Biography (Critical Survey of Poetry)
Juan Ramón Jiménez was born in Moguer, a typical town in Andalusia, steeped in tradition, colorful but slow-moving. His father, Victor, had come from north-central Spain to make his fortune in viniculture, acquiring extensive vineyards and numerous wineries in Moguer. Purificación, Jiménez’ mother, was a native Andalusian and a very good mother, although perhaps too indulgent toward her youngest child, Juan Ramón. The future poet had a comfortable and happy early childhood in the family’s new home on the Calle Nueva. Later, he learned to ride and, on horse or donkey, developed his love of nature in the beautiful countryside, which offered some compensation for the scant cultural stimulation of the town. After four or five years of elementary education in Moguer, Jiménez, then eleven years old, was sent with his brother to a Jesuit school near Cádiz, where he completed his secondary studies at age fifteen.
The colegio offered the best education available in the region, and Jiménez was a good, well-behaved student. Although somewhat homesick and averse to the school’s regimentation, he was alert, imaginative, and intellectually curious, enjoying a variety of subjects, especially drawing and literature. His meditative mind and love of nature inclined him to religion and, despite later aversion to the Church, among the six schoolbooks that he kept permanently were the Bible and Thomas à Kempis’s Imitatio Christi (c. 1427;...
(The entire section is 1248 words.)
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Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Juan Ramón Jiménez (hee-MAY-nuhs), who shares with Antonio Machado Ruiz (1875-1939) the preeminent position among twentieth century Spanish lyric poets, was born in the village of Moguer, Andalusia. He received his early education at the Jesuit school in Santa Maria, near where Christopher Columbus outfitted his expedition for the New World. After completing his formal study at the University of Seville, Jiménez continued to educate himself by reading the old Spanish ballads in the Romanceros and the poems of the seventeenth century Baroque writer Góngora y Argote and those of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, the late-Romantic poet whom Jiménez regarded as the initiator of twentieth century Spanish poetry. The poetry of the Romantic movement in England and Germany also inspired him, as did the French Symbolists. In addition he studied painting and music, both of which left an imprint on his work.
His literary career began during the period of transition that marked the closing years of the nineteenth century, and Jiménez’s first publication at the age of seventeen indicated his choice between continuing his study of law in Seville or devoting himself to literature. The verses, sent to Vida nueva of Madrid, though overdecorated and florid, nevertheless attracted the attention of the...
(The entire section is 878 words.)