Matute (Ausejo), Ana María 1925(?)-

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MATUTE (AUSEJO), Ana María 1925(?)-

PERSONAL: Born July 26, 1925 (some sources say 1926), in Barcelona, Spain; daughter of Facundo and Maria (Ausejo) Matute; married, 1952 (divorced 1963); children: Juan-Pablo. Education: Attended Damas Negras French Nuns College.

ADDRESSES: Home—Provenza 84, Dcha A-3 deg., Barcelona 29, Spain.

CAREER: Writer. Visiting professor at Indiana University, Bloomington, 1965-66, and at University of Oklahoma, Norman, 1969. Writer-in-residence at University of Virginia, Charlottesville, 1978-79.

MEMBER: Hispanic Society of America, American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (honorary fellow), Sigma Delta Pi (Hispanic chapter).

AWARDS, HONORS: Premio Nadal, runner up, 1947, for Los abel, and winner, 1960, for Primera memoria; Caé Gijon prize, 1952, for Fiesta al noroeste; Planeta prize, 1954, for Pequeño teatro; critics prize and Premio Nacional de Literature, 1958, and Premio Miguel Cervantes, 1959, both for Los Hijos muertos; Lazarillo prize, 1965, for El Polizón del "Ulises"; Fastenrath Prize, 1969, for Los Soldados lloran de noche.


Los Abel (title means "The Abels") Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1948, reprinted, 1981.

Fiesta al noroeste, La Ronda [and] Los Niños buenos (titles mean "Festival of the Northwest," "The Round," [and] "The Good Children"), A. Aguado (Madrid, Spain), 1953.

Fiesta al noroeste, (title means "Festival of the Northwest"), 1953, translation by Phoebe Ann Porter published as Celebration in the Northwest, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1997.

Pequeño teatro (title means "Little Theater"), Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1954.

En esta tierra (title means "On This Land"), Exito (Barcelona, Spain), 1955.

Los Cuentos, vagabundos (title means "The Stories, Vagabonds"), Ediciones G.P., 1956.

Los Niños tontos (title means "The Foolish Children"), Arion (Madrid, Spain), 1956, reprinted, Media Vaca (Valencia, Spain), 2000.

El País de la pizarra (title means "The Country of the Blackboard"), Molino (Barcelona, Spain), 1957.

El Tiempo (title means "The Time"), Mateu, 1957, reprinted, Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1981.

Los Hijos muertos, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain, 1958, translation by Joan MacLean published as The Lost Children, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1965.

Los Mercaderes (title means "The Merchants"), Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1959.

Paulina, el mundo y las estrellas (title means "Pauline, the World and the Stars"), Garbo (Barcelona, Spain), 1960.

El Saltamontes verde [y] El Aprendiz (titles mean "The Green Grasshopper" [and] "The Apprentice"), Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1960.

Primera memoria, Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1960, translation by Elaine Kerrigan published as School of the Sun, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1963, reprinted, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1989, translation by James Holman Mason published as Awakening, Hutchinson (London, England), 1963.

Tres y un sueño (title means "Three and a Dream"), Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1961, reprinted, 1993.

A la mitad del camino (title means "In the Middle of the Road"), Rocas (Barcelona, Spain), 1961.

Historias de la artámila, Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1961, reprinted, 1997, also published as Doce historias de la artámila, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1965.

El Arrepentido (title means "The Repentant One"), Rocas (Barcelona, Spain), 1961.

Libro de juegos para los niños de los otros (title means "Book of Games for the Children of Others"), Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1961.

Caballito loco [and] Carnivalito (titles mean "Crazy Little Horse" [and] "Little Carnival"), Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1962.

El Río (title means "The River"), Argos (Barcelona, Spain), 1963.

Los Soldados lloran de noche (title means "The Soldiers Weep at Night"), Destino, 1964, translation by Robert Nugent and Maria Jose de la Camara published as Soldiers Cry by Night, Latin American Literary Review Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1995.

El Polizón del "Ulises" (title means "The Draft of 'Ulysses'"), Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1965.

