Biography of Federico García Lorca (1898-1936)

Federico García Lorca.

Poet and Spanish playwright, born in Fuentevaqueros (Granada) in 1898, and died during the early days of the civil war at Viznar (Granada). His murder became a symbol, his figure which, although it has spread his work all over the world, also has hurt the understanding of his poetry, sometimes cinched with a hardly understandable political reading with text in hand. Also, death itself led to valuations both up and down, extreme valuations that have pointed out time and rest to achieve a fair balance with the high quality of the author, but alien to the excesses of publications of all types of unpublished works, including the unfinished. The legend has moved on three fronts that we are often complementary: his personality (not in vain his friends roamed all of the social ladder and across the ideological spectrum of the country); his prodigious creative capacity, enviable ease and seemingly folk tone (fully disassembled vision today, thanks to the knowledge of the slow and meticulous preparation of his books - which, at times, saw the light of ten or twelve years after being written- and, on the other hand, the study of the deep wires of a basically unitary work); and the previously mentioned of his tragic death.

Federico García Lorca, José Caballero, Museo Municipal de Madrid oil.


Accommodated and the arts-loving family, he/she studied piano and guitar and was always known for his skill with both instruments and the depth of his musical knowledge, which showed in its harmonisations of popular songs and some orchestration, and done privately, parts of Manuel de Falla, he/she was a great friend. From his childhood showed, moreover, an impetuous inclination towards poetry, which materialize in his later work. In 1919 he/she came to Madrid at the behest of don Fernando de los Ríos, friend of the family, and was installed at the Residencia de Estudiantes, where he/she lived until 1934 (except for the range of his American journey). He/She graduated in law, while he/she left philosophy and arts and music studies without reaching any title. His reputation as a poet was rooted in private readings and his eloquence as a rhapsode, every time that did not publish anything from the book of poems (1921) to songs, which collects poems from 1921 to 1924 and who was born in 1927 as a supplement of the magazine Litoral, with a dedication that Pedro Salinas, Jorge Guillén and critic Melchor Fernández Almagro shareone of the first broadcasters in the work of García Lorca and true promoter of the publication of this second book of poetry. Here we are already with the author within the literary world of Madrid and in relation to the members of the generation of 27, installed nearly all in the residence, as well as with young Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, with whom would share the surrealist adventure, but not accompany them on their trip to Paris, instrumental in the career of the painter and filmmaker. However, the consecration of Federico as a poet is produced in 1928 with the publication of the Romancero Gitano.

In 1929 he/she traveled to Cuba and New York, where they will be deep and negatively impressed by American civilization and the reactions that followed the onset of the economic crisis of that year, impressions that it will be reflected in poet in New York, collection of poems in which resorts to an openly surrealist language that had already appeared in the Romancero Gitano, but this time becomes the main element of the book.

On his return to Spain, he/she devoted himself mainly to the theater, which absorbed it during the last years of his life. It is dedicated to writing the stage direction and adaptation of classical to represent them with the University group La Barraca, which toured to lead the Spanish classical theatre by the peoples of Spain. It also deployed a wide range of activities as a lecturer not only in Spain, but also in his trip to Argentina and Uruguay, between 1933 and 1934, motivated by the premiere, in charge of the company of Lola Membrives, several of his works in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. The dramatic activity of García Lorca is to be understood within the process of rehumanizacion of literature which, following the adventures of the avant-garde and the neopopularismo, will lead to human (sometimes also political) commitment of the poet with his time. To respond to this desire for communication, the poet postponed the solitary work of the verses to greater communication of the drama.

His death occurred in the early days of the civil war. His popularity and the sympathy I felt for more advanced ideologies became perfect target for the barbarism that took the whole country in those days. Even the intercessions of the poet Luis Rosales, in whose house he/she hid, and don Manuel de Falla managed to save him from dying shot. Even then, celebrated as one of the most important authors of his time, his death was mourned by a large number of poets, as Antonio Machado ("the crime occurred in Granada"), Miguel Hernández, Rafael Alberti ("Ballad that never went to Granada"), etc.


