Alejo Carpentier and the marvelous real in Latin America

Alejo Carpentier and the marvelous real in Latin America

Heritage & Traditions

By Alina Veranes

An outstanding and prolific narrator, an intellectual committed to his time, Alejo Carpentier properly holds the status of Cuban creator, with which he always rooted for himself, despite being born in Lausanne, Switzerland, on December 26, 1904, the son of a French architect and a Russian pianist.


He began to fully live his existence on the Antillean island around the years of 1908 or 1909, when his parents, once married, came to settle definitively in these parts. However, in his childhood and adolescence he had periods of stay and studies in France and Switzerland, as well as in Russia, for family reasons.


Over the years and the natural human and cultural "flattening", little Alejo became an outstanding figure in national and Latin American letters, the second writer to win the prestigious Miguel de Cervantes Prize in 1977, awarded by the kings of Spain.


His prestige in Cuba and in Latin America is enormous, where he is considered the creator of a current that identifies marvelous realism as the identifying style of the Latin intelligentsia's way of creating, a reflection of the way Latin Americans feel and think, what García Márquez later developed as magical realism.


His writing, of great depth, sharpness and formal beauty, based on an encyclopedic universal knowledge, sharpened by his analysis and sensitivity, rich and baroque, soon placed him at the forefront of aesthetics within the Cuban creative movement. The stature of his narrative placed him early among the greats and he successfully cultivated genres such as the novel, essay, criticism, research and cultural journalism, where he was a highly respected specialized voice, even within the authorized media of the continent.  


He was also a musicologist and manager of publishing, fine arts and musical projects. The Age of EnlightenmentThe Kingdom of this WorldThe Rite of Spring and Resource of the Method are among the classics of letters on the continent and the planet.


From his early youth he militated in the ranks of young progressive intellectuals who fought for emancipation and against injustice. He was always in favor of the noblest causes. His death surprised him in Paris, fulfilling a cultural mission on behalf of Cuba, on April 24, 1980.