERSONAL: Born December 22, 1911, in Mondoñedo, Spain; died February 27, 1981, in Vigo, Spain; son of Joaquín (a pharmacist) and Josefa Mora de Cunqueiro. Education: Studied history at the University of Santiago de Compostela.

CAREER: Poet and author. Founder and editor of periodicals Galiza, 1920, and Papel de Color, 1932; Pueblo Gallego (daily newspaper), Vigo, Spain, staff writer, 1937–39; Noche, Madrid, Spain, staff writer, 1939–49; A.B.C., Madrid, staff writer, 1939–49; Faro de Vigo, Vigo, editor; Destino, Madrid, associate editor.

AWARDS, HONORS: Nadal Prize, for Un hombre que se parecía a Orestes.


Balada de las damas del tiempo pasado, Alhambra (Madrid, Spain), 1930.

Mar ao norde, Nós (Santiago de Compostela, Spain), 1932.

Cantiga nova que se chama riveira, Resol (Santiago de Compostela, Spain), 1933.

Poemas do sí e non, Un (Lugo, Spain), 1933.

Poemas: Antología de inéditos, Descobrimento (Lisbon, Portugal), 1934.

Elegías y canciones, Apolo (Barcelona, Spain), 1940.

(Under pseudonym Álvaro Labrado) San Gonzalo, Nacional (Madrid, Spain), 1945.

Dona do corpo delgado, Soto (Pontevedra, Spain), 1950, new edition, 1957.

Crónica de la derrota de las naciones, Atlántida (Coruúa, Spain), 1954.

Merlín e familia, i outras historias, Galaxia (Vigo, Spain), 1954, translated by Colin Smith as Merlin and Company, Charles E. Tuttle (Rutland, VT), 1996.

As crónicas do sochantre, Galaxia (Vigo, Spain), 1956, translation by the author published as Las crónicas del sochantre, AHR (Barcelona, Spain), 1959.

El caballero, La muerte y El diablo, y otras dos o tres historias, Grifón (Madrid, Spain), 1956.

(With José María Castroviejo Blanco Cicerón) Teatro venatorio y coquinario gallego, Monterrey (Vigo, Spain), 1958, published as Viaje por los montes y chimeneas de Galicia: Caza y cocinas, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1962, revised and enlarged edition, 1978.

O incerto señor Don Hamlet, príncipe de Dinamarca, Galaxia (Vigo, Spain), 1958.

Escola de menciñeiros e Fabula de varia xente, Galaxia (Vigo, Spain), 1960.

Las mocedades de Ulises, Argos (Barcelona, Spain), 1960, 2nd edition, Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1970.

Si o vello Sinbad volvese ás illas, Galaxia (Vigo, Spain), 1961, translated by the author as Cuando el viejo Sinbad vuelva a las islas, Argos (Barcelona, Spain), 1962.

Rutas de España: El camino de Santiago, Españolas (Madrid, Spain), 1962.

Itinerarios turístico-gastronómicos por la provincia de Pontevedra—Rias Bajas, Faro de Vigo (Vigo, Spain), 1964.

Tesouros novos e vellos, Galaxia (Vigo, Spain), 1964. (With Gaspar Massó) Pesca y conservas, [Madrid, Spain], 1964.

El camino de Santiago, Faro de Vigo (Vigo, Spain), 1965, translated as The Way of Saint James, Faro de Vigo, 1965.

Rutas de España: Lugo, La Coruña, Pontevedra, Orense, Españolas (Madrid, Spain), 1967.

Lugo, Everest (León, Spain), 1968.

Flores del año mil y pico de ave, Taber (Barcelona, Spain), 1968.

El envés, Taber (Barcelona, Spain), 1969.

Un hombre que se parecía a Orestes, Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1969.

La cocina cristiana de occidente, Taber (Barcelona, Spain), 1969.

Pontevedra—Rías Bajas, Taber (Barcelona, Spain), 1969.

Laberinto y cía, Taber (Barcelona, Spain), 1970.

