Journey to the Alcarria in 10 Stages

A journey that combines literature and life.

By Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

Your Journey to the AlcarriaDiputación Provincial de Guadalajara

This online exhibition by Guadalajara Provincial Council in Spain, brings together literature and life as it visits the places described in the literary work "Viaje a la Alcarria" (Journey to the Alcarria). This original project allows 21st-century travelers to follow the route that Camilo José Cela took in 1946, which he so masterfully described. This video speaks for itself, showcasing the main points along the journey.

Camilo José CelaDiputación Provincial de Guadalajara

Camilo José Cela Trulock was a Spanish writer and academic who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He was born in Iria Flavia, A Coruña, on May 11, 1916 and died in Madrid on January 17, 2002.

His family moved to Madrid in 1925. He was taken ill before he finished his high school studies and was admitted to a sanatorium in Guadarrama (Madrid). During his time there, from 1931 to 1932, he spent his long, enforced periods of rest reading.

In 1934, he enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine at Madrid's Complutense University. He left the faculty shortly afterwards to attend lectures as an unregistered student at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, where the poet Pedro Salinas was teaching Contemporary Literature. Cela showed Salinas his first poems, and Salinas offered him encouragement and advice. This encounter proved to be a pivotal one for the young Cela, who decided to pursue his literary vocation. While studying there, he met Alonso Zamora Vicente, María Zambrano, and Miguel Hernández. It was through them that he was introduced to other Madrid intellectuals of the time.

He finished his first book during the Spanish Civil War: a collection of poems called "Pisando la dudosa luz del día" (Treading the Dubious Light of Day).

In 1940, he began studying law, and in the same year his first works appeared in print. His first major work, "La familia de Pascual Duarte" (The Family of Pascual Duarte) appeared 2 years later and, despite its success, ran into problems with the Church. This led to the second edition of the book being banned, although it was finally published in Buenos Aires.

Shortly after that, Cela abandoned his law studies to concentrate on his literary career.

In 1944, he began work on "La Colmena" (The Hive). Later, he held 2 exhibitions of his paintings and published his books "Viaje a La Alcarria" (Journey to the Alcarria) and "El cancionero de La Alcarria" (Songbook of the Alcarria). "La Colmena" was published in Buenos Aires in 1951 and immediately banned in Spain.

In 1954, he moved to the island of Majorca, where he spent a large part of his life. In 1957, he was chosen to become a member of the Royal Spanish Academy, occupying the seat bearing the letter Q.

Cela in Guadalajara Provincial Council (1989) by Alfonso RomoDiputación Provincial de Guadalajara

Cela played a key role in public life during Spain's transition to democracy. He was royally appointed to a seat in the Senate of the country's first democratic parliament, where he was involved in editing the text of the constitution drawn up by the Spanish Congress.

In the years that followed, his works regularly appeared in print. Two key novels of this period are "Mazurca para dos muertos" (Mazurka for Two Dead Men) and "Cristo versus Arizona" (Christ Versus Arizona). Established as one of the 20th century's great writers, he received tributes, awards, and all kinds of accolades over the last 2 decades of his life. The most outstanding of these are the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature (1987), the Nobel Prize in Literature (1989), and the Miguel de Cervantes Prize (1995). In 1996, on the day of his 80th birthday, King Juan Carlos I of Spain granted him the title of Marquis of Iria Flavia.

Cela with friends (1989) by Jesús CampoamorDiputación Provincial de Guadalajara

The night that Cela found out he had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, his friends flocked to his house in Guadalajara to celebrate.

Cela in the museum dedicated to the book "Journey to the Alcarria" (1995) by Alfonso RomoDiputación Provincial de Guadalajara

A museum dedicated to the book "Journey to the Alcarria" was opened in Torija Castle in Guadalajara in 1995, with the backing of Guadalajara Provincial Council.

Guadalajara (1989) by Diputación de GuadalajaraDiputación Provincial de Guadalajara

"Guadalajara" is the Provincial Council's informational magazine.

In December 1989, the cover of issue No. 54 proudly featured the news that Camilo José Cela had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in Stockholm, by King Gustavo of Sweden.

The book "Journey to the Alcarria"Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

In the words of Francisco García Marquina, biographer and friend of the writer Camilo José Cela: "The simplicity of 'Journey to the Alcarria' is the result of a difficult exercise in literary refinement, and its readability opens up a world of great poetic depth..."

"The purity of its use of language has led to it being used as a textbook at a lot of foreign universities, not only to study the Spanish language, but also the philosophy of post-war rural Spain. Cela drew attention to the Alcarria just as the maestro Joaquín Rodrigo did with Aranjuez, Leopoldo Alas (known as 'Clarín') with Oviedo, and Sorolla with the light of the Mediterranean. Just as many foreigners know Pamplona because of Hemingway's 'The Sun Also Rises,' many others arrive in Guadalajara asking about the Alcarria with Cela's book tucked under one arm."

The route travelled in "Journey to the Alcarria"Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

Here, we are bringing together the themes of literature and life. From a literary point of view, the book "Journey to the Alcarria" consists of 11 chapters, plus a prologue and dedication. In terms of life, the adventure takes place in 10 stages, which was the number of days it took the traveler to walk across the natural region of the Alcarria.

The journey was almost 190 miles long, half on foot and the rest in a vehicle. His mantra throughout the journey was: "The traveler has his own philosophy of walking; he believes that everything that comes along is always the best thing that could happen."

Exit road from Fuentes de la Alcarria to Brihuega (2018) by Fernando ToqueroDiputación Provincial de Guadalajara

For those travelers who make the Journey to the Alcarria walking the Diputación de Guadalajara has signaled the route with the image of Camilo José Cela and the icon of the "Tetas de Viana".

Credits: Story

Coordinators: Aurora Batanero, Mario G. Somoano, and Marcelino Ayuso (Department of Press and Tourism, Guadalajara Provincial Council)

Project producer: Guadalajara Provincial Council

Texts: Laura Domínguez and Fernando Toquero
Photography: Alfonso Romo, Enrique Delgado, Laura Domínguez, and Fernando Toquero

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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