- Alberti, Rafael
▪ 2000Spanish poet and playwright (b. Dec. 16, 1902, Puerto de Santa María, Spain—d. Oct. 28, 1999, Puerto de Santa María), was regarded as one of the leading poets of the 20th century; his oeuvre also included essays, plays, and works of prose. Alberti, who was born to a family of prosperous wine merchants, studied art in Madrid and achieved some success as a painter before he began to write poetry in 1923. His first book of verse, Marinero en tierra (1925), winner of the 1925 Spanish National Prize for Literature, recalled the sea of the Cádiz region of his youth. In 1927 Alberti joined the so-called Generation of 1927, a group of Spanish poets and artists who came together in Seville to celebrate the tercentenary of the death of poet Luis de Góngora y Argote. In the 1930s Alberti devoted his time to political activities—he became a member of the Spanish Communist Party and was heavily involved in leftist politics. He visited the Soviet Union and started the revolutionary magazine Octubre in 1934, fought on the Republican side of the 1936–39 Spanish Civil War, organized the Second International Congress of Writers in 1938, and became one of the leading figures in the Alianza de Intelectuales Antifascistas (Alliance of Antifascist Intellectuals). After Gen. Francisco Franco's Nationalist troops won the civil war, Alberti fled (1939) to France, where he worked as a radio announcer, then to Argentina, where he published his most lauded work, La arboleda perdida (1942; The Lost Grove,1976), and later to Rome. He returned to Spain in 1977, two years after the death of Franco, at which time he said, “I left with my fist closed and return with my hand open as a symbol of peace and brotherhood among all Spaniards.” Soon after his return, Alberti was elected a member of the Cortes (parliament) as a Communist and represented Cádiz, but he resigned his post after four months to devote his time to poetry readings. He won the Cervantes Prize in 1983.
* * *▪ Spanish poet and playwrightborn Dec. 16, 1902, Puerto de Santa María, Spaindied Oct. 28, 1999, Puerto de Santa MaríaSpanish writer of Italian Irish ancestry, regarded as one of the major Spanish poets of the 20th century.Alberti studied art in Madrid and enjoyed some success as a painter before 1923, when he began writing and publishing poems in magazines. His first book of poetry, Marinero en tierra (1925; “Sailor on Land”), recalled the sea of his native Cádiz region and won a national prize. A member of the so-called Generation of 1927, Alberti helped to celebrate the tercentenary of Luis de Góngora (Góngora y Argote, Luis de) in 1927, and Góngorist influence is apparent in the work published in that period, El alba del alhelí (1927; “The Dawn of the Wallflower”) and Cal y canto (1928; “Quicklime and Song”). With his next book, the somewhat Surrealist (Surrealism) Sobre los ángeles (1929; Concerning the Angels), Alberti established himself as a mature and individual voice.In the 1930s Alberti's work became overtly political; he wrote plays, traveled widely, joined the Communist Party—from which he was later expelled—and founded a review, Octubre. He fought for the Republic in the Spanish Civil War and afterward fled to Argentina, where he worked for the Losado publishing house and resumed both his poetry and his earlier interest, painting. In 1941 he published a collection of poems, Entre el clavel y la espada (“Between the Carnation and the Sword”), and in 1942 a book of drama, prose, and poetry about the Civil War, De un momento a otro (“From One Moment to Another”). He published a collection of poems inspired by painting, A la pintura (1945; “On Painting”), and collections on maritime themes, such as Pleamar (1944; “High Tide”). After 1961, he lived in Italy, returning to Spain in 1977. Alberti's autobiography, La arboleda perdida (The Lost Grove), was published in two volumes, the first in 1942 and the second in 1975.
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