The Generation of 27 Is known as that group of Spanish poets whose literary trajectory reached its zenith between 1920 and 1930. The authors who were part of this period of Spanish-speaking literature in Spain were without exception contemporaries, that is, that they were all born in very close years, the Which covered the last decade of the nineteenth century (1890-1900) and the first decade of the twentieth century (1900-1910).
It can be said therefore that the Generation of 27 had authors who stood out for having elements in common, apart from the chronological ones. The writers of this period, influenced by Juan Ramón Jiménez, claimed the poetry of the famous Luis de Góngora (1561-1627), baroque poet of the Spanish Golden Age characterized by its demand and hermetism in which it was necessary that art had a level Such refinement that this could only be appreciated by the most knowledgeable.
In this way, the Generation of 27 was a poetic Gongor tradition, so much so that in 1927 did not miss the tricentennial of his death to pay homage to that renowned man of letters that serves as a model.
However, that golden century of Spanish literature was not the only starting point, but to these influences were added the currents of avant-garde, ultraism and, even more, surrealism in some authors.
In addition, the writers of that Generation of the 27 had something more than literary, artistic and philosophical affinities, but also historical. The poets of that time shared their concern about socio-political tensions, which they were experiencing in the flesh, as there were strong ideological rivalries that gave rise to the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The boom and subsequent victory of the Francoists meant for most of them the exile of their native land.
The repression of Hispanic fascism, however, did not mean the end for writers of the Generation of 27. Authors like Pedro Salinas, Gerardo Diego, Jorge Guillén, Federico García Lorca, Luis Cernuda, Vicente Aleixandre and Rafael Alberti, among others, made That this literary grouping was composed in its exclusivity by poets of height whose work was written with verses bearing an independent reality that did not have to be related to the revitalization of Spain.
1- Pedro Salinas (1891-1951)
He was considered as the pioneer of all poets in this Generation of 27, due to his influence on later writers.
His literary curriculum includes a theme devoted to love, and his dedication to university teaching took place in La Sorbonne (France) between 1914 and 1917. Afterwards, Salinas returned to Spain and taught there in Murcia and Seville, and by 1933 contributed Great measure that the International Summer University of Santander was founded.
Salinas was a secretary until his exile in the United States, which occurred in 1936. During his stay in North America, where he remained until his death, Salinas served as a teacher in the most prestigious study houses, Time for letters. Thus, this prolific Spanish poet also composed his verses abroad, which can be grouped by books, in the following way:
- First stage: Omens (1923), Bad luck insurance (1929), Fable and sign (1931). There is a lot of European avant-garde influence.
- Second stage: The voice due to you (1933), Reason for love (1936), I'm sorry . Presence of amorous speculation.
- Third stage: The contemplated (1946), Everything lighter (1949), Trust (1955). Emergence in the author of theater and novelistic prose.
In addition to poetry, Salinas wrote literary essays. Some of his most important books are Spanish Literature of the 20th century (1941) and also Jorge Manrique or tradition and originality (1947).
2- Gerardo Diego (1896-1987)
He was an outstanding academic in Spanish literature who taught at several institutes in his country. Rafael Alberti shared the National Prize for Literature in 1925 and won the Cervantes Prize in 1979.
As a scholar of Spanish letters, Diego examined the work of men like Jovellanos, Lope and San Juan de la Cruz. He also collected the verses of the Generation of 27 in anthologies, the most famous being the Contemporary Spanish Poetry , Which came to light in 1934.
In 1980, the poetic work of Diego was published in two titled anthologies Older Poems Y Minor Poems . Both books are but the compendium of all his poetry, which in many cases alternates traditional poetry with avant-garde poetry. Also, Diego is credited as one of those who introduced the ultraistic current in Spain with his Image (1922) and his Foam Manual (1924).
Other interesting works of Diego are Romancero of the bride (1918), the Fable of Equis and Zeda (1929), the Odas morales (1966) and the Foundation of wanting (1970), apart from Carmen jubilar (1975). Luck or death (1963) is also one of his best known poetry books, which is worth highlighting the verses of the Ride the gangs
Vibrates the bugle flare.
The breeze insinuates the passage
And the garden of three swords
Open your satin flowers.
The sun is furious in the trees
Steals and glares tenors
It rams alamar.
