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José Gonzalo Torrente Ballester


Gonzalo Torrente Ballester was born in Serantes, Galicia in 1910. His father was a naval lieutenant but Torrente Ballester was unable to follow in his father’s footsteps because of myopia. When the family moved to Oviedo, he went to university there, where he read law. It was also in Oviedo where he first met other writers and started contributing to the local newspaper. He moved frequently as his father was moved around and when the family returned to Galicia, he studied philosophy and literature at the university in Santiago de Compostela. After marrying, he took a job as a teacher but was able to go to Paris, where he saw James Joyce reading. Joyce would remain an important influence on him. After the Spanish Civil War broke out, he joined the Falange, Franco’s party, to avoid trouble. His first literary work, a play, was published in 1938, followed by others, though none was performed. He published his first novel in 1943. His teaching career continued and, in 1947, he obtained a professorship at the Naval School in Madrid which lasted till 1962 when he was fired for his support of the striking Asturian miners. In his novels, he experimented first with fantasy and then with realism but had little success. In 1966, he obtained a professorship at the State University of New York in Albany, where he wrote several of the novels that would bring him fame. He returned to Spain in 1973 and resumed his teaching career. His fame in Spain came when a ten-part television series of one his earlier novels was released. He continued to write novels, stories and essays till his death in 1999. Sadly, only one of his works has been translated into English and he is virtually unknown in the English-speaking world.

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Gonzalo Torrente Ballester
Gonzalo Torrente Ballester (in Spanish)
Gonzalo Torrente Ballester (in Spanish)
Gonzalo Torrente Ballester (in Spanish)
Fundación Gonzalo Torrente Ballester (in Spanish)


1937 Razón y ser de la dramática futura (essays)
1938 El viaje del joven Tobías Milagro representable en siete coloquios (drama)
1939 Antecedentes históricos de la subversión universal (essays)
1939 El casamiento engañoso Auto sacramental (drama)
1939 Las ideas políticas El liberalismo (essays)
1941 Lope de Aguirre Crónica dramática de la historia americana en tres jornadas (drama)
1942 República Barataria Teomaquia en tres actos (drama)
1942 Siete ensayos y una farsa (essays)
1943 Javier Mariño (novel)
1946 El golpe de estado de Guadalupe limón (novel)
1946 El retorno de Ulises (drama)
1948 Compostela y su angel (travel)
1949 Literatura española contemporánea (essays)
1950 Atardecer en Longwood (drama)
1950 Ifigenia (novel)
1957 Teatro español contemporáneo (essays)
1957-1962 Los gozos y las sombras (novel)
1961 Panorama de la literatura española contemporánea (essays)
1963 Don Juan [Don Juan] (novel)
1965 Aprendiz de hombre (essays)
1969 Off-side (novel)
1972 La saga/fuga de J.B. [The Saga/Flight of J. B.] (novel)
1975 El Quijote como juego (essays)
1975-1977 Cuadernos de La Romana y Nuevos Cuadernos de La Romana (journalism)
1977 Fragmentos de Apocalipsis [Fragments of Apocalypse] (novel)
1979 Las sombras recobradas (novel)
1981 La isla de los Jacintos Cortados (novel)
1982 Dafne y ensueños (novel)
1982 Ensayos críticos (essays)
1982 Los cuadernos de un vate vago (essays)
1982 Teatro I y II (drama) (drama)
1983 La Princesa Durmiente va a la escuela (novel)
1984 El Quijote como juego y otros trabajos críticos (essays)
1984 Quizá nos lleve el viento al infinito (novel)
1985 La rosa de los vientos (novel)
1986 Cotufas en el golfo (journalism) (journalism)
1987 Yo no soy yo, evidentemente (novel)
1988 Filomeno, a mi pesar (novel)
1989 Crónica del rey pasmado (The King Amaz’d: A Chronicle) (novel)
1989 Lo mejor de Gonzalo Torrente Ballester
1989 Santiago Rosalía de Castro (travel)
1991 Las islas extraordinarias (novel)
1992 La muerte del decano (novel)
1993 Torre del aire (journalism)
1994 La novela de Pepe Ansúrez (novel)
1994 Los mundos imaginarios (literary criticism)
1997 La boda de Chon Recalde (novel)
1997 Los años indecisos (novel)
1997 Memoria de un inconformista (journalism)
1999 Doménica (novel)
2002 Fragmentos (de pocas lineas) (essays)
2009 Escritos de teoría y crítica teatral (criticism)
2011 Mi fuero interno (essay)