Late Spanish Novelist Accused of Plagiarism

by Staff

Daily News

Online Only, posted 2.6.08

A Spanish judge recently reopened a plagiarism case against the late Nobel Prize-winning novelist Camilo José Cela, the Independent reported. Carmen Formoso, author of the novel Carmen, Carmela, Carmiña, originally filed charges in 2001 alleging that Cela had lifted passages from her book for his best-selling novel La Cruz de San Andres. Cela, who denied the accusations, died in January 2002 before the case was settled. He was ultimately found not guilty.

Formoso’s son and lawyer, Jesús Díaz Formoso, has challenged the ruling, adding that Cela’s publisher, Planeta, is guilty of "unauthorized appropriation" of his mother’s work. A judge in Barcelona’s Constitutional Court recently ordered literary expert Luis Izquierdo, whose initial analysis uncovered "echoes and coincidences" between the two works, to reexamine sixty-five individual claims. Once Izquierdo has submitted his report, the court will determine if the case will go to trial.

The accusation against Cela is not the first to be raised since his death. Tomas Garcia Yebra, an investigative journalist, published Desmontado a Cela (Dismantling Cela) in October 2002, claiming that the author had collaborated with ghostwriters on several of his books from as early as 1950. Historian Pere Ysás claimed in 2004 that Cela had spied for the late General Francisco Franco.

Cela published over seventy books during his lifetime, including ten novels, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1989. His first novel was La Familia de Pascual Duarte (Aldecoa, 1942).