Vicente Aleixandre

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Vicente Aleixandre

Vicente Pío Marcelino Cirilo Aleixandre and Merlo (Seville, April 26, 1898-Madrid, December 13, 1984) was a Spanish poet of the so-called Generation of 27. Elected academic in session of the June 30, 1949, he entered the Royal Spanish Academy on January 22, 1950. He held the chair of the letter O.

He won the National Prize for Literature in 1934 for Destruction or Love, the Critics Award in 1963 for In a vast domain, and in 1969, for Poems of Consummation, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1977 .

Vicente_Aleixandre’s Biography

Son of a family of the Spanish bourgeoisie, his father was railway engineer victim of a characteristic poor family health: his daughter Elvira died at three years, his son Fernando died a year and a half and another sister of Vicente, Sofia, it went wrong at birth. Vicente comes to the world in Seville in 1898 but spends his childhood in Malaga, where he shares studies with the future writer Emilio Prados. He moved to Madrid where he studied Law and Commerce. In 1919 he graduated in Law and obtained the title of commercial mayor. In 1917 he meets Dámaso Alonso in Las Navas del Marqués, where he used to vacation, and this contact involves the discovery of Rubén Darío, Antonio Machado and Juan Ramón Jiménez. He begins in this way a deep passion for poetry. He was Professor of Commercial Law from 1920 to 1922 at the School of Commerce, and in the summer of 1920 he met the American student Margarita Alpers in the Student Residence, with whom he also had a love affair in the summer of 1921, undone when This had to go to California. Alpers was married and is the recipient of some of Álbum’s poems; He believed that his daughter Juanita was from Aleixandre. This daughter wrote to her in 1965 to tell her that her mother had died of cancer.

His health began to worsen in 1922. In 1925 he was declared a tuberculous nephritis, which ended with the removal of a kidney, an operation performed in 1932. He published his first poems in the Revista de Occidente in 1926 and in 1928 began to read Freud, getting involved in poetic surrealism. Establish contact with Cernuda, Altolaguirre, Alberti and García Lorca. Throughout his life he hid his bisexuality, his first serious relationship with a woman, after the one he had with Alpers, and that marked him deeply, was with the cabaret singer María Valls, better known by her stage name “Carmen de Pomegranate”; This relationship inspired Vicente Aleixandre two poems by Ámbito, “Amante” and “Cabeza en la recuerdo”, and another by Sombra del paraíso, “Black Hair”; transmitted a gonorrhea that greatly aggravated his nephritis. After this relationship, and since 1923, he had another very lasting, but that did not attract too much to Aleixandre, with the German scholar Eva Seifert, who introduced him to the poetry of Hölderlin; rather, it was she who fell in love with him. In 1927 he plants in his house in Velintonia the famous cedar that will accompany him during the rest of his life.

In the 1930s, the poet met the socialist lawyer Andres Acero and both began an intense love relationship that will be interrupted by Andres’s exile to Mexico after the Civil War. In the words of Molina Foix, “Aleixandre was very shy of his homosexual condition because of the damage he could do to his family, especially his sister, but he told me that when he died he did not care that the truth was known; it was not a bad thing. “He also has a love affair with the film decorator José Manuel García Briz, who is a young noble son of the III.ª Countess of Baynoa and brother of the Marquises of Vista Alegre.

On June 19, 1932, Dr. Pedro Cifuentes removed the right kidney to Vicente Aleixandre. Dámaso Alonso and Federico García Lorca visit him at his convalescence. In the first days of the Civil War, victim of a denunciation, he spends twenty-four hours in a Cheka from which he is released by his friend Pablo Neruda, consul of Chile at the time. Around 1935 Rafael Alberti, Federico García Lorca, Luis Cernuda, Pablo Neruda, Dámaso Alonso, Gerardo Diego, Manuel Altolaguirre, Miguel Hernández, José Antonio Muñoz Rojas and his lover Andrés Acero attended his house. Many of them will leave written a semblance in 1958, in his book The Encounters, which reflects what he felt the first time he met them. A bombing destroys his house and a large part of his library. In 1937 his health deteriorated significantly: he lost ten kilos in a few months and spent the last two years of the war in bed with a rigorous treatment of calcium injections, vitamins and ultraviolet light baths. Makes a great friendship with the literary critic José Luis Cano. Maintains a long correspondence with the painter Gregorio Prieto. After the war, despite his leftist ideas, he remained in Spain, in his same house, rebuilt in October 1940. The father died in that same year after being purged by the Popular Front and thoroughly investigated by the winning side. And Aleixandre, in his internal exile, becomes during the postwar years one of the masters of young poets, with whom he pleases abundantly and receives without sparing time at his home in Madrid, Wellingtonia (or Velintonia), 3 (now and since 1978, renamed Vicente Aleixandre street). In the upper floor her friend, the lesbian poetess Carmen Conde, who has separated from her husband Antonio Oliver Belmás and has a married couple, Amanda Junquera Butler, wife of the professor of Modern History of Spain Cayetano Alcázar. Both women will dedicate Aleixandre the poem “Ofrecimiento” from her book Nacimiento última. The poet, who for these years does not stop repeating that “poetry is communication”, did not even bother sending unpublished poems to the school magazines that asked for it. Writes between 1939 and 1943 Sombra del paraíso, one of his most important books, published in Madrid in 1944. Together with Hijos de la ira, his friend Damaso Alonso, also from that year, is one of the capital books of the literary current that Alonso came to baptize as uprooted poetry, parallel to the Tremendismo in prose, during the first generation of postwar. In 1943, by the way, the rumor is spread through Mexico that he has died, so Emilio Prados made him the dedication of his book Mínima muerte, of 1944, as deceased. A young poet, Carlos Bousoño, writes a famous doctoral thesis about his work and becomes one of his lovers; Aleixandre will write the prologue of the poems of Bousoño, Primavera de la muerte (1946).

On January 22, 1950, he reads his admission speech at the Royal Spanish Academy, which deals with the theme of the poet’s life: love and poetry. His friend Damaso Alonso read the answering speech. During the 1950s he gave lectures in various cities in Spain, England and Morocco. The magazines Papeles de Son Armadans (1958), Ágora and Ínsula (1959) dedicate homage numbers. They also do it, in the 1960s, some Spanish-American magazines.

In 1963, the year in which he received the Critics Award, he headed the signing of a letter to the Francoist minister Manuel Fraga Iribarne requesting an investigation into the assaults and torture of Asturian miners and their wives during the 1962 Strike. It was signed by 120 Spanish intellectuals. The minister Fraga Iribarne published in response an “open letter” to one of the signatories (the poet José Bergamín), denying the facts.

Post-war poets, attracted by his figure, frequented his home: Jaime Gil de Biedma, Francisco Brines, Carlos Bousoño, Jose Luis Cano, Jose Hierro, Francisco Nieva, the Cantico group (especially Ricardo Molina) and the Newest, especially Luis Antonio de Villena and Vicente Molina Foix.

On October 6, 1977 the Swedish Academy awarded him the Nobel Prize for Literature “for a work of innovative poetic creation that illustrates the condition of man in the cosmos and in our current society, while representing the great renovation , in the interwar period, of the traditions of Spanish poetry ».

Emergency hospitalized on December 10, 1984, at the Santa Elena Clinic, with intestinal bleeding, dies on the night of December 13. He is buried in the family vault of the Cementerio de la Almudena in Madrid on Saturday, December 15, 1984.

After the death of his great friend Carlos Bousoño, the verses and letters of explicit amorous and homoerotic content that Aleixandre dedicated to him began to be made public.

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