The work of García Lorca is based on reasons primitive, almost disappeared from the literary surface, present in ancient religions, such as the union of blood, fertility and death, symbols of the Moon and bull...; resources which, despite its supposed difficulty, are made transparent to the reader by its recurrence to a common, collective, and traditional fund that has played important role in the international dissemination of the poet. However, we are not a poet of primitive character, but a constant and unrepentant reader who assimilates styles and influences whose finds, as we have already pointed out as a result of poet in New York, you can, precisely, give out all that intuitive language that makes it, precisely from the most ancient to the contemporary avant-garde, and by contrastso affordable.

Of all his work is remarkable, in principle, the basic thematic unit that beats below the generic diversity. The keys to stylistic and content are consistent under the diversity of themes and forms, which the author handles with singular ease. Central in this universe is the basic idea of frustration of the human being, against which shows the primitive (often represented by sex) in the form of the abundant and fruitful, which is opposed to the sterile, which so often will use the poet (uniquely in Yerma) as a symbol of what cannot be done. Such obsession with sterility has been linked with the homosexual condition of the poet, this kept secret in life and has been revealed thanks to indiscretions of friends and confidants in the shelter of the legend that began to encourage both the fact that was regarded as a curse by the primitive religions (which both had in Andalusia in which the poet was born). As in so many other things, the homosexuality of Lorca became flag that the poet had never deployed and in other topic considered always spoken of him. However, the footprint of a concern for the issue in several poems (uniquely in the posthumous sonnets of dark love) is clear and in the public dramatic piece, in which the language of the avant-garde served to talk about what they wanted to hide. However, only identify the lorquiana frustration from his homosexuality is one of injustices as he/she has taken place with a work whose wealth of interpretation is, without doubt, the largest in the history of literature.

Along with all this, the obsession with death brings us back to the primitive world of which we spoke lines back, every time that, together with the, appears a world from beyond the grave, marked by popular beliefs of the Andalusian agro and, especially, of the Gypsy population that the poet, great amateur singing, had enough relationship.

Stylistically, all of this is wrapped in a rich and caring verse that references to specific objects are expanded to a universal sense from the personification and daring metaphors that show the Lorca heir of the Spanish tradition that contributed to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Gongora, and which calls on the set of metaphors that form the backbone of the symbolic code on which his poetry is based.


His poetic work, apart from early writings published in recent years, opens with impressions and landscapes (1918), book of poetic prose that is still within modernism. It will be in the aforementioned book of poems (1921) which begins to show the true voice of the poet, although still in the wake of Juan Ramon Machado, Dario Rubén and Salvador Rueda. The book still lacks unity that will characterize his later work, not in vain is only an anthology in which the poet considered his best poems to date. The following books, in a first stage that goes from 1920 to 1924, are the first maturity of the poet. They are: Songs (1927), in which the employment of children's issues serves the poet to remember lost childhood and analyze, doloridamente, present adult that the loss of innocence has given rise; Poem of the cante jondo (1931) and Romancero Gitano (1928), which is reeditaría as Romancero Gitano already showing the full maturity of the poet, who joins, at the time, the current romancerista that, for some years, moves to poets and scholars of the stature of Menéndez Pidal, García Gómez, Machado (which collected and versed the legend of Alvargonzález in Campos de Castilla)Juan Ramón Jiménez (who will deliver lectures on romance as the Spanish poetic unit) or Unamuno, self-publishing his ballads of exile in the same 1928. Lorca book results from the assimilation of the poetic procedures of modernism and the avant-garde on a traditional basis applied to symbolic Primitivism that we have already analyzed as Foundation of the poetry of the author, primitivism of dreamlike character, even for the poet himself, in poems such as "Romance Sonámbulo":

"Que te quiero verde green.Green wind. Green branches.The boat on the mary mountain horse.The shadow in the cinturaella dream your railing, green meat, green hair, with eyes of cold silver.Green I love green.Under the Gypsy Moon, things are mirandoy he/she can not watch them [...] "."