Shadow. Grace. Desgaire.
And spinning through the air
Flowers fly to the sea.
3- Jorge Guillén (1893-1984)
He studied Philosophy and Letters between 1911 and 1913. He was a university professor who had to leave Spain in 1938 to go to the United States, where he finally carried out his career in the humanities. He won the Miguel de Cervantes Prize in 1976.
The work of Guillén can be grouped in two slopes:
- Poetry: Guillén did not write to love, but to the joy of living. Some of his most important books were Canticle (Edited between 1919 and 1959), Maremágnum (1957) and the Very natural history (1980).
- Theory, criticism and literary studies: Language and poetry (1962, in Spanish) and Around Gabriel Miró (1970).
4- Federico García Lorca (1898-1936)
The Generation of 27 had in García Lorca a symbol, a popular icon. And that was not necessarily due to his tragic death, given by the rifles of Francoism that mourned Spanish literature, but to that he was one of the greatest exponents of surrealism reflected in poetry.
In addition, the brilliance of his verses showed the high maturity and artistic complexity for a young man of his age, who was always in a constant process of intellectual formation.
García Lorca began to study Law and Letters in 1915, and by 1918 he had already made friends within the circle of intellectuals of his time. Later, he was on an American tour through New York between 1929 and 1930.
This journey transformed this poet deeply, for it opened his mind to new perspectives that he had not imagined. Garcia Lorca found in New York not a simple city, but a metropolis possessed by a lifestyle in which this poet could not fit.
Added to his anthology Poet in New York (Posthumous publication, 1940), which gathers its visions, reflections, experiences and events in this American city, is a creative production whose content has many metaphors and images. Several of his works are considered today as genuine classics of contemporary Spanish literature; Classics, therefore, that penetrate so much in the field of the poetry as in the one of the dramaturgy.
As a summary, it can be said that the most important literary works of García Lorca are, for poetry, the songs (1927), the Romancero gitano (1928) and the Poem of cante jondo (1921-1931). As for the theater, by García Lorca Mariana Pineda (1927), the Blood Wedding (1933) and his Yerma (1934). It is also worth noting that this Spanish poet preserves not a few drawings, which tell us that he liked painting, in addition to writing.
5. Luis Cernuda (1904-1963)
He was a disciple of Pedro Salinas, and together with Federico García Lorca he formed another of the most outstanding figures of Spanish poetry of the twentieth century, due to the moral complexities he raised in his writings. Although he finished studying law in 1925, it was only in 1927 that he demonstrated his true vocation, that is, literature, which was inaugurated with the publication of his Air profile . Between 1928 and 1929 he was a Spanish reader in France.
By 1928, Cernuda (see next page, in the photo, downtown) was already friends with several of the poets of the Generation of 27, including García Lorca (left) and Vicente Aleixandre (ibid., Right). No doubt met in person.
But the tragedies in Spain caused by the war forced this poet to seek refuge since 1938; First settled in the United Kingdom, then to the United States and finally to Mexico, where he spent his last days of exile.
Cernuda, as well as a writer, was a translator of classical authors such as Shakespeare and Hölderlin. He also learned from French surrealism, of which there was a notable influence on his poetry and which he did not ignore in his works of literary criticism. His most important works are divided as follows:
- Poetry: A river, a love (1929), Prohibited pleasures (1931), Where the forgetfulness dwells (1933), Invocations (1935), Clouds (1940), Desolation in the chimera (1962).
- Poetic Prose: Ocnos (1942), Variations on Mexican subject (1952).
- Criticism, literary studies: Studies on contemporary Spanish poetry (1957), Poetry and Literature (1960).
6- Vicente Aleixandre (1898-1984)
Of all those who belonged to the Generation of 27, Aleixandre was the only one to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (received in 1977) and one of the few who did not leave Spain after the Civil War. His lawyer career (studied law in Madrid, city to which he moved in 1909) did not prevent him from dedicating himself to cultivating poetry, a genre to which he dedicated his life and which he shared with several of his colleagues, such as Cernuda and García Lorca, authors Described above.
Aleixandre, as poet, was also surrealist, like Cernuda. His work is collected in several books, such as Ambit (1928), Swords as lips (1932), Shadow of paradise (1944), History of the heart (1954), Passion of the Earth (1946), In a vast domain (1962) and Poems of Consummation (1968). Throughout his career, Aleixandre demonstrated his contact with the pure and anthropocentric poetry that fuses the rigor of the intellectual with the intimate emotions.
