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FERNÁNDEZ FLÓREZ, Wenceşlao 1885-1964


PERSONAL: Born 1885, in La Coruña, Spain; died 1964.


CAREER: Novelist, playwright, and essayist. El Parlamento, editor.

MEMBER: Royal Spanish Academy of the Language.

AWARDS, HONORS: Fine Arts Circle prize, 1917, for Volvereta; Premio Mariano Cavia, 1922.

WRITINGS:


La tristerza de la paz, Artistica Española (Madrid, Spain), 1910.

Volvereta, Viudo de Pueyo (Madrid, Spain), 1917, reprinted, Cátedra (Madrid, Spain), 1999.

Silencio, Viudo de Pueyo (Madrid, Spain), 1918.

Acotaciones de un oyente, Viuda de Pueyo (Madrid, Spain), c. 1918.

Las gafas del diablo (title means "The Devil's Glasses"), General de Ediciones (Madrid, Spain), 1918, reprinted, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1980.

Luz de luna (title means "Moonlight"), Los Contemporáneos (Madrid, Spain), 1919.

El espejo irónico, Renacimiento (Madrid, Spain), c. 1920.

Ha entrado un ladrón (title means "A Thief Has Entered"), Viuda de Pueyo (Madrid, Spain), c. 1920.

La procesión de los días, Viuda de Pueyo (Madrid, Spain), c. 1921.

La caza de la mariposa, Sucesores de Rivadeneyra (Madrid, Spain), 1922.

Tragedías de la vida vulgar, Atlántida (Madrid, Spain), 1922.

La familia Gomar, Gráfica (Madrid, Spain), 1922.

El ilustre Cardona, Sucesores de Rivadeneyra (Madrid, Spain), 1923.

Huella de luz, Sucesores de Rivadeneyra (Madrid, Spain), 1924.

Unos pasos de mujer (title means "A Woman's Footsteps"), Sucesores de Rivadeneyra (Madrid, Spain), 1924.

El fantasma, Sucesores de Rivadeneyra (Madrid, Spain), 1924.

Visiones de neurastenia, Atlántida (Madrid, Spain), 1924.

El calma turbada, Artística de Sáez Hermanos (Madrid, Spain), 1925.

Por qué te engaña tu marido, Sucesores de Rivadeneyra (Madrid, Spain), 1925.

La casa de la lluvia (contains "Luz de luna," "La familia Gomar," and "Aire de muerto"), Sociedad general de publicaciones (Madrid, Spain), 1925.

Mi mujer, Sucesores de Rivadeneyra (Madrid, Spain), 1925, reprinted, Almarabu (Spain), 1985.

La seducida, Artística de Sáez Hermanos (Madrid, Spain), 1925.

El secreto de Barba-Azul (title means "Bluebeard's Secret"), Atlántida (Madrid, Spain), 1925, reprinted, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1972.

Las siete columnas (title means "The Seven Pillars"), Atlántida (Madrid, Spain), 1926, reprinted, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1979, translation by Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell, Macmillan (London, England), 1934.

Frente al dictador, Biblioteca Internacional (Madrid, Spain), 1926.

Una aventura del cine (screenplay), 1927.

Ella y la otra, Artística de Sáez Hermanos (Madrid, Spain), 1927.

Relato inmoral, Atlántida (Madrid, Spain), 1927, reprinted, Mascarón (Barcelona, Spain), 1981.

El pais de papel (title means "The Country of Paper"), Talleres Poligráficos (Madrid, Spain), 1929.

El ladrón de glándulas, Viuda de Pueyo (Madrid, Spain), 1929, reprinted, Peninsula (Barcelona, Spain), 1998.

Fantasmas, Compania Ibero-Americana de Publicaciones (Madrid, Spain), 1930, translated by Henry Baerlein published as Laugh and the Ghosts Laugh with You, British Technical and General Press (London, England), 1952.

Los que no fuimos a la guerra (novel), Compania Ibero-Americana de Publicaciones (Madrid, Spain), 1930.

El malvado Carabel (title means "The Wicked Carabel"), Renacimiento (Madrid, Spain), 1931, reprinted, Temas de Hoy (Madrid, Spain), 1998.