Federico García Lorca, Romance sonámbulo (first romancero gitano).

In 1935, and as a counterpoint to an increased dramatic production, publishes García Lorca first songs, from the early 1920s and contemporary book in his first sketches of those who we have called at first maturity; and the great weeping for the death of Ignacio Sánchez Mejías, dedicated to the death of the bullfighter, great fan letters and even poet who had engaged in deep admiration with several members of the generation of 27. Composed in four parts in which classical rhetoric divided funeral lament ("catching and death", "Gore", "Body present", in which the influence of the verses is transparent for the death of his father of Jorge Manrique, and "Absent soul"), is one of the most beautiful Elegies of Spanish poetry of all time. Throughout the poem, the horror by death becomes a resignation by the disappearance of the friend who does not remain in a world that continues to exist without it.

Federico García Lorca, crying by Ignacio Sánchez Mejías.

"I don't want to clog the face with panuelospara who is familiar with death that leads.Go, Ignacio: Don't feel warm bellow.Sleeps, flies, lies: also the sea dies! [...].

It will take long time to be born, if it is born, an Andalusian so clear, so rich in adventure.Yo canto elegance with words that gimeny I remember a sad breeze by the olive trees".

The same year are six poems galegos, authentic linguistic experiments that are palpable influences Galician medieval lyric and Rosalía de Castro.

Posthumous (1940) appeared poems from the Diwan of the Tamarit, collection written in 1936, character orientalist in its form but deeply avant-garde in their language, all at the service of overwhelming anguish of the poet and his singing a not understood love. Verses near the contents of the dramatic works of avant-garde sign, are particularly the public.


"I closed my balconporque don't want to hear the crying, but behind the murosno heard nothing but crying."

There are very few angels who sing, there are very few dogs that bark, thousand violins fit in the Palm of my hand.

But crying is a huge dog, crying is a huge angel, crying is a huge violin, tears gag to the wind, and is not heard nothing but crying".

It is also a posthumous poet in New York (1940), written during the stay in that city in 1929 and completed in 1930. Surreal language, this latest collection of poems is chained with the dramatic production of the author in his rejection of the inauthentic and their longing for purity (all of which had already appeared in the "Romance of the Peña negra", el Romancero Gitano and circumstances that are basic in the rest of his dramatic production). However, does not seem to have been only contact with New York prompted the change in the style of the poet, but it seems that he/she wanted to change of scenery out of Spain. Indeed, the shift from poetry to a second step to the concern for the theatre, as well as the parenting theme of poet in New York with his dramatic work, are obvious sign of this change in attitude.

Federico García Lorca. The Aurora. (Poet in New York).

Also appeared posthumous Suites, written in the 1920s, but not published until 1983, and the two series of Sonnets: sonnets published by Mario Hernández in 1981 (also published in the edition of complete works of Aguilar) and, finally, the sonnets of dark love, that saw the light in the ABC newspaper in 1983. Also, are extant poem loose of a high quality as it is the Ode to the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, written between 1928 and 1929, and in which poet puts the poetic language of Surrealism at the service of the explanation of the mystery of Corpus Christi, in the same way that Calderón did with the poetic language of the Baroque thaton the other hand, both the authors from 27. The ODE is dedicated to Manuel de Falla, and largely motivated by the deep religious faith of the composer, which certainly must have been like, if you knew her, a work that linked the topic more traditional with the language of the avant-garde, as he/she had tried in works such as El Retablo de Maese Pedro or the Concerto for five instruments and key religiousin which the traditional base (literature or an instrument obsolete as the key) served as basis and pretext for a musical language of complete today.

"The four mules".

Original sound. Federico García Lorca was accompanied at the piano to "La Argentinita" (courtesy of SONIFOLK.


