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Mª Isabel Solana, Professor of Communication, University of Navarra, School

Delibes and his project to survive

Sat, 13 Mar 2010 10:01:27 +0000 Published in Newspaper (Navarra)

In his last years, when colon cancer was gaining the upper hand, Miguel Delibes acknowledged that surviving was his "project most sincere wish for the future". The news of his death has not truncated this yearning. It has shown that it falls short for those who, like him, are even more alive after death.

Daniel El Mochuelo (El camino), Paco El Bajo (Los santos inocentes), Don Eloy (La hoja roja), Lorenzo (Diario de un cazador)... It is impossible to think of these names and believe that someone who has left so much of himself in his characters can suddenly disappear.

But with them, Delibes has not only immortalized himself; he has put faces to the deepest values and problems of man: the love of nature, the sense of loss, social justice, the dehumanization of the person or the end of one's own existence. Somehow, through his own questions he has given answers -and will continue to do so- to readers of all generations.

This is precisely one of the author's great successes. Although most of his works are set in the context of his native Castile and reflect the lifestyle and idiosyncrasy of these people, they are not strange to those who do not know this land. This is demonstrated by the fact that they have been translated into numerous languages. And the fact is that he spoke undisguised about universal truths, which have the capacity to transcend geographical and temporal boundaries because they concern all human beings.

Independence from censorship

This commitment to the truth is also clearly seen in his journalistic facet. From the pages of his books and newspapers he wanted to give a voice to the weakest, which led him to confront both sides of the Franco regime and the censorship of the time. Not in vain, his fight for freedom of the press forced him to resign in 1963 as director of the newspaper El Norte de Castilla, which some considered the most independent of that time. The coherence of his work with ethical values and the defense of human dignity earned him the I award Brajnovic of the School of Communication of the University of Navarra in 1997.

The media, a field to which he dedicated thirty years of his professional life, have said goodbye to him these days as he deserves: on the front page and full page. Some say that with him goes the last great reference of literature in the twentieth century Spanish . However, perhaps he would have preferred to say goodbye in silence, without fuss, in keeping with the image of an austere man to which we were accustomed. That was his way: although he knew he was immortal, he only asked to survive.