Fernando Arrabal

Fernando Arrabal

Infobox Writer
name =Fernando Arrabal

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birthname =Fernando Arrabal Terán
birthdate =Birth date and age|1932|08|11
birthplace =Melilla, Spanish Morocco
deathdate =
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occupation =playwright, screenwriter, film director, novelist and poet
nationality =Spanish
period =1950s-present
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website = [http://www.arrabal.org/ arrabal.org]
portaldisp =

Fernando Arrabal Terán (born August 11, 1932 in Melilla, Spain) is a Spanish playwright, screenwriter, film director, novelist and poet of Spanish origin. He settled in France in 1955.

He learned to read and write in the city of Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca, Spain, where at the age of ten he was awarded a National Prize for “Gifted Children.” He went to university in Madrid.

His father, an army officer, was sentenced to death at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War for being opposed to the right-wing military coup led by General Francisco Franco. His sentence was commuted to hard labor for life. He was transferred to different jails, escaped from the last one on November 4, 1941 and vanished forever. In his childhood, Arrabal suffered from his father’s mysterious disappearance. Because of this trauma, as the Nobel Prize-winning poet Vicente Aleixandre (1898-1984) wrote, ‘’The knowledge which Arrabal conveys is tinged with a moral light which is innate in the very substance of his artistry.’’

Arrabal has directed seven full-length feature films. He has published over one-hundred plays, fourteen novels, seven poetry collections, many essays, and his celebrated “Letter to General Franco” during the dictator’s lifetime. His complete plays have been published in a number of languages, in France by Les Éditions Christian Bourgois and Actes Sud; in Spain the complete plays have appeared in two volumes, a total of over two thousand pages, in the series "Colección Clásicos Castellanos" of Editorial Espasa Calpe.

In 1962 Fernando Arrabal founded the Panic Movement with Roland Topor and Alejandro Jodorowsky, inspired by the God Pan. :‘’Arrabal’s theatre is a wild, brutal, cacophonous, and joyously provocative world. It is a dramatic carnival in which the carcass of our “advanced” civilizations is barbecued over the spits of a permanent revolution. He is the artistic heir of Kafka’s lucidity and Jarry’s humor; in his violence, Arrabal is related to Sade and Artaud. Yet he is doubtless the only writer to have pushed derision as far as he did. Deeply political and merrily playful, both revolutionary and bohemian, his work is the syndrome of our century of barbed wire and Gulags, a manner of finding a reprieve.’’:The Dictionary of Literatures in the French Language ("Dictionnaire des littératures de langue française"; Editions Bordas.)


Although he is one of the most controversial writers of his time, Arrabal’s work has been recognized throughout the world, with honors including the Grand Prize for Theatre of the "Académie Française", the Nabokov Prize for novel writing, the Espasa Prize for Essay Writing, the World Theater Prize, etc. He was reportedly a finalist for the Nobel Prize in 2005, a prize which several institutions and personalities solicited for him, including Professor Francisco Torres Monreal of the University of Murcia, Spain. Among his other honors include:
** Arrabal was decorated with the French Legion of Honor on July 14, 2005.
** Checa Association of Film Directors Prize. René Char Gold Medal, Avignon Festival.
* 2004
** First Panic Award, International Book Fair (Brussels)
** Francisco de Vitoria Prize (Puerto Rico)
**Wittgenstein Prize (University of Murcia)
** National Literary Award (Spain)
**Gold Medal of San Fando (Buenos Aires)
* 2002: Gold Medal of the City of Avignon
* National Theatre Award 2001 (Spain)
* 2000: National Literary Prize (Spain)
*1999: Alessandro Manzoni Poetry Prize (Italy)
* 1998: Prize of the Society of Authors (France)
* 1995: Officer of Arts and Letters (France)
* 1993: Theatre Prize of the Académie Française
* Since 1990, Arrabal has held the honorary title of "Transcendent Satrape" in the College of ’Pataphysics (Collège de ’Pataphysique). This group, founded in 1948 in homage to the French author Alfred Jarry (1873-1907) has named previous Transcendent Satrapes (“transcendants satrapes”) such as Camilo José Cela, René Clair, Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, M. C. Escher, Eugène Ionesco, Michel Leiris, Man Ray, The Marx Brothers, Joan Miró, Jacques Prévert, Raymond Queneau, and Boris Vian. After Arrabal received this honor, other Transcendent Satrapes have been named, including Roland Topor, Umberto Eco, and Dario Fo.
*1986: Fine Arts Gold Medal of the Ministry of Culture (Spain)
* 1983: Chevalier of Arts and Letters (France)
* In 1982 Arrabal received the Nadal Prize, for "La torre herida por el rayo"
* 1976: Obie Award for Theater (New York)
* 1965 Lugné-Poë Theatre Prize (France).
* 1959: Ford Foundation Award with Italo Calvino, Hugo Claus, Charles Tomlinson, Günter Grass and Robert Pinget (New York).


