Remembrance Events for José Lezama Lima (1910-1976)

Cuba today paid tribute to famed writer José Lezama Lima, 100 years after his birth, with a wide variety of activities, in the midst of a growing interest in his work.  Centennial celebrations began at the beginning of the year with the reissuing of several of his texts for the International Book Fair of Havana, and will end this month with more publications, conferences, presentations and tributes. 

Today an exhibition of paintings was inaugurated at the author’s Museum House, with works inspired by “the Lezamian creative spirit.”  The Museum House was reopened in October, after thorough restoration of the building where the Cuban intellectual lived from 1929 until his death in 1976. The site gathers an extensive collection of art work given to Lezama Lima by some of the leading figures of the Cuban vanguard, including Víctor Manuel, Mariano Rodríguez, and René Portocarrero.

One of the most important remembrance activities has been the beginning of the publication of the complete works of the novelist, which have already produced two volumes under the coordination of the Cuban Book Institute, while the rest will be published in 2011.

The National Symphony Orchestra will also premiere a version for concert of the ballet “Formas,” a piece created for Cuban dancer Alicia Alonso in 1943, for which Lezama Lima wrote a poem. The outstanding volumes include the complete collection of poetry, essays, and a final version of his unfinished novel Oppiano Licario, published posthumously in 1977. In November, the Havana International Ballet Festival hosted a gala honoring Lezama Lima, while the Cuban Academy opened a cycle of conferences on his work for a period of three months. The Cuban capital also hosted an international colloquium on the author, which concluded with a pilgrimage to his tomb and the placement of a new inscription on his tombstone.

Regarded as one of the most brilliant intellectuals in Latin America, Lezama Lima has immensely influenced numerous Latin American and Spanish writers, some of whom, like Severo Sarduy, came to see him as their teacher [maestro]. [Also see previous post José Lezama Lima (1910-1976).]

For full article (in Spanish), see

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