Biography of Leandro Fernández de Moratín (1760-1828)

Goya: Leandro Fernández Moratin.

Spanish writer, born in Madrid of March 10, 1760 and died in Paris June 20, 1828, which was the author who best knew how to reflect the neoclassical tastes in the Spanish Theatre of the 18th century. It was a very committed man with political and social circumstances of his time.

It was mocking and biting, and also stood on the side of the French. Despite this, he/she knew better than anyone else see the poverty of the theatre and poetry that was written in the Spain of his time, and believed that it was necessary to reform the literary tastes of the writers and readers. To this end, resorted to fashion that triumphed in France, neoclassicism, and perfectly adapted it to Spanish reality.

He also wrote poetry and some studies that showed no sign of his wide culture. He/She is known as "Moratin son" to distinguish him from his father, Nicolás Fernández de Moratín, which was also a great writer.


His father, who was a graduate in law and Professor of literature, gave a careful education, so didn't feel the need to go to College. On the other hand, he/she worked in his youth as a jeweller, nursing his grandfather and his father had played.

He always distinguished himself by his reformist spirit, determined to change things with the aim of improving the situation in the country. Thanks to the teachings of his father, the young Leandro acquired a rich and extensive culture that allowed him to be known as a writer at an early age. Literary successes were not long in coming: almost a teenager when, in 1779, a poem of his was awarded by the Royal Spanish Academy, award that received within three years.

He entered politics under the protection of Jovellanos, who recommended him as Secretary to the count of Cabarrus. With this Aristocrat, he/she traveled to Paris in 1787, and then toured much of France thanks to the support of Godoy, who was already the first Secretary of State in the Spanish Government (and, in fact, the person who sent in the country). During this stay in the neighboring country lived about the triumph of the French Revolution.

Then he/she traveled through England and Italy (1792-1796), and its returned to Madrid got a good job as Secretary of the interpretation of tongues (something like the director of official translation services). Already for several years that it was recognized as a great writer, especially after the successes obtained with some plays that premiered before embarking on their trips abroad. This reputation led to his appointment as director of a board dedicated to reforming the Spanish Theatre in accordance with standards established by the neoclassical.

His big political mistake was to put next to the French during the invasion of Napoleon's troops (Moratín was one of the "francized", name which was known intellectuals who believed that Spain would take out of France more benefits than harm). In 1811 he/she was appointed Librarian of the national library, but the following year he/she had to leave Madrid, since the defeat of the French was evident.

He lived first in Valencia and then in Barcelona; There, he/she published the posthumous works of his father. He/She spent the last years of his life with the family of Manuel Silvela (who was a famous Mayor of Madrid) in Bordeaux, where he/she lived very modestly; in 1824, he/she was joined by none other than Goya. In 1825, appeared in Paris its dramatic and lyrical works. Finally, moved to Paris, died in that city June 21, 1828, just two months after the death of Goya. The text of the origins of the Spanish Theatre, which had been included in the edition of his works carried out by the Real Academia de la Historia, published in 1830 was unpublished at his death.

Her love life was discreet. In 1798, when he/she was living in Madrid, is it fell in love with Paquita Muñoz, which never married because the writer loved above all its independence. He/She married another man after nine years, after having had a long love affair with Moratín, who followed loving it until the date of his death.


Moratin is the most prominent figure of the neoclassical Theatre in Spain. The neoclassical Theater sought to entertain and educate the Viewer, without never to deviate from reality. In addition, had to meet an essential condition: the respect to the so-called "rule of the three units". According to this rule, a play had to tell only a story, located in a single place and developed in the run of a day, that is, had to have unity of action, of place and time.

Both his poetry and his playwriting, Moratín wrote with unsurpassed elegance and a correction. Mastered to perfection the Castilian language, and his expression was clear and emphatic, always accompanied by great beauty.

He was author of five comedies, all of which are representative of the neo-classical fashion. According to this trend, the theatre had to please the public and, at the same time, educate them. The stories represented on stage had to be believable, so that they could be believed by the spectators.

The main theme of his theatre is the freedom of women when choosing a husband. At the time, women were still forced to marry the man chosen by her parents; and parents are worried more secure economic well-being than the happiness of their daughters. This issue try Moratin three comedies: the old and the girl (1790), the baron (1803) and the Yes of the girls (1806), premiered on January 24, 1806 in the Teatro de la Cruz. This latter work presents a social problem, concerning education and the demographics of the time.

Its other two comedies are satirical: the new comedy or coffee (1792), which mocks, once again, uneducated authors that do not accept the neoclassical tastes, and the prude (1804), in which he/she denounces the hypocrisy of those who appear to be very religious and are, ultimately, bad believers.

With the Yes of the girls Moratin put endpoint to its original theatrical production; only fit two works by the admired Molière: the school of husbands and the doctor sticks.

Moratin also excelled as a poet, and was praised by some works in prose as the defeat of the pedantic (a harsh satire against the defenders of the old baroque fashion) and the essay origin of the Spanish Theatre (which was published after his death).

Leandro Fernández de Moratín, "to the muses".

He wrote lyrical and satirical poems. From the lyrical, one can mention the entitled "Elegy to the muses", written shortly before his death, and the Ode "Days".

"Days", Leandro Fernández de Moratín.

Between the satirical poems, the best-known are "Satire against the vices in Spanish poetry" (poem in which returned to defend the neoclassical tastes) and "A Claudio".