The importance of the theatre of Federico García Lorca is now something that does not need to be discussed. Its production starts early and runs parallel to the poetry to take the lead in the last years of life of the author. His conception of the drama has been deducted from various statements made to the press in which there is a deepening that goes from the initial consideration of "emotion and poetry", which referred to in 1933, until the idea of a theatre of "open veins for others" in which the drama of human limitation is displayed clear andespecially live to which would make reference in their last year of life. Also, poetic theatre of modernist Court, becomes a stark Theatre in which the popular element, aside from all folklore, will be essential. This popular element is understood, from the point of view of the author, in the genuine of types and situations even in the choice of problems of the contemporary social environment, hence, largely, the neglect of the solitary work of the poet for the dramatic, communicative work by essence from the moment in which it is delivered to the actors who have to interpret it. It is no wonder, seen all this, so stark as in which are addressed at the same time social, personal, economic and psychological problems in La Casa de Bernarda Alba, premiered in the same 1936, always within a poetic language that does not lose one iota of its strength due to its simplicity.

However, it is necessary to take an entire career up to that great "drama of women in the villages of Spain" to which we have referred, trajectory which, as in the case of poetry, is unified by the constant presence of the subject of personal dissatisfaction that fluency with the modernist style of the earlier works, with the harshness of the farces for puppetsthe language of the avant-garde or the stark prose of its past tragedies.

Lorquiana dramatic production with the curse of the butterfly, which premiered in 1919, modernist cutting begins (let us not forget that the author always professed great admiration for the poetic theatre of Villaespesa), in which the calm of a group of insects is broken by the irruption of a wound butterfly that will bewitch (i.e. love) to one of the young (Curianito the poet)making you look beyond love to find death. The following is Mariana Pineda (1925), in which the author makes liberal heroin (was executed by order of the political head of Granada during the reign of Fernando VII by having a liberal flag embroidery) a figure which rises against the society that has placed it in a particular position which should leave you with the unique and weak weapons of love and freedom. The abandonment of the conspirators which has embroidered flag, among which is his lover, and refusal to yield to the wishes of the political boss to get freedom, take it to the gallows in complete solitude. In this way, the author sings the failure of such weapons in the fight against the world that constrains the human being.

For this work, the author refused the possible epic vision of the issue, staying with the lyrical: Mariana is the heroine of the love that dying by being in love, to have gone beyond what the world allows. Mariana Pineda start operating, on the other hand, the holistic view that theatre had the author and will continue in the rest of his work. Thus, the role that plays music, care in the description and design of costumes and decorations are a global concern for the theatrical show.

It is often grouped under the name of "sham" several works which have in common to be written in a burlesque tone that hides the depth of the message. Two of them are written for puppet theatre, the tragedy of Don Cristóbal and the Seine Rosita and the Retablillo de Don Cristóbal (both 1931) and two other people: La Zapatera Prodigiosa (1930) and love of don Perlimplín with Belisa in the garden (1931). The first two are two versions of the same story: the tragicomedy has forced marriage between the lustful old Cristobita, which is rich, and Sena Rosita, who is young, poor and is in love with Cocoliche. The action is brief and is focused on how the love between two young people destroy with their mere presence to the ridiculous Don Cristobita. On the contrary, in the Retablillo, the influence of the horns of Don whopping of Valle-Inclán is shown in the inclusion of a foreword in which the poet and the Director discussed the plot in dialogue. On the other hand, in the course of this, the young woman cheats on the old Cristobita, that here it is not so bad as in the tragedy, but it is forced by a role that does not know rebel, and that kills the mother of the young woman (who in both works has been sold to his daughter), without being able to do so with the daughter thanks to the interruption of the Director.

With respect to La Zapatera Prodigiosa, the author said it was a farce to classic mode and that it was portraying the female archetype in the protagonist, a young zapatera married to an old man that haunts with his bad character until he/she decides to leave it with the consequent dislike of the young woman who is devoted to wait for him until he/she comes to then receive him with open arms. With this character, looking for Lorca portray the human soul that is only due to his will and rebelling against the tax. Thus, the zapatera that tormented her husband he/she should, according to the rules, keep respect and obedience, saved veneration for him when he/she is not present and is just part of herself.

