Translated Spanish, erotic novel to be launched


Cacho Publishing House, in collaboration with De La Salle University (DLSU), the Embassy of Spain and Instituto Cervantes, will launch the first-ever Filipino translation of Crónica del rey pasmado (The King Amaz’d: A Chronicle). Written by one of Spain’s most beloved authors, Gonzalo Torrente Ballester, the novel is translated by Marlon Sales and is entitled Ang Kuwento ng Haring Tulala.

Set in 17th century Spain, his highness is possessed with the idea of seeing his queen nude. Restricted by the strict customs, his wish becomes improbable. So to get rid of his urges, the king then resorts to visiting the quarters of Marfisa, the Spanish court’s most renowned courtesan.

The title of this 1989 novel refers to the visible expression of utter amazement which appeared to have been made permanent on the king’s face after his encounter with Marfisa.

The whole story revolves around the king’s ardent desire to be in the presence of his naked queen—told from the point of view of court bystanders, gossipmongers and casual observers.

Yet while the king’s obsession takes place, other wonders in the land also happens like perils arising from a crack in the streets that leaked sulphur in the air, a giant snake roaming around, and a pending war against the British and the Dutch.

The novel, light and humorous in tone, presents a parody of the customs and traditions of Spanish high society of that era. Beyond the storyline of one man’s urges, the novel strove to shed light on political themes rising from the period of the Inquisition in Spain. A movie version was released in 1991 by Spanish filmmaker, Imanol Uribe.

The author, Gonzalo Torrente Ballester (1910-1999), was a novelist, essayist and playwright during his time. In 1995, he received the Cervantes Prize, the most significant literary award in the Spanish-speaking world as an acknowledgement of a lifetime achievement in literature.

After his death, the Gonzalo Torrente Ballester Foundation was created to help preserve and promote his works for future generations of readers. It is headed by his son, Álvaro Torrente Sánchez-Guisande, together with Carmen Becerra.

The two visited the country in 2012 to present an exhibit of Torrente Ballester’s works, held in the gallery of Instituto Cervantes in Kalaw, Manila. In this meeting, the idea for this project was formed in conversations between Cacho Publishing House, headed by Rayvi Súnico, and Instituto Cervantes. The Gonzalo Torrente Ballester Foundation contributed to the project by facilitating the acquisition of permissions from the heirs of Torrente Ballester.

Finally, the project was funded through a grant given by the Spanish Program for Cultural Cooperation. Thanks are also in order to the De La Salle University for hosting the launch of the novel.

This edition of the novel steers away from highfalutin vocabulary while still displaying the beauty of Tagalog and strives to appeal to appeal to a wider bracket of readers. The head of Cacho Publishing House, Rayvi Sunico, explains the significance of this project as a bridge—not only of a work of literature in one language to the next but from the language of an era of the past to the present.

For Sales, the biggest challenge as translator was how to handle translating Spanish erotica into the vernacular while staying faithful to a tone that would have been what was used in the 17th century.

Sales is a translator, researcher and professor of Spanish. Raised in Meycauayan, Bulacan, he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Communication at UP Diliman in 2004. He then went to the University of Valladolid, Spain to take up his Master’s degree in Spanish as a scholar of the AECID. Marlon has done literary and non-literary translations, the most important of which are Our Father San Daniel and The Leprous Bishop (UST Press, 2011 and 2012), his own version in English of the classic novels on Oleza written by Spanish writer Gabriel Miró.

Ang Kuwento ng Haring Tulala will be launched on September 10 6 p.m. at the Henry Sy Sr. Hall of the De La Salle University. Attendance to the launch can be arranged through prior reservation by contacting the Cultural Department of Instituto Cervantes at

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