Acotaciones de un oyente e impresiones políticas de un hombre de buena fe (title means "A Listener's Notes and Political Impressions of a Man of Good Faith"), in Obras Completas (1945-1950), Volumes 7-8, Renacimiento (Madrid, Spain), 1931, reprinted, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1962.

La conquista del horizonte, Viuda de Pueyo (Madrid, Spain), 1932.

El hombre que compró un automóvil, Pueyo (Madrid, Spain), 1932, reprinted, Anaya (Madrid, Spain), 1990.

Aventuras del caballero Rogelio de Amaral, Viuda de Pueyo (Madrid, Spain), 1933.

Odio (screenplay), 1934.

Los trabajos del detective Ring, Viuda de Pueyo (Madrid, Spain), 1934.

Mis mejores cuentos (stories; contains "Luz de luna," "La familia Gomar," and "El calor de la hoguera"), Prensa Popular (Madrid, Spain), 1934.

Una isla en el mar rojo, Ediciones Españoles (Madrid, Spain), 1939.

Visiones de neurastenia, Librería General (Zaragoza, Spain), 1939.

Los novelas del espino en flor (contains "El secreto de Barba-Azul," "Las siete columnas," and "Relato inmoral"), Ediciones Españoles (Madrid, Spain), 1940.

La novela número 13, Librería General (Zaragoza, Spain), 1941, reprinted, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1971.

Nube enjaulada, Librería General (Zaragoza, Spain), 1944.

Afan-Evu (screenplay), 1945. Obras completas, M. Aquilar (Madrid, Spain), 1945, reprinted, 1968.

El toro, el torero y el gato (title means "The Bull, the Bullfighter, and the Cat"), M. Aquilar (Madrid, Spain), 1946.

El bosque animado (title means "The Lively Forest"), Nacional (Madrid, Spain), 1947, reprinted, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1996.

El sistema pelegrín, Librería General (Zaragoza, Spain), 1949.

De portería a portería, Prensa Española (Madrid, Spain), 1949.

Las maletas del más allá, Alfil (Madrid, Spain), 1952.

Fuego artificiales, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1954.

Mis páginas mejores, Gredos (Madrid, Spain), 1956.

Yo y el ladrón, y otros cuentos, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1957.

Antología del humorismo en la literatura universal, Labor (Barcelona, Spain), 1957.

La vaca adúltera, Taurus (Madrid, Spain), 1958.

Filozofio de fantomo, Hispaña Esperanto Federacio (Zaragoza, Spain), 1959.

Impresiones de un hombre de buena fe: 1920-1936, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1964.

Obras selectas, Caro Roggio (Barcelona, Spain), 1979.


Also author of El hombre que quiso matar and Un cadáver en el comedor. Contributor to periodicals, including, Maraña, Diario de Galicia, Tierra Gallega, Imparcial, Ilustración Española e Hispanoamericana, and ABC.


ADAPTATIONS: Novels by Fernández Flórez that have been adapted into film include El malvado Carabel, 1935; Unos pasos de mujer, 1941; Un cadáver en el comedor, 1942; El hombre que quiso matar, 1943; El bosque animado, 1943; La casa de la lluvia, 1943; El fantasma, 1944; Ha entrado un ladrón, 1950; El sistema pelegrín, 1952; Luz de luna, 1959; Los que no fuimos a la guerra, 1962; Por qué te engaña tu marido, 1969; and Volvereta, 1976.


SIDELIGHTS: Novelist Wenceşlao Fernández Flórez, according to the Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature, was "above all a humorist who in his best works offers a desolate and bitter vision of life and of the world that is both personal and universal." He was very successful with writing social and national satire and much of his work contains brash humor and deep irony.

Robert Zaetta, writing in Kentucky Romance Quarterly, observed that Fernández Flórez "began writing under the influence of Realism and Naturalism, and his early novels follow the literary conventions of literary schools." Zaetta proposed that Volvereta, Ha entrado un ladrón, and Unos pasos de mujer are three novels that exemplify Fernández Flórez's early stage of narration. Zaetta stated, "the reader can soon predict their course of action because the protagonists seem programmed to go on committing the same errors."

