Miguel Delibes (1920 – 2010) was a Spanish novelist and journalist born in Valladolid.

During his successful career, he managed to run national newspapers, but as his career progressed, he dedicated himself to his true vocation: a novelist.

Phrases of Miguel Delibes

He became a member of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language and was the winner of several top-level literary awards.

In today’s article we will go over the life and work of this great writer through the best phrases of Miguel Delibes .

1. Fame has no place to hold on to that is really positive.

Delibes wasn’t convinced he was popular.

2. Hunter… I am a hunter who writes; that is to say, I came into contact with the fundamental elements of deep Castile through my hunting and fishing excursions. Then I learned to speak like those Castilians. And all my books have those characters inside, from the rat thief in The Rats to Mr. Cayo in The Disputed Vow… We can say that my communication with the people and my language of the people I learned in contact with these gentlemen and I went there to something different.

An extract where he shows his passion for hunting.

3. Modern man lives oblivious to those sensations inscribed in the depths of our biology and which sustain the pleasure of going out into the countryside.

His passion for the countryside knew no bounds.

4. Progress is useless… if it “is to be translated inexorably into an increase in isolation and violence, autocracy and mistrust, injustice and prostitution of the natural environment, exploitation of man by man and the exaltation of money as the only value”.

A useful and calm progress, the ideal according to Delibes.

5. The people are the true masters of the language.

No academy should pass judgment.

6. In literature nothing is more difficult than simplicity.

The more abstruse, the less you transmit.

7. Burials… Today I only want to deal with burials; burials a la Federica, with baroque carriages, tufted horses and wigged chariots, which is how burials are done in my village. One, of course, is not against burials. One is, rather, against fallacious formalisms. In short, one advocates simple, minority burials, where those who go go out of sentiment and not out of education. Perhaps this would prevent the burials from talking so much about football and, at the time of departure, the deceased would be alone because the dead are the only men in the country who are punctual.

His thoughts on the last goodbye to the elders.

8. I remember that day as lived inside another skin, split.

About the Spanish Civil War.

9. The field is one of the few remaining opportunities for escape.

He’s always waiting for us with open arms.

10. Journalism is a draft of literature… And literature is journalism without the pressure of closure.

A great consideration about the craft.

11. To write accurately is not only to find the right adjective in each case, but also the noun, the verb or the adverb, that is, the word. And it is in the handling of these words, in finding them in time and in marinating them properly, that the secret of a good writer lies.

Great sentence by Miguel Delibes about the art of writing.

12. Fascism… More difficult than living under fascism was that each group believed they were in possession of the truth. That broke up the families completely. Some families broke up, others died in the Alcazar of Toledo; it was the saddest end one could imagine for that war, started as a joke in North Africa… I think Spain was fucked up a long time before; I wasn’t old enough to judge when Spain was fucked up, but they did fuck up each other. There’s no excuse that it was the right or it was the left. Between the two they fucked up Spain.

Historical-political reflection.

13. Fidelity… I’ve been faithful to a newspaper, a girlfriend, friends, everything I’ve felt good about. I’ve been faithful to my journalistic passion, to the hunt… The same thing I did as a boy, I’ve done when I grew up, with more improvement, with more sensitivity, with more bad blood. I’ve always done the same thing.

On the concept of fidelity, which remains unchanged in his being.

14. Glory is a problem of years, since it is time that decides which author is destined to be forgotten and which one is destined to endure.

A bit of luck may also be needed.

15. The language is born of the people; let it return to them, let it be founded on them because the people are the true masters of the language.

A true expert in the mastery of the Spanish language.

16. Death… I have had the impression since I was a child that I was threatened by death; not my own, but the death of those I depended upon. I was a four or six year old raptor but I was afraid that I would lack those who provided me with the elements to live, my parents.

About the means to the death of their loved ones.

17. The novel is an attempt to explore the human heart from an idea that is almost always the same told with different surroundings.

Delibes’ reflections on narrative fact.

18. I had a fizzy imagination.

Extract of Lady in red on a grey background.

19. The doctor’s face was chalky, uneven.

A description about a secondary character.

20. Loss is one of the writer’s motives.

Grief can help us write.

21. Literature… It’s been a real dedication. I have found in it the refuge that I did not find so perfect in the cinema or in the café or in the game; the relationship of two was perfectly established between a person and a book. My eagerness to write was to try to communicate with two people, to use the pen as an element of communication with others. Writing is communicating with another.

