LORCA by Leslie Stainton


A Dream of Life
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A meticulously crafted, elegantly recounted biography of the renowned Spanish poet and playwright. Born in 1898, Federico Garc°a Lorca came of age during the great flowering of Spanish modernism that produced such notables, and friends, as Salvador Dali and Luis Bu§uel, and, arguably, led to the Spanish Civil War. Lorca’s father, a wealthy Andalusian landowner, usually indulged and funded his son’s poetic and dramatic aspirations, paying for the printing of his first two books and financing his first play. These efforts attracted some positive critical attention yet were financial disasters. Lorca largely shrugged them off: “fortunately I don—t have to make a living from my pen. If I did, I wouldn—t be so happy.” He had the brash self-confidence of genius, and though his parents insisted he get a law degree, he refused to settle down into a quiet, quotidian existence. He had enormous energy, organizing folk-song festivals, writing puppet shows, giving lectures. Slowly but definitively, he became a major cultural phenomenon. His plays made some money, his poetry books went into second editions. However, it was two trips abroad, to New York City and Buenos Aires, that secured Lorca’s reputation and allowed him to find his full poetic voice. Although he still wrote the occasional poem, he began to turn increasingly to poetic drama, creating such classics as Blood Wedding. He also began to come to terms with his homosexuality, in both his art and life. Despite being essentially apolitical, in Spain’s heated political climate, Lorca was strongly identified with the Republican left. It is a tragic testament to the power of his work that in the early days of the Spanish Civil War, he was arrested and executed. He was only 38. Stainton, who has written widely for scholarly journals and other publications, has done a remarkable job of capturing the rich fullness of Lorca’s short, brilliant life. (illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-374-19097-6
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1999


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