Biography of Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas (1580-1645)

Francisco de Quevedo. Madrid.

Poet, playwright and storyteller Spanish, born in Madrid on September 14, 1580 and died in Villanueva de los Infantes (Ciudad Real) from September 8, 1645. Maximum representative of the conceptualist current that flourished in Hispanic letters of the Siglo de Oro, had the wisdom of forging a smooth, polished and careful, prose whose richness and variety have only compared to the height to which the linguistic boasting of his poetry go back.


Until 2008 it has been accepted as the likely date of his birth on 17 September 1580. However, a study released this year revealed that Quevedo was born on 14 September, i.e., three days before the estimated and generally accepted by all. The study is based on a set of verses and letters in which the author makes some reference to his birth, as stated by the President of the Fundación Francisco de Quevedo, Jose Luis Rivas, director of research.

Quevedo belonged to a family of the lower nobility, which had integrated the high civil service and the bondage of Palace. Thus, his father, the Mountaineer Pedro Gómez de Quevedo, was Secretary of the infanta Doña María, future wife of Maximiliano II, and queen Doña Ana de Austria. His mother, Ana de Santibáñez, was Lady of the Queen and the Princess Isabel Clara Eugenia. In this way, Quevedo walked through the Palace since his childhood. He studied at Imperial College, located in Madrid Toledo Street, in the building that today houses the Instituto de Bachillerato "San Isidro", who ran the company of Jesus, and then at the universities of Alcalá and Valladolid (in this latter theology between 1601 and 1606, years in which the Court was installed there). These years date from their enmity with Gongora, the beginning of his correspondence with Justus Lipsius and his fame as a poet, based primarily on the appearance of his poems in flowers of illustrious, collected by Pedro de Espinosa and published poets in Valladolid in 1605.

francisco de Quevedo, portrayed by Velázquez.

In 1606, he returns to Madrid with the Court and begins to search for accommodation within it. You will find it in the first place with the Duke of Osuna, he met, apparently, during their years of student in Alcalá de Henares. He begins to write his dreams and his Spain defended times now, and translates to Anacreon and Phocylides; participates in academies as the count de Saldaña. At the time, proud of their noble origin, he began a lawsuit by the Señorío de Juan Abad Tower, which would gain in 1631 and it would cost you many efforts and money. In 1613, and after suffering a spiritual crisis that was reflected in its Castilian tears of Jeremiah (among other works), accepts the post of Secretary of the Duke of Osuna, with which part to Sicily and, from there, to Naples. During his years in Italy, he made important diplomatic missions for the Duke, who, in payment, get you the habit of Santiago. Among them, in addition to bribery in the Court for the Viceroyalty of Naples to the Duke, will highlight the famous the conspiracy of Venice, in which the poet will be involved. Fall into disgrace his protector in 1620, suffered banishment in the tower and prison the following year and until 1622.

In 1634, he married Esperanza Mendoza, Lady of Cetina, widow which separated two years later and that widower left him in 1641. Meanwhile, the hardness of their ridicule against all the world numerous enemies, including gaining the Almighty olive groves from which both had expected in principle the author (see in this regard his works as the Chiton of the colonies or the dedication straightened the valid at the head of the edition of the poetry of fray Luis de León, as well as the appointment of the Secretary of King authorthey are evidence of a relationship that in principle could not be better.) All this places him in an awkward position that encourages attacks such as the untapped by Pacheco de Narváez, the Father Niseno and Juan Pérez de Montalbán in the Court of just revenge, erected against the writings of don Francisco de Quevedo, teacher of errors, doctor of insinuations, Bachelor of bufonerias, Bachelor in dirt, Professor of vices and protodiablo among menpublished in 1635. In this same year, Pacheco de Narvaez denounces it with the Inquisition. The attacks focus frequently, in his limp and his myopia, he made mockery.

In 1639, is arrested accused of being a spy for the French and led to San Marcos de León, where he stayed until 1643 so poor that their health deteriorates. The anecdote that the poet managed to reach the napkin from the King a memorial against the valid and that this was the origin of the ill-feeling has never managed to be checked. However, the epistle "I won't shut up by more than the finger" directed to the valid, says some indisposition of the poet to a regime that perpetuated errors which had wanted to correct. During these years in prison, he writes works as the gross framework, published on his return to Madrid in 1644. The following year he retired to the Tower de Juan Abad, where continued to write until his illness forces him to move to Villanueva de los Infantes, where he died on September 8. His remains are preserved in the chapel of the Virgin of solitude of the parish church of San Andrés Apóstol of this La Mancha village.


