Columbians Ahead of Their Time
 Federico García Lorca
Federico García Lorca "As I have not worried to be born, I do not worry to die."

Federico García Lorca (1898–1936)
Writer
General Studies 1929

Federico García Lorca is one of Spain's greatest literary figures, and after Miguel de Cervantes perhaps the most widely recognized Spanish writer in the English-speaking world. Known above all for his poetry and plays, Lorca also produced novels, short stories, paintings, drawings, and musical compositions in his brief lifetime. Many of his works drew upon themes and imagery from folk traditions, particularly those of his native Andalusia; others exhibited avant-garde poetic forms associated in Spain with the Ultraist movement. In the 1920s, Lorca devoted himself to poetry and associated himself with a group of artists that included Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel. After spending 12 months in the United States in 1929 and 1930, Lorca turned his attention to theater and in 1931 formed a company, La Barraca, that toured the Spanish countryside in order to present Spanish classical drama to provincial audiences. The troupe produced the three "rural tragedies" that formed the basis of Lorca's theatrical reputation: Blood Wedding (1933), Yerma (1934) and The House of Bernarda Alba (1936). In August 1936, shortly after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Lorca was executed by a Falangist firing squad for his suspected left-wing sympathies; his books were burned publicly, and his name forbidden by the Franco government. Lorca's death made him a martyr and an international symbol of political repression, adding to his legend. The House of Bernarda Alba was not produced in Spain until 1950, and many of his works remained banned in his native country until 1971, a time of cultural liberalization in the waning years of the Franco government.

After the publication of his book of poetry, The Gypsy Ballads, made his reputation throughout Spain, Lorca moved to New York in the summer of 1929 to study English at Columbia. Here he came into contact with amateur theater groups and professional repertory companies. He left Columbia after the summer session, but his 1929–30 American sojourn inspired another book of poetry, Poet in New York, that was published posthumously.

Read more about García Lorca in the Columbia Encyclopedia.
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