Finally, the love of Don Perlimplín with Belisa in the garden presents back to the pair of old and girl married to the force. Again appears the subject of infidelity which the protagonist seems to have taken in stride, especially since he/she knows that his wife has a lover to visit in the garden. The action is resolved when it was discovered that the lover and husband are the same person. To always survive as the lover, Don Perlimplín is killed so that is the memory in it what remains.

Further stylistic and thematically related to poet in New York have dramas surreal they passed five years (1931) and the public and dialogues in prose El Paseo de Buster Keaton, the maiden, the sailor and the student and chimera (published under the title of Teatro Breve and dated 1928). The first has been considered a masterpiece of Spanish surrealist theatre and therein arises the divorce between reality and illusions of the protagonist that, faithful to his idea, leaves to escape what has front. With respect to the public, it did not release official until 1987, although in 1985 a group of high school students had depicted him already in several competitions of student theatre to the stupor of teachers and students. We know that it was written in 1933, but we don't even know if what has come to us is complete or is only a fragment, given that the author worked several works at once. The work was published partially in the edition of complete works of the editorial Aguilar and found, with several fragments in a manuscript family took to allow publishing, probably as I feel that the work was not finished.

True Ode to solitude and love, again as Mariana Pineda, is the Dona Rosita the single or the language of flowers (1936), which again is Granada the scenario of a history of waiting without sense, but here is not a romantic heroine, but an anonymous spinster who sees passing life ahead of their constant fidelity to the memory of a love that has forgotten it. Wasted desire and frustration become again the central theme of the lorquiano Theatre, which uses a deeply lyrical tone three acts, introduced by three scenes that suggest gently three times (1880, 1900 and 1911) in which these take place. It was his intention to show "la vida mansa outside and residues on the inside" and "the desire to enjoy that women have to repress with force in the depths of your heart wildly".

Three recent works of the author, leaving aside the newly annotated, focuses on a real, more real environment as time goes on, in which characters seek to escape the dissatisfaction they feel in its social role. The search takes them to the tragedy. It is the case of Yerma (1934), tragedy to classic mode, including the choir of laundresses, with its coryphaeus, which converses with the protagonist, commenting on the action. Like will be the topic at Bodas de Sangre (1933), where a real event inspired the drama of a bride who flees after her wedding with an old boyfriend (Leonardo). The flight, filled with premonitions, in which death itself appears as a character (curious and revealing is that the author indicate that character should not appear in the programme, so that the unexpected invasion of the own public), presages an end that comes saying from the first scene and that both men be killedThus reaping the possibility of continuity of the lineage by both branches and renewing the death of the father of the groom at the hands of the family of Leonardo. In this way, the passion and the search conclude with the destruction of all the established order. Otherwise is La Casa de Bernarda Alba (1936), where the passion for the life of the young Adela, locked in her home along with her sisters because of the mourning of her father and oppressed under the yoke of a tyrannical mother, will revolt without fear of the consequences. In this way, his passion for life will crash against the wall of incomprehension of his family concluded with disposal, allowing the restoration of the initial order. Together with the figure of the protagonist, highlights the series of female portraits made by the author, from the own Bernarda until confident of all old maid (La Poncia), bitter sister and envious (martyrdom) or the crazy grandmother who is opposed to the tyranny of Bernarda.

Apart from these works, García Lorca left news from a biblical tragedy, the destruction of Sodom, which neither trace, and an act of so-called comedy Untitled, have not reached us work of combative character which was released in 1987 and showing a new conception of drama in which the people invaded the stage and which performed is a critique of totalitarian power which began to spread in Europe and which would not take into installed in Spain.

Margarita Xirgu, original voice.

[Excerpt from the Romance of the Prendimiento of Antonio El Camborio, Federico García Lorca, extracted from "The file of the word" of the Centre for historical studies, edited by the Residencia de Estudiantes.

Huge intensity and vividness in Spanish actress Margarita Xirgu scene turned it into a cornerstone of the lorquiano theatre. Intuitive, passionate and creative resources, he/she played with great success the Lorca play].

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