Spanish writer Francisco Ayala dies at 103

Written on November 6, 2009 by Arantza de Areilza in Arts & Cultures & Societies, Literature, Philosophy

Madrid, Nov 3 (EFE).- Spanish essayist and novelist Francisco Ayala died Tuesday in Madrid. He was 103.

Ver imagen en tamaño completoFrancisco Ayala, born in Granada on March 13, 1906, and winner of the Cervantes Prize in 1991 and the Prince of Asturias Prize for Letters in 1998, was one of Spain's intellectual beacons in the second half of the 20th century and wrote no less than 50 books.

Notable among his published works were "La Cabeza del Cordero" (Sheep's Head) in 1949, "Los Usurpadores" (The Usurpers) in 1949, "Historia de Macacos" (History of Macaques) in 1955, "Muertes de Perro" (Death as a Way of Life) in 1958, "El Fondo del Vaso" (The Bottom of the Glass) in 1962, "Diablo Mundo" (Devilish World) in 1964, "El Jardin de las Delicias" (The Garden of Delights) in 1971 and "El Jardin de las Malicias" (The Garden of Malice) in 1988.

At the end of the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War, Ayala went into exile in Argentina, where he worked as a teacher and founded the magazine "Realidad" (Reality) between 1939 and 1950.

In 1950 he moved to Puerto Rico, where he reorganized social science studies and founded the magazine "La Torre" (The Tower), and later went to the United States where he was a professor at Brooklyn College in New York and at the University of Chicago, among other centers of learning, until his return to Spain in 1960.

Despite his age, Ayala remained lucid to the end and received many tributes in Spain, such as the one organized in 2006 in celebration of his 100th birthday.

Ayala died at home in Madrid from a "weakening" of his physical faculties, which became more severe in the last weeks, according to Rafael Juarez.

The writer, who would have turned 104 next March 16, "enjoyed relatively good health" until last August when he had an attack of bronchitis that took him a long time to get over.

Ayala's mortal remains will be taken to the funeral chapel at the Parque de San Isidro mortuary in Madrid, where the cremation will take place on Wednesday.


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