La Redención del Don Juan. The Don Juan Redemption:
A few years ago, while I was going through my father’s books and documents, which had been donated to the University of Málaga in Spain, I found over eight hundred letters my parents wrote to each other during the Spanish Civil War. There they were, in an attic storage closet, neatly tied up in small bundles, his and hers, dated and numbered, in perfect condition – thanks to the dry climate and high altitude of El Escorial, outside Madrid.
My father considered himself a Don Juan. Although it’s questionable if he really was much of one, since he was married to my mother for almost thirty-five years. I did portray him as such in several of my books and he didn’t seem upset. On the contrary, he encouraged me to take good notes as he related some of his conquests I had never heard before. But “don’t call me José, call me by my real name, Juan,” he insisted. I wondered if, like the literary Don Juan, my father would also manage to redeem himself from the grave.
He died in 2010 and I’ve had plenty of time since then to miss him and to forget him, but I’ve done neither. I find myself, if not forgiving him, at least appreciating his most endearing traits, like his zest for life and his immense intellectual curiosity. To commemorate the centenary of his birth in 2014, I organized a Symposium at the University of Málaga, “El legado de Juan Luis Alborg en su centenario” (Juan Luis Alborg’s Legacy in his Centenary). My personal profile of him, with the title of “La redención del Don Juan,” will be published by the University of Málaga Press. See www.recalexx.wix.com/legadoalborg for more information.
A Portrait of the Young Writer Juan Luis Alborg In his Letters During the Spanish Civil War
The readers of My Mother, That Stranger. Letters from the Spanish Civil War, already know the story of my father’s symposium and how I found the letters. They are familiar with the surprising personality that emerged from reading the letters in comparison to the mother I knew growing up in Franco’s Spain. Despite his opposition to the dictatorship, unlike my mother, my father seemed to be already formed as the writer he would become. Certainly, his complex personality, his descriptive style and his existential ideas foreshadow the man I knew as a father.
A Portrait of the Young Writer aims to be a chronological edition of Juan Luis Alborg’s letters written in Spanish. Publication is forthcoming by the University Press in Málaga, where all his books and documents are housed.