*"Baal Babylone" (1959) (Baal Babylon, ed. Grove Press, New York, 1960; ed. Luchterhand, Berlin, 1960; ed. Lerici, Milan, 1960; Ed. De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1972).
*"L'enterrement de la sardine", ed. Julliard, 1961 (The Burial of the Sardine, ed. Calder and Boyars, London, 1966; "El entierro de la sardina", Barcelona, Destino, 1984).
*"Fêtes et rites de la confusion", ed. Alfaguara, Madrid, Barcelona, 1966. (Riten und Feste der Konfusion, ed. Joseph Melzer, Stuttgart, 1969).
*"La Tour prends garde", ed. Grasset, Paris 1983. ("La torre herida por el rayo", Barcelona, Destino, 1983; Destino libro, 1984; Círculo de Lectores, 1984; A Torre ferida pelo Raio, ed. Inquirito, Lisboa, 1982; Hohe Türme trifft der Blitz, ed. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Colonia, 1986; The Tower Struck by Lightning, ed. Viking, New York, 1988).
*"La Reverdie", ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris, 1985.
*"La vierge rouge", ed. Acropole, Paris, 1986 (La virgen roja, Barcelona, Seix Barral, 1987; A Virgen Vermelha, ed. Dom Quixote, Lisboa, 1987; A Virgen Vermelha, ed. Nova Frontera, Botafogo, 1988; Die rote Jungfrau, ed. Steidl, Göttingen, 1990; The Red Virgin, Penguin Books, New York, London, 1993).
*"La fille de King-Kong" ed. Acropole, Paris, 1988 (La hija de King Kong, Barcelona, Seix Barral, 1988;
*"L' extravagante croisade d'un castrat amoureux", ed. Ramsay, Paris, 1989 (La extravagante cruzada de un castrado enamorado, Barcelona, Seix Barral, 1990).
*"La tueuse du jardin d'hiver", ed. Écriture, Paris, 1994
*"Le funambule de Dieu", ed. Écriture, Paris, 1998
*"Porté disparu", ed. Plon, Paris, 2000
*"Champagne pour tous", ed. Stock, Paris, 2002.

Artist's books

Arrabal has created over seven hundred artists' books with Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Roland Topor, Julius Baltazar, Antonio Saura, Olivier O. Olivier, Maxime Godard, Jean Cortot, Camacho, Ralph Gibson, Enrico Baj, Gustavo Charif, Milan Kundera, Michel Houellebecq and many others.

*’’1975 L'odeur de Sainteté, (Ed. Yves Rivière, Paris). With Antonio Saura. 2 copies.
*’’1980 Cinq sonnets, cincq eaux-fortes, (Ed. André Biren, Paris). With Balthazar. 80 copies.
*’’1991 Sous le flux libertin, (Ed. Robert et Lydie Dutrou, Paris). With Jean Cortot.
*’’2004 Lettres, (Ed. Menu, Cuenca). With Milan Kundera and Gustavo Charif. 40 copies.
*’’2004 Triptyque, (Ed. Menú, Cuenca). With Catherine Millet and Michel Houellebecq. 36 copies.


Arrabal has published over one hundred poetry collections. His books include:

*1963: La pierre de la folie, (Ed. Julliard, Paris).
*1965: Cent sonnets, (Ed. El Ultimo Parnaso, Saragossa).
*1985: Humbles paradis, (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
** Liberté couleur de femme ou Adieu Babylone, Poèmes cinématographiques, (Ed. Rougerie, Mortemart).
** Arrabalesques - Lettres à Julius Baltazar, (Ed. Rougerie, Mortemart).
*1997: Diez poemas pánicos y un cuento, (Ed. Caja Sur y Rute, Córdoba). are “La Pierre de la folie” (ed. Julliard, Paris, 1963) and "Humbles paradis" (ed. Christian Bourgois, 1985).


