Antonio Machado biography

Antonio Machado” width=”217″ height=”317″ class=”alignright size-full wp-image-951″ />Born in 1875, Antonio Machado was to become one of the premier Spanish poets of his generation. In 1883, his family moved from Seville to Madrid, and Machado and his brother Manuel were enrolled in the Institución Libre de Enseñanza. He completed his Bachillerato in Madrid, and in 1889, he and Manuel traveled to Paris to take positions as translators for a French publisher. There, his encounters with such famous poets as Verlaine, Oscar Wilde and Paul Fort encouraged a love of poetry. By 1901, that love began to bear fruit. His first poems were published in the literary journal, Electra.

Less than two years later, Machado’s first book, Soledades, was published. He continued to modify the book over the next few years, adding and subtracting poems, and editing them till he was satisfied with it. In 1907, he published another edition – the definitive version, Soledades, galerías y otros poemas.

In 1907, along with the publication of his definitive collection of poetry, Machado hit several more milestones in his life. He took a position as a professor of French at the school in Soria. There, he met Leonor Izquierdo, who was to become his wife in 1909. At the time of their marriage, he was 31, and she 15. Their happiness was to be short-lived, though. In 1911, the couple moved to Paris, where Leonor was diagnosed with advanced tuberculosis. The Machados returned to Soria, where Leonor died in 1912 after a battle with the illness. Her death on August 1 came just a few weeks after the publication of Machado’s latest book, Campos de Castilla. Devastated by his young bride’s death, Machado left Soria for Andalucía, where he wrote a series of poems dealing with Leonor’s death. These were eventually added to Campos de Castilla, completing it. It was republished in 1916, along with a new work, Nuevas Canciones.

In 1919, he left Andalucía to take a position as Professor of French at Segovia. There, he and his brother worked together on a series of plays that brought both fame and popularity. By this time, they were already considered part of the literary group of writers, poets and playwrights known as the Generation of 98, a group largely credited with bringing Spanish literature back into prominence after centuries of relative obscurity.

When Franco launched his coup in 1936, Machado was in Madrid. His brother, Manuel, was trapped in the Nationalist Zone. The pair were not to ever meet again. As the war progressed, Machado was evacuated, first from Madrid to Valencia, then to Barcelona, and finally, to Colliore, over the border in France. It was there that he died, in February of 1939, just a few days before his mother, and is buried.

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