Biography of Pedro Salinas (1891-1951)

Poet, dramatist, prose writer, philologist and Spanish teacher, born in Madrid in 1891 and died in Boston (United States) on December 4, 1951. As poet is included within the generation of 27, which is the oldest Member.


He studied secondary education at the Institute of San Isidro in Madrid (who was based, such as Imperial College, the first studies of almost all our authors of the 17TH, Lope , Quevedo) and the careers of law - which not concluded - and philosophy and letters in the Central University of Madrid. Interested in poetry, proposed, in the company of Enrique Díez-Canedo and Fernando Fortún, renew poetry Spanish giving greater freedom of form, especially in rhythm and rhyme refers; published in the magazine Prometheus his first poems, later described as "creepy". In 1911, during a summer in Santa Pola, he/she met who would be his wife, Margarita Bonmatí. He/She graduated in 1913, the year in which, in addition, was named Secretary of the literature section of the Ateneo madrileño, which was partner from years ago. While preparing his doctorate, he/she was as a reader of Spanish in the Parisian Sorbonne. In 1915 he/she married and the couple went to live in Paris, until he/she returned to Spain in 1917. The following year he/she won Professor of Spanish literature in Seville, where he/she lived until 1929 with the sole exception of the 1922-23 course, who passed it as a reader in Cambridge. In these years from Seville Salinas met Luis Cernuda, whose commitment to poetry, and even vital, had to have as much importance, and which helped to publish his first book, Perfil del aire. His generosity to his friends was always recognized by all who knew him.

Pedro Salinas, portrayed by Álvaro Delgado.

His poetic work was conducted in silence, without that he/she published his first book, and doom, until 1924. Returned to Madrid, he/she worked in the Centre of historical studies within the team led by Menéndez Pidal. Since 1933 he/she was director of the international Menéndez y Pelayo University.

In 1936 he/she traveled to the United States invited by the Wellesley College, where he/she taught until 1939, date in which, given the political situation in Spain, he/she went to the John Hopkins University, in Baltimore, which would be Professor until his death, except for the years 1943 to 1946, which obtained permission to teach at the University of Rio Piedras, of Puerto Rico. There, encouraged by the encounter with the Spanish language and the sea, he/she returned to writing, which had left some side (exception made everything more clear and other poems) thanks to its growing occupation as critic literary, inspired mostly by the sea, which resulted in the referred to. His love for the Puerto Rican island was when choosing the place of his burial, which wanted to seaside of Puerto Rico. The transfer was conducted after his death, which took place on December 4, 1951 in Baltimore.


The work of Pedro Salinas is, in general, an attempt to defend the ideological values high and most selfless of European culture prior to the second world war. His deep humanity presents it worried to discover the dark side of things, what explains them and helps us, incidentally, to find our own way.

The work of Pedro Salinas is, above all, poetic, although it is also author of some dramatic titles and a novel. His poetic work, composed of nine books, has been divided into three stages, each consisting of three of them.

The first stage begins with omens (1924), book that collects the poems written in Seville between 1920 and 1924. Appear in the influences of Rubén Darío, Unamuno and, above all, Juan Ramón Jiménez, who considered his master. At the same time, he/she receives influences of French poetry, particularly the Belgian Emile Verhaeren and Jules Laforgue. Of the latter admired Salinas, especially, his interest in bringing poetry daily language (it should not be forgotten that García Lorca called "prosias" poems of Salinas precisely by its appearance of spoken language).

After omens, in 1928, secure gaming, collecting the poems appeared between 1924 and the year of its publication. It appears in this second book, the influence of the avant-garde, which triumphs in recent years by Europe. It is transparent, especially in the appearance of topics machinists, in poems like "Underwood Girls", dedicated to the typewriter; "Navacerrada, April", where a bike trip to the mountain pass cited in the title becomes a love scene; or "33 spark plugs", where the electric light appears as a Princess locked up in prison (the bulb), to which the poet released to live a love story with her. In this way, initially influenced by Futurism's Marinetti, Salinas began to show as the poet of a following-reality that is hidden behind the inanimate appearance of things with which it makes contact through the poetic Word. Also appears in the film subject which, later, has come to deserve entire books as I was a fool and I've seen has made me dumb, de Rafael Alberti. Cinema Salinas dedicated poems such as "Far West" or "Cinematograph".

Fable and sign (1931) is the third book of Pedro Salinas. He/She has been considered her book of transition between this first stage of the poetry of Salinas and the second, which was to start with the voice you due. In it, they begin to look like the girls in love, as that is the subject of the poems of the next stage, all of it focused on the love theme. However, it dominates it the playful tone of the vanguard of the previous books.

Voice you due.

