Biography of Luis de Góngora y Argote (1561-1627)

Poet and dramatist Spanish, born 11 July 1561 in Cordoba and died in his hometown of May 23, 1627, victim of a stroke. Maximum representative of the Baroque culteranismo in Spanish poetry, was one of the most influential poets in the aesthetic evolution of his time. Its renovation of poetic, inspired by jargon lexicons language and syntactic from latin classic, marked a guideline in the Spanish lyric that has survived to this day.


Son of Francisco de Argote, judge of residence in Madrid and property confiscated by the Inquisition in Cordoba, and Leonor de Góngora, it seems that he/she studied with the Jesuits. Ordered priest when his maternal uncle, the Cordoba Cathedral racionero, gave him some privileges, but the lack of religious vocation of poet was evident throughout his life and was shown in his passion for women and, above all, for the game, which was the cause of her final ruin and countless jokes during his years in Madrid. The supposed Jewish ancestry of the family was also cause for derision, especially for Quevedo, who identified his nose with the commonly alleged to the Jews and called his novel poetry of "judaizante".

Góngora luis, portrayed by Velázquez. Museum of fine arts, Boston (United States).

He studied cannons in Salamanca between 1576 and 1580, but did not graduate. It is precisely the year of his first poems 1580 and five years later received the praise of Cervantes in the song of Caliope.

In 1617, already famous as a poet, he/she settled in Madrid and ordered priest (until then had only been ordained of minors). He/She was appointed Chaplain of the King with the support of the Duke of Lerma. The life of the Court into debt it further, by what the fall of Lerma will be forced to seek the shade of olive trees. They are difficult years: the Duke entertains him with promises that never materialize, threaten with foreclosures, someone (Quevedo according to ANA) buys his house and forces him to deslojarla. Sick and without resources, you try to publish their poems, dispersed to date, but fails. Improvement of the disease allows you to return to Cordoba in 1626, to die there the following year.


Except for two plays that did not triumph, although not devoid of merits (the fastnesses of Isabela, 1610, and El Doctor Carlino, 1613) the work of Góngora it adheres to verse, although playing in most of the genres of his time, with the exception of the epic poem stricto sensu.

Stylistically, Góngora's poetry characterized by formal swelling, by the use of amplifiers resources that stops in the description and explanation of the content rather than to advance it. Next to it, the taste for the Latin hiperbaton hinders the comprehension of the content, which led critics to describe it as foreign, against the Spanish poetry that poetry of Garcilaso, had become "clear poets" surrounding Lope. However, gongorino style was not, nor much less, any foreign poetry, but the mode to poeticize the Sevillian school and the antequerano-granadino group which, since the own Fernando de Herrera and through the work of an Luis Carrillo y Sotomayor, a Juan de Arguijo or a Francisco de Rioja, will reach its peak in the work of el cordobés. In addition, the deep knowledge of the classical languages that Gongora had allows you to set these bold periphrasis and violent hiperbatos which caused such admiration as critical.

At the time, and with respect to the confrontation between the "culteranos" or followers of Gongora and "conceptistas" or followers of Quevedo, it should be noted both the loneliness of Quevedo, unable to create to your around any group, as the fact that Gonogora was imitated by everyone, including those who, like Lope, criticized it. And this both by the powerful attraction that his style worked on his contemporaries much ahead in direct line of the poetry of the 16th. In this way, poems such as La Filomena or Lope of the Andromeda show a clear trail of Gongora that the Phoenix was able to assimilate to his style. The influence of Góngora will replace the Garcilaso's until the 18th century, when, by compensation, Góngora to become the Bete Noire of our illustrated, advocating a style as clear as the poets of the 16th, although they never succeed in its quality. This anathema on the work of Góngora lasted throughout the 19th and was sanctioned by the criticism that Menéndez y Pelayo made his last works, criticism which coined the expression "Prince of light, Prince of darkness" with which the humanist Cascales had defined in the 17TH the two stages in the work of el cordobés: before and after the solitudethe don Marcelino identified with before and after losing Gongora reason (do not forget that same critic spread species that El Greco had a blinding disease that made him so long, stylized figures paint). From Rubén Darío when the work of Góngora to be appreciated in poetry circles, although they will be accurate, in addition, studies of Alfonso Reyes, Miguel Artigas and, above all, Dámaso Alonso, along with his poetic generation fellow, who organized the tribute in 1927 to the poet in the 300th anniversary of his death and, more, rehabilitated his poetic language to Spanish poetry of the 20th century.

luis Góngora: religious Letrilla.

Within the work of el cordobés, is already be noted the constancy of these stylistic traits appearing both in serious as in works of mockery works, both in early works and mature works. It found, on the other hand, an intensification of these stylistic procedures that led to those who were considered to be excesses of the Soledades and the Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea. Thus, from the beginning of his work, we find the same resources in poems in traditional and cult underground. In this way, more two-stage fits talk about progressive intensified when letting the poet aside.

Luis de Góngora, Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea.

Luis de Góngora, Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea.