El descanso del camellero, Taber (Barcelona, Spain), 1970.

Vigo y su ría, Everest (León, Spain), 1971.

Xente de aquí e de acolá, Galaxia (Vigo, Spain), 1971.

Vida y fugas de Fanto Fantini, Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1972.

A cociña galega, Galaxia (Vigo, Spain), 1973, translated by the author as Cocina gallega, Everest (Madrid, Spain), 1981.

Don Hamlet e tres pezas mais, Galaxia (Vigo, Spain), 1974.

El año del cometa con la batalla de los cuatro reyes, Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1974.

La otra gente, Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1975.

Rías Bahas gallegas (in Spanish, French, and English), Everest (Madrid, Spain), 1975.

Tertulia de boticas prodigiosas y Escuela de curanderos, Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1976.

Os outros feirantes, Galaxia (Vigo, Spain), 1979.

Obra en Galego completa (omnibus), Volume 1: Poesía, teatro, Volume 2: Narrativa, Volume 3: Semblanzas, Volume 4: Ensaios, Galaxia (Vigo, Spain), 1980–91.

(Editor and author of prologue) Alfonso X, King of Castile and Leon, Cantigas de Santa Marí, Galaxia (Vigo, Spain), 1980.

Vigo en su historia, Caja de Ahorros Municipal de Vigo (Vigo, Spain), 1980.

Las Historias gallegas, Banco de Crédito e Inversiones (Madrid, Spain), 1981.

Ver Galicia, photographs by Raimon Camprubi, Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1981, Galician translation by the author published as Ollar Galicia, 1981.

Homenaxe a Alvaro Cunqueiro, University of Santiago de Compostela (Santiago de Compostela, Spain), 1982.

Rías Bajas Gallegas, photographs by Francisco Díez González and M. Luz Gutiérrez de Diez, Everest (Madrid, Spain), 1982.

Fábulas y leyendas de la mar, Tusquets (Barcelona, Spain), 1982.

Antología poética (in Galician and Castilian), translation by César A. Molina, Plaza & Janés (Barcelona, Spain), 1983.

Tesoros y otras magias, Tusquets (Barcelona, Spain), 1984.

Viajes imaginarios y reales, Tusquets (Barcelona, Spain), 1986.

Herba aquí ou acolá/Hierba aquí o allá (in Galician and Castilian), translation by César A. Molina, Visor (Madrid, Spain), 1988.

El pasajero en Galicia, selected and edited by César Antonio Molina, Tusquets (Barcelona, Spain), 1989.

Escritos recuperados, edited by Anxo Tarrió Varela, University of Santiago de Compostela (Santiago de Compostela, Spain), 1991.

Flor de diversos: escolma de poetas traducidos, edited by Xesús González Gómez, Galaxia (Vigo, Spain), 1991.

La bella del dragón: de amores, sabores y fornicos, selected by César Antonio Molina, Tusquets (Barcelona, Spain), 1991.

La historia del caballero Rafael, selected by Anxo Tarrio, Edhasa (Barcelona, Spain), 1991.

Alvaro Cunqueiro, edited by José Filgueira Valverde, Real Academia Galega (Coruna, Spain), 1991.

Alvaro Cunqueiro: (1911–1981), Xunta de Galicia (Santiago de Compostela, Spain), 1991.

Cunqueiro en la radio: Cada día tiene su historia y otras series, Fundación "Pedro Barrié de la Maza, Conde de Fenosa" (Coruna, Spain), 1991.

A máxia da palavra: Cunqueiro na rádio, Sotelo Blanco (Santiago de Compostela, Spain), 1991.

Cada dia tiene su historia y otras series: comentarios radiofónicos, Radio Nacional de España, Fundación "Pedro Barrié de la Maza, Conde de Fenosa" (Coruna, Spain), 1991.

Encuentros, caminos y noticias en el Reino de la Tierra, Compostela (Santiago de Compostela, Spain), 1991.

O reino da chuvia: artigos esquencidos (collection of articles), Servicio Publicaciones Diputación Provincial (Lugo, Spain), 1992.

