Federico García Lorca
- According to Spanish naming customs (see the Wikipedia article on them) this person's last name is the double last name GarcÍa Lorca, the first being his father's first last name and the second the mother's first last name. It should always be alphabetized under "G". However, both in conversation and writing he is usually referred to by the "short name" of Lorca (which would generate an index entry under G, not L).
Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) was a Spanish poet and dramatist who was a hebephile, possibly a pedophile as well, or at least someone who wanted lovers younger than himself (21 when he was 36, for example).
The case of Lorca is especially interesting because:
- He got killed for it.
- Direct information from some of his young friends has been available.
- Philip Cummings (see the Wikipedia article on him).
- The Stanton boy, from Poet in New York
- More vaguely on Rafael Rodríguez Rapún and other Spanish lovers.
More on these to come.
- 1 Conspiracy of silence
- 2 Lorca's family
- 3 Early years
- 4 His brother Francisco
- 5 Salvador Dalí. Le chien andalou
- 6 Emilio Aladrén. The trip to New York
- 7 Philip Cummings, an American queer and ephebe
- 8 Rafael Rodríguez Rapún
- 9 El público
- 10 Morla Lynch's salon
- 11 The assassination
- 12 Controversy about the execution
- 13 Impact of assassination
- 14 Rafael Martínez Nadal
- 15 Sonetos de amor oscuro (Sonnets of Dark Love)
Conspiracy of silence
Lorca's homosexuality, let alone his boylove, has been a taboo, politically-charged topic (see below). During his lifetime he was not "out"; Marcelle Auclair said, after his death, that Lorca had led a "double life". Nevertheless, in the small literary circles in which he moved it was known to most, though not all, but it could not appear in print in any direct way in Spain for at least 50 years after his death, without significant repercussions. Lorca's works were prohibited in Spain from the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 until 1954, although copies were smuggled in from other countries. The Lorca family encouraged and discouraged scholarship, by granting or withholding permission to see unpublished documents and works and reedit the published ones, according to the researcher's position on Lorca's sexuality. To judge by their public statements and actions, there were some who clung to the fiction that he was heterosexual. (He was not bisexual, but it is revealing of earlier attitudes that bisexuality never appeared in the discussions, not even to deny it.)
Lorca had one brother and two sisters, in addition to his parents: his father a well-to-do progressive farmer, his mother a teacher. His family, in some sense, "knew" that Federico was homosexual, but there was a deliberate and apparently successful attempt to not see what was under their noses. The topic was taboo, so much so that the family, after Lorca's death, granted or withheld access to texts to reward or punish those writing on him, depending on whether the scholar followed their instructions to present Lorca as heterosexual. Even worse, texts and correspondence remained unpublished - because the family did not want them published - for half a century or more, and readers and scholars bought editions of Lorca's Obras completas (Complete Works) without realizing how incomplete they were.
This situation came to a peak in the early 1980s when his homosexual Sonetos de amor oscuro were published in French translation but were unpublished in the original Spanish. This led two important scholars, using copies of the translator's copies, to publish a clandestine edition with Granada as place of publication. It was mailed anonymously, with a misleading Granada postmark, to many important cultural figures in Spain, and many Lorca scholars.. (The copies, printed and addressed in or near Madrid, were taken to Granada and mailed there.)
Lorca's first tears were spent in the town of Fuentevaqueros, then in nearby Asquerosa (today Valderrubio), then attending high school as a boarding student in Granada. That Lorca was sexually active with his classmates - indeed, "quite active" - is well documented.
His brother Francisco
Lorca's younger brother Francisco idolyzed Federico. He loved him, everyone could see.
There is no direct evidence of any sexual contact between the two, but indirectly the case is overwhelming. The white heat of the topic of homosexuality in the family is evidence. The silence, the censorship. Lorca was the sort of guy who, out of love, would have tried to seduce his brother.
Apparently Francisco never talked of this with anyone, his whole life.
Francisco published a volume of memoirs, In the Green Morning. With the rest of his family, he moved to the U.S. in 1939, at the end of the Spanish Civil War. He was a professor at Columbia University.
Salvador Dalí. Le chien andalou
This French silent movie of 1929 reflects behind it the rupture of Dalí and Lorca's relationship.
In this context, the word "perro" (dog) is an insult, as in English "that's a dog of a topic/job".
"Andalusian" is unquestionably a reference to Lorca. He was by far the
Emilio Aladrén. The trip to New York
Philip Cummings, an American queer and ephebe
Lorca met Philip Cummings, eight years his junior, in Madrid, most likely in 1929. Cummings invited Lorca to visit him at his family's summer home in Eden Mills, Vermont. They shared a compartment on a train north from Spain (there was no direct passenger sevice from Spain to the United States). However, they did not take the same boat.
