I keep telling you about all these people, like Kahlo and Picasso, Hemingway and Graves, plus my bits about Gandhi, and Elvis, and I do not even know whether you are interested in the slightest.
Oh well, never mind. I wouldn’t tell you, if I wasn’t interested. I suppose that has to be my guideline.
Today I’ll offer you an entry about Federico García Lorca. He was born in Fuente Vaqueros, Granada, Spain, 5th June,1898; he died near Granada, 19th August,1936. Killed. Executed. Murdered. That is 71 years ago, today.
One does not know who killed him, or why. Perhaps it was a political murder, because García Lorca was considered left-leaning. Or it was a Fascist murder, because Lorca stood for the arts and the intellect and for freedom of the mind. Or it was, because Lorca was said to be more interested in men than in the opposite gender.
One has to bear in mind that 1936 was the beginning of the Spanish civil war. Franco had not risen to power yet, but was well on his way. The dossier on García Lorca’s execution-style murder compiled later, at Franco’s request, has yet to be made public. Hurry up, Zapatero.
Fittingly, the Franco regime, in power from 1939, placed a general ban on García Lorca’s work, which was not rescinded until 1953 when a (heavily censored) Obras Completas was released.
Federico García Lorca was a poet and dramatist, a talented artist and a member of the Generación de 1927, a group of writers who advocated avantgardism in literature. Among García Lorca’s best-known plays is Blood Wedding, a story of a bride who runs away with a previous lover, and is subsequently murdered by her husband. In both his drama and poetry, García Lorca balanced between the traditional and the modern, between mythology and contemporary cultural trends.
In the 1930s, after a brief time in the United States and Cuba, Lorca gained even more recognition for his plays, especially what has been called his ‘earth trilogy’ (or ‘rural trilogy’), Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding), Yerma and La Casa de Bernarda Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba).
García Lorca first read law at the University of Granada, but later entered the University of Madrid. At the same time he also studied music. In the 1920s, García Lorca collaborated with Manuel de Falla, becoming an expert pianist and guitar player. In 1919 he moved to Madrid, where he lived at the Residencia de Estudiantes, the intellectual centre of the town. His friends included the writer Pablo Neruda, amongst others.
With the Catalán painter Salvador Dalí and the Spanish film director Louis Buñuel he worked on different film productions.
From the beginning, García Lorca was fascinated by young Dalí’s personality and looks. When Buñuel and Dalí made their famous short film ‘Un Chien Andalou’, García Lorca was offended: he thought that the film was about him. Lorca’s friendship with Dalí inspired a poem, a defense of modern art and at the same time an expression of homosexual love.
I’ll tell you about Salvador Dalí some other time, if you want. Buñuel, we’ll see.
García Lorca is Spain’s most deeply appreciated and highly revered poet and dramatist. But it might have been his brutal murder that brought him sudden international fame.
You may have seen Blood Wedding on stage; if not, may I suggest you get the Carlos Saura film version on DVD. Very good stuff. Very moving. Very Spanish. Great. Fiery.
Seeing García Lorca’s plays on stage, not much of the drama is lost in the translations, I think. For his poetry, however, I would definitely prefer the original version, in Spanish.
If you reside in Spain, like I do, you might be up to it.
And if you ever are anywhere near Granada, why not pay a visit to the Museo-Casa of the man himself? You’ll find it in c/ Poeta García Lorca, 4, Fuente Vaqueros, just outside of Granada. It is quite charming.
Granada is worth a visit at any time, García Lorca or not.