Jorge Guillén was the oldest of four children born to Julio Guillén Sáenz (1867-1950) and Esperanza Alvarez Guerra (1869-1923), both of Valladolid. In “Patio de San Gregorio,” Guillén recalls his childhood as both happy and difficult, filled with duties, studies, and games. He attended high school in Valladolid and at the Maison Perreyve of the French Fathers of the Oratory in Fribourg, Switzerland. He pursued his university studies at Madrid and Granada, and he was graduated in 1913. Thereafter, he secured a teaching position at the Sorbonne, and he worked as a correspondent for the newspaper La libertad from 1917 to 1923. He received his doctorate from the University of Madrid in 1924, writing his dissertation on the Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea (1613) of Luis de Góngora y Argote.
In 1921, while in Paris, Guillén married Germaine Cohen, who bore him two children: Teresa in 1922 and Claudio in 1924. Germaine died in 1947, and in 1961, while in Bogotá, Colombia, Guillén married Irene Mochi Sismondi. Guillén reconciles his two marriages in the poem “Pasiones” (“Passions”), where he represents Germaine as France and Irene as Italy and proceeds to vow undying love for both countries, citing a vigorous confrontation with the future as the most effective way of keeping the past alive. The “In memoriam” section of Clamor, which became the central section of Our Air, is devoted to his love for...
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