Federico Garcia Lorca
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Federico García Lorca

Federico García Lorca was a highly respected poet, writer and playwright and an important member of the so-called Generation of 27 (1927). His poetry has become a reference point for many contemporary poets and writers in Spain today, and his memory most certainly lives on.

Biography of Federico García Lorca

Born in 1898, his life was cruelly cut short during the first days of the Spanish Civil War, when he was abducted by nationalist forces and executed. He always seemed to struggle with his talents and with being in the spotlight of the public, and his personal issues caused him great distress and even depression, especially regarding his homosexual tendencies during a very intolerant period. From a very early age, around 2 years old, Federico García Lorca proved that he could learn folk songs very easily. He wasn't able to walk until the age of 4 as he was weak from illness. As a boy, he read the literary works of the greats like Cervantes and Victor Hugo, but at school he wasn't very good. During his teenage years he studied Law at the University of Granada though he never enjoyed it, and so he later focused his attentions on the media and his theatrical productions. Lorca's mother had always been supportive and encouraging towards her son with regards to writing, and in 1917, he wrote his first article about Zorrilla.

He befriended Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel, who were both influential surrealist artists and who would have a significant impact on his work and personal life. He released his first production named The Butterfly's Evil Spell, which was closed after four shows with a less than welcoming audience. The story line was the love between a cockroach and a butterfly and raised a few eyebrows! Following this, he was to be heavily involved in the Avant Garde movement, which included some of the poetry like Canciones and Romancero Gitano in 1928. Lorca was romantically involved with Dalí during 1925-28, though faced crippling depression as he tried to come to terms with his homosexuality.

He later felt a real sense of alienation from his friends when Dalí and Buñuel created their famous 16 minute film Un chien andalou. Lorca took it as a personal shot to him and the relationship he shared with Dalí abruptly ended, after which his family ended up sending him to the United States. García Lorca studied in New York and later created the play The Public. One of his most famous pieces is Blood wedding, which he wrote in 1933. Sadly his work wasn't available in Spain and even the censored versions were kept out of the public reach until 1953 due to the control of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, who didn't show an appreciation for his work. As mentioned, he was executed in the first few days of the Civil War, however his remains have yet to be found, despite some excavation digs. He has been honored for being one of the greatest Spanish writers of his time ever since. There are a number of monuments and memorials dotted around that commemorate Lorca. For example, there is a statue of him in Madrid's Plaza Santa Ana.

Style

Federico García Lorca had quite a strange style of writing in which he liked to make use of various symbols in order to convey the meanings behind his work. Many of the symbols he used were related to the subject of death; however, symbols and their meanings could vary from piece to piece. He particularly liked to use the metaphor as a powerful literary tool. However, he liked to have metaphors whose actual and metaphorical meanings were worlds apart, hence very difficult to understand.

Lorca was a skilled writer and could therefore adapt to any new literary tendencies or movements, however he preferred to fill his work with traditional elements that give away his large literary heritage and culture. These traditional elements were not however traditional writing forms, but rather traditional aspects of life, people and the country in which he lived. For example, music and folk songs often made an appearance in his poetry. The southern Spanish area of Granada had an impact on his work too, with its strong influences from Moorish culture, the Orient, folklore as well as the ragged, wild terrain of the land.

Some of his best work includes:

  • Blood Wedding
  • Comedia sin Titulo
  • Amor de don Perlimplin con Belisa en su Jardin
  • Los titeres de Cachiporra
  • The House of Bernarda Alba