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Born in Fuente Vaqueros, Granada, Spain, June 5, 1898; died near Granada, August 19, 1936. He was murdered by the Nationalists at the start of the Spanish Civil War.

He was a poet, playwright and surrealist artist. His most famous plays are Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding) which has recently been performed as a flamenco ballet, and La casa de Bernarda Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba) which (I think) was a BBC television production a few years ago.

He was homosexual. He was a lifelong friend and rumored lover of Salvador Dalí.

Federico García Lorca was born in the town of Fuente Vaqueros, Granada, on June 5th, 1898. A complete history of his life is somewhat cloudy since he never composed a biography, and his friends and relatives all give different accounts of his actual life. The fame surrounding Lorca is the result of a somewhat bizarre chain of events, not to mention his literary talent.

Lorca's first move towards literature started when he left his legal studies at the University of Granada. He transferred to the University of Madrid where he engaged in theatre and composed poetry. His first production opened at the Eslava Theatre in Madrid with the show The Butterfly's Evil Spell. His first book of poems, Romancero Gitano (The Gypsy Ballads) was published in 1928. This book was widely acclaimed and branded him with the name the "Gypsy Poet." He then moved to New York (partly out of annoyance with the name) where he wrote Poet in New York.

He then returned to Spain to form his own theatre group, "La Barraca." This group produced his three "Rural Tragedies," Blood Wedding (a story about a bride eloping with her lover), The House of Bernard Alba (a story about an oppressive mother, also believed to be his masterpiece), and Yerma (A murder of the sterile husband of a woman). His first theatrical success, Mariana Pineda, is a historical romance that famous painter Salvador Dali (rumored to be his lover) painted the set for. The works that he thought exemplified his writing were his surrealistic pieces, When Five Years Pass, and The Audience.

On the 19th of August in 1936 Falangist soldiers killed Lorca by shooting him. They then buried him in an unmarked grave and tried to destroy any memory of his existence. His name and books were banned, and naturally this sparked his fame. Lorca's death was one of the first, and most famous deaths of the Spanish Civil War, and as a result he became a martyr for intellectuals. Eventually, his name was again being said, and in 1950, one of his first plays was produced, The House of Barnado Alba. Although bans were still in effect in 1971, public outcry brought about the publishing of his complete works.

In the rest of the world, his work was largely ignored until the posthumous publishing of Poet in New York and plays such as The Public. After these works, his fame proliferated throughout the world and today, his works are published in 12 languages.



--see above for info on his early life--


I. Cha-cha-cha-cha-cha-cha América!

In 1929 Lorca went to New York because he wanted to get out of Spain for a bit. He gave a conference at Columbia University, but what seemed to affect him most was his experience with African Americans. He is quoted as saying: "El negro, que está tan cerca de la naturaleza humana pura y de la otra naturaleza. ¡Ese negro que se saca música hasta de los bolsillos! Fuera del arte negro no queda en los Estados Unidos más que mecánica y automatismo." (The negro is so close to pure human nature and to nature. Outside of negro art/music there is nothing left in the art world of the United States that is not mechanical and automatic.)

II. Poesía

-Libro de poemas (1921)

-Primeras Canciones (1936)

-Canciones (1927)

-Poema del cante jondo (1931)

-Primer romancero gitano (1928) (18 ballads full of symbolism and lyrical repetition).

-Llanto por la muerte de Ignacio Sánchez Mejías (1934) (Eulogy for the toreador Sánchez Mejías)

-Poeta en Nueva York (1940)


III. Obras de teatro

-Bodas de Sangre (1933)
    * Emphasis on the supernatural and on honor, with a lot of imagery.
-Yerma (1934)
    * Fatalism and symbolism
-La casa de Bernarda Alba (1945)
    * See w/u on this

IV. Important stylistic elements

-Symbolism: Rafael Alberti says in the Manual de literatura española XI. Novecentismo y vanguardia: Líricos that "Los símbolos son elemento clave del universo mítico lorquiano. Reproducen básicamente el conflicto esencial que subyace en todas las mitologías entre la vida y la muerte. Sus significados múltiples y no racionalizados permiten al lector una libertad interpretativa que enriquece el poema con infinitas connotaciones." ("Symbols are the key element of the mythical Lorcian universe. They basically reproduce the essential underlying conflict behind all of the mythologies about life and death. Their multiple, irrational meanings allow the reader an interpretive freedom that enriches the poem with infinite connotations")

-Metáforas Lorca is known for his use of the moon, horse, and water as powerful metaphors in his poetry and theater.

-Folkloric themes (from the popular poetry of Andalucia)

-Innovative use of tradition "...se distingue, no sólo por la musicalidad de sus versos y la plasticidad de sus imágenes, sino también por su empleo innovador del romance tradicional...en su temática y su métrica, es un continuador de la tradición castiza... de hecho, García Lorca es el escritor de su generación, que mejor supo lograr la síntesis entre temas, actitudes y valores tradicionalmente españoles y la sensibilidad contemporánea europea" (Mujica). "His work is distinguished not only for the musicality of the verses and the plasticity of the images, but also for his innovative use of the romantic tradition... in his theme and metric system, he continues the castiza tradition... certainly Garcia Lorca is the writer of his generation, who best knew how to acheive the synthesis of theme, attitudes and traditional Spanish values and the contemporary European feel" (Mujica).

VI. Su muerte

"I still consider myself a true novice, and I'm still learning my profession ... One has to ascend one step at a time ... One shouldn't demand of my nature, my spiritual and intellectual development, something that no author can give until much later ... My work has just begun." (quoted days before his untimely death)

see The death of Federico García Lorca for more info




Works cited:
Ward, Philip (ed). "The Oxford Companion to Spanish Literature".
Alberti, Rafael. "Federico García Lorca," Manual de literatura española XI. Novecentismo y vanguardia: Líricos.
home.tiscali.be/ericlaermans/cultural/fglorca.html
www.cyberspain.com/passion/lorca.htm
www.garcia-lorca.org/
http://www.los-poetas.com/a/biolorca.htm
http://www.terra.es/personal2/ortz74/Fgl/inicio.htm
http://www.antorcha.org/liter/lorbiog.htm
Mujica, Barbara, "Texto y Vida"

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