SANTA CRUZ, Spain – Historian and essayist Juan Marichal, a native of the Spanish island of Tenerife, died over the weekend at his residence in Cuernavaca, Mexico, the regional government of the Canary Islands said Monday. He was 88.
Marichal, who became a political exile at 19, was professor emeritus at Harvard University and among other honors received Spain’s National Prize for Literature in the category of history.
“His commitment to the times in which he lived is an example to everyone, as a total humanist with ties to the best intellectual tradition of the Spanish exile in defense of democratic values and those of thought and culture,” according to the Canaries government.
Juan Marichal spent 10 years preparing “The Complete Works of Manuel Azaña,” and also wrote his biography, as well as publishing the complete works of his father-in-law, the poet Pedro Salinas.
Born in Santa Cruz de Tenerife on Feb. 2, 1922, he went to live in Madrid in 1935, moving in quick succession to Valencia and Barcelona before going to Paris for schooling.
After graduating from a French lycee in Casablanca, he traveled to Mexico in 1941 on one of the ships leased by an organization offering aid to Spanish Civil War exiles.
For four years he studied philosophy and literature at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, while working in a box factory at night, and later served as a professor at the Luis Vives Institute, founded by Spanish exiles.
He subsequently moved to the United States, where he continued his studies at Princeton, thanks to a scholarship secured through the mediation of Mexican historian Edmundo O’Gorman.
Juan Marichal received in 1949 his doctorate in literature and went on to teach for years at Harvard, where his courses on the Spanish language from “El Cid” to “One Hundred Years of Solitude” will always be remembered. EFE