Antonio Machado, in full Antonio Cipriano José María y Francisco de Santa Ana Machado y Ruiz (26 July 1875 – 22 February 1939), was a Spanish poet and one of the leading figures of the Spanish literary movement known as the Generation of '98.
Machado was born in Seville one year after his brother Manuel. The family moved to Madrid in 1883 and both brothers enrolled in the Institución Libre de Enseñanza. During these years, and with the encouragement of his teachers, Antonio discovered his passion for literature. While completing his Bachillerato in Madrid, economic difficulties forced him to take several jobs including working as an actor. In 1899 he and his brother traveled to Paris to work as translators for a French publisher. During these months in Paris he came into contact with the great French Symbolist poets Jean Moréas, Paul Fort and Paul Verlaine, and also with other contemporary literary figures, including Rubén Darío and Oscar Wilde. These encounters cemented Machado's decision to dedicate himself to poetry.
In 1901 he had his first poems published in the literary journal 'Electra'. His first book of poetry was published in 1903 with the title Soledades. Over the next few years he gradually amended the collection, removing some and adding many more, and in 1907 the definitive collection was published with the title Soledades. Galerías. Otros Poemas. In the same year Machado was offered the job of Professor of French at the school in Soria. Here he met Leonor Izquierdo, daughter of the owners of the boarding house Machado was staying in. They were married in 1909: he was 34; Leonor was 16. Early in 1911 the couple went to live in Paris where Machado read more French literature and studied philosophy. In the summer, however, Leonor was diagnosed with advanced tuberculosis and they returned to Spain. On 1 August 1912 Leonor died, just a few weeks after the publication of Campos de Castilla. Machado was devastated and left Soria, the city that had inspired the poetry of Campos, never to return. He went to live in Baeza, Andalucia, where he stayed until 1919. Here he wrote a series of poems dealing with the death of Leonor which were added to a new (and now definitive) edition of Campos de Castilla published in 1916 along with the first edition of Nuevas canciones. While his earlier poems are in an ornate, Modernist style, with the publication of "Campos de Castilla" he showed an evolution toward greater simplicity, a characteristic that was to distinguish his poetry from then on...
Quotes by Antonio Machado
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