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Ramón Pérez de Ayala

Bust of Ramón Pérez de Ayala. Paseo de los Poetas, El Rosedal, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Ramón Pérez de Ayala (9 August 1880, in Oviedo – 5 August 1962, in Madrid) was a Spanish writer. He was the Spanish ambassador to England in London (1931-1936) and voluntarily exiled himself to South America because of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).


Pérez de Ayala was educated at Jesuit schools, the experience of which he satirized in the novel A.M.D.G. (1910). There is some debate regarding to which generation of Spanish writers Pérez de Ayala belongs. His early realistic novels reveal ties with the Generation of 98. However, some argue that Ramon Pérez de Ayala was a member of the Generation of 1914, a group which did not entirely fit with either the Generation of 98 or the Generation of 27. He was elected to the Royal Spanish Academy in 1928. He was appointed director of the Prado Museum in 1931, and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1936.

After 1916, his novels became increasingly mature and lyrical, his characters becoming symbolic representatives of general human problems. To this period belongs his masterpieces, Belarmino y Apolonio (1921) (translated as "Belarmino and Apolonio"), Tiger Juan (1926) and El curandero de su honra (The Healer of his Honour) (1927). La paz del sendero (The Peace of the Path) (1903), El sendero innumerable (1916), and El sendero andante (1921), his major poetic works, show the influence of French symbolism. He also wrote satiric essays and dramatic criticism.

Works available in English

  • Belarmino and Apolonio (1990) Quartet Books. ISBN 0-7043-0109-1
  • Honeymoon, Bittermoon (1974) University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-01727-7

Note: Tiger Juan was translated into English by Walter Starkie in 1933, but is long out of print.

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