In February 1991, when Agustin Gómez-Arcos's Interview de Mrs. Muerta Smith por sus fantasmas premiered at Madrid's Sala Olimpia, the voice of one of Europe's most distinguished living writers triumphantly returned to the Spanish stage after an absence that had endured nearly twenty-six years. Born in Almería at the outset of the Spanish Civil War, Gómez-Arcos began his career in Madrid as an award-winning playwright. Eventually his ongoing struggle against Francoist censorship prompted his voluntary exile from Spain in 1966, and following a two-year sojourn in London, he arrived in Paris amid the clamor of 1968. Since that time he has lived mainly in France, where his early success at the Parisian café-théâtres and his subsequent publication of thirteen novels (written in French, and translated into several languages) have earned him international acclaim. He has been twice a finalist for the Prix Goncourt, and in 1985, he became one of only four Spaniards (along with Picasso) ever to be decorated by the French Legion of Honor as «Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts ès Lettres». Presently, his theater is undergoing a renaissance on the stages of his native country, where seemingly overnight -with the success of Interview de Mrs. Muerta Smith and the recent staging of Los gatos- he has succeeded in reestablishing his prestige as a Spanish dramatist. Ironically, his life appears finally to have come full circle in that the Spanish Ministry of Culture that once denigrated his work, with the advent of democracy is finally promoting it.

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1995

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 1995 Universidad de Zaragoza. This article first appeared in España Contemporánea 8, no. 1 (Spring 1995): 21-42.

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