Ángel de Saavedra Biography


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Ángel Pérez de Saavedra Ramírez de Madrid Ramírez de Baquedano was born in Córdoba, Spain, on March 10, 1791, the second son of a noble family. He received his early education from French clerks who had fled the French Revolution. From an early age, he showed an aptitude in poetry and painting. At the age of eleven, Saavedra entered the Royal Seminary for Noblemen in Madrid; at fifteen, he joined the Royal Guards and started his military career. At the same time, he began writing articles and poetry for a journal founded by friends. This was the time of the Napoleonic invasion of Spain and the beginning of the Spaniards’ rebellion against Napoleon and his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, who had been made king of Spain by the French armies. This rebellion, known as the Spanish War of Independence, lasted from 1808 to 1814 and signaled the end of Napoleon’s dominance in Europe.

Saavedra participated with distinction in the Spanish War of Independence. He first fought against the French as a lieutenant and was severely wounded in 1809. In 1810, he went to Cádiz, a stronghold of the Spanish armies, where he was promoted to captain, then to lieutenant colonel. In Cádiz, Saavedra became the editor of the official staff journal of the armies fighting against the Napoleonic forces. Also in Cádiz, he met the patriotic poets Juan Nicasio Gallego and Manuel José Quintana, whose influence is reflected in Saavedra’s early neoclassical works. The political atmosphere in Cádiz was liberal, and the young Saavedra was a firm supporter of this political ideology and of the premises on which it was founded.

In 1814, Joseph Bonaparte was deposed and the French were expelled from Spain. That same year, Ferdinand VII returned from exile and abolished the liberal constitution of 1812 and all the reforms made by the popular regime of Cádiz. The king established literary censorship, and Saavedra’s...

(The entire section is 781 words.)