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José Martínez Ruiz

José Martínez Ruiz (Azorín).

José Augusto Trinidad Martínez Ruiz, better known by his pseudonym Azorín (Spanish pronunciation: ; June 8, 1873, Monòver – March 2, 1967, Madrid), was a Spanish novelist, essayist and literary critic. A political radical in the 1890s, he moved steadily to the right. In literature he attempted to define the eternal qualities of Spanish life. His essays and criticism are written in a simple, compact style. Particularly notable are his impressionistic descriptions of Castilian towns and landscape.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career, writing and political evolution 2
  • Honors 3
  • Publications 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life and education

José ("Pepe") Martínez Ruiz was born in Monovar, a village in the province of Alicante on 8 June 1873. Known as Pepe, he was the oldest of nine children but a lonely child who loved reading. His father, a middle-class lawyer, was an active conservative politician and later became a representative and mayor, and a follower of Romero Robledo). His mother, a landowner, was born in nearby Petrer.

From the age of eight, until he was 16, he attended a boarding school run by the Escolapius Fathers (Piarists) in his father's home town of Yecla in the province of Murcia, a time he recalled as opposed to “truth, rebelliousness, and freedom” in Memorias inmemoriales, but also nostalgically in Las confesiones de un pequeño filósofo.

From 1888 to 1896 he studied law at the University of Valencia, but did not complete his studies. Instead, he began to write, publishing a monograph on literary criticism in 1893. Here he began to write for local newspapers, contributing articles to the radical journal El pueblo, edited by Blasco Ibáñez. He became interested in the ideas of Karl Krause, who argued that man could be reformed through education, and that openness to other nation's cultures could overcome national conservatism (see Spanish Krausism [in Spanish]).

In 1895, Ruiz published Anarquistas literarios and Notas sociales, in which he presented the main anarchist theories of the time. During this time he was a political radical. Ruiz became an admirer of the liberal Prime Minister Antonio Maura, who fought the culture of "caciques" (local political bosses), and who had become the figurehead of a youth movement, the Mauristas, who wanted him as a new head of state of Spain at a time of substantial resentment of King Alfonso XIII.

Career, writing and political evolution

Azorín seen by Ramon Casas (MNAC).

Ruiz’s journalism developed on moving to Madrid in 1896. He wrote for the republican newspaper El País until he was dismissed due to his radicalism in February 1897. He also wrote for the Paris-based anarchist magazine La Campaña, and other Spanish journals including El Progreso ("Progress"), and El Imparcial ("The impartial"). His output during this period displayed anti-establishment views, including anarchist ideas, seeing writing as a catalyst for change, and depreciating aesthetics and faith.

However, by 1899 his outlook was beginning to change. His work began to display a new philosophical and artistic consciousness, and an interest in the past. His book El alma castellana (The Castilian Soul), and his essay collections, La ruta de Don Quijote (The Route of Don Quixote) and, much later, Una hora de España 1560–1590 (Spain's Hour, 1560–1590) capture the essence of being Spanish. He was abandoning revolutionary ideas, but becoming more nihilist, though respecting the dignity of human beings, and using irony to stand at arm's length from the world. This pessimism would eventually lead him to a period of political conservatism.

In 1902 he published the first of three intensely biographical novels, La voluntad (Volition), followed by Antonio Azorín, and Las confesiones de un pequeño filósofo (The Confessions of a Minor Philosopher). Early in his career, Ruiz had used pen names, such as Cándido (in honor of Voltaire) and Ahrimán (the Persian god of destruction), and in 1904 he discarded his own name and began to use the surname of one of his characters, "Azorín". Using mostly short sentences, in both his fiction and his essays he emphasized the small but enduring elements and events in history and in one's life. In his view, time consisted of a series of repetitions, a notion of time described as "timeless".

He married Julia Guinda Urzanqui in 1908; she was to remain beside him for the rest of life and outlive him. They had no children.

By 1913 he was writing for ABC, the popular pro-monarchy, conservative newspaper, including a series of articles on “La generación de 1898” (Generation of 98), a literary and artistic group to which he belonged.

External images
Portrait of Azorín by Zuloaga

Ruiz served as a conservative deputy in the Cortes Generales from 1907 to 1919, eventually becoming an under-secretary for the Ministry of Public Instruction. He gave up politics in opposition to the dictatorship of Gen. Primo de Rivera, though he never opposed him publicly.

He had by now become noted as a drama critic and essayist. His literary criticism, such as Al margen de los clásicos (Marginal Notes to the Classics), Don Juan and Doña Inés, helped to open up new avenues of literary taste and to arouse a new enthusiasm for the Spanish classics at a time when a large portion of Spanish literature was virtually unavailable to the public. In 1924, he was elected to the Real Academia Española.

