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Generation of '27

Generation of '27

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The Generation of '27 (Spanish Generación del '27) was an influential group of poets that arose in Spanish literary circles between 1923 and 1927, essentially out of a shared desire to experience and work with avant-garde forms of art and poetry. Their first formal meeting took place in Seville in 1927 to mark the 300th anniversary of the death of the baroque poet Luis de Góngora. Writers and intellectuals celebrated an homage in the Ateneo de Sevilla, which retrospectively became the foundational act of the movement.



The name of "generation" has been discussed. The Generation of '27 has also been called, with lesser success, "Generation of the Dictatorship", "Generation Guillén-Lorca" (Guillén being its oldest author, and Lorca its younger), "Generation of 1925" (average publishing date of the first book of each author), "Generation of Avant-Guardes", "Generation of Friendship," etc. According to Petersen, "generation group" or a "constellation" are better terms which are not so much historically restricted as "generation."

Aesthetic style

The Generation of '27 cannot be neatly categorized stylistically, due to wide variety of genres and styles cultivated by its members. While some members, such as Jorge Guillén, wrote in a style that has been loosely called jubilant and joyous and celebrates the instant, others, such as Rafael Alberti, underwent a poetic evolution which led him from youthful poetry of a more romantic vein to politically engaged verses later in life.

The group tried to bridge the gap between Spanish popular culture and folklore, classical literary tradition and European avant-guardes. It evolved from pure poetry which emphasized music in poetry, in Baudelaire's veins, to Futurism, Cubism, Ultraist and Creationism, to become influenced by Surrealism and finally to disperse in interior and exterior exile following the Civil War and World War II (sometimes gathered by historians under the term of the "European Civil War"). The Generation of '27 made a frequent use of visionary images, free verses and the so-called impure poetry preconized by Pablo Neruda.


In a restrictive sense, the Generation of '27 refers to ten authors, although many others were in their orbit, some olders such as Fernando Villalón, José Moreno Villa or León Felipe, and others youngers such as Miguel Hernández. Others have been forgotten by the critics, such as Juan Larrea, Pepe Alameda, Mauricio Bacarisse, Juan José Domenchina, José María Hinojosa, José Bergamín or Juan Gil-Albert. There is also the "Other generation of '27," a term coined by José López Rubio, formed by himself and humorist disciples of Ramón Gómez de la Serna, including: Enrique Jardiel Poncela, Edgar Neville, Miguel Mihura and Antonio de Lara, "Tono", writers who would integrate after the Civil War (1936-39) the editing board of La Codorniz...

Furthermore, the Generation of '27 was not exclusively restricted to poets, including artists such as Luis Buñuel, the caricaturist K-Hito, the surrealist painters Salvador Dalí and Óscar Domínguez, the paintor and sculptor Maruja Mallo, as well as Benjamín Palencia, Gregorio Prieto, Manuel Ángeles Ortiz and Gabriel García Maroto, the toreros Ignacio Sánchez Mejías, Rodolfo Halffter and Jesús Bal y Gay, musicologists and compositors belonging to the Group of Eight, including Bal and Gay, Ernesto Halffter and his brother Rodolfo, Juan José Mantecón, Julián Bautista, Fernando Remacha, Rosa García Ascot, Salvador Bacarisse and Gustavo Pittaluga. There was also the Catalan Group who presented themselves in 1931 under the name of Grupo de Artistas Catalanes Independientes, including Roberto Gerhard, Baltasar Samper, Manuel Blancafort, Ricardo Lamote de Grignon, Eduardo Toldrá and Federico Mompou.

Finally, not all literary works were written in Spanish: Salvador Dalí and Óscar Domínguez also wrote in French, while Felipe Alfau wrote in English. Foreigners such as the Chilean poets Pablo Neruda and Vicente Huidobro, the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, and the Franco-Spanish paintor Francis Picabia also shared a lot with the aesthetics of the Generation of '27.

The Generation of '27 was not exclusively located in Madrid, but rather deployed itself in a geographical constellation which maintained links together. The most important nucleus were in Sevilla, around the Mediodía review, Tenerife around the Gaceta de Arte and Málaga, around the Litoral review. Others members resided in Galicia, Catalunya and Valladolid.

The Currents of 27

The Generation of '27 was not an homogeneous group, and have been frequently classed in couples or trios. Rafael Alberti and Federico García Lorca thus formed the Neopopular group, which tried to approach the poetry of Gil Vicente and of the Gypsie Romancero, or the Lírica cancioneril. These were particularly intent upon founding the roots of their poetry in popular folklore.

Jorge Guillén, influenced by Paul Valéry's pure poetry, and Pedro Salinas, the great poet of love of 27, were two philology teachers.

The Surrealist group was larger, and included in particular the Nobel Prize Vicente Aleixandre, probably the most creative of all and one of the most influential poets of his generation in the second half of the 20th century, as well as Luis Cernuda, who lived Surrealism as a revelation which permitted him to assume his homosexual desire, and who constitute the first Spanish-language "poet of experience" in the Anglo-Saxon sense of the word. Others poets of '27 influenced by Surrealism include Rafael Alberti, Federico García Lorca in his Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías, Poeta en Nueva York and Sonetos del amor oscuro; José María Hinojosa with his La flor de Californía (with the accent on the i) and Emilio Prados.

Along with Manuel Altolaguirre, Emilio Prados constituted the young group of Málaga around the Litoral review published by Altolaguirre.

The Spanish Civil War and its aftermaths

The Civil War brought about the splitting of the movement: García Lorca was murdered, Miguel Hernandez died in jail, and other members (Rafael Alberti, Jose Bergamin, Leon Felipe, Luis Cernuda, Pedro Salinas, Juan Ramón Jimenez, Bacarisse) were forced into exile, although virtually all kept writing and publishing late into the 20th century.

Dámaso Alonso and Gerardo Diego formed parts of those who reluctantly remained in Spain after the Franquists' victory, and more or less pactized with the new authoritarian and traditionalist regime, or even openly supported it in the case of Diego. The latter evolved a lot, combining tradition and avant-guarde, and mixing many different themes, from toreo to music to religious and existentialism disquiets, landscapes, etc. Others, such as Juan Gil-Albert, simply ignored the new regime, taking the path of interior exile and de facto converting themselves in guides and masters of a new generation of poets, such as Vicente Aleixandre.

However, for many Spaniards the harsh reality of Francoist Spain and its reactionary nature meant that the cerebral and aesthetic verses of the Generation of '27 did not connect with what was truly happening, a task that was handled more capably by the poets of the Generation of '50 and the social poets.


See also

External links

ca:Generació del 27

de:Generación del 27 es:Generación del 27 fr:Génération de 27 gl:Xeración do 27 it:Generazione del '27 pl:Pokolenie 27 pt:Geração de 27 ro:Generaţia lui 27 ru:Поколение 27 года

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