Monday, June 5, 2017

Birthday: "As I have not worried to be born, I do not worry to die."

Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca (1898-1936)
Poet, playwright, artist, theatrical director

Trained as a classical pianist, Lorca turned to poetry in 1916. Influences on his works were rich and varied, from Andalusian folk song to the music of de Falla to the work of Surrealists like Salvador Dali, with whom Lorca had an intense personal relationship in 1925-28. The end of that relationship, combined with the collapse of another- with a sculptor- and the loss of privacy that came with the sudden popularity of his work, led him into a deep depression he sought to assuage with extended travel in the US and Cuba, 1929-30.

Lorca’s New York experiences deepened the populist vein in his work; on his return to Spain he moved, triumphantly, into theater with a series of provocative works that won him wide praise and ill-concealed enmity from the forces of the right. Shortly after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, a group of Nationalist troops tracked Lorca down, placed him in confinement, then, after several days, executed him. The reasons why have never been settled his remains have never been found.

Having transformed Spanish writing and theater in a career lasting only nineteen years, the dead Lorca was almost more trouble than he had been alive (“A dead man in Spain is more alive than a dead man anywhere in the world,” he wrote, in 1933).

Franco, the Spanish dictator, banned Lorca’s work until 1953; after that only limited, censored versions were allowed in print. Since Franco’s death in 1975, Lorca has become a symbol of Spain's literary greatness, greater LGBT equality, and the need to deal with the horrors of the dictatorship.

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