Thursday, July 12, 2012

Luis Cernuda

The son of a military man, Luis Cernuda received a strict education as a child, and then studied law at the University of Seville, where he met the poet and literature professor Pedro Salinas. In 1928, after his mother died, Cernuda left his hometown, with which he had all his life an intense love-hate relationship. He briefly moved to Madrid, where he quickly became part of the literary scene. However, his detached, timid and morose character, his search of perfection frequently made him lose friendships and popularity.
His mentor and former professor Salinas arranged for him to take a lectureship for a year at the University of Toulouse. From June 1929 until 1937 Cernuda lived in Madrid and participated actively in the literary and cultural scene of the Spanish capital. Cernuda collaborated with many organisations working to support a more liberal and tolerant Spain. He participated in the Second Congress of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals in Valencia.
A leftist and homosexual like his friend Federico Garca Lorca, Cernuda also belonged to what is known in Spain as the Generation of '27. His first surrealistic books of poems benefited from the freedom Spanish society enjoyed under the Second Republic (1931–1936). Tragically, this freedom would disappear under Franco's dictatorship (1939–1975). In 1938, during the Spanish civil war (1936–1939), Cernuda, like thousands of other Republican Spaniards, felt forced into exile.
With Rafael Alberti and Pablo Neruda
During the Spanish Civil War a friend secured him a position as teacher in Cranleigh School, where he taught Spanish Language and literature. After World War II another friend got him a lectureship in Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA, where he would spend some years. Later on, moved by his sentimental relationships, he would move to Mexico, where he died.

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