Arrabal has published over one hundred plays in nineteen volumes, performed around the world. His plays include, with selected translations noted:

** Le toit (unpublished).
**Le Char de foin (unpublished).
**La blessure incurable (unpublished).

** Oraison (Ed. Julliard, Paris) (Plays, Vol. 1. (Orison, etc. Trad. de Barbara Wright, London, Calder and Boyars, 1962); (Orazione, etc., ed. Lerici, Milan, 1962).
**Les deux bourreaux (Ed. Julliard, Paris) (The two executioners, tr. Richard Howard, New York, Grove Press, 1960); (Plays, Vol. 1. The Two Executioners, etc., tr. Barbara Wright, London, Calder and Boyars,1962); (I due Carnefici, etc., ed. Lerici, Milan, 1962).
**Fando et Lis (Ed. Julliard, Paris) (Plays, Vol. 1. (Fando and Lis, etc) tr. Barbara Wright, London, Calder and Boyars,1962
**Le cimetière des voitures (Ed. Julliard, Paris) (The Automobile Graveyard, tr. de Richard Howard, N. Y. Grove Press, 1960) (Plays, Vol. 1. The Car Cemetery, etc). tr. Barbara Wright, London, Calder and Boyars,1962); (Automobil Kirkegaarden, Ed. Arena, Copenhagen, 1964).
** Guernica (Ed. Julliard, Paris); (Plays, Vol 2. (Guernica, etc., tr. Barbara Wright. London, Calder and Boyars, 1967).
**Le labyrinthe (Ed. Julliard, Paris); (Plays, Vol 2. The Labyrinth, etc., tr. Barbara Wright. London, Calder and Boyars, 1967).
**Le tricycle (Ed. Julliard, Paris); (Plays, Vol 2., The Tricycle, etc. tr. Barbara Wright. London, Calder and Boyars, 1967); (The Tricycle. Tr. David Herzberger, Modern International Drama, 9.2., 1976, 65-91).
**Pique-nique en campagne (Ed. Julliard, Paris). (Picnic on the Battlefield, tr. James Hewitt, Evergreen Review 4.15, 1960, 76-90); (Pic-nic, etc. ed. Lerici, Milan, 1962); (Plays, Vol 2., Picnic on the Battlefield, etc., tr. Barbara Wright. London, Calder and Boyars, 1967).
**La bicyclette du condamné (Ed. Julliard, Paris); (Plays, Vol 2.,The Condemned Man's Bicycle, etc., tr. Barbara Wright. London, Calder and Boyars, 1967).
** Le grand cérémonial (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris); (Plays, Vol. 3, The Grand Ceremonial, etc., tr. Jean Benedetti,. London: Calder and Boyars, 1970).
**Cérémonie pour un noir assassiné (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Cérémonie pour une chèvre et un nuage (Ed. Daily Bul).
** Le couronnement (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Concert dans un oeuf (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
** L'architecte et l'empereur d'Assyrie (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris); (De Architekt en de Keiser van Assyrië, ed. Uitgeverij de Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 1969); (Plays, Vol. 3, The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria, tr. Jean Benedetti, London, Calder and Boyars, 1970); (The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria, tr. Everard d'Harnoncourt and Adele Shank. New York: Grove Press, 1969); (Der Architekt und der Kaiser von Assyrien, ed. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Berlin, 1971); (O Arquitecto e o Imperador da Assiria, ed. Desta, Sao-Paulo, 1976).
**Les amours impossibles (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris); (Impossible Lovers, etc., tr. Bettina Knapp, The Drama Review 13, 1968, 71-86).
**Les quatre cubes (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**La communion solennelle (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris); (First Communion, tr. Michel Benedikt, Modern Spanish Theatre, pp. 309-317. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1968); (Solemn Communion, etc., tr. Bettina Knapp, The Drama Review 13, 1968, 71-86); (Plays, Vol. 3, The Solemn Communion, etc., tr. John Calder. London: Calder and Boyars, 1970).
**Streap-tease de la jalousie (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris); (Striptease of Jealousy, etc., tr. Bettina Knapp, The Drama Review 13, 1968, 71-86).
**La jeunesse illustrée (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Dieu est-il devenu fou ? (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Une tortue nomée Dostoiëwsky
** Le jardin des délices (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris); (Garden of Delights, tr. Helen Gary Bishop and Tom Bishop, New York, Grove Press, 1974).
**Bestialité érotique (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Une tortue nommée Dostoïevski (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Théâtre choisi (4 volumes en japonais) (Ed. Shichosha, Tokyo).
**...Et ils passèrent des menottes aux fleurs (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris); (And They Put Handcuffs on the Flowers, tr. Charles Marowitz, New York, Grove Press, 1973).
**L'aurore rouge et noire (Groupuscule de mon coeur; Tous les parfums d'Arabie; Sous les pavés la plage; Les fillettes) (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Le lai de Barrabas (Le couronnement), (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
* Happening at the Théâtre Plaisance in Paris in February (Grand-Guignol).
** Ars Amandi (opéra "Panique") (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Dieu tenté par les mathématiques (opéra "Panique"), (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Le ciel et la merde (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**La grande revue du XXe siècle (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
* Jeunes barbares d'aujourd'hui (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
** La guerre de mille ans (Bella Ciao) (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Sur le fil ou la ballade du train fantôme (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
** La tour de Babel (Oyez Patria mi affliccion) (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**La marche royale (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Une orange sur le mont de Vénus (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**La gloire en images (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Vole-moi un petit milliard, (Théâtre Bouffe) (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Le pastaga des loufs ou Ouverture Orang-outan, (Théâtre Bouffe) (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Punk et punk et colégram (Théâtre Bouffe) (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
** Inquisición (Ed. Don Quijote, Granada).
** Mon doux royaume saccagé (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Le roi de Sodome (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Le ciel et la merde II (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
** L'extravagante réussite de Jésus-Christ, Karl Marx et William Shakespeare (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Lève-toi et rêve (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
** Le cheval-jument ou hommage à John Kennedy T.
** Les délices de la chair (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**La ville dont le prince était une princesse (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
** Bréviaire d'amour d'un haltérophile (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Apokalyptica (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**La charge des centaures (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
** Les "cucarachas" de Yale (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**Une pucelle pour un gorille (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**La madonne rouge (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
**La traversée de l'Empire (Ed. Christian Bourgois, Paris).
** L'extravagante croisade d'un révolutionnaire obese (Ed. Phi, Luxembourg).
** La nuit est aussi un soleil (Ed. Actes Sud).
**Roues d'infortune (Ed. Actes Sud).
**L'opéra de la Bastille (opéra écrit pour le bicentenaire de la Révolution française).
** Oeuvres Tome I, (théâtre, poésie, roman), (Ed. Spirali-Vel, Milan).
** Lully, (Ed. Actes Sud).
**Entends la nuit douce qui marche, (Ed. Actes Sud).
**Le fou rire des liliputiens, (Ed. Actes Sud).
** Comme un lis entre les épines, (Ed. Actes Sud).
** Théâtre complet, (2 volumes en langue espagnole), (Ed. Espasa, Madrid).
** Théâtre complet, (7 volumes en langue coréenne), (Ed. Coréenne, Séoul).
** Lettre d'amour, (Ed. Actes Sud).
**Comme un supplice chinois, (Ed. Actes Sud).

