Guest Author - Rachel L Webb
Antonio Machado is one of the most popular Spanish poets. He was born in Campos de Castilla, Seville in 1875, but his family moved to Madrid when he was only eight. While studying for his Bachillerato family finances forced him to work as well. During this time he went to France where he met some contemporary writers who influenced his decision to dedicate himself to poetry.
He studied literature and French and after his studies he was given a position to teach French in Soria. It was here, at the age of 34 that he met and fell in love with the daughter of his landlady, who was only fifteen at the time. They married soon after but a short time later his wife, Leonor, contracted tuberculosis and died.
Grief stricken and contemplating suicide he received orders to move to Baeza, Jaen in Andalucia, where he stayed for seven years. Through this period he frequently shut himself in classrooms and went for long solitary walks around the old city walls of his new hometown, while coming to terms with his grief.
During this time he rented a house with his mother and gradually began to write again. Although his best and happiest works were written during the short years of his marriage: Campos de Castilla, Fields of Castilla is acknowledged as being written in this period.
Some of Machado´s early poetry, including Solitudes, Galleries and other poems were influenced by the French modernist movement, and Frederico Garcia Lorca with whom he’d spent some time.
In 1919 Machado moved again, this time to Segovia in Castile, nearer to his brother in Madrid. They met at weekends and became popular performing plays they’d jointly written. He stayed in Segovia until 1932 when he was given a teaching post in Madrid, where he was based when the Civil War started.
Antonio Machado like Lorca was another victim of the Spanish Civil War. He went to Valencia at the beginning of the Civil War in which he supported the Republic. In February, 1939, he fled across the Pyrenees with his mother and her brother but became ill during the trip and died shortly thereafter in the French town of Collioure.
Antonio Machado’s major publications
Solitudes, Galleries and other poems (1907)
Fields of Castilla (1912)
Poesías completas (1917)
Nuevas canciones (1924)
Poesías completas (1936, fourth edition)
Juan de Mairena (1936)
Find out more about the area Machado's birth here.