Algunos muchachos (title means "Some Children"), Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1968, reprinted, 1982, translation by Michael Scott Doyle published as The Heliotrope Wall and Other Stories, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1989.

La Trampa, Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1969, translation published as The Trap, Latin American Literary Review Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1996.

La Torre vigía (title means "The Watch Tower"), Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1971, reprinted, Plaza & Janés (Barcelona, Spain), 1994.

Olvidado rey Gudú (title means "Forgotten King Gudu"), Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1980, 3rd edition, Espasa (Madrid, Spain), 1996.

Diablo vuelve a casa (title means "Devil, Come Back Home"), Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1980.

Sólo un pié descalzo Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1983.

La Virgen de Antioquía y otros relatos, Mondadori (Madrid, Spain), 1990.

De ninguna parte y otros relatos, Fundacion de los Ferrocarriles Españoles, 1993.

Luciérnagas, 2nd second edition, Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1993.

El Verdadero final de la bella durmiente, Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1995.

Casa de juegos prohibidos: Textos inocentes, Espasa (Madrid, Spain), 1997.

Ana María Matute: La Voz del silencio, interviews conducted by Marie-Lise Gazarian-Gautier, Espasa (Madrid, Spain), 1997.

Fireflies, translation from the Spanish by Glafyra Ennis, P. Lang (New York, NY), 1998.

(Contributor) El Corazón tardío, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1998.

Cuentos del mar, Sociedad Estatal (Lisboa, Spain), 1998.

Aranmanoth, Espasa (Madrid, Spain), 2000.

En el tren, Irreverences (Madrid, Spain), 2001.

Cuentos de infancia, Ediciones Martinez Roca (Barcelona, Spain), 2002.

Also author of La Pequeña vida (title means "The Little Life"), Tecnos.

SIDELIGHTS: Ana María Matute is considered by many critics to be one of Spain's most important fiction writers. From her first significant success, The Lost Children, to more recent publications such as Soldiers Cry by Night, En el tren, and Cuentos de infancia, themes of war and the rites of passage continue to dominate. The elements of myth, fantasy, fairy tale, and the supernatural transform typical tales into the unique magic only Matute creates.

Matute was ten years old when the Spanish Civil War broke out; it disrupted her education and became a potent, permanent force in her life. As a child, she has said, she confronted the fact that the world is filled with much that is terrifying.

By the time she published her first story, Matute was using writing as a vehicle for expressing anger toward a cruel, unjust world. The civil war became a recurring theme in her work, sometimes merely as a backdrop (as in Pequeño teatro), but more often as her central concern. Nevertheless, unlike many postwar Spanish writers, Matute is not a political partisan: she conveys what Desmond MacNamara called "unpolitical Spanish pessimism," focusing not on party machinations but on the angst of her people, particularly the children.

Indeed, Matute "sees the world through the eyes of childhood [with a] quality of mystery, of magic, of fairy tale, combined in a unique mixture with the harsh and bitter realities of life," wrote George Wythe in Books Abroad. Her children are introverted victims of an adult world whose cruelty they cannot understand; and they suffer the existential pains of alienation and despair one usually thinks of as reserved for adults.

Matute creates her hostile world by means of an imaginative, personal style characterized, J. Wesley Childers has noted, "by simile, metaphor, oxymoron, and the use of natural phenomena to reflect human frustrations." To Rafael Bosch of Books Abroad, her language is "direct and wonderfully simple without ceasing to be tremendously creative and poetic."

In A la mitad del camino ("In the Middle of the Road"), Matute presents a collection of essays that contains some of the clearest, nonfictionalized statements of her attitudes toward life. Los Abel is her first novel, a psychological study and chronicle of personal growth in the midst of the disintegration of a family, Cain and Abel style. Fiesta al Noreste is a prizewinning short novel providing excellent examples of Matute's style and narrative skills. In The Lost Children (Los Hijos muertos), Matute begins an ambitious work chronicling generations of a family torn by civil war. A prize-winning trilogy collectively titled Los Mercanderes uses myth to reinforce unchanging behavior and returns to the themes of Cain and Abel and the innocence of youth.

