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Nicolás Gómez Dávila (1913-1994)
Colombian writer

With unspeakable slowness the name and work of Nicolás Gómez Dávila has begun to be known in the Western world. Not the only reason, but at least one of the reasons for this lentitude has to be attributed to the author himself. Born in 1913 in Bogotá, the Colombian sage died in the same city in 1994. He had spent his childhood and his teenage years studying in Europe (mostly in France), but after he returned at age 23 to his home country he hardly ever left it; in 1949 he took a trip to Europe with his wife; he had been married in 1936 and had three children. Privately affluent, one assumes he refused different honors and high positions. In 1958, President Alberto Lleras, who had followed the previous long-lasting military dictatorship, wanted to have Gómez Dávila as his chief advisor; he turned this down, just as, in 1974, he turned down the position of Ambassador to London, and not necessarily just for political reasons. In publishing he was equally reserved. His early work (1954, 1959) was privately printed and only in 1977 did he bring out the bulk of his Escolios a un Texto Implícito in two volumes, to be followed by three others in 1986 and in 1992. The circulation was small, and Gómez Dávila remained unknown outside Colombia. German translations, followed by Italian (and, in the works, French) began to appear in selective slim volumes in the 1990s and have continued to appear.

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