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Ismail Kadare

Ismail Kadare also spelled Kadaré; born 28 January 1936) is a best-selling Albanian writer. He is known for his novels, although he was first noticed for his poetry collections. He has been a leading literary figure in his own country since the 1960s. In the 1960s he focused on short stories until the publication of his first novel, The General of the Dead Army. 



In 1996 he became a lifetime member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of France. In 1992, he was awarded the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca; in 2005, he won the inaugural Man Booker International Prize and in 2009 the Prince of Asturias Award of Arts. 

He has divided his time between Albania and France since 1990. Kadare has been mentioned as a possible recipient for the Nobel Prize in Literature several times. He began writing very young, in the mid-1950s. His works have been published in about thirty languages. 

Biography


Ismail Kadare was born on 28 January 1936 in Gjirokastër, Albanian Kingdom. His father, Halit, worked in the civil service. He attended primary and secondary schools in Gjirokastër and he studied languages and literature at the Faculty of History and Philology of the University of Tirana. In 1956 Kadare received a teacher's diploma. 

He also studied at the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow. Kadare served as a member of the Albanian parliament during Communist rule from 1970 until 1982 and was permitted to travel and publish abroad. After offending the authorities with a politically satirical poem in 1975, he was forbidden to publish for three years. 

In 1982 Kadare was accused by the president of the League of Albanian Writers and Artists of deliberately evading politics by cloaking much of his fiction in history and folklore. In 1990, Kadare claimed political asylum in France, issuing statements in favour of democratisation. At that time, he stated that "dictatorship and authentic literature are incompatible. The writer is the natural enemy of dictatorship". 

Critical opinion is divided as to whether Kadare should be considered to have been a dissident or a conformist during the Communist period. For his part, Kadare has stated that he had never claimed to be an "Albanian Solzhenitsyn" or a dissident, and that "dissidence was a position no one could occupy [in Enver Hoxha's Albania], even for a few days, without facing the firing squad. 

On the other hand, my books themselves constitute a very obvious form of resistance".[5] Referring to The Great Winter (1977), a novel in which he portrayed Enver Hoxha in a flattering light, Kadare said the book was "the price he had to pay for his freedom". For additional illumination see Kadare's commentary 'In the Palace of Nightmares': An Exchange with Noel Malcolm in the New York Review of Books. He is married to Helena Kadare (née Gushi) and has two daughters.


Literary themes

Kadare's novels draw on legends surrounding the historical experience of Albanian people, the representation of classical myths in modern contexts, and the totalitarian regime experiment in Albania. They are obliquely ironic as a result of trying to withstand political scrutiny. Among his best known books are Chronicle in Stone (1977), Broken April (1978), The Palace of Dreams (1980) and The Concert (1988), considered the best novel of the year 1991 by the French literary magazine Lire. 

La Pyramide (1992), written in French, was set in Egypt in the 26th century B.C. and after. In it, Kadare mocked Hoxha's fondness for elaborate statues, the pyramid form also reflecting any dictator's love for hierarchy. The Accident (2010) was a multi-layered novel about two lovers, whose death launches an investigation not only of their relationship, but also of Balkan politics.

Recognition

Kadare's works have been published in over forty countries and translated in over thirty languages. In English, his works have usually appeared as secondary translations from their French editions, often rendered by the scholar David Bellos. In 1996 he became a lifetime member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of France, where he replaced the philosopher Karl Popper. In 1992, he was awarded the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca, in 2005 he received the inaugural Man Booker International Prize. In 2009, Kadare was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature. In the same year he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Science in Social and Institutional Communication by the University of Palermo in Sicily. The London newspaper, The Independent, said of Kadare: "He has been compared to Gogol, Kafka and Orwell. But Kadare's is an original voice, universal yet deeply rooted in his own soil" Kadare's works have been published in over forty countries and translated in over thirty languages. In English, his works have usually appeared as secondary translations from their French editions, often rendered by the scholar David Bellos.[9] In 1996 he became a lifetime member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of France, where he replaced the philosopher Karl Popper. In 1992, he was awarded the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca, in 2005 he received the inaugural Man Booker International Prize. In 2009, Kadare was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature.In the same year he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Science in Social and Institutional Communication by the University of Palermo in Sicily. The London newspaper, The Independent, said of Kadare: "He has been compared to Gogol, Kafka and Orwell. But Kadare's is an original voice, universal yet deeply rooted in his own soil"

Selected works
Kadare's original Albanian language works have been published exclusively by Onufri Publishing House since 1996, as single works or entire sets. The following Kadare novels have been translated into English (in chronological order of first publication):
  • The General of the Dead Army (1963), (Albanian: Gjenerali i ushtrisë së vdekur)
  • The Monster (1965) (Albanian: Përbindëshi); shortly published in 1965 in the literary Nëntori magazine, the novel was soon censored and never appeared on the libraries. It was republished only 30 years later.
  • The Wedding (1968), (Albanian: Dasma)
  • The Castle or The Siege (1970), (Albanian: Kështjella)
  • Chronicle in Stone (1971), (Albanian: Kronikë në gur)
  • The Great Winter (1977) (Albanian: Dimri i madh)
  • Broken April (1978), (Albanian: Prilli i thyer)
  • The Three-Arched Bridge (1978), (Albanian: Ura me tri harqe)
  • On the Lay of the Knights (1979)
  • Doruntine (1980), (Albanian: Kush e solli Doruntinën)
  • The Autobiography of the People in Verses (1980), (Albanian: Autobiografia e popullit në vargje)
  • The Palace of Dreams (1981), (Albanian: Nëpunësi i pallatit të ëndrrave)
  • The Concert (1988), (Albanian: Koncert në fund të dimrit)
  • The File on H (1990) (Albanian: Dosja H: roman)
  • Albanian Spring (1991) (Albanian: Nga një dhjetor në tjetrin)
  • The Pyramid, or La Pyramide (1992), (Albanian: Piramida)
  • Three Elegies for Kosovo (1998), (Albanian: Tri këngë zie për Kosovën)
  • Spring Flowers, Spring Frost (2000), (Albanian: Lulet e ftohta të marsit)
  • The Successor (2003), (Albanian: Pasardhësi)
  • Agamemnon's Daughter (2003), (Albanian: Vajza e Agamemnonit)
  • The Fall of the Stone City (2008), (Albanian: Darka e Gabuar)
  • The Accident (2010), (Albanian: Aksidenti)
  • Mosmarrëveshja: Mbi raportet e Shqipërisë me vetveten. (2010)
  • The Ghost Rider (2011); an updated translation of Doruntine. It has been revised to include previously omitted text.


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