The works of Quevedo includes both prose and verse and the theatre, although in the latter ability minor will be shown. The topics covered by the author, in gender, go more blatant and cruel mockery that is so is best known, until the most profound meditation on the meaning of life, through reflections of a political nature, and by a love lyric that belies its depth in the misogyny that so often shows in his works of taunts.


"Close my eyes may be the postrerasombra that will take me white day, and can unleash this soul flattering miahora to his anxious desire."

But no, now part, in the Bank, will leave the memory, where burned: swim knows my flame cold water, and lose the respect of severe law.

Soul to whom all a prison God has been, veins that humor to both fire have been given, cords that have gloriously burned,

"your body will stop, not care; they will be more ash, they will be meaningful; powder will be, more in love with dust".

Part of this work was published only in the life of the author. Thus, poetry did not see light until 1648, led by Pedro González de Salas, under the title of the Spanish Parnassus, mount in two peaks divided, with nine muses, Edition completed by Pedro Aldrete and Villegas, nephew of the poet, under the title of the three latest muses Castilian (1670).

francisco de Quevedo, "Love constant beyond death" (the Spanish Parnassus).

francisco de Quevedo, "Mean own shortness of life" (the Spanish Parnassus).


Despite the early fame of the author as a poet, the first completed works were in prose, so libelous as life of the Court and entertained her offices, the letters of the Knight of the iron, the Prematica ordered this year of 1600 or the early history of the Buscón called Pablos, finished, apparently, to 1604, and in which skewed the picaresque genre thatfrom the distant Lazarillo de Tormes, is consolidated in his days with the Guzmán de Alfarache of Mateo Alemán. In his work, the narrative, Quevedo only manages to empty moral content, or even human, the story of the rogue, which is transformed by his rich prose work into pure mockery hyperbolic, as can be seen in the well-known portrait of Dómine Cabra. El Buscón was not published until 1626, and fraudulently, without knowledge of the author, what was happening frequently in the time and is even easier to explain in the case of Quevedo, reluctant to publish after several initial setbacks with censors as the father Antolín Montojo who, in 1610, he called a dream of the end of "coarse and reckless" trial and denied approval. In this way, dreams, which came to be written since the first years of the Court in Madrid and until 1622, did not press until 1627 and in a remarkably defective text, which led the author to publish them in 1631 under the title of childhood toys and antics of ingenuity, by filing the most irreverent aspects and changing the titles of several of them. Dreams are a series of dialogues alegorico-burlesco character in which, in a way similar to Gracian, but in a tone of mockery, touched the subject of the disappointment of the world and the difference between appearance and truth. They are the graduates the dream of the last judgment (in the definitive Edition dream of skulls); The demon-possessed Sheriff (later the Sheriff alguacilado); Dream of hell (after the zahurdas of Pluto); The world by inside and the sleep of death (after the visit of jokes). Related to them are later works like the speech of Devils or amended hell (1628) and of all time and Fortune with brains (1635).

francisco de Quevedo, life of the buscón called don Pablos.

The ascetic-out content appears in prose in works such as the cradle and the grave (1634) or unpublished tears of Jeremiah and turns of political concern in Dios policy, Government of Christ, tyranny of Satan (1626, second posthumous part in 1655) or Marco Bruto (1644), which designates his theories on good governance. As an example does gross, that he was persecuted and condemned for having spared the Republic of Julio César, while César, which the Government had become a tyranny, was praised. Translation of the introduction life devoted to San Francisco de Sales (1634) or the glosses to the Seneca of the remedies of any Fortune (1638) Treaty they correspond to the same concern.

To attack the culteranos writers and other literary enemies he devoted his writings such as needle browse cults or the cultured latiniparla.

Minor works are Spain defended times now (1609), patriotic exaltation of the history, customs and the national languages and the Memorial by the patronato de Santiago, single and unique pattern of the Spains (1628), defense of the patronage of the Apostle to those who defended the possibility to share with santa Teresa.