The romantic fact of written communication.

22. Life was the worst tyrant known.

The grey facet of existence.

23. He forgot about the stagnant air in his brain.

Another small fragment of Lady in red on a gray background.

24. The most positive thing that has been demonstrated with the regimes of force, whether they are left-wing or right-wing, is that they are not enough for man to live on. Men need closer and more personal attention.

25. Men are made. The mountains are already made.

Geography comes from the past.

26. The protagonists of my stories are beings pressured by the social environment, losers, victims of ignorance, politics, organization, violence or money.

A look at the common points of their literary work.

My greatest wish would be that this Grammar [of the Royal Academy, 2010] be definitive, that it reach the people, that it merge with them, since, in the end, the people are the true masters of the language.

The purity of cultural fusion.

28. My country is my childhood.

Where one feels comfortable and protected, childhood.

29. My life as a writer would not be as it is if it did not rest on an unalterable moral foundation. Ethics and aesthetics have come together in all aspects of my life.

About the ethics of his stories.

30. My peasants, my land… To the initial roots that tied me to my city, I had to add new ones that I could never get rid of: my dear dead, my family, my friends, my North of Castile, my School of Commerce, my everyday streets, my peasants, my land…

About his Castilian roots.

31. There have always been rich and poor, Mario, and the duty of those who, thank God, have enough, is to help those who do not have it, but you immediately to make amends, you find defects even in the Gospel.

A display of ideological position.

32. I’m not a writer who hunts, but a hunter who writes… I’m an environmentalist who writes and hunts.

Great self-definition.

33. To write a good book I do not consider it essential to know Paris or to have read Don Quixote. Cervantes, when he wrote Don Quixote, had not yet read it.

Ironic reflection on experience and talent.

34. Journalism… Defects of the contemporary journalist? The urge to be morbid, to get things out of hand. They asked me about the Civil War and then about my love of partridge hunting. And the headline was that Miguel Delibes regretted the blood spilt as if I had gone around shooting shots in the back of the head. It was not known if he was sorry for the partridges he had killed or for the soldiers who might have fallen under my hypothetical shots. But I don’t hold grudges. I have always said that I am a simple man who writes simply.

The art of writing is reaching out to people.

35. First I knew my province, later I loved it, and finally, when I saw it beset by pettiness and injustice, I tried to defend it. For eight lustrums I had to put up with Valladolid and Castile being accused of centralism, when, strictly speaking, they were the first victims of centralism… And when circumstances worsened and the law of silence was imposed on the country, I put my concern for my own affairs on the books. And not only to defend their economy but to vindicate the peasant, our farmer, his pride, his dignity, the wise use of our language.

Its origins formed its literary spirit.

36. Feelings that nested seven lustrums ago in the hearts of my characters: solidarity, tenderness, mutual respect, love; the conviction that every being has come to this world to relieve the loneliness of another being.

The moral and vital principles of the characters in Delibes.

37. If the sky of Castile is so high, it is because the peasants raised it up from so much looking at it.

Funny reflection on his homeland.

38. We tend to reduce the language, to simplify it. We find it difficult to put together a sentence. In this way, those who speak a lot stumble a lot, and those who measure their words move away from the problem.

We’re lazy with the way we use language.

39. Valladolid and Castilla… One thing is certain: when I made the decision to write, literature and the feeling of my land became intertwined. Valladolid and Castile would be the background and the reason for my books in the future…, from them I have taken not only the characters, settings and plots of my novels, but also the words with which they have been written… Those voices that lulled my childhood were the germ of my future expression.

Another reflection of Miguel Delibes about his peasant origin.

40. Life over… The hunter who writes is finished at the same time as the writer who hunts… I ended up as I had always imagined: unable to shoot a red partridge or write a booklet professionally.

A poetic phrase where he describes his decline.

41. Sex must be mystery and personal discovery.

A fiefdom of one’s own and no one else.

42. There are things that the human will is not able to control.

We are sometimes slaves to our emotions.

43. And they put in their memories some notes of throbbing reality.

Extract from The Way, one of his works.

44. He warned that children are inevitably to blame for those things for which no one is to blame.

From the same work as the above extract.

45. Madrid scares me, because if Valladolid already seems to me like a huge parking lot, Madrid seems to me like five times that parking lot.

