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Juan Ramón Jiménez

Juan Ramón Jiménez Juan Ramón Jiménez[4†]

Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881-1958) was a Spanish poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1956[1†][2†]. He belonged to the group of writers who, in the wake of Spain’s loss of her colonies to the United States (1898), staged a literary revival[1†]. The leader of this group of modernistas, as they called themselves, Rubén Darío, helped Juan Ramón to publish Almas de violeta (Souls of Violet), his first volume of poetry, in 1900[1†].

Early Years and Education

Juan Ramón Jiménez was born in Moguer, near Huelva, in Andalucia, on 23 December 1881[4†]. He was educated in the Jesuit institution of San Luis Gonzaga, in El Puerto de Santa María, near Cadiz[4†]. Later, he studied law and painting at the University of Seville[4†], but he soon discovered that his talents were better used for writing[4†].

Jiménez began writing poems as a child[4†][5†]. He was interested in painting