October 5, 2022

Jorge Guillén (Spain) 1893-1984

Jorge Guillén (Spain)



Born in Valladolid, Spain, Jorge Guillén was another major poet in the Spanish Generation of 1927, which included figures such as Federico García Lorca, Pedro Salinas, Rafael Alberti, Luis Cernuda, and Vicente Aleixandre. 

     Guillén attended elementary school at the Institute of Valladolid, and studied at the Maison Perreyve of the French Fathers of the Oratory in Fribough before attending the universities of Madrid and Granada. His attendance at the Sorbonne in 1917, led him to several other institutions in Oxford, Seville, and─in exile from the Civil war of Spain─Middlebury College in Vermont, McGill University in Toronto, and Wellesley College in Massachusetts. After 1947 he continued in the United States as visiting professor at Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. In 1972 he was awarded the Miguel de Cervantes Prize, one the most important of Hispanic literary honors. He returned to Spain in 1977 after Franco's death. He died in Málaga in 1984.

     It was during his French stay that he began to compose his first and one of his most important collections, Cántico. That book, published in Madrid in 1928, was immediately recognized as a masterwork. The critic Joaquín Casalduero described the book as perhaps the most "austere" work of Spanish literature, and one of its most "simple, dedicated to one single theme... The composition of Cántico is that of a rose."

     For many years Guillén was known in Spain as only the author of Cántico, but in the late 1950s he published another masterwork, the three volume poetic trilogy, Clamor. 1968 saw the publication of another major work, Aire nuestro (Our Air), a work, written in his 80s, about the inevitability of death and his continuing affirmation of life.




Cántico (Madrid: Revisa de Occidente, 1928; revised and enlarged in 1936, 1945, and 1950); El encanto de las serenas (Mexico City: Panamericana, 1953); El huerto de Melibea (Madrid: Insula, 1954); Lugar de Lázara (Málaga: Dardo, 1957); Clamor, tiempo de historia (Maremagnum, Que van a dar en a mar and A la altura de las circunstancias) (Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 1957, 1960, 1963); Viviendo y otros poemas (Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1958); Poemas de Castilla (Santiago, 1960); Suite italienne (Milan: All'Insegna del Pesce d'Oro, 1961); Tréboles (Santanader, Spain: Isla de los Tatones, 1964); Selección de poemas (Madrid: Gredos, 1965; enlarged 1970); Relatos (Málaga: Guadalhorce, 1966); Homenaje: Reunión de vidas (Milan: All'Insegna del Pesce d'Oro, 1967); Antología, edited by José Manuel Blecua (Salamanca, Spain: Anaya, 1970); Obra poética (Madrid: Alianza, 1970); Y otros poemas (Buenos Aires: Muchnik, 1973); Al Margen (Madrid: Visor, 1974); Convivencia (Madrid: Turner, 1975); Mientras el aire es nuestro, edited by Philip W. Silver (Madrid: Cátedra, 1978); Poesía amorosa: 1919-1972, edited by Anne-Mrie Couland (Madrid: Cupsa, 1978); Serie castellana (Madrid: Caballo Griego para la Poesía, 1978); Algunos poemas, edited by Angel Caffarena (Santander, Spain: Institución Cultural de Cantabria, 1981); Antología del mar (Málaga: Agora, 1981); La expresión (Ferrol, Spain: Sociedad de Cultura Valle-Inclán, 1981); Aire Nuestro: Final (Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1981); Poemas malagueños (Málaga: Publicaciones de la Diputación Provincial de Málaga, 1983); Sonetos completos (Granada: Ubago, 1988).





Cántico: A Selection, trans. by Norman Thomas de Giovanni and others (Boston: Little, Brown, 1965; London: Deutsch, 1965); Affirmation: A Bilingual Anthology, 1919-1966, trans. by Julian Palley (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968); Horses in the Air and Other Poems, trans. by Cola Franzen (San Francisco: City Lights, 1999)



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