Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
The poetry of Vicente Aleixandre, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1977, became more accessible to English-speaking readers with the publication of A Longing for the Light, a collection of translations from the Spanish by editor Lewis Hyde and fourteen other hands. Most of the poems in the English-language collection were initially selected by Aleixandre, and they exemplify some of the best and most representative works of Aleixandre’s career to 1979. The title is a translation of a phrase that Aleixandre used to characterize his poetry. Aleixandre used the metaphor of differing lights to describe his belief that poetry is both composed and read in differing circumstances. He advised his readers that his poems may be read in terms of “rainbow light,” understanding that he may have composed them in other lights, such as the “black light” with which he says he wrote his very early poems. In a sense, then, A Longing for the Light traces Aleixandre’s journey through various densities of light, exploring the relative solitude and connectedness possible to the human condition as well as the possibilities of the artistic vision and artistic creation to communicate.
His first published work, Ámbito (1928), shows the influence of Juan Ramón Jiménez and displays Aleixandre’s affinities with other members of the Generation of ’27, such as Jorge Guillén. Unlike Guillén, who believed that the poetic experience is...
(The entire section is 2230 words.)
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