Papeles que fueron vidas (collection of articles), edited by Xesús González, Tusquets (Barcelona, Spain), 1994.

Entrevistas a Cunqueiro (interviews), edited by Ramón Nicolás Rodriguez, 1994.

Narrativa curta: antoloxía, edited by María Xesús Nogueira, Asociación Socio-Pedagóxica Galega (Vigo, Spain), 1997.

Poesía en gallego completa, translated by Vicente Araguas and César Antonio Molina, Visor Libros (Madrid, Spain), 2003.

Contributor to periodicals, including Escorial and Vértice.

SIDELIGHTS: Described as the author of "the finest Galician poetry of the twentieth century" by Dictionary of Literary Biography contributor Xoan González-Millán, Álvaro Cunqueiro was a poet, essayist, and novelist known for his often fanciful works and love for his native Galician people, history, and landscape. A rising star prior to the Spanish Civil War, Cunqueiro initially wrote verses primarily in his native tongue. After Francisco Franco came to power, however, writers were persecuted for writing in anything but Castilian, and so Cunqueiro published works in this language for a time. However, he later managed to write in both Galician and Castilian, often translating his poetry and fiction into both tongues. His skill with language and ability to draw on archaic as well as modern terminology give his writings a unique and challenging character, while Cunqueiro's flights into fantasy, Roman and Celtic history, and mixture of literary traditions has also made him a distinctive voice in Spanish literature. As for his thematic concerns, the author sought his own path as well, focusing on his interest in Galician culture and history.

Influenced in his early works by the artistic trends of the time, including Cubism and Surrealism, Cunqueiro also wrote poems influenced by neotroubadorism, which was "based on the fin de siècle rediscovery of medieval Galician troubadours' verses," explained González-Millán. This is clearly seen in the poet's first successful collection, Cantiga nova que se chama riveira. Another early collection is his Poemas do sí e non, which contains free verse poems that show surrealistic influences, though to a decreasing degree. The poems that appear in Conqueiro's Herba aquí ou acolá/Hierba aquí o allá were written during the 1960s and 1970s, though the bilingual edition did not appear until 1988. Xoan González-Millán considered this work to be the poet's most extraordinary collection, with its "unrestrained musicality" and "existential uneasiness." The critic concluded: "Perhaps Herba will eventually be seen as a turning point in the development of Galician poetry in the twentieth century. With this work, Cunqueiro indicates the paths back to the poetry of the past, centered on the melancholy meditation on death, the nostalgia for a lost love, and the bitterness of old age."

With regard to his fiction, Cunqueiro has often been praised for his novels that take myths and legends from other literary traditions and place them into a Galician landscape and history. The author does this with the Greek stories of Orestes in Un hombre que se parecía a Orestes and Ulysses in Las mocedades de Ulises, and with the Arthurian character of Merlin the wizard in Merlín e familia, i outras historias. Unfortunately, the Galician world that Cunqueiro so loved had largely been overtaken by progress, even in the author's own time. Thus, his verse, fiction, and even essay collections repeatedly look to bygone days; "but then," commented Ricardo Landeira in World Literature Today, "sadly enough, that is all that remains recognizably Galician: history, literature, and superstition."



Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 134: Twentieth-Century Spanish Poets, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1993.


Hispania, March, 1970, John W. Kronik, review of Un hombre que se parecía a Orestes, p. 152; May, 1971, James A. Flightner, review of Merlín e familia, i outras historias, pp. 396-397; December, 1971, James A. Flightner, review of Las mocedades de Ulises, p. 971.

World Literature Today, winter, 1977, Olga Prjevalin-skaya Ferrer, review of Tertulia de boticas y Escuela de curanderos, p. 70; winter, 1986, Ricardo Landeira, review of Tesoros y otras magias, p. 94; summer, 1987, David Ross Gerling, review of Viajes imaginarios y reales, p. 428; winter, 1993, Patricia Hart, review of La bella del dragón: De amores, sabores y fornicos, p. 171.