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Marqués, René (1919–1979)

Marqués, René (1919–1979)

René Marqués (b. 4 October 1919; d. 22 March 1979), Puerto Rican author. René Marqués showed an early interest in theater and cinema as a child in his native Arecibo. While studying drama at Columbia University, he wrote Palm Sunday (1956) in English; the book deals with a tragic episode in Puerto Rico's history. After returning to his homeland, Marqués began a seventeen-year association with the Department of Education's community education program in 1950 as a writer and head of the publishing section. In 1958 the Puerto Rico Athenaeum awarded him first prize in four genres: short story, novel, essay, and drama. Marqués taught courses and theater workshops at the University of Puerto Rico, in Río Piedras.

Marqués's first staged work was El sol y los Mac-Donald (The Sun and the MacDonald Family, 1950), a tragedy set in the southern United States. His most celebrated work is La carreta (The Oxcart, 1952), about the trials of a family displaced from rural Puerto Rico to the island's capital and then to New York. Another masterwork of intense national and poetic symbolism is Los soles truncos (The Truncated Suns), staged in the First Puerto Rican Theater Festival in 1958. Historical events are featured in La muerte no entrará en palacio (Death Shall not Enter the Palace, 1958) and Mariana o el alba (Mariana or the Dawn, 1965); biblical events in Sacrificio en el Monte Moriah (Sacrifice on Mount Moriah, 1969) and David y Jonatán. Tito y Berenice (1970); and futuristic events in El apartamento (The Apartment, 1965).

Marqués's writings, which include essays and criticism, theater, movie scripts, short stories, poetry, and a novel, show deep concern with the destiny of Puerto Rico and its dependence on the United States. The problem of national identity and cultural conflict is likewise central to his innovative books of short stories, Otro día nuestro (Another Day, 1955), En una ciudad llamada San Juan (In a City called San Juan, 1960 and 1970), and Inmersos en el silencio (Immersed in Silence, 1976).

See alsoPuerto Rico .


Bonnie Hildebrand Reynolds, Space, Time, and Crisis: The Theatre of René Marqués (1988).

Eleanor J. Martin, René Marqués (1979).

Charles Pilditch, René Marqués: A Study of His Fiction (1977).

Additional Bibliography

Vargas, Margarita. "Dreaming the Nation: René Marqués' 'Los soles truncos'." Latin American Theatre Review 37:2 (Spring 2004): 41-55.

Wasserman, Kimberly. "The New Puerto Rican-American Literature in Spanish, volume 1: Beyond Politics and Displeasure in the Fiction of René Marqués." Ph.D. diss., 2004.

                                    Estelle Irizarry

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