Delfín Carbonell, writing in Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos, insisted that Fernández Flórez "expresses the angst of existence through the medium of vulgarity [ironic humor and caricature], daily. He proves capable of painting two facets of existence: the humorist face and the tragic-humorist. His world is a world of laughter and tears that proves a deep preoccupation with the fundamental heartfelt problem or the significance of existence. He presents examples of vulgar persons . . . men profoundly mortified by the accident of circumstances they do not understand, or are unable to rise above."

Published in 1925, El secreto del Barba-Azul "marks the start of the second stage in the development of Fernández Flórez's comic technique," according to Zaetta. "This novel shows a sharp departure from earlier realistic works as the characters become caricatures and the places become symbolic." Another "development" in Fernández Flórez's technique can be seen in Relato inmoral. As Zaetta observed, "closely allied to the theme of love and sex is that of the mores of Spanish society," making Relato inmoral "a burlesque of the 'novela érotica' . . . in which the character always seems to find sexual gratification. The protagonist in Relato inmoral is comic because he anxiously attempts to satisfy his sexual urge, but is constantly thwarted by the taboos of Spanish society." Francisco López, writing in Insula, called El secreto del Barba-Azul "a significant novel with symbolism, [that] from a distance the precedence of its style can be counted upon. But in El secreto del Barba-Azul there are other secrets, [namely] multiple scenes in multiple succession, all a continuous procession of illusion and caricatures that exist in the disconcerting world."

An example of Fernández Flórez's absurdity can be found in El sistema pelegrín. As Zaetta commented in Romance Notes, "the mind wavers from fact to fiction, from the illogical to the logical, when the dual roles of the protagonist come into rational conflict." Zaetta concluded that Fernández Flórez "employs the comic technique of crowning absurdity by heaping nonsense upon nonsense throughout which culminates in an illogical conclusion that on the surface seems to have a grain of logic. . . . Fernández Flórez's message is clear: man's efforts will always be tinged by his folly."

Another aspect of Fernández Flórez's career was his relationship with cinema. According to Thomas Deveny in Romance Languages Annual, that relationship "began in the 1920s, but the period of greatest collaboration was the 1940s and 1950s." His screenplay El bosque animado, Deveny said, "provides a pantheistic vision of a forest in Galicia, in northwestern Spain." According to Deveny, film director José Luis Cuerda "captures [the] poetic quality of the narrative from the opening frames of the film" and "has created a film narrative that is different from the original, but which captures the poetic spirit of the novel." Lopéz offered this observation: "El bosque animado can be seen as a complex result of two variants that unite existence in the world: the occult and the visible."


BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:


books


Bede, Jean-Albert, and William B. Edgerton, editors, Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1980.

Fleischmann, Wolfgang Bernard, editor, Encyclopedia of World Literature in the Twentieth Century, Frederick Ungar (New York, NY), 1967.


periodicals


Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos, 1967, Delfín Carbonell, "Unas notas sobre Fernández Flórez: humorismo y tragedia," pp. 577-586.

Dusquesne Hispanic Review, 1966, Reyes Carbonell, "El contraste en los cuentos de Wenceşlao Fernández Flórez," pp. 63-74.

Insula, February, 1967, José-Carlos Mainer, "Una revision: Wenceşlao Fernández Flórez," pp. 1, 10; September, 1985, Francisco López, "Acotaciones sobre una novelística olvidada," pp. 14-15.

Kentucky Romance Quarterly, 1970, Robert Zaetta, "Wenceşlao Fernández Flórez: The Evolution of His Technique in His Novels," pp. 127-137.

Papeles de son Armadans, July, 1971, José-Carlos Mainer, "W. Fernández Flórez, un noventayocho olivado," pp. 23-42.

Revista de Estudios Hispanicos, May, 1972, Robert Zaetta, "The 'Burla' in the Novels of Wenceşlao Fernández Flórez," pp. 283-292.

Romance Language Annual, 1991, Thomas Deveny, "Recuperation of a Novel: The Screen Adaptation of El bosque animado," pp. 416-419.

Romance Notes, winter, 1973, Robert Zaetta, "Wenceşlao Fernández Flórez's Comic Technique in El sistema pelegrín," pp. 234-237.


other


El poder de la palabra,http://www.epdlp.com/ (April 22, 2002), "Wenceşlao Fernández Flórez."*

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Fernández Flórez, Wenceslao 1885-1964