Líneas de arena

Publicado el Dixon Acosta Medellín (@dixonmedellin)

The Marquis Gabriel García


Preliminary note: The original version in Spanish, was published in the Colombian newspaper El Espectador, on June 11, 2013, while the writer Gabriel García Márquez is alive, and can be read here:



Can anything new be said about Gabriel García Márquez, which has not been previously expressed by biographers, chroniclers, or close friends of the Colombian writer? It is a pleasant discovery to find a piece of information that the author himself may not know.

As journalists and media would express, when they launch the news scoops, I am able to report that the 1982 Nobel Prize for literature belongs to the nobility despite their ideological convictions. Although one would not imagine García Márquez defending the monarchical institution as Álvaro Mutis does, his fiery Caribbean blood may have “blue inks”.

The life of the Colombian author is as fascinating as his work, is for many anecdotes, even indirect and not provoked by himself, as I heard the Egyptian writer and translator Ahmad Yamani a few weeks ago (on April 2013) during the release in Abu Dhabi of the book “Ten Colombian poems”, a lyric selection that translated Yamani into the Arabic language, in an editorial effort to disseminate Colombian literature in the Arabian Gulf countries specifically.

In the middle of a pleasant literary dialogue arranged in the Colombian Embassy in the United Arab Emirates, between the Colombian poet and professor Juan Felipe Robledo and the aforementioned Ahmad Yamani, who resides in Spain, the latter explained that in the Arab world there is no known much of the rich Colombian literature, basically García Márquez because it is a universal classic, whose work has been gaining ground even in countries that had it censored for political or religious reasons.

The curious detail is that when the first titles of the Colombian writer published in the Arabic language appeared, the one who made the translation took the second surname of the Colombian writer as Marqués and not as Márquez, for which some readers from the Middle East and possibly from other latitudes of the world are believed to be Marquis Gabriel García granting the Colombian author an additional title to his lauded existence, this time of nobility.

This highlights several interesting topics in just one case. First of all, the importance of translations and their implicit risks. It is seen that a good translation can even improve works that in their original language are not so lucky, while a bad translation can change to the identity of the original writer. Also the need to always keep in mind the accent marks that make the difference in all the words of our Spanish language, including the surnames, something that formerly grammar teachers stressed in their classes.

Thus, without intending it, Gabriel García joins the group of writers who have won a noble title, either because of their origin as Count Tolstoi or because of their work as Marquis Vargas Llosa. Although in history it will be difficult to find a parallel to the case of a writer signed both for his title, for his work, his personal passions, and his surname, as has been the Marquis de Sade.

The best part of the case is that Marquis title has been given to the Caribbean Gabo, as his friends call him, literature itself. An episode that takes place in the realm of imagination, that rich playground where Gabriel García Márquez has fun.

Someone will say that life is responsible for demonstrating that it is capable of creating situations that would only occur to the king of magical realism.

Dixon Acosta Medellín