Arrabal’s complete plays are published in nineteen volumes in France (Christian Bourgois Ed., and Actes Sud Ed.); They are published in Spain in two volumes in 1997 (Espasa Calpe Ed., Madrid) and in seven volumes in South Korea in 1998 (Korean Ed., Seoul). Spirali Vel Editions in Milan has launched an edition of Arrabal's complete works in several volumes (plays, poems, novels), of which the first volume appeared in 1992.

By many estimates, Arrabal is probably the most performed living dramatic author worldwide. For a list of performances, see Arrabal’s official website.


**Viva la muerte; A co-production of Isabel-Films (Paris) and S.A.T.P.E.C. (Tunis), starring Nuria Espert and Anouk Ferjac.
**J'irai comme un cheval fou, (I Will Walk Like A Crazy Horse); produced by the Société Générale de Production - Babylone Films, starring Emmanuelle Riva and Clark Shannon.
**L'arbre de Guernica, (The Guernica Tree); produced by C.V.C. Communication, Federico Mueller and Harry N. Blum; starring Maria Angela Melato and Ron Faber.
**L'odyssée de la Pacific (Pacific Odyssey), produced by Babylone Films, starring Mickey Rooney and Monique Leclerc.
**Le cimetière des voitures (The Automobile Graveyard), a co-production of Antenne 2 and Babylone Films, starring Alain Bashung and Juliette Berto.
**Adieu, Babylone! (Farewell, Babylon!) a production of Antenne 2 -Cinecim, starring Lélia Fischer and Spike Lee.
**Jorge Luis Borges - Una vita de poesia, (Borges, a Life in Poetry) a production of Aphaville/Spirali (Italy), starring Lélia Fischer and Alessandro Atti.In 2005 a 3-DVD box set of Arrabal’s most renowned films was released by Cult Epics (www.cultepics.com) including Viva La Muerte, I Will Walk Like A Crazy Horse, and The Guernica Tree.

