Martín Gaite, Carmen

Martín Gaite, Carmen
b. 1925, Salamanca
   Writer
   Carmen Martín Gaite, who won the Nadal Prize for the best Spanish novel of 1958 with her first full-length narrative, Behind the Curtains (Entre visillos), has achieved recognition as one of Spain's major novelists. She was awarded the prestigious National Prize for Spanish Letters in 1994. In 1950 Martín Gaite moved from her native Salamanca to Madrid where she joined a group of young writers who would come to be known as the "Generation of the 1950s". The world in which this group moved is analysed in her essay Esperando el porvenir (Waiting for the Future) (1994). Italian neo-realist cinema influenced the early work of this group which included Josefina Rodríguez, who married Ignacio Aldecoa and writes as Josefina R. Aldecoa, and Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, to whom Martín Gaite was married.
   On the basis of her first novel, her short stories and other texts, Martín Gaite's work has been labelled by critics as social realism. In fact, it is much more than this. Her texts are those of a woman writer who usually prefers to describe the lives of women, as in Variable Cloud (Nubosidad variable) (1992), and she often mixes novelistic fiction with the essay or even the historical study. In The Back Room (El cuarto de atrás), with which she won the National Prize for Literature in 1978, the reader finds autobiographical allusions intermingled with elements of the mystery novel in a text which is, above all, a reflection on the act of writing.
   While she was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize in 1988, it is above all since the publication of the two lengthy novels Variable Cloud and La Reina de las Nieves (The Snow Queen) (1994) that she has achieved considerable popularity. In 1996 she publishes Lo raw es vivir (Being Alive is Unusual) and in 1998 Inse de casa (Leaving Home). She participates frequently in the literary events organized by the Juan March Foundation in Madrid and she has become a much sought-after figure in the annual Madrid Book Fair. In the opinion of critics her novels attest to a genuine mastery of the colloquial registers of Spanish and of the techniques of dialogue. It is thus not surprising to find in her work a persistent interest in the question of human communication, a topic she analysed from a theoretical viewpoint in the essay La búsqueda del interlocutor y otras búsquedas (In Search of an Interlocutor, and Other Searches) (1974). Several texts by Martín Gaite have been adapted for television and for the cinema. She has also written original scripts for two successful television series: one on the life of St Teresa of Avila (with Víctor García de la Concha, 1983), and the other, Celia, based on the work of Elena Fortún (with José Luis Borau, 1993).
   Further reading
   - Brown, J.L. (1987) Secrets from the Back Room: The Fiction of Carmen Martín Gaite, University of Mississippi, MS: Romance Monographs (an important study by a leading scholar).
   - Fernández, L.M. (1992) El neorrealismo en la narración española de los años cincuenta, Santiago de Compostela: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (sets the novel in the context of neo-realism in literature and the cinema).
   - Martinell, E. (1995) Carmen Martín Gaite. Hilo a la cometa. La visión, la memoria y el sueño, Madrid: Espasa-Calpe.
   —— (1996) El mundo de los objectos en la obra de Carmen Martín Gaite, Cáceres: Universidad de Extremadura.
   - Servodidio, M. and Welles, M.L. (eds) (1983) From Fiction to Metafiction: Essays in Honor of Carmen Martín Gaite, Lincoln, NB: Nebraska Society of Spanish and Spanish-American Studies (a useful symposium of different views).
   EMMA MARTINELL GIFRE

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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  • Carmen Martín Gaite — (Salamanca, 8 de diciembre de 1925 † Madrid, 22 de julio de 2000). Escritora española. Estuvo casada con el también escritor Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio. Obtuvo su licenciatura en Filosofía y Letras en la Universidad de Salamanca, consiguiendo el… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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