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Juan Emar


Juan Emar was born Álvaro Yáñez Bianchi in Santiago in 1893. His father was a senator and businessman. The family travelled a lot to Europe during Emar’s childhood. While his father wanted him to be a lawyer, he was able to become involved in the artistic and literary world of both Santiago and Paris, at his father’s expense. In 1918 he married his cousin, Herminia Yáñez (Mina), and the couple went to live in Paris. He worked in the Chilean Embassy, while studying painting and drawing. He returned to Santiago, much influenced by the current artistic trends in Europe. He divorced and remarried and started writing columns on art for the La Nación, the paper founded by his father. He adopted the pseudonym Jean Emar, later changed to Juan Emar, from the French j’en ai marre, meaning I am fed up. He continued till 1927, when the newspaper was seized by the government (and his father deported). He later took up writing, producing three novels in the same year, all of which went against the contemporary realistic trend and adopted modernist European models. They were rejected by the critics and did not achieve any success till well after his death, in the 1970s and 1980s. He spent much of the rest of his life working on Umbral, a 5000 page novel, only published well after his death. He died in 1964. None of his work is available in English.

Other links

Juan Emar
Juan Emar (in Spanish)
Juan Emar (1893-1964) (in Spanish)
Biografía de Juan Emar (in Spanish)
Blog on Juan Emar (in Spanish)
Juan Emar, el hombre del pijama azul (in Spanish)


1935 Ayer (Yesterday) (novel)
1935 Miltín 1934 (novel)
1935 Un año [One Year] (novel)
1937 Diez (Ten) (stories)
1977-96 Umbral (novel)
1988 Serie de los ventrudos mandibulares (sketches)
1992 Jean Emar. Escritos de Arte (1923-1925)
1999 Cartas a Carmen. Correspondencia entre Juan Emar y Carmen Yáñez (1957- 1963)
2003 Notas de arte: Jean Emar en La Nación: 1923-1927
2006 Mi vida: diarios 1911-1917
2007 Cartas a Pépèche
2011 Don Urbano (sketches)
2014 Cavilaciones (essays)
2014 Amor (novel)
2017 Diarios de viaje (travel)
2017 Regreso (novel)