In terms of genre, Góngora influence in the creation of the new ballad, which brought jewels like "Strapped to the hard Bank", "between the loose horses", "in a pastoral hostel", "Sister FAG" was fundamental or "saddle me the ass dapple / Mayor Antón Llorente" (parody of the romance "saddle me the dapple horse / the Mayor of los Vélez", Lope Vega.) Also, it is noteworthy the burlesque romance of 1618, entitled "Fable of Pyramus and Thisbe", which already lists the stylistic elements cited with the usual intensity of his last works. Next to these, are the Peñas "beating I hot and laughing people", "Learn, flowers, to me", still present on Hispanic oral tradition or the sacra letrilla "fallen is le has a Carnation" dedicated to the birth of Christ. also composed with singular perfection sonnets as the dedicated to the theme of carpe diem ("Meanwhile, to compete with your hair, / gold burnishing, the sun shines in vain"), or the "sonnet to Cordoba" ("Oh lofty wall, oh towers crowned!") which was also set to music in our century, even to the gongorino fervor of 27, by Manuel de Falla. Many of them are transformed into dedications illustrious that Góngora composed verses tight and rich. Other times, his sonnets drag a satirico-burlesca load pointing with acid irony to the defects of the leading characters of his time ("my Lord the count went to Naples, / my Lord the Duke went to France: / Princes, bon voyage, this day / grief I will give a few snails"). At other times, the burlesque censorship is directed against their greatest enemy in the poetic field, don Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas ("Spanish Anacreonte, there is who you stop";) ("True poet, Pilgrim-shaped / how much devoted, got to romero").

Luis de Góngora. Tied to the hard Bank...

Luis de Góngora. While by competing for your hair.

Also highlights their classroom, eulogistic and elegists, sonnets in free competition, as it relates to his poetic depth, with the devoted to the amorous and gallant matter:


"Misguided, ill, Peregrine, in dark night, with uncertain foot, confusion by stepping on the desert, voices in vain gave, steps without tino.

Repeated beating, if not neighboring, Brown heard can always awake, and pastoral hostel bad cubiertopiedad found, if it found no way.

Out came the Sun and among hidden ermine, sleepy beauty, sweet viciously, skipped the not-well-healthy passenger.

It will pay the lodging with the vida:mas worth you err in the montanaque die luck that I die".

He is the author also of poems such as "Ode to the taking of Larache" art, in which one begins to observe the transition to the final stage, which begins, properly speaking, with the "panegyric to the Duke of Lerma", work in which the Gala in the gongorino style made heavy lack of interest of the subject.

Not so with the fable of Polyphemus and Galatea, that Góngora style reflects the sensuality of the story of the nymph and Shepherd and the contrast between her beauty and brutality of Polyphemus, Monster also love the nymph. Gongora structure the poem in 63 octaves distributed as an almost vignettes in which just the sense of a encabalga the next. The beauty of the poem - and the enormous difficulty of poetic language gongorino-, can be seen in any of his octaves:

"Rustic bickering ocultoel aspid, intonso pleasant meadow, rather than combed cultoen Garden lies in the lewd, given sine."In the virile unties from his sweetest vultolo the love of its venom: drink Galatea, and gives another pasopor hurry him the poison to the vessel".

With respect to the solitude, was, without doubt, the most ambitious project of the poet: Góngora intended to write four poems about the same topic, but only left two before his death. Narrates the poem the wreck of a young man who, after spending the night with some goatherds, meets different people and events (a few herdsmen ranging from wedding, attending, some fishermen to slaughter, a hunt that contemplates the return, etc.) being used for the poet to deploy all its stylistic richness:

"Was year station floridaen that the lain Europa-media robador Moon weapons of its front sun all rays of his hair, shining honour of heaven, in fields of Sapphire pace star.""When the Minister could the copaa Jupiter, better than the Ida Garzón, shipwrecked and despised - on ausente-lagrimosas sweet love querellasda to the sea, which, condolido, went to the waves, went to the miserable vientoel sweet Arion gemidosegundo instrument".

Luis de Gongora: solitudes. Loneliness first.

The work of Góngora Edition completed in 1633 Gonzalo de Hoces (all the works of don Luis de Góngora in several poems) was published in the same 1627 in charge of Juan López de Vicuña (works in verse of the Spanish Homer). Then, Salcedo Coronel, José Pellicer, and Christopher Salazar Mardones commented on his verse to verse, as it happened during the previous century with Garcilaso. The first critical of his style was Juan de Jáuregui in his antidote against pestilence Lonelinesses poetry, written after 1616, date in which these poems began to run manuscripts.

Addresses on the Internet; Personal website about the life and work of Góngora.


ALONSO, Dámaso: The poetic language of Gongora. Madrid, 1930.

ALONSO, Dámaso: Góngora and the "Polyphemus". Madrid, 1967.

ALONSO, Dámaso: Góngora and the Góngora. Madrid, 1978.

James, Robert. Études sur l'oeuvre poétique de don Luis de Góngora y Argote. Bordeaux, 1967.

G Fernández San Emeterio.