Arrabal, Fernando

Arrabal, Fernando
b. 1932, Melilla (Spanish Morocco)
   Although Arrabal has lived in France since 1955, his roots are profoundly Spanish, deeply marked by a poverty-stricken childhood in the years after the Civil War. His work is haunted by the presence of a domineering mother and a father whom he never really knew but idolized. His father was arrested as a Republican in 1936, and vanished from prison in 1942.
   Arrabal's early works led the drama critic Martin Esslin to classify him as an absurdist playwright, a rubric which applies mainly to the form of his plays, devoid of any substantial plot or verisimilitude. In plays such as Le Cimetière des ventures (The Automobile Graveyard), and L'Architecte et l'empereur d'Assyrie (The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria), Arrabal orchestrates the action either as ceremonies or gives it an underlying structure of repetitions and inversions. His novel The Tower Struck by Lightning (La torre herida por el rayo) unfolds with the chess moves of two players, which enact the memories of two bizarre opponents who nevertheless complement each other, much as white pieces need black ones to play. Arrabal uses simple structures like game boards to unleash a flow of episodes marked by chaos, violence, obsessions, both comic and repulsive, as if he dismembered his own life and culture to rebuild it in dreams and nightmares reminiscent of Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel. The substance of his plays is deeply autobiographical, but left raw, unformed, as in dreams. His films and novels also share this introspective tendency. His first film Viva la muerte (Long Live Death) has the repulsive grip of a nightmare. The point of view is often that of a child witnessing, with eyes that cannot make sense, the violence and ceremonies of an adult world. The later film Odyssey of the Pacific is representative of the best the author has to offer, once he stops toying with frivolous excess. It is also one of his least known works, indicating that his work may appeal more for the buffoonery than for a genuine and playful human vision that comes quietly to the surface now and then and is richly satisfying.
   What is always present yet often hidden in Arrabal's work is a childlike charm, a certain uninhibited festive play with life as he sees it. The writer is at heart an anarchist, although far more prone to mischief. He confounds and celebrates this confusion for the sake of creating a fog from which a new order might emerge. Beneath the posturing are the charming views of a writer who never wants to grow up, fortunately.
   Further reading
   - Arata, L.O. (1982) The Festive Play of Fernando Arrabal, Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky (focuses on Arrabal's theatre up to 1972 and places it in a critical historical context as a form of festive play).
   - Arrabal, F. (1993) Pic-Nic, El triciclo, El laberinto, Madrid: Catedra (this new edition by Angel Berenguer contains a thorough biographical chronology and bibliography up to 1984).

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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  • Arrabal, Fernando — (Fernando Vicente Arra bal Teran / August II, 1932, Melilla, Spanish Morocco )    A child prodigy, he was awarded a national prize for Gifted Children at age ten. After completing his studies at the University of Madrid, he went to France in 1955 …   Encyclopedia of French film directors

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  • Arrabal, Fernando — ► (n. 1932) Dramaturgo español adaptado a la cultura francesa. De entre sus obras, imaginativas y absurdas, destacan Picnic en el campo (1952), El arquitecto y el emperador de Asia (1967). Novelas suyas son: La torre herida por el rayo (1983,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • ARRABAL (F.) — ARRABAL FERNANDO (1932 ) Arrabal est né à Melilla, dans le Maroc espagnol, sous la république. Son père, officier de carrière, est du reste connu pour ses opinions républicaines. Dès le début du soulèvement de l’armée d’Afrique, en 1936, ce… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Arrabal — (Fernando) (né en 1932) écrivain et cinéaste espagnol d expression française. Il allie dérision, violence et onirisme: le Grand Cérémonial (1965), Viva la muerte (1971) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Fernando — Etimología Nombre de origen Germano, godo, Firthunands. Firthu quiere decir paz , que en alemán es Friede y nands, que significa audaz. Una traducción sería El que se atreve a todo con tal de conservar la paz . El nombre es muy común en países… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Fernando — (as used in expressions) Fernando Pó Alba Fernando Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel 3rd duke de Arrabal Fernando Botero Fernando Cardoso Fernando Henrique Collor de Mello Fernando Affonso Pessoa Fernando António Nogueira San Fernando Valley Ferdinand …   Universalium

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