• Short Summary

    The 1977 Nobel prize for literature was awarded on Thursday (6 October) to 79-year old Spanish poet Vicente Aleixandre.

  • Description

    SV EXTERIOR Aleixandre's house in Madrid

    SV Aleixandre's books (2 shots)

    SV Aleixandre speaking in French

    Initials BB/0200

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: The 1977 Nobel prize for literature was awarded on Thursday (6 October) to 79-year old Spanish poet Vicente Aleixandre. The prize is worth 145,000 dollars. Senor Aleixandre was commended for resisting the dictatorship of General Franco for many years.

    SYNOPSIS: Senor Aleixandre, who lives in the Spanish capital of Madrid, was overcome with emotion when he heard the news.

    He said he was very surprised when the announcement reached him. He had been nominated several times before for the Nobel prize. He added that when he saw press reports excluding him from the front-runners this year he was not disturbed.

    The Swedish Academy, making the announcement in Stockholm, said Senor Aleixandre showed the strength to survive in poetry written as he endured tuberculosis, civil war and then loneliness under the Franco dictatorship. In poems spanning half a century he had emerged as a rallying figure for "what remained of spiritual life" under Franco.

    The son of a railway engineer, Senor Aleixandre was born in 1898. He wrote poetry which, the citation said, "illuminated man's condition in the cosmos". This was despite the tuberculosis which made him bedridden or a captive at his desk in early manhood. It also kept him in Spain when friends went into exile after the civil war. He belonged to the so-called "1927 Generation" of Spanish writers, whose leading voice -- poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca -- was murdered by the Nationalists at the start of the civil war in 1936.

    Senor Aleixandre has used free verse and the style of the prose poem. His work is said by critics to combine traditional Spanish lyricism with surrealistic expression. A collection of his poetry first appeared when he was 30, to be followed by other works at intervals of two or three years. Asked what he thought his best works were, he said poets and writers were not often the best judges of their own works.

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