After a summer course in English for Foreigners at Columbia University, Lorca went to Vermont by train and spent a week with Philip. This was arguably the most enjoyable and important (to him) week of Philip's life. Federico had a good and productive time also. Philip told several Lorca scholars, to whom he made himself available and eagsrly retold the story of their idyllic week, that they were lovers.
Philip had an attitude that is today vanished in Western countries: that men are superior to women as friends, sexual partners, and thinkers. Women existed to bear and bring up children. Lorca shared that attitude.
Rafael Rodríguez Rapún
Morla Lynch's salon
In mid-1936, with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, public order broke down partially or completely in parts of Spain. (It had already broken down somewhat before the formal beginning of the war, the revolt by Franco and other rightist, Catholic generals.) On both sides individuals or bands, with minimal or no authorization from any type of authority, executed whoever they wanted to, sometimes for purely personal reasons. Though the figures have been much disputed, there is a consensus among historians that there were many more executions on the conservative, landowning, Catholic side.
Although Lorca had several invitations to leave the country, and reportedly had already purchased a ticket to Mexico, he strangely chose to join his family in the conservative city of Granada. (Granada politics were so disturbed that the city had had no mayor for months, as no one dared accept the position. When Lorca's brother-in-law finally accepted the position, he was killed in a few days.) He also refused offers of assistance to leave Granada when that was still possible.
After he was threatened while in his parents' house, he took refuge in the house of another homosexual, Luis Rosales, 12 years Lorca's junior. His family was of known conservative politics; one facet of the conservative rebels' activity in Granada (the Falange) was headquartered in the Rosales' house.
Under suspicious circumstances (all the Rosales men were out, and none could be located by telephone), a group of three men, headed by Ramón Ruiz Alonso, took Federico from Rosales' house. He was in the city jail, under military control, for three days. He was then taken and killed, his body tossed into a large pit together with the many others being executed, day after day. His body has never been found.
His execution was not immediately publicized. It was primarily foreigners - the most influential of them British - who, having heard rumors, contacted Spanish authorities inquiring about Lorca. Although the authorities were uncooperative, within a few months Lorca's execution had been confirmed.
Controversy about the execution
Lorca's death, the factual details, and the bigger question of the motive(s), have given rise to a controversy which to some extent resembles that concerning the assassination of U.S. president Kennedy. No government entity has ever publicly addressed the responsibility for Lorca's death, the report from the investigation commissioned by General (dictator) Franco has not surfaced, and there is no consensus among Lorca scholars about the motives. The majority view is that he was executed by the right-wing rebels, because Lorca was a leftist, and the Nationalists "hated poetry". There has long been a dissenting point of view, noting that while Lorca was unquestionably leftist during most of his life, he showed symptoms of affiliation, at least in spirit, with the Catholic, monarchist rebels. The growing sense of chaos in Spanish cities led many influential figures, such as Miguel de Unamuno, to briefly support the uprising.
Impact of assassination
It is difficult, 80 years later, to picture the enormously influential icon of evil Lorca's death. It Became a symbol of Spain's fall into Civil War. What his death meant was that "the Nationalist side (the rebels, the victors, Franco's side), the conservative, Catholic side, is killing its poets. This is horrible; they are brutes. They must be stopped."
Part of the impact was caused by the fact that public knowledge of the assassination arrived in several stages over the course of several months: first nothing, then rumors, then inquiries, more inquiries, then finally confirmation. When it was finally confirmed there was a huge international eruption of support: books published, newspaper articles, homages.
The Nationalist (Catholic, monarquist) side did not make any public statement about the assassination. (Hints brought quick international outrage.) This meant there was never any closure on the event. The assassination, once knowledge of it (minus details) became publiic, was used for propaganda purposes by the elected republican government, to rally support for their cause. The U.S., U. K., and many other countries, with leftist Russia and Mexico the only exceptions, took a "hands off" position toward the whole affair. Publicizing the assassination was in part an unsuccessful attemp to pressure countries to support the elected government.
There was, however, a considerable outpouring of individual support.
Rafael Martínez Nadal
Nadal (short name), had, and finally published, what we have of El público: a messy first draft, missing an act.
He was bisexual, pro-pleasure, and for the times was pretty open about it. An important detail about Nadal is that he was on neither of the two sides in the Spanish Civil War.
Sonetos de amor oscuro (Sonnets of Dark Love)
The Sonetos de amor oscuro is a collection of Petrarchan sonnets on homosexual themes. Although their existence was known to Lorca's friends since they were written (Lorca frequently read his works aloud), their existence was denied by Lorca's homophobic family, who refuse to use Lorca's well-documented title to this day. They were first published in French translation. The Spanish originals were published clandestinely and illegally in 1983.
|Note this page is still under construction.|