Antonio Cipriano José María Machado Ruiz, full name of one of the most emblematic poets of the Generation of 98, better known as Antonio Machado, was born in the city of Seville on July 26, 1875.
Antonio Machado’s stay in the municipality of Baeza came right after the death of his wife Leonor Izquierdo Cuevas, on August 1, 1912. In November 1919, he left Baeza to move to an institute in Segovia. In 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, Machado was evacuated to Valencia. Finally, he left for Barcelona in 1939, where he died shortly after.
Letter from Machado to Ortega y Gasset. 1913
“I start working with some profit. I have recently begun to recover from my deep crisis that would have led me to spiritual annihilation. The death of my wife left me torn and so dejected that all my work, barely outlined in Campos de Castilla, was truncated. “
This event deeply affects him and with the intention of alleviating the unfathomable emptiness of her loss, he decided to leave Soria and requested the first vacancy that occurred in his ranks as professor. He wanted a quiet and serene city, because he was anxious for solitude, but also well connected with Madrid. This vacancy occurred in Baeza, a historical but self-absorbed city in frank decline, although the railway junction where he believed he was located was not such, since the city was 12 kilometers from the station and had to be accessed by tram.
The Machadian stage in Baeza spans seven years, from November 1, 1912, the date of possession of the chair of French language at the then called General and Technical Institute, until November 5, 1919, date of his appointment as professor of French at an institute in Segovia.
Machado arrived in Baeza at a delicate emotional moment, which produced in him a negative first impression of the city and its people. The memory of Soria and Leonor was still very present.
POEM FOR A DAY
So now here I am, a teacher
of modern languages (lately
a master at writing poetry,
apprentice to a nightingale),
in a damp and cold town,
rundown and gloomy,
in both Andalusia and La Mancha. (…)
Machado’s life in Baeza went on at the beginning with placidity and slowness, walking, observing, meditating and teaching at the Institute – although he never had a great vocation as a teacher, as he himself confessed. Little by little, his attitude changed and he began to participate more actively in the city’s chores, attending gatherings in the pharmacy of the pharmacist Adolfo Almazán and even collaborating in local newspapers, which would slowly mitigate the memory of Soria and his wife.
In the end, the landscape of Baeza ended up taking over the poet, an aspect that in turn represented a great advance in his lyrics, incorporating a folkloric vein.
You could see an owl
flying round and round
over the olive grove
He was flying to bring
a green twig
to the Virgin Mary.
Countryside of Baeza,
I will dream of you
when I no longer see you (…)
On September 7, 1919, Machado signed the transfer contest to an highschool in Segovia and left Baeza in November of the same year, but the memory of the city and the region remained in his memory and in his work.
In November 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, Machado was evacuated to Valencia (provisional capital of the Second Republic), where he met numerous artists and intellectuals -such as Rafael Zabaleta and Miguel Hernández, among others-, collaborated in republican publications and made literary campaign, participating in the II International Congress of Writers for the Defense of Culture (1937), the most important act of intellectual propaganda during the War.
In 1939 he went to Barcelona, from where he crossed the Pyrenees to Collioure. There he died shortly after his arrival.
Literary production of Antonio Machado
Within the poetic production of the author, there are many poems alluding to the province of Jaén, but Baeza will offer Machado the opportunity to dedicate practically exclusively to poetic creation, reading, study and philosophical reflection, this stage being considered the most important, fruitful and complete in his personal evolution and his literary production, where publications of books as important for the consolidation of the poet as Poetry chosen (1917), Complete Poetry (1899-1917) and the second edition of Solitudes, galleries and other poems (1919).
1907.- “Solitudes, Galleries, and Other Poems”
1912.- “Plains of Castile”
1917.- “Selected Pages”
1917.- “Complete Poems”
- 1917.- “Poems”
- 1918.- “Solitudes and Other Poems”
- 1919.- “Solitudes, Galleries, and Other Poems”
1924.- “New Songs”
1928.- “Complete Poems (1899-1925)”
1933.-“Complete Poems (1899-1930)”
1933.- “Land of Alvargonzález”
1933.- “Complete Poems”
1936.- “Juan de Mairena (sentences, graces, notes and memories of an apocryphal teacher)»
1937.- “The War (1936-1937)”
- 1937.- “Madrid: Bastion of our Independence War”
- 1938.- “The Land of Alvargonzález and Songs of Alto Duero»
- 1926.- «Misfortunes of Fate or Julianillo Valcárcel»
- 1927.- «Juan de Mañara»
- 1928.- «Oleandres»
- 1929.- « Lola goes to the harbors»
- 1931.- «CousinFernanda»
- 1932.- «The Duchess of Benamejí»