Federico García Lorca was born in Fuente Vaqueros, Granada, Andalusia, Spain in June of 1898. His father was a landowner named Federico García Rodríguez and his mother Vicenta Lorca Romero, was a teacher. The familiar’s fortunes were tied to the land and improved alongside the sugar industry. In 1905 the family moved to Valderrubio and then moved again six years later to Granada. It was here that Lorca attended high school. The natural landscape had a deep impression on the young his mind. Lorca maintained through his life that its influence remained constant in his work.
Early Life and Education
In 1915, Lorca went on to attend the University of Granada. It was here that he studied law and literary composition. His young life had included passions for art, music, and literature. From the age of eleven he began taking music lessons, learning piano and composition. It was his goal to purse a career in music. He would later state that his first inspirations came from the likes of Claude Debussy and Beethoven.
His writing career did not begin until 1916 with works that were influenced by his musical background such as ‘Nocturne,’ and ‘Sonata.’ These years of his life were spent traveling around Spain, from Castile to Galicia. His first book, Impresiones y paisajes, or Impressions and Landscapes, was printed in 1918. Lorca’s father funded the project. Around this same time he moved to Madrid to live at Residencia de Estudiantes but continued to attend the University of Madrid.
At University he became friends with a number of other artists and fell under the mentorship of Jun Ramón Jiménez. Lorca’s first play was written and staged around 1919-20. It was titled, The Butterfly’s Evil Spell. It was not until 1921 that his first book of poetry was published, Libro de poemas, or Book of Poems. The following years of his life saw him become deeply engaged with the avant-garde art scene in Spain.
Lorca’s next collection of poetry, Canciones or Songs, was published in 1927. It was written between 1921 and 1923. This work was based around stylised ballads sung throughout the Spanish countryside. The book became quit popular throughout Spain and the Hispanic world. It would be a number of years before his plays brought him the same acclaim. One of his plays, Mariana Pienda, which is now considered to be his second, was staged in 1927. Salvador Dalí designed the set. It was followed by the collection Romancero gitano, or Gypsy Ballads.
In 1929 Lorca travelled to the US. Once he arrived he took up residence in New York City. His main source of income came from a series of lectures. He went on to attend Columbia University School of General School, an educational step funded by his parents. Lorca studied English but spent more of his time writing then working. It was during this period he wrote the collection, Poeta en Nueva York or Poet in New York. The poems in this collection explore the urban society and extreme capitalistic tendencies of the city.
Return to Spain
Lorca returned to Spain 1930 at the same time as the fall of the Primo de Rivera dictatorship. The Second Spanish Republic had just been established and Lorca was appointed director of the Teatro Universitario La Barraca. He toured around the countryside with the company and wrote some of his best-known plays. These include Blood Wedding, Yerma and The House of Bernarda Alba. He was interested in the rediscovery of European theatre and exploration of taboo subjects. Lorca’s last poetic work, Sonnets de amor oscuro, dealt with his passionate feelings for his partner Rafael Rodríguez Rapun.
In the mid 1930s Lorca was arrested due to his suspected socialist views. His brother-in-law has been shot earlier that same day after accepting the position of mayor. Although the facts are not entirely clear, it is thought that Lorca was killed by the Nationalist militia the following day. Some scholars suggest he was just one of three killed at one time by the militia. It is likely the killers had a variety of different motives for Lorca’s assassination, ranging from his social views, personal sexuality, and writings. His body has never been found.
After Lorca died, a park was dedicated to his memory. Additionally, his childhood home, Huerta de San Vicente, became a museum. Today he is best-known for his participation in Generation ’27, a group of poets who promoted symbolism, futurism and surrealism.