The second stage begins, as we have indicated, with the voice you due (1933), whose title, taken from a verse of Garcilaso ("Eclogue III, verse 12:" and it is still not that touches me / methinks trade only in life, /, with the dead and cold tongue in the mouth, / I think moving voice to you due "), already presents the poet thanking his beloved the ability to write, and recognizes it as author of his poems.

Yesterday I kissed on the lips.You kissed on the lips. Dense, red. It was a kiss so cortoque lasted more than a lightning, a miracle, more. I wanted to dartelono tiempodespues for nadaya, for nadalo I had wanted before.Began, he/she ended up on it.

Today I am kissing a kiss; I'm alone with my lips.The pongono in your mouth, no, ya no - where I has escaped?The pongoen the kiss that you diayer in the mouths juntasdel Kiss kissed.And this Kiss more than silence, that the light lasts.Because a mouth is not a carneni to kiss, it escapes, it escapes me.No.Te'm Kissing further".

The love of Salinas is optimistic and spring, in which the poet seeks knowledge of the beloved as a form of possess it, of "make it your best you". The book is presented as a long poem ranging from the birth of passion to its end. 702-855 verses present the climax of passion, while, from verse 986, separation is evident in the less optimistic tone, in the consciousness of solitude despite the presence of the beloved as always shadow next to the poet.

What ride nochecon your absence at my side!Accompanies me the sentirque don't you come with me.Mirrors, the putted believe I'll only [...] "."

More serene is reason for love (1936), poems that continues where left him the previous one, in search of the light that the beloved did not want to help you find. The lover not shown spiteful, even though sad.

Are you, love, a long goodbye that doesn't end?Live, from the outset, is spreading.In the first encuentrocon the light, with the lips, the heart perceives the congojade have to be blind, and a day [...] "."

However, the end of the book is a hope, a move closer to understanding, already points to the title that will be his next book published, everything more clear and other poems (1949), which will be released in America. However, before moving on to the next stage, which opens, with everything clearer, is expedient review a book that Salinas did not publish in life and that is located, chronological and thematically below because of love. refer to long lament, which the poet has preserved manuscript and book that gave his son-in-law, Juan Marichal, in the course of cleaning his office at John Hopkins. The book had only an attempt of publication (in the Losada Publishing House of Buenos Aires, every time that the author refused to publish in the Spain dominated by Franco), attempt that was not set, so kept it without worrying over it. He/She met partial editions in life of the author, and after his death, until the publication of the complete poems in 1981, in which, finally, included full. These partial edits were plaquette posted in Mexico by the author as a miscalculation, "Romantic halftime" of everything more clear and the posthumous anthology become shadow and other poems, appeared in Milan in 1957. The text has been published with all bookings, as the poet savagery of them after the failed attempt of Losada and even gave them his son-in-law without asking more for them and or their final ordination is not known even if the author was considered finished poems. Thematically, the poet seeks in his memory through the word already past history of love. In remembrance there is a new appeal to Garcilaso de la Vega Recalling, with echoes of the Eclogue I, the loved one, that does not preclude for the bitterness by neglect which has been subjected. The relationship with the objects is present again to compare the absent loved one with a fan saved in a case or identification of both with objects that are sold in storefronts. All this leads to the poet to search, so juanramoniana, Essentials beyond the physical appearance of things, which makes no sense since that he/she has left him alone. So, since he/she only remains essentially, souvenir and the track that has made it the poet, will be these where he/she remember it. The final decision to give him freedom in Exchange for her not forget it, takes us back to that lived in the memory of Garcilaso and to the automitificacion of the Eclogue III, although Salinas not to reach that end, they offer mutual remembrance as a space where love, even betrayed love, never ends.

In 1949, and with the already mentioned everything clearer and other poems begins the third and final stage of the poetry of Salinas. The poems collected in this book are the fruit of his first contact with American reality following the end of the love affair that has put in the foreground in the previous books. The book is shorter, only sixteen poems, and the three issues are intertwined: the love of long lament, in the mentioned "romantic spring"; the impression that New York City causes, especially in the section titled 'Night of the notices', where the comparison between commercials at night and divine messages allows you to show how much vacuum is in American society; and, finally, the reflection which, from its position of exiled aware of the destruction of his world before with civil and world wars over Europe, performed. In such an appearance, is the long poem "Zero" dedicated to the launch of the atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which closes the book. However, it is not a pessimistic book, but that its final look for hope in that transcendence of what surrounds him and also found at the end of a long lament.

