Lorca, Bunuel, Dali: Art and Theory

By Manuel Delgado Morales; Alice J. Poust | Go to book overview

Romanticism, Transcendence, and
Modernity in Lorca's
Libro de poemas, or the
Adventures of a Snail

Michael Iarocci

University of California, Berkeley

NOSTALGIA for the innocence of childhood, the disenchantment of the world, the confused awakenings of adolescent desire; such are the thematics most often invoked in critical accounts of Federico García Lorca's first book of poems, the 1921 Libro de poe mas (Book of Poems). Indeed, Lorca himself established this interpretive frame explicitly in the “Palabras de justificación” (Words of justification) that introduce the collection: “ofrezco en este libro, todo ardor juvenil y tortura, y ambición sin medida, la imagen exacta de mis días de adolescencia y juventud, esos días que enlazan el instante de hoy con mi misma infancia reciente” [I offer in this book, which is entirely youthful ardor, torture and measureless ambition, the exact image of my days of adolescence and youth, those days that bind the present instant with my recent infancy itself].1 Not surprisingly, it has been through this prism of recollected youth that some of the more salient features of the work's poetic landscape— that is, the familiar, enchanted sense of place, the magical animal world, the lyric subject's intercourse with his surroundings, etc.— have been understood.2

But if this neoromantic topos provides a relatively comfortable hermeneutic cipher for the Libro de poemas, it also opens up a series of questions that have received less critical attention. They are those hallmark questions that have persistently engaged critics of an older romantic rhetoric, questions pertaining to the relationship between the lyric subject and time.3 In the case of Lorca's Libro de poemas, the question of time would seem to be fundamental, inasmuch as it bears not only on the individual poems, but also more generally, on

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