For example, Aleixandre, in Destruction or love (1935), makes a subtle but significant union between nature, death and love. Based on his personal experiences (a disease made him move to the countryside to improve his health), Aleixandre delineates an exotic, sensual animal environment with bold images that transport the reader to a metaphysical world. This can be read in The nude , Poem that is inserted in this book and from which a fragment is reproduced:
Say, what mantle is meant to envelop our naked,
What heat flatters us while the light says names,
While we listen to letters that pass,
Pigeons to a breast that, wounded, itself is ignored.
Aleixandre's awards meant more than personal achievement. With the mentioned Nobel Prize, the National Prize of Literature obtained in 1934 and besides its appointment in 1949 like academic of the Spanish Royal Academy, Aleixandre obtained that the Generation of the 27, next to him, had a deserved recognition at international level. In this way contemporary Spanish poetry had an unprecedented reputation.
7- Rafael Alberti (1903-1999)
Initially, Alberti showed vocation for painting in 1917, when he moved to Madrid with his family. But then time made him develop more of his attraction to literature, thanks to which he published his poetry with the Sailor on earth (1925), The lover (1926) and in sum The dawn of the bushel (1927), books with which formed a kind of trilogy written in verses. Alberti also leaned for baroque, but also for the vanguard and the forms of surrealism.
With The poet on the street (1936), From one moment to another (1942) and Between the carnation and the sword (1941), Alberti made that his poetry also had a social and political load, considering its exile after the end of the Spanish Civil War due to its militant party against Franco. During his exile he had abundant publications, of which mention could only be made of the Ballad and songs from Paraná (1979), not counting his theatrical works, as The uninhabited man (1930).
Alberti returned to Spain in 1977 without neglecting his literary production. Years later he received the Cervantes Award, in 1983.
8- Other poets
The list of poets of the Generation of 27 includes more names than have already been specified. Some of them were Juan Larrea, Dámaso Alonso, Emilio Prados and Manuel Altolaguirre. What follows is just a small biographical sketch of them.
- Juan Larrea (1895-1980): Bilingual writer in French and Spanish, his poetic work was gathered in a unique volume titled Celestial version (1970).
- Dámaso Alonso (1898-1990): Author of the Children of anger (1944). He also served as a philologist and literary critic, with numerous publications.
- Emilio Prados (1899-1962): Writer of Closed garden (1946) and diffuser of the Generation of 27 with the magazine Coast (1926-1929).
- Manuel Altolaguirre (1905-1959): Editor, screenwriter, producer and film director. As a poet he composed, for example, Poems of America (1955).
- Aleixandre, Vicente (1935). Destruction or love (Illustrated edition, 1999). Buenos Aires, Argentina. Losada.
- Alvar, Carlos; Mainer, José Carlos and Navarro Durán, Rosa (1997). Brief History of Spanish Literature (2nd ed., 2014). Madrid Spain. Editorial Alliance.
- AA.VV. (2011). Poetic Anthology of the Generation of 27 (Edition of Arturo Ramoneda). Barcelona, Spain. Castalia Didactics.
- Barriales, Sandra (2002, October 11). Honoring Luis Cernuda [Online article]. Massachusetts, United States. Mount Holyoke College. Accessed January 17, 2017, at: mtholyoke.edu.
- Diego, Gerardo (1963). Luck or death: bullfighting poem (Reprint, 1999). Madrid Spain. New Library.
- Fernández López, Justo (2014, May 4). The Generation of 27 [Online article]. Consulted the 17 of January of 2017, in: hispanoteca.eu.
- García Lorca, Federico (1968). Poetry. Theater. Articles . Barcelona, Spain. Book club.
- Gies, David T. (editor, 2008). The Cambridge History of Spanish Literature . Cambridge, UK. Cambridge University Press.
- Pattison, Walter and Bleznick, Donald (1942). Representative Spanish Authors (2 vols., 3rd ed., 1971). Oxford, United Kingdom. Oxford University Press.
- Vicente Aleixandre. Biography (2015) [Online article]. Madrid Spain. Cervantes Institute. Accessed January 17, 2017, available at: cervantes.es.