Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Moguer (moh-ger). Andalusian village home of Juan Ramón Jiménez and the place to which he returns to rediscover as an adult and established poet. The subtitle of the work, An Andalusian Elegy, reflects the nostalgic tone of this work, a lament for his vanished youth in Andalusia. The poems present the simple, seemingly changeless quality of the village and its surrounding countryside.

Moguer is both real and idyllic. The southern climate produces tangerines, grapes, figs, almonds, and, especially, pomegranates—a fruit that the speaker identifies as representing the essence of Moguer. The series of poems moves through all of the seasons of the year. Summer is the most vibrant, when the walks of man and donkey are sensual experiences. Honeysuckle, mallows, and sorrel cover their path while overhead looms the intensely blue sky. The scent of oranges, the sound of cicadas and crickets, the sweet flavors of the watermelon that the companions split and share, punctuate their walks with pleasure. Within sight of an easy walk are the ocean, a river, a stream, farmland, and vineyards.

For Jiménez, the loveliness of the village and countryside and the simple beauties of daily life become metaphorical expressions of his interior self and his interpretation of life seen with eyes made perceptive through close and mindful observation of the simple world around him. Their walk, for instance, he compares to “a mild...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Cardwell, Richard A. “‘The Universal Andalusian,’ ‘The Zealous Andalusian,’ and the ‘Andalusian Elegy.’” Studies in Twentieth Century Literature 7, no. 2 (Spring, 1983): 201-224. Explores the influence that Francisco Giner de los Ríos and the philosophy of Krausism had on Jiménez. Also discusses how the intellectual atmosphere of the time influenced Jiménez’s contemporaries, including those well-known members of the literary Generation of 1898 Antonio Machado, José Ortega y Gassett, and Miguel de Unamuno.

Fogelquist, Donald. Juan Ramón Jiménez. Boston: Twayne, 1976. An excellent starting place. Offers a solid overview of the poet’s life and works.

Jiménez, Juan Ramón. Platero and I. Translated by Antonio T. de Nicolás. Boulder, Colo.: Shambhala, 1978. A complete, excellent translation, though the translator’s claim to having kept the lyricism, rhythm, and beauty of the original text intact is a linguistic impossibility.

Olson, Paul R. Circle of Paradox: Time and Essence in the Poetry of Juan Ramón Jiménez. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1967. An important and essential study of the major symbols in Jiménez’s poetry.

Wilcox, John C. Self and Image in Juan Ramón Jiménez: Modern and Post-Modern Readings. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1987. By concentrating on the relationship between the author and the reader, this study reveals the art of Jiménez’s early poetry. Many of the poems that Wilcox studies have parallels in Platero and I.