hort Films

*Sang et or (Blood and Gold)
*New York. New York!
*Echecs et Mythe (Chess and Myth)

Essays and Nonfiction

*Carta al General Franco, bilingual Spanish-French ed., Ch. Bourgois, col. 10-18, París, 1972; ed. Anonyme Anarchiste Pop., París, 1971; Ed. Granica, Buenos Aires, 1973; Ed. Babilonia, Noce, 1976; Ed. Actuales, Barcelona, 1978
*Le Panique, ed. Union Générale d'Edition, Paris, 1973
*Sur Fischer: Initiation aux échecs, ed. du Rocher, Monaco, 1974; revised edition “Fischer, le roi maudit,” Ed. Phi, Luxembourg, 1988.
*Carta a los militantes comunistas españoles (Sueño y mentira del eurocomunismo), bilingual Spanish-French ed., Ch. Bourgois, París, 1978; Ed. Actuales, Barcelona, 1978; Ed. Acción directa, 1980.
*Les échecs féeriques et libertaires: (articles from l'Express), Ed. du Rocher, Monaco, 1980.
*Carta a los comunistas españoles y otras cartas (Letters to Franco, to the King, etc.), Murcia, Ed. Godoy, 1981.
*Carta a Fidel Castro, Madrid, Playor, 1983; ed. Diana, Mexico, 1984; ed. Europa, América, Portugal, 1984.
*Echecs et mythe, ed. Payot, París, 1984; (Mitos em Xeque, ed. Globo, Río de Janeiro, 1988).
*Introducción a Feliciano de Silva, Ed. Cátedra, col. Letras Hispánicas, 1986
*El Greco, (ed. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Steidl, 1991); (El Greco, ed. Destino, Barcelona, 1991); (El Greco, ed. Calder and Boyar, London; Grove Press-Viking, New York, 1991); (El Greco, ed. Spirali, Milan, 1991; (El Greco: Le frénétique du spasme, ed. Flohic, Paris, 1991).
*Goya / Dalí, ed. Spirali-Vel, Milan; Studio di Val Cervo, Rome, 1992.
*Fêtes et défaites sur l'échiquier, ed. l'Archipel, Paris, 1992.
*Carta a José María Aznar (con copia a Felipe González), ed. Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1993.
*Cartas a Baltazar, versión de F. Torres Monreal, 1993.
*Genios y figuras, preface by A. Berenguer, Espasa Calpe, 1993.
*Las manazas del Samaritano. Conversaciones con Ionesco, rev. La Vuelta, nº 210, mayo, 1994.
*La dudosa luz del día, tr. into Spanish from the original French with notes by F. Torres Monreal, Espasa Calpe, 1994.
*Carta al Rey de España, (Ed. Espasa Calpe, Madrid), 1995
*Un esclave nommé Cervantès, ed Plon, Paris, 1996; (Un esclavo llamado Cervantes, ed. Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996).
*Diccionario pánico, Ed. Escritos, Bruxelles, 1998
*Lettre à Staline, Flammarion, Paris, 2004.
*Houellebecq!, éditions Le cherche midi, Paris, 2005.

For over thirty years, Fernando Arrabal has written a column on chess for the French weekly "L’Express". Every Sunday he publishes “Arrabalescos” in the Spanish daily El Mundo and regularly contributes articles to the Spanish dailies "ABC" and (less frequently) "El País".


Arrabal has a strong interest in chess and has attended many chess tournaments. He has close relations to American Grandmaster Gata Kamsky and has advocated for Kamsky in his chess blog during Kamsky's negotiations with FIDE (the World Chess Federation) over a match in the World Chess Championship cycle. [citation
title=Second Ruy Lopez Chess Festival | url=http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4566
date=13 April 2008 | periodical=ChessBase News
(photos and discussion of Arrabal's interest in chess. N.B. the biographical details in this article were copied from Wikipedia)

Popular impact

In spite of all his work and international recognition, among Spaniards he is mostly remembered for an infamous appearance on the TVE programme "El mundo por montera" (1989), a round table of intellectuals hosted by Fernando Sánchez Dragó. Arrabal was drunk and interrupted the conversation constantly rambling about "millennialism".


External links

* [http://www.arrabal.org/ Fernando Arrabal'site]
* [http://www.gerardcourant.com/projection.php?t=c&film=442 Fernando Arrabal's Cinématon - A 4 minutes online portrait by Gérard Courant]
* [http://chessarrabal.blogspot.com/ Chess Express Arrabal] Arrabal's chess blog

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