Matute's manuscripts are housed at the Mugar Library of Boston University, which has organized the Ana María Matute Collection. Editions of her books continue to be reprinted and have appeared in many languages, including Italian, French, German, Russian, Portuguese, Swedish, Polish, Japanese, Hebrew, Lithuanian, Bulgarian, and Esperanto.



Bede, Jean-Albert, and William B. Edgerton, general editors, Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literature, 2nd edition, revised and updated, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1980.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 11, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1979.

Contemporary Women Writers of Spain, Twayne (New York NY), 1998.

Diaz, Janet, Ana María Matute, Twayne (New York NY), 1971.

Gazarian-Gautier, Marie-Lise, Interviews with Spanish Writers, Dalkey Archive Press (Elmwood Park, IL), 1991.

Jones, Margaret E. W., The Literary World of Ana María Matute, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 1970.

Miller, Beth, editor, Women in Hispanic Literature: Icons and Fallen Idols, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1983.

Perez, Janet, Contemporary Women Writers of Spain, Twayne (New York NY), 1988.

Robinson, Lillian S., compiler and editor, Modern Women Writers, Continuum (New York, NY).

Schneider, Marshall J., and Irwin Stern, editors, Modern Spanish and Portuguese Literatures, Continuum (New York, NY), 1988.

Schwartz, Ronald, Spain's New Wave Novelists, Scarecrow (Metuchen, NJ), 1976.

Ulyatt, Philomena, Allegory, Myth, and Fable in the Work of Ana María Matute (dissertation), University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1977.

Vinson, James and Daniel Kirkpatrick, editors, Contemporary Foreign Language Writers, St. Martins Press (New York NY), 1984.

Zipes, Jack, editor, The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2000.


Books Abroad, summer, 1962, Rafael Bosch, review of Historias de la artámila, p. 303; winter, 1966, George Wythe, pp. 19-20; winter, 1970; summer, 1972.

Christian Science Monitor, May 20, 1965, Elizabeth Janeway, review of The Lost Children, p. 7.

Dalhousie Review, spring, 1990, Marian G. R. Coope, review of Heliotrope and Other Stories, p. 131.

Hispania, March, 1998, review of Olvidado rey Gudú, p. 121; March, 2001, review of Aranmanoth, p. 82.

Journal of Spanish Studies, winter, 1976, Elizabeth Ordonez, review of The Trap, pp. 180-81, 187-89.

Library Journal, February 15, 1995, Jack Shreve, review of Soldiers Cry by Night, p. 182.

Modern Language Journal, November, 1966, December, 1971.

New Leader, July 5, 1965, Richard Howard, review, pp. 19-20.

New Statesman, October 27, 1967.

New York Times, April 21, 1963, Mildred Adams, review, p. 4; April 27, 1997, William Ferguson, review of Celebration in the Northwest, p. 25.

New York Times Book Review, May 14, 1989, Richard Burgin, review of Heliotrope and Other Stories, p. 22.

Publishers Weekly, January 27, 1989, Sybil Steinberg, review of Heliotrope and Other Stories, p. 451; December 5, 1994, review of Soldiers Cry by Night, p. 70; September 16, 1996, review of The Trap, p. 38.

Revista de Estudios Hispanicos, May, 1980, J. Townsend Shelby, review, p. 6.

Times Literary Supplement, December 28, 1967; October 8, 1971; August 4, 1989, Abigail E. Lee, review of Heliotrope and Other Stories, p. 858.

Translation Review Supplement, July, 1998, review of Celebration in the Northwest, p. 23; July, 1999, review of Fireflies, p. 24.

World and I, February, 1998, Marie-Lise Gazarian-Gautier, review of Celebration in the Northwest, p. 274.


Florida International University Web site, (November 22, 2003), Women Faculty Book Club, review of The Trap.

New York Times Web site, (November 22, 2003) William Ferguson, review of Celebration in the Northwest.*