Leonardo Padura Receives a Doctorate “Honoris Causa” from the UNAM


EFE and La Ventana report that Cuban writer Leornado Padura, recipient of the 2015 Princess of Asturias Award, will receive the Honoris Causa Doctorate from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). At this institution, Padura delivered a lecture with the title “Havana, City of Letters,” about the genesis of Cuban literature and announced his intention of writing a broad essay on the subject.

In addition, the intellectual referred to the idea that Cuba owes “a debt” to Mexico with regard to the history shared by the two countries. “Since the nineteenth century Mexico has been a country of solidarity and welcome. He received the first Cuban who was aware of his Cuban identity, the poet José María Heredia, who lived halfway between the two nations,” said Padura, referring to the protagonist of one of his main works, La novela de mi vida [The Novel of My Life].

The author of El hombre que amaba a los perros [The Man Who Loved Dogs] recalled that Mexicans owe Cuba the arrival of baseball and bolero, and he joked that they are a little ungrateful because they do not give thanks for that. “Mexicans owe us two things and sometimes they do not thank us; baseball did not arrive in Mexico through the United States, but rather from Cuba, because there was a great relationship between the Yucatan, Veracruz, and Havana. And along with baseball came the bolero.”

Padura referred to the award [that he received on November 10] and said that the distinction is not only for him, but also to Cuban literature.

To round off his lecture, he mentioned the winners of the Cervantes Award, Alejo Carpentier and Guillermo Cabrera Infante, as well as José Lezama Lima as pivotal writers of the 20th century in the creation of the Havana imaginary. “Carpentier wrote a definitive novel, El siglo de las luces, and in those years, a summa poetica of Havana was published in the form of a novel: Paradiso, by José Lezama Lima. The novel that created Havana’s literary language was Tres tristes tigres, by Cabrera Infante, an essential work,” he said.

Considered one of the most important writers of Cuban literature, Padura has written a literary chronicle of life on the island in the last 30 years, which has earned him worldwide recognition.

For the original article (in Spanish), see http://laventana.casa.cult.cu/noticias/2017/11/09/doctorado-honoris-causa-de-la-unam-para-padura/

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