Life and Tragic Death of Federico García Lorca

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Closeup cutout from Image:Garcialorca madrid lou.jpgCategory: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of Spain’s most famous poets, Federico García Lorca’s life and illustrious career was cut short by the Spanish Civil War

Young Lorca

Lorca was born in the city of Granada in 1898 and went on to read law at the university. He was also a great musician, becoming expert in both guitar and piano. He moved to Madrid and became part of the “Generation 1927” movement which included such famous names as Pablo Neruda and Salvador Dali. He was homosexual and his advances to Dali were rejected, causing him much pain but he found love with others.

His first collection of poems was published in 1921, but he also became famous for his music, using the inspiration of the traditional folk and gypsy music of his native Andalucía. He also wrote plays.

He travelled to New York for a year in 1929-1930 but found the cultural difference and his inability to speak English so hard that he contemplated suicide. He travelled on to Havana, Cuba arriving back in Spain in 1931.

Back to Spain

His arrival back in Spain coincided with the start of what was to eventually become the Spanish Civil War. However, he continued to write poetry and produce plays much to the delight of his audiences.

Lorca travelled back to his home city of Granada just three days before the war broke out in July 1936. He knew that the extreme right wing movement headed by General Franco would see him as a left wing liberal. His brother in law, at the time Mayor of Granada, was shot on 18 August 1936 and Lorca was arrested soon afterwards.

Shot to Death

Exactly what happened next is unclear. He was never seen again and it is generally thought that he was taken out into the countryside near Granada and shot. Various historians have written theses on where, how and why his death took place. One such book is “Las trece últimas horas en la vida de García Lorca,” ( The last 13 hours in the life of García Lorca) written by the Spanish investigator, Miguel Caballero, who interviewed many people who were involved with the arrest of the poet, the family of the poet and others. He believes that he has identified those who were in the party who shot the poet. He also believes that three other people were shot at the same time and are buried in the same grave. The grave has, to date, not been found.

Search for the Grave

In recent years, Spain has tried to come to terms with the Civil War that tore families and the country apart. A new law has been put in place to allow suspected burial sites to be opened by trained archaeologists and for any bodies found to be identified and returned to their families. In a recent interview on Spanish television Miguel Caballero took the reporter to the spot where he believes the poet lies but excavations in that area have not found any human remains.

Foundation Set Up By Family

One of Spain’s greatest poets continues to lie in an unmarked grave, seventy seven years after his death. Despite the many monuments and memorials that have been placed in various parts of Spain, his family will not rest until his body is found and he can be buried with decency. His sister, Isabel Garcia Lorca and other members of the family have set up a Foundation to ensure that the work of the great poet, playwright and musician can be read and enjoyed by everyone. The family has donated all their documents etc related to the poet to the Foundation.

“I know there is no straight road
No straight road in this world
Only a giant labyrinth
Of intersecting crossroads”
― Federico García Lorca


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