Sarcastic thinking about the Spanish capital.

46. It was not so much me as the characters I represented in this literary carnival. They are, therefore, in large part my biography.

In each character there is a little bit of his personality.

47. The question is not whether hunting is cruel or unkind, but what hunting procedures are permissible and what are not.

Ethical reflection on the practice of hunting

48. In life you have been achieving many things, but you have failed in the essential, that is to say, you have failed. This idea depresses you deeply.

You can be successful and feel like a failure in essential matters at the same time.

49. Perhaps it was her ability to surprise that dazzled me about her, which over the years kept me tenaciously in love with her.

About one of his loves.

50. He thought that history could repeat itself, and slept lulled by the sensation of being enveloped in the effluvium of a placid and strange joy.

Another fragment of his novel The Way.

51. It hurt him that the events passed with such ease into memories; he felt the bitter sensation that nothing, nothing of the past, could ever be repeated.

52. The artist does not know who is pushing him, what his reference is, why he writes or paints, why he would stop. In my case it was quite clear. I was writing for her. And when her judgment was lacking, I lacked the reference. I stopped, I stopped writing, and this situation lasted for years. In that time I thought sometimes that it was all over.

Words of frustration when his wife died.

53. I doubt very much that there is a single hero in my books; they are all anti-heroes, but, at the same time, they are all enveloped in a warm look of understanding. I have tried to endow them with humanity and tenderness. A tenderness that is not always on display, because many of my characters are primitive and abrupt, but you can tell as soon as you get to know them in depth.

A portrait of his favorite characters.

54. It’s compatible things to hunt and love animals. What our morality imposes on us is not to use tricks or traps. My team and I have left the countryside when the heat wave or the weather made hunting too easy and made it difficult. Hunting is not killing, but knocking down difficult pieces after tough competition. This explains why one returns more satisfied with two partridges shot against the odds than a dozen with eggs.

A very personal conception about the hunting activity.

55. In my literature I have taken a deliberate stand for the weak. In all my books there is a harassment of the individual by society, and it always wins out. And this is true of all my characters, however disparate they may be, from the bourgeois Cecilio Rubes in “My Idolized Son Sisi” to the Nini in “The Rats”, who has to hunt and eat these animals to survive. Despite the social or class distance that evidently exists between both characters, in short, we find ourselves with two frustrated beings harassed by an implacable social environment.

About his ethical and literary predilections.

56. When life takes hold of you, all power of decision is left to you.

Goodbye, control.

57. Each individual in the village would rather die than move a finger for the benefit of others. People lived in isolation and cared only for themselves. And to tell the truth, the fierce individualism of the valley was only broken on Sunday afternoons, at sunset.

Fragment of El Camino.

58. (…) The priest then said that everyone had a marked path in life and that one could renounce that path out of ambition and sensuality and that a beggar could be richer than a millionaire in his palace, loaded with marbles and servants.

A logic of religious morality.

Another extract from one of his best works: The Way.

59. It was all like a dream, painful and piercing in its very satiety.

One of Miguel Delibes’ phrases based on the emotional.

60. She appeared to walk under the weight of an invisible bundle that forced her to hunch over her waist. It was, no doubt, remorse.

A character description that starts from the physical to show the psychological.

61. When savings are made at the expense of an unsatisfied need, they cause men to become bitter and bitter.

Saving is not the same as not being able to satisfy a priority need.

62. The huge mountains, with their strong crests cut out on the horizon, imbued an irritating impression of insignificance.

A powerful description of the natural environment.

63. The red hair could indeed be a reason for longevity or at least a kind of protective amulet.

Folklore is very present in Miguel Delibes’ thinking.

64. The power of decision comes to man when he no longer needs it at all

About old age.

65. When people lack arm muscles, they have plenty of tongue muscles.

A scathing commentary on those who criticize too much.

66. To live was to die day by day, little by little, inexorably.

Life seen as a countdown.

67. Men are made; mountains are made already.

An aphorism about our bond with nature.

68. Instruction, at school; education, at home.

A distinction between two types of knowledge transmission.

69. Things have to be like that because that is how they have always been. Why not put yourself next to those who can reciprocate?

A reflection impregnated with conservatism.

70. We live among civilized people, and among civilized people one must behave like a civilized being.

A small personal sacrifice to be able to live in society.