Madrid, España, 1948 - París, Francia , 1990

Aliocha Coll was born in Madrid but spent his whole childhood in Barcelona. His real name is Javier Coll: he took his pseudonym from the main character in the novel The Brothers Karamazov, by Dostoyevski, which his mother read to him as a child. He dropped out of his medicine degree in the third year to move to Paris, where he got married, finished his studies and worked as a doctor and translator. During that time, he worked tirelessly on his literary output, which is characterised by avant-garde experimentation with words, following the footsteps of James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Julián Ríos. Seriously ill and suffering from severe depression, he committed suicide in Paris at the age of 42, leaving the majority of his work unpublished.
Before his death he left a will bequeathing all of his manuscripts to his wife, from whom he had separated three years before. There was also a briefcase full of “clean” versions of many works: the poetry collections Mansiones and Sonetos; the play Ofelia, Casandra y Juana de Arco; the novels Cuarta persona, Antimonio and Aloisio Paramesium; the doctoral thesis Dolor, anestesia y distesi; the essays Ética, Epistemología and Estética; and the book Laocoonte, to which, according to some sources, can be added four translations of works by Shakespeare and the translation of an extensive part of Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy. None of these works has ever seen the light of day.

  • "A brilliant and extraordinary man, very gifted from childhood, and with an extraordinary vocation. He chose the path of revolutionising the word, with books that were excessively avant-garde for the ordinary reader, and represented a break away from commonplace language." Carmen Balcells
  • "I became interested in these works and subsequently in their author because I discovered in that very daring and sometimes difficult-to-read literature a first-rate verbal talent and sense of rhythm. When the moment came to meet him in person, in Barcelona, I remember that I expected to find a wild, eccentric or iconoclastic individual but was instead met with a perfectly suited young man – elegant, even – with excellent manners and an old-fashioned face like something out of the 1930s, with a literary, musical artistic and philosophical knowledge that I coveted for myself." Javier Marías

Bibliography

Novel

Una novela que desarrolla, a lo largo de ocho veladas en la que se encuentran un grupo de amigos, un compendio de reflexiones sobre el arte en todas sus facetas. Extraemos una párrafo a modo de ejemplo:

"En la obra de arte, la expresión tiene prelación sobre la comunicación, en el sentido de que no es ésta el criterio que permite juzgar la calidad artística de la obra aparecida, antes bien, la obra comunica por añadidura si el artista ha conseguido dar forma a la síntesis metáfisica, y sólo entonces... Esto explica el frecuente conflicto entre moda y arte y el hecho de que tantas obras de arte comuniquen a partir de generaciones futuras".

“‘My life will not make any sense when Attila is finished,’ he had said several times. And Aliocha Coll, fed up with ‘how unbearable’ life was, committed suicide in Paris in November 1990. He was 42 years old. Three days before his death, Carmen Balcells received the manuscript of Attila. It was his literary will.” Xavier Moret. El País, November 1991.

 A hermetic novel full of metaliterary games just like most of his works. In Attila the author narrates how the Huns are at the gates of Rome. But, against all odds, instead of invading the Eternal City, the barbarians let their children become the Romans’ hostages so that they can be educated in classical culture.

La muerte de Aliocha Coll, de Javier Marías El País

La resurrección de Aliocha Coll, Patricio Pron ABC

Theatre

Es una obra de teatro para niños escrita con su mujer Lysiane Luong, pintora de origen chino que fue el gran amor de sus vida.

Poetry

"En la literatura no ha llegado Mondrian", recuerda Javier Marías que le dijo Aliocha Coll cuando se conocieron personalmente en Barcelona, a donde había viajado este último desde París. Insólita en el género es la utilización de los elementos musicales que lleva a cabo Aliocha Coll con las palabras, que hilvana abruptamente desafiando las reglas gramaticales y que conduce como guiado por unas premisas de sonoridad que esconden los significados bajo secuencias de imágenes en el límite del entendimiento, y cuyo equivalente en el mundo de las artes se corresponde más con las vanguardias históricas en el terreno de la música y de la pintura que en el de la literatura. Por primera vez tiene acceso con este libro el lector a la escritura propiamente poética de este malogrado y polifacético artista.

Non-fiction

Ensayo sobre el dolor que el autor dejó inédito pero terminado, y en el que trabajó en sus últimos años. “Me interesa mucho ese ensayo porque cuando hablábamos me decía que estaba experimentando con su propio cuerpo. Dejaba de tomar la medicación”, explicaba Javier Marías en su blog el 22 de marzo de 2011. (https://javiermariasblog.wordpress.com/).

Other genres

De Christopher Marlowe:

  • Tamerlan el Grande:   Alfaguara
  • El judío de Malta: Alfaguara
  • Eduardo II: Alfaguara
  • El doctor Faustus: Alfaguara
  • Penguin Random House publica en 2015 un volumen de Obra Completa ( Teatro y poesía) de C. Marlowe, que incluye las traducciones teatrales de Aliocha Coll.

De William Shakespeare:

  • Romeo y Julieta
  • La tempestad
  • El sueño de una noche de verano 

Prizes