Vicente Aleixandre (1898 - 1984)

Spanish poet, a member of the Generation of 1927, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1977. He was strongly influenced by the Surrealist technique of poetic composition.

Aleixandre was the son of a railway engineer. He studied law and business management and from 1920 to 1922 taught commercial law. He became seriously ill in 1925 and during his convalescence wrote his first poems. He remained in Spain during the Spanish Civil War although his poetry was banned from 1936 to 1944. In 1949 Aleixandre was elected to the Spanish Royal Academy.

Aleixandre was considered a master of free verse, the style that appears in his first major book, La destruccion o el amor (1935; "Destruction or Love"), which was awarded the National Prize for Literature. In this work the poet explored the theme of human identification with the physical cosmos. Similar themes appear in Sombra del paraiso (1944; "Shadow of Paradise"). A greater emphasis upon human life is found in Historia del corazon (1954; "History of the Heart") and En un vasto dominio (1962; "In a Vast Domain"), works that deal with time, death, and human solidarity.

Aleixandre's later poetry is of a metaphysical nature; he explores death, knowledge, and experience in Poemas de la consumacion (1968; "Poems of Consummation") and Dialogos del conocimiento (1974; "Dialogues of Insight").

In addition to writing poetry of great originality and depth, Aleixandre published the prose work Los encuentros (1958; "The Meetings"), a book of fond sketches of his fellow writers.

Kessel Schwartz, Vicente Aleixandre (1970), introduces his life and writings. Santiago Daydi-Tolson (ed.), Vicente Aleixandre: A Critical Appraisal (1981), is a collection of essays that examine his work.