Leonardo Romero Tobar
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Open ClassroomEspronceda or Romanticism in Spain

  • Date: 26/11/2009
  • Presenter:
    • Lucía Franco

José de Espronceda was born on 1808, a key moment for modern Spain and a year around which other highly significant figures of Spanish Romanticism were also born, such as Cecilia Böhl (1796), Trueba y Cossío (1799),  Mesonero Romanos (1803),  Hatzenbusch (1806), Larra (1809), and Donoso Cortés (1809). Along these years some of the key works defining the profile of European Romanticism were published: Hyperion (1797),  the magazine Das Athenäum (1798-1800), Lyrical Ballads  (1798), Le Génie du Christianisme  (1802), Reden an die deutsche Nation (1807-1808)... The peculiarities of Spanish Romanticism finds on this circumstance one of its most characteristic traits, although not the only one, and it is no other than the chronological delay in regards to the European literatures. Espronceda and Larra, through their prematurity, managed to burn steps and overtake innovative romantic manifestations. The former by compromising almost as a teenager with radical political activity; the later by searching for his literary field at a very young age. Espronceda's exile in London and Paris (1827 –1833) puts him in direct contact with the lively contemporary European culture. Thus, public action and personal passion will be the to paths guiding his future existence until his unexpected death in 1842.

The will for public intervention and sensibility towards the injustices of society are present in many of his prose or verse texts, and the burning pulse of his erotic experiences rewrite the themes and motivations of the new and ancient literary traditions. These harmonics sound insistently in his literary works. But the moving capacity of his lyric expression are not limited to this, because above all, Espronceda is a poet. An intense feeling of the rhythm and euphony, together with a refreshing capacity to die-cut brilliant images, trespass his style in an absolutely modern view of the world which pairs him with the most innovative poets of Romanticism. The unfolding of a lyric ego in the figure of a poet and his audience, and the ironic texture when it comes to organizing the poetic speech, are two suggestive components of a writing that returns to us a lyricist of full current value.

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