The poetic work of Quevedo presented the same two sides of his prose: a serious and meditative and other burlesque and chocarrera that form partnerships through stylistic procedures, reaching its point more exaggerated in the works of comic character. Thus, in the habit of alternating the teasing and the really, we find dated at the same time as different poems as the 'Heraclitus Christian' metaphysical and the burlesque "retired from the Court responds to the letter from a physician". However, both sides respond last similar motivated: the fierce satire is a different expression of the same frustration and the same vital pessimism that meditative poems.

francisco de Quevedo: satirical Memorial addressed to the King.

Stylistically, the poetry of Quevedo is the ultimate expression of what criticism has to been called "conceptual" style, consisting of say as many things possible with the least number of words. With this style, which was had in the epigramatica tradition of the poetry of the fifteenth and in the writing of authors such as don Juan Manuel, Quevedo was opposed to gongorina poetry, although his style is not so much fruit of a confrontation as an expression of his own personality, anyone who was the role that played such confrontation in the further evolution of this style. In this way, Quevedo's poetry is characterized by the use of resources as fundamental in the poetry of cartoonish type the different word games that give the concept two and three different senses, hyperbole or the animalization. All of this aided by handling of syntax and vocabulary that allow you to lock in the narrow margin of a leading complete sentences that accumulate throughout the poem.

Once upon a man a nose hit, it was a superlative nose, once upon a nose sayon and escribaerase a peje very barbed sword;

a sundial was badly encarado.erase thoughtful alquitar, once upon an elephant face-up was Ovidio Nasón, more narizado;

Once upon a galley RAM, once upon a pyramid of Egypt, the twelve tribes of noses was;

Once upon a naricisimo infinite, a long nose, nose so fieraque in the face of Anas was crime.

francisco de Quevedo: a man of great nose.

In regards to the fight between culteranos and conceptistas, so often repeated by manuals, solitude lived Quevedo not make it the best element to be head of a school, so it is not so much to culteranos and conceptistas, as talk of the reaction against the gongorina poetry, in which enter both the style of Quevedo and Lope and his "clear poets" and in whose development He has the personal work of these authors and the events in which they participate both editions that Quevedo prepared by authors from the 16th (specifically of fray Luis de Leon and Francisco de la Torre) to oppose them as "Spanish" poets "foreign" poetry of Gongora. In any case, this aesthetic confrontation gave rise, in the pen of Quevedo, admirable satirico-burlescas creations:

Who wishes to be cult in one day, the jeri - learn - following gonza: fulgores, arrogar, young, President, candor, construye, metric, harmony;

little, much, if not, purpuracia, neutrality, violates, erects, mind, strikes, holds, deliver, teenager, signs, moved, pira, frustrates, Harpy;

cede, prevents, cisuras, petulant, palestra, liba, meta, argento, AC, even though it dissolves hater canoro.

Use much liquid and of wandering, your little night and cavern, anden ready livor, adunco and pore".

In general, is has been classifying Quevedo's poetry in the following sections: metaphysical poetry, moral poetry, religious poetry, love poetry and satirical poetry, the most numerous of its production. In all, them, the loving implies a break with the anguish that can be described as existential and that rips the more deep accents of the sonnet:

"I bring all the pigs in my mano:perla that, in a diamond, by Ruby, pronounced with Yello sound disdain;

and reason, perhaps fire tyrant, risa Crimson lightning, aurora, gala and presumption of the sky".

The metaphysical poetry of Quevedo reaches its culmination in pieces such as the sonnets that start saying: "Ah of life...!" Does nobody responds me?"and"Dream yesterday, tomorrow is Earth". His moral vein leaves a forced reference work in the Spanish lyric of all time, the satirical and censoria Epistle against the present customs of the castellanos:

"I won't remain silent, even though the finger, already playing in the mouth, or already the front, silent advice or threaten fear."

Do not have to have a courageous spirit? always is to think about what you said would never has to say what it feels like? "."

francisco de Quevedo, "Mighty gentleman is Don money".


Several dramatic works, all satirical, of which include how to be a private and Pero Vázquez de Escamilla are attributed to Quevedo. In them, Quevedo converts characters in simple caricatures which move like puppets. This lack of humanity is, precisely, the main fault of its theatre.


BLECUA, José Manuel. Complete edition of original poetry. Barcelona, 1981.

CROSBY, J.O. Around Quevedo. Madrid, 1967.

YNDURÁIN, Francisco. The thought of Quevedo. Zaragoza, 1954.