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Spanish Essayist

Miguel Delibes, (born Oct. 17, 1920, Valladolid, Spain—died March 12, 2010, Valladolid), Spanish novelist, essayist, and journalist who wrote widely of travel, the outdoors, sport, and his native Valladolid. His realist fiction is best known for its critical analysis of 20th-century Spanish society.

Delibes was the third of eight sons born to a schoolteacher and a government administrator. As a boy, he developed a love of sport and the outdoors. At 17 he enlisted in the Spanish navy, hoping to avoid infantry combat in the Spanish Civil War. The war, however, would affect him powerfully and figure in his later writings. Following his military service, Delibes returned home, where he studied commerce and law at the University of Valladolid. He was also hired as a caricaturist for the Valladolid newspaper El Norte de Castilla (“The North of Castile”). His future wife, Ángeles de Castro, encouraged Delibes to pursue his love of literature, and he finished his first novel, La sombra del ciprés es alargada (“The Shadow of the Cypress Is Extended”), in 1948. Delibes became director of El Norte de Castilla in 1958, but his advocacy for Castilian causes in the face of government censorship brought about his resignation in 1963. The plight of Castile also informed his novel Las ratas (1962; “The Rats”; Eng. trans. Smoke on the Ground).

From the 1950s onward Delibes published widely. Major titles include El camino (1950; The Path), La hoja roja (1959; “The Red Leaf”), Cinco horas con Mario (1966; Five Hours with Mario), Las guerras de nuestros antepasados (1975; The Wars of Our Ancestors), and El hereje (1998; The Heretic). Delibes suffered years of depression following his wife’s death in 1974. Nearly two decades later she would form the dominant figure of his novel Señora de rojo sobre fondo gris (1991; “Lady in Red on a Gray Background”). Many of Delibes’s works were adapted for screen and stage, and he collected numerous awards, including the Cervantes Prize in 1993.

Essayists are the writers who produce essays. Essays are the literary pieces of work in which the author presents their own arguments and reflections. Since essays convey the author’s individual views, they make for compelling and interesting reading. Essayists may write on a number of topics like politics, education, social issues, literary criticisms, environment, human rights, etc. Even though essays are primarily written in prose, essayists like Alexander Pope have taken the liberty to compose their essays in verse. Essayists, like writers of other genres, do not always believe in conforming to traditions. John Locke was one such essayist who chose to ignore the brevity element in composing his voluminous essays like ‘An Essay Concerning Human Understanding’. The French author Michel de Montaigne who lived during the 16th century is often hailed as the first essayist, though he himself claimed to have been influenced by the writings of Plutarch and Seneca. Essayists like Joseph Addison, Richard Steele and Samuel Johnson flourished during the Age of Enlightenment when essays became the preferred literary form for convincing people of their position. Scroll down further for more information on famous essayists from all over the world who enriched literature with their writings.

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