Rubén Darío’s life was adventurous and bohemian. He traveled constantly in Europe and the Americas, renowned for his literary achievements but dogged by debt, sickness, and alcoholism throughout his life.
Darío was born Félix Rubén García Sarmiento in 1867 to a poor, part-Indian family in rural Nicaragua. He published his first poem at the age of thirteen, and his early promise as a poet won for him scholarships that enabled him to gain an education.
In 1886, Darío left Nicaragua for Santiago, Chile. There, he suffered a life of severe poverty and wrote in obscurity until the publication of Azul. Through Darío’s friend Pedro Balmaceda, the son of Chile’s president, Azul came to the attention of Juan Valera, a Spanish critic attentive to South American literature. Valera published an encouraging review in Spain and Latin America in 1889, but although this brought Darío literary recognition, it did little to ease his poverty. In the same year, the poet returned to Central America, where his writing in literary journals and other periodicals won regional fame for him.
In 1892, Darío traveled to Europe as an assistant to a relative who was an official of the Nicaraguan government. He made his first visits to Madrid and to Paris, developing a lifelong love for the artistic communities of Europe. On his return to Central America, Darío called on Rafael Nuñez, a former president of Colombia, who was,...
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