Referred to is the result of the meeting of Salinas with the sea of Puerto Rico in the years in which was a Professor of the University of Río Piedras. Written in the years prior to the publication of all clearer, it is Salinas return to poetry as daily trade. It will be the impression of the return to the sea that will lead again to write from a neighboring terrace to the beach. To do this, ask at the University that focus their hours in the evenings so that you can let the morning for his literary work. The book takes the musical form of theme and variations (fourteen). Each of the variations is a caption that indicates its content and suggests the rhythm of the piece. The contents of the book shows the contemplation of the sea by the writer which is Salinas; as well, references to the marine paradise of the variations "The strange islands", or "Civitas Dei" (facing the city tech and hasty), or the frequency with which appear in his verses the deities marine, absent from the sea reflections of Juan Ramón Jiménez or Unamuno, both present in the work of Salinas even for exclusion. The look with which the poet contemplates the sea makes it part of his eternity.

Posthumous appeared confidence (1955), title suggested by Jorge Guillén, prologue of the volume, for past the dead friend poems, in which occurs the final escalation of the traits that we had been watching from the beginning of his work, especially of its perfection, identified by Salinas with spiritualization, although without mystical component.

Production in prose of Salinas is composed of several stories (thus the assembled on eve of joy, of 1926) and, above all, by the incredible pump novel, published in 1950, as well as by an abundant literary theme essay work which include Spanish literature. 20th century (1941); Jorge Manrique or tradition and originality (1947) and the poetry of Rubén Dario (1948), as well as numerous editions of classics, from among those who are San Juan de la Cruz and Meléndez Valdés.

His dramatic work falls within the avant-garde theater, well that is written during the years of exile, precisely as a means of salvation against the barbarism that it comes from Spain. Thus, in the same way that his poetry of the war years is basically loving, his play seeks to save the world from the destruction that he/she appears doomed (neither more nor less than the love sung in long lament). In this way, Salinas departs both protest theatre and the theatre of evasion, looking in his play the explanation to everything that reject the world. Basics of its theatre is therefore the text, the message that transmits a text built literary rather than dramatically, but always committed to the reality of their time, which looks for an explanation. Explain it will be, normally, the fable that endings are always given by supernatural forces that help to resolve conflicts and which are image of the need for introspection to discover on the inside of each road out of such conflicts.

The dramatic production of Salinas is divided into parts in an Act and works of longer duration (only two). The first are usually located in urban and cosmopolitan environments. His characters are young, educated and beautiful. Except in three cases, the action is located in imaginary places. These three exceptions are: the Estratoesfera, located in a district of Madrid in 1930, full of arnichescas resonances, although with further depth regarding the dramatic treatment; The source of the Archangel, in Andalusia at the beginning of century, precisely in the folkloric and topical Andalusia of the Álvarez Quintero to, by contrast, sing of authentic what the human being beyond the topics; and Los Santos, set in a village of the Spanish civil war and in which irony becomes tragic figure of one sentenced to death by the troops of Franco by mistake or by some as absurd as inconsistent offenses, which are saved from dying by the saints of size that there is kept in the basement where they are locked up prisoners and who charge movement the being called the damned for his execution. The rest of his brief production is divided, in turn, into "roses" and "satirical pieces". The first are: the island of treasure, the blackmailer, the resemblance and the sleeping beauty, and have love as a central motif. The first two seeking to prove the existence of the unique love and, through it, the possibility of harmony and beauty in the world while they are not made in the concrete and individual lives.

Satirical parts" are never bitter irony-laden and defend life against any kind of exploitation. He/She and their sources, which, in addition, featured the theme of identity, so dear to the playwrights of Vanguard, Unamuno to Pirandello; Secure envelope and Cain or a scientific glory, which raises the question of the moral responsibility of scientists together with the tyrant, who will reappear in his long work.

Only two titles make up this long work. The first is Judith and the tyrant, based on the theme of the tyrant, so prevalent in the literature of exile, though Salinas equip it with a significance that is lacking in other works on the same subject. For Salinas, the dictator is divided into two: his image and his humanity, and the best solution to tyranny would be that the dictator will charged awareness of his being of man and the brotherhood that must have with them that they dominate; nothing you would see, and Salinas was aware of this, with the reality. The second long play is the Director, which raises the possibility or impossibility of human happiness through a myth that serves to explain the two faces of the divine: it teaches to be happy and that prevents achieve happiness in this world, the identity of the good and the bad in divinity from the point of view of appearancesthat is the human and that opposed to the divine, seeking happiness in something other than that in which the man seeks.


FEAL DEIBE, C. The poetry of Pedro Salinas (Madrid: 1971).

GARCIA TEJEDA, M.C. The literary theory of Pedro Salinas (Cádiz: 1988).

RAMON RUIZ, Francisco. History of the Spanish Theatre (Madrid: Cátedra, 1986, 7 th ed).

SALINAS of MARICHAL, Soledad. Complete poems ed. (Madrid: Alianza, 1989-1994).

ZUBIZARRETA, a. of. Pedro Salinas, creative dialogue (Madrid: 1969).

G Fernández San Emeterio.