[Lorca] was a man ahead of his time, a restless traveller, a homosexual and completely avant-garde. "Catholic, communist, anarchist, libertarian, traditionalist, monarchist," this is how he once described himself. Federico never had any definite political affiliation, which is one of the reasons why some people believe that his assassination owed more to personal rather than political motives.
During this period, García Lorca became part of a group of artists known as Generación del 27, which included Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel, who exposed the young poet to surrealism.
Born in Fuente Vaqueros, province of Granada, on June 5, 1898, Federico García Lorca is internationally recognized as Spain's most prominent lyric poet and dramatist of the twentieth century. His poetry and plays have been translated into dozens of languages and have been the object of study by critics all over the world. His books continue to sell, and his plays are staged and applauded every year.
In Madrid [Lorca] came to form part of the literary avant-garde that played such a decisive part in shaping the city's culture during the 1920s and 1930s. At the Residencia de Estudiantes, the student boarding house where he lived during his first six years in Madrid, he became close friends with Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel. All came into contact with surrealism during their time there and their artistic practice — in theatre, film and art — demonstrates a palpable intertwining of shared interests and aesthetics.
[Lorca] was a dramatist who brought theatre to the people, a homosexual who lived as openly as he could in an era where to live at all was no certainty, a supporter of the Republic and the sympathiser with the ruling leftist Popular Front. He had friends and admirers across the political and social spectrum, aroused controversy without courting it as shamelessly as some of his contemporaries, and in perhaps the last age where a poet could truly be considered famous, did everything he could to earn and justify that acclaim.
Throughout his all too short but trailblazing life, death had been his central artistic theme – and seventy-five years ago today on 19th August 1936 at the age of thirty-eight, the Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca met the violent fate he had foreseen when he wrote: “Then I realised I had been murdered. They looked for me in cafes, cemeteries and churches …. but they did not find me. They never found me? No. They never found me.”
Lorca is often said to be in revolt against realism. Yet such a statement is highly inaccurate, unless we limit its mean- ing and say that he was in revolt against the techniques of realism. It would be more correct to say that, loving reality tremendously, he raises and lifts it to a different plane.
…popular tradition is one of the main influences in Lorca's work; but it has been vastly exaggerated by some critics […] Lorca grafted on the tree of popular tradition his own gorgeous ramification of the sophisticated and highly literary Gongorine tradition, which is the every opposite of the simple popular folk-lore with which he blended it so harmoniously. Thus he performed the miraculous operation of combining the most cultivated artifice of baroque poetry with the ingenuous art of the people.
More so than any other twentieth-century Spanish writer, he remains a paradoxical embodiment of the local, the national and the global. His life and work have become indelibly bound up in a process of mythification that has converted him first into the ultimate countercultural icon - the gay, martyred seer and a taboo topic in Franco's Spain - and now the establishment face of the newly tolerant post-dictatorship in Spain.
…Lorca in English translation and adaptation has become a specifically American poet, adaptable to the cultural and ideological desiderata of U.S. poets during the cold war period. […] the American Lorca is largely an apocryphal figure, an invention of poets in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s. Lorca is unique in the extent to which he […] has been fully assimilated into the American idiom. Other foreign-language poets have been influential in the United States, but none has been so thoroughly Americanized.
The interrelationship of Lorca's experiments with La Barraca and his own creative writing cannot be overemphasized, for nowhere in the mix of Spanish popular tradition and modern dramatic technique better exemplified than in the four great plays written at this time: Blood Wedding (1933), Yerma (1934), Dona Rosita the Spinster (1935) and the House of Bernarda Alba (1936). With the performance of Blood Wedding, Lorca became the most celebrated Spanish dramatist of his day.
…[Lorca's] writings throughout his career are driven by the same overarching concerns with several very fundamental philosophical dialectics. The foremost of these is the relationship of the soul to the body, and a parallel theory of metaphysical Love surpassing carnal desire. The poet's discussion of these dialects is interpellated by the challenge posed by constructed gender and its establishing of identity, something that Garcia Lorca iterates in increasingly sophisticated and refined ways through the course of the theatrical realization of his ideas.