His first of a dozen plays, Old Spain, appeared in 1926, followed by Brandy mucho brandy and La comedia del arte, but had difficulty in adapting his slow and meticulous style to the dynamics and rhythm of drama. A wry comedy about journalists increasing newspaper sales by inventing stories, El Clamor (The Cry), led to the leadership of the Asociación de la Prensa expelling him, an act which Azorín likened to that of the Inquisition. He began to be influenced by the avant-garde movement, experimenting in a personal version of surrealism in a short trilogy, Lo invisible (The Invisible).

The outbreak of the Republic saw him re-adopt his old progressive political ideals. He abandoned ABC to write for the republican newspapers El Sol, La Libertad and Ahora). He edited Revista de Occidente, founded by José Ortega y Gasset, a journal promoting European philosophy, from 1923 to 1936.[1]

At the outset of the Spanish Civil War, in 1936, Azorín fled to Paris, where he continued his literary career writing for the Argentine newspaper La Nación. A book reflecting on this period of exile, Españoles en París, was published in 1939.

When he returned to Spain on 23 August 1939, he found himself in "inner exile", along with other intellectuals who had not overtly supported the Franco regime during the conflict. He was at first denied a press identification card (tarjeta de periodista), but was supported by Ramón Serrano Suñer, at that time Franco's Interior Minister and president of the Falange. Accepting Franco’s regime was the price he had to pay in order to be admitted back, and he aligned with the dictatorship in a noted article in the right-wing journal Vértice.[2] He contributed again to ABC from 1941 to 1962.He published numerous new works which were redolent of his earlier literary successes, including 'Pensando en España and Sintiendo España.

In his old age, Azorín became a film enthusiast, writing numerous articles, some of which are reprinted in El cine y el momento, and claiming that "Cinema is the greatest form of art".

He died in Madrid on March 2, 1967, at the age of 93, the longest-lived of the Generation of 98.

The political evolution that transformed Martínez Ruiz, a committed journalist as well as a revolutionary anarchist, into Azorín, a conservative member of parliament, as well as a sceptic and indulgent writer intimidated by Franco’s regime, is key to understanding the division of his critics. Two different images of him were sustained – successive and irreconcilable personalities which cannot be studied at the same time without understanding the contradictions.[3]



(Published under the pseudonym Azorín, unless otherwise indicated.)

  • Cándido (1893). La crítica literaria in España. Valencia: Imprenta de Francisco Vives Mora. 
  • Cándido (1893). Moratín. Madrid: Librería de Fernando Fé. 
  • Arhimán (1894). Buscapiés. Madrid: Librería de Fernando Fé. 
  • Ruiz (1895). Anarquistas literarios. Madrid: Librería de Fernando Fé. 
  • Ruiz (1895). Notas sociales. Madrid: Librería de Fernando Fé. 
  • Ruiz (1896). Literatura. Madrid: Librería de Fernando Fé. 
  • Ruiz (1897). Charivari. Madrid: Imprenta Plaza del Dos de Mayo. 
  • Ruiz (1897). Bohemia. Madrid: V. Vela impresor. 
  • Ruiz (1898). Soledades. Madrid: Librería de Fernando Fé. 
  • Ruiz (1897). Pecuchet, demagogo. Madrid: Imprenta de Bernardo Rodríguez. 
  • Ruiz (1899). La evolución de la crítica. Madrid: Librería de Fernando Fé. 
  • Ruiz (1899). La sociología criminal. Madrid: Librería de Fernando Fé. 
  • Ruiz (1900). Los Hidalgos. Madrid: Librería de Fernando Fé. 
  • Ruiz (1900). El alma castellana (1600–1800). Madrid: Librería Internacional. 
  • Diario de un enfermo. Madrid: Librería de de Ricardo Fé. 1901. 
  • La fuerza del amor. Madrid: La España Editorial. 1901. 
  • La Voluntad. Barcelona: Henrich y Cía. Editores. 1902. 
  • Antonio Azorín. Madrid: Viuda de Rodríguez Serra. 1903. 
  • Las confesiones de un pequeño filósofo. Madrid: Librería de Fernando Fé. 1904. 
  • Williams, Leonardo, ed. (1905). Los pueblos. Madrid. 
  • Williams, Leonardo, ed. (1905). La ruta de Don Quijote. Madrid. 
  • El político. Madrid: Hernando. 1908. 
  • España – Hombres y paisajes. Madrid: Librería de Francisco Beltrán. 1909. 
  • La Cierva. Madrid: Sucesores de Hernando. 1910. 
  • Lecturas españolas. Madrid: Imprenta de la Revista de Archivosv. 1912. 
  • Castilla. Madrid: Revista de Archivos. 1912. 
  • Clásicos y modernos. Madrid: Renacimiento. 1913. 
  • Los valores literarios. Madrid: Renacimiento. 1914. 
  • Un discurso de la Cierva. Madrid: Renacimiento. 1914. 
  • Al margen de los clásicos. Madrid: Residencia de Estudiantes. 1915. 
  • El licenciado Vidriera (Tomás Rueda, 1941). Madrid: Residencia de Estudiantes. 1915. 
  • Rivas y Larra. Madrid: Renacimiento. 1916. 
  • Un pueblecito. Riofrío de Avila. Madrid: Residencia de Estudiantes. 1916. 
  • Parlamentarismo Español. Madrid: Editorial Calleja. 1916. 
  • Entre España y Francia. Barcelona: Bloud y Gay Editores. 1917. 
  • El paisaje de España visto por los españoles. Madrid: Renacimiento. 1917. 
  • Páginas escogidas. Madrid: Editorial Calleja. 1917. 
  • Madrid. Guía sentimental. Madrid: Biblioteca Estrella. 1918. 
  • París bombardeado. Madrid: Renacimiento. 1919. 
  • Fantasías y devaneos. Madrid: Rafael Caro Raggio. 1920. 
  • Los dos Luises y otros ensayos. Madrid: Rafael Caro Raggio. 1921. 
  • Don Juan. Madrid: Rafael Caro Raggio. 1922. 
  • De Granada a Castelar. Madrid: Rafael Caro Raggio. 1922. 
  • El chirrión de los políticos. Madrid: Rafael Caro Raggio. 1923. 
  • Una Hora de España. Madrid: Rafael Caro Raggio. 1924. 
  • Racine y Moliere. Madrid: Cuadernos Literarios de La Lectura. 1924. 
  • Los Quinteros y otras páginas. Madrid: Rafael Caro Raggio. 1925. 
  • Doña Inés. Madrid: Rafael Caro Raggio. 1925. 
  • Old Spain. Madrid: Rafael Caro Raggio. 1926. 
  • Brandy: mucho brandy. Madrid: Rafael Caro Raggio. 1927. 
  • Comedia del arte. Madrid: Prensa Moderna. 1927. 
  • El clamor. Madrid: Sociedad de Autores Españoles. 1928. 
  • Lo invisible: (trilogía); La arañita en el espejo, El segador, Doctor Death de 3 a 5. Madrid: Prensa Española. 1928. 
  • Félix Vargas (El caballero inactual, 1943). Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1928. 
  • Andando y pensando. Madrid: Editorial Páez. 1929. 
  • Blanco en azul. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1929. 
  • Superrealismo (El libro de Levante, 1948). Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1929. 
  • Angelita. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1930. 
  • Pueblo. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1930. 
  • Cervantes o la casa encantada. Madrid: Cía. Iberoamericana de Publicaciones. 1931. 
  • Lope en silueta. Madrid: Cruz y Raya‑Ediciones del Arbol. 1935. 
  • La guerrilla. Madrid: La Farsa. 1936. 
  • Trasuntos de España. Buenos Aires: Espasa‑Calpe Argentina. 1938. 
  • Españoles en París. Buenos Aires: Espasa‑Calpe Argentina. 1939. 
  • En torno a José Hernández. Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana. 1939. 
  • Pensando en España. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1940. 
  • Valencia. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1941. 
  • Madrid. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1941. 
  • Visión de España. Buenos Aires: Espasa‑Calpe Argentina. 1941. 
  • El escritor. Madrid: Espasa‑Calpe. 1942. 
  • Cavilar y contar. Barcelona: Ediciones Destino. 1942. 
  • Sintiendo a España. Barcelona: Editorial Tartesos. 1942. 
  • El enfermo. Madrid: Adán. 1943. 
  • Capricho. Madrid. Espasa‑Calpe. 1943. 
  • Memorias. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1943. 
  • La isla sin aurora. Barcelona: Ediciones Destino. 1944. 
  • Tiempos y cosas. Zaragoza: Librería General. 1944. 
  • Veraneo sentimental. Zaragoza: Librería General. 1944. 
  • Palabras al viento. Zaragoza: Librería General. 1944. 
  • María Fontán. Madrid: Espasa‑Calpe. 1944. 
  • Salvadora de Olbena. Zaragoza: Ediciones Cronos. 1944. 
  • Leyendo a los poetas. Zaragoza: Librería General. 1945. 
  • Farsa docente. Madrid: Delegación Nacional de Prensa. 1945. 
  • París. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1945. 
  • La farándula. Zaragoza: Librería General. 1945. 
  • Los clásicos redivivos. Los clásicos futuros. Buenos Aires: Espasa‑Calpe. 1945. 
  • Ante Baroja. Zaragoza: Librería General. 1946. 
  • Memorias inmemoriales. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1946. 
  • El artista y el estilo. Madrid: M. Aguilar. 1946. 
  • Escena y sala. Zaragoza: Librería General. 1947. 
  • Con Cervantes. Buenos Aires: Espasa‑Calpe Argentina. 1947. 
  • Ante las candilejas. Zaragoza: Librería General. 1947. 
  • Ángel Cruz Rueda, ed. (1947). "Crónicas del viaje regio [1905]". Obras completas III. Madrid: Aguilar. 
  • "En Barcelona [1906]". Obras completas II. 1947. 
  • "Literatura en la política". Obras completas III. 1947. 
  • "Los norteamericanos". Obras completas III. 1947. 
  • "Gabriel Miró". Obras completas VI. 1948. 
  • "Clásicos cernidos". Obras completas VI. 1948. 
  • "Contingencia en América". Obras completas VII. 1948. 
  • "In hoc signo...". Obras completas VIII. 1948. 
  • Con permiso de los cervantistas. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1948. 
  • Con bandera de Francia. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1950. 
  • La cabeza de Castilla. Buenos Aires: Espasa‑Calpe Argentina. 1950. 
  • El oasis de los clásicos. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1952. 
  • Verano en Mallorca [1906]. Palma de Mallorca: Panorama Balear. 1952. 
  • El cine y el momento. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1953. 
  • "Estética y política literarias". Obras completas IX. 1954. 
  • "A voleo". Obras completas IX. 1954. 
  • El buen Sancho. Madrid: Editorial Tecnos. 1954. 
  • Pintar como querer. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1954. 
  • El efímero cine. Madrid: Afrodisio Aguado. 1955. 
  • El pasado. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1955. 
  • Cuentos. Madrid: Afrodisio Aguado. 1956. 
  • Escritores. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1956. 
  • Dicho y Hecho. Barcelona: Ediciones Destino. 1957. 
  • Sin perder los estribos. Madrid: Taurus Ediciones. 1958. 
  • De un Transeunte. Madrid: Espasa Calpe. 1958. 
  • Agenda. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1959. 
  • Posdata. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1959. 
  • De Valera a Miró. Madrid: Afrodisio Aguado: S. A. 1959. 
  • Pasos quedos. Madrid: Editorial Escelicer: S. A. 1959. 
  • Ejercicios de castellano. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1960. 
  • La generación del 98. Salamanca‑Madrid: Ediciones Anaya. 1961. 
  • Mis mejores páginas. Barcelona: Editorial Mateu. 1961. 
  • Lo que pasó una vez. Barcelona: Editorial Lumen. 1962. 
  • Varios hombres y alguna mujer. Barcelona: Editorial Aedos. 1962. 
  • Historia y Vida. Madrid: Espasa‑Calpe. 1962. 
  • En lontananza. Madrid: Editorial Bullón. 1963. 
  • Los recuadros. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva. 1963. 
  • Ni sí ni no. Barcelona: Destino. 1965. 
  • Los médicos. Valencia: Ediciones Prometeo. 1966. 
  • España Clara. Madrid: Editorial Doncel. 1966. 
  • Ultramarinos. Barcelona: Edhasa. 1966. 
  • Crítica de años cercanos. Madrid: Taurus Ediciones. 1967. 
  • La amada España. Barcelona: Ediciones Destino. 1967. 
  • Albacete, siempre. Albacete: Excmo. Ayuntamiento. 1970. 
  • Carta sin nema. Madrid: Joyas bibliográficas. 1970. 
  • Valverde, JM, ed. (1972). Artículos olvidados de José Martínez Ruiz (1894–1904). Madrid: Ediciones Narcea. 
  • Rosalía de Castro y otros motivos gallegos. Lugo: Ediciones Celta. 1973. 
  • Cada cosa en su sitio. Barcelona: Ediciones Destino. 1973. 
  • Las terceras de ABC. Madrid: Prensa Española. 1976. 
  • Ouimette, Victor, ed. (1987). La hora de la pluma. Periodismo de la Dictadura y de la República. Valencia: Pretextos. 


  1. ^ Chevalier, Tracy, ed. (1997). Encyclopaedia of the Essay. London: Taylor & Francis. p. 47.  
  2. ^ Jurkevich, Gayana (1999). In Pursuit of the Natural Sign: Azorín and the Poetics of Ekphrasis. Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, Inc. p. 162.  
  3. ^ "Azorín (José Martínez Ruiz) Biographical data and intellectual evolution". Literatur im Kontext. Universität Wien. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "Azorín (José Martínez Ruiz) Primary bibliography". Literatur im Kontext. Universität Wien. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 

External links

  • Works by José Martínez Ruiz at Project Gutenberg
  • Works by or about José Martínez Ruiz at Internet Archive
  • Works by or about José Martínez Ruiz at Internet Archive
  • "Azorín". La Cultura del XIX al XX en España (in Spanish). Fundación Zuloaga. Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
  • Rodríguez Sánchez, Tomás. "Azorín" (in Spanish). Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
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