Javier Marías Interview: On Catalonian Independence



“Their position is almost a fascist position, and if I was Catalan, I would be very frightened by these people wanting to make a Catalan state,” says one of Spain’s most celebrated and acclaimed writers, Javier Marías, who here speaks openly of the Catalan independence movement.

Something similar wouldn’t be allowed in other democratic European countries, Marías argues: “They have a constitution prohibiting parties openly wanting to divide the country or wanting to separate from the country.” This, he finds, is also proof that present-day Spain is a true democracy and doesn’t bear similarities to Franco’s regime, as the Catalan movement suggest: “They are the Spanish state in Catalonia. It’s ridiculous because they have rebelled against exactly what allows them to exist.” Moreover, though Marías – who is not “a great fan of my country” – understands the desire to separate from Spain, he doesn’t think that it should be with these people: “I wouldn’t like to be one of their subjects. Because they would be subjects, I’m sure of that. Not citizens, subjects.”

Javier Marías (b. 1951) is one of Spain’s most celebrated novelists, whose has been translated into numerous languages. He was born in Madrid, but – during the Franco regime – he spent parts of his childhood in the U.S., where his father taught at higher education institutions. Among his novels are ‘All Souls’ (1992) (Todas las almas, 1989), ‘A Heart So White’ (2012) (Corazón tan blanco, 1992), ‘The Infatuations’ (2013) (Los enamoramientos, 2011), ‘Berta Isla’ (2018) (Berta Isla, 2017) as well as the ‘Your Face Tomorrow’ trilogy (2004-2009) (Tu rostro manana, 2002-2007), which was hailed by the Guardian as “the first authentic literary masterpiece in the 21st century.” Marías is the recipient of prestigious awards such as the International Dublin Literary Award (1997) and the Prix Formentor (2013). Marías is also a columnist for El País as well as a respected translator of e.g. Shakespeare, Henry James, and Nabokov. Moreover, he operates the small publishing house Reino de Redonda.

Javier Marías was interviewed by Synne Rifbjerg at the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark in August 2018.

Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2018

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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