Laforet, Carmen 1921–2004

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Laforet, Carmen 1921–2004

(Carmen Laforet Díaz)

PERSONAL: Born September 6, 1921, in Barcelona, Spain; died February 28, 2004; married Manuel Cerezales (separated, c. 1970s); children: five. Religion: Roman Catholic.

CAREER: Writer.

AWARDS, HONORS: Nadal prize, 1944, for Nada; national literature prize (Spain), for La mujer nueva.


Nada (novel; title means "Nothing"), Ediciones Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1945, 9th edition, 1952, edited by Edward R. Mulvihill and Roberto G. Sánchez, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1958, English translation by Glafyra Ennis, P. Lang (New York, NY), 1993.

La isla y los demonios (novel; title means "The Island and the Demons"), Ediciones Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1952, reprinted, 1977.

Un noviazgo (novella), Editorial Tecnos (Madrid, Spain), 1953, edited by Carolyn L. Galerstein, with introduction in English, Odyssey Press (Indianapolis, IN), 1973.

La llamada (stories; contains "El último verano," "Un noviazgo," and "El piano"), Ediciones Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1954, 3rd edition, 1986.

Mis páginas mejores (novellas and stories), Editorial Gredos (Madrid, Spain), 1956.

Gran Canaria (travel), Editorial Noguer (Barcelona, Spain), 1961.

Tres pasos fuera del tiempo: Trilogía (includes novella "La insolación"; also see below), Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1963, new edition with introduction and notes by José María Martínez Chachero, Editorial Castalia (Madrid, Spain), 1992.

Paralelo 35, Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1967.

La niña y otros relatos (stories), E.M.E.S.A. (Madrid, Spain), 1970.

La mujer nueva (novel; title means "The New Woman"), Círculo de Amigos de la Historia (Madrid, Spain), 1974.

La insolación (novella; title means "Sunstroke"), Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1976.

Puedo contar contigo: correspondencia(correspondence), edited by Israel Rolón Barada, Ediciones Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 2003.

Al volver la esquina, edited by Cristina Cerezales, Augustín Cerezales, and Israel Rolón Barada, Ediciones Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 2004.

SIDELIGHTS: Although she wrote several novels, short-story collections, and travel books during her lifetime, Spanish author Carmen Laforet will always be associated with her triumphant debut novel, Nada. First published in 1945, Nada was a dramatic break from the Spanish literature of the time, which tended to be overly embellished in style and often featured complex plots that somehow tied together in neat moralistic conclusions. Laforet's approach, on the contrary, was to use simple sentences and words that nonetheless manage to convey a disturbing atmosphere through her expressionistic use of language. A tidy conclusion was not her aim either, and Nada certainly ends inconclusively.

The winner of the first Nadal prize, Nada is about a young woman named Andrea who ventures away from her family for the first time to live in Barcelona in 1939, just after the Spanish civil war. Excited at first over the prospects of living in a big city, Andrea moves in with relatives, discovering a world of infidelity, spousal abuse, suicide, and insanity. The situation is one of constant mistrust between Andrea's relatives, and Laforet enhances the tension with a sense of suppressed horror that fills the pages. In the end, Andrea flees the household to go back home, believing she has gained nothing from the experience, though in retrospect she feels her time in Barcelona has indeed changed her. As Michael Eaude explained in a London Guardian obituary on the Laforet, "The reader certainly learns something from the novel: the family on the calle Aribau represents a morally debased country, the violence of the civil war turned inwards against themselves."

Nada made Laforet famous in Spain; however, she spent the rest of her life shunning the spotlight, and she often remarked that she found parties and fraternizing with other famous and wealthy people to be tedious. While Laforet remained a reclusive figure in life, her fiction had a profound influence on other writers in Spain, including Miguel Delibes and Ana María Matute.



Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, August, 2003, Sixto E. Torres, "Imagery, Form, and the Romance in Martin Recuerda's Amadis de Gaula and Laforet's Nada," p. 109.

Symposium, summer, 1992, Barry Jordan, "Laforet's Nada as Female Bildung?," p. 105.



Guardian (London, England), March 5, 2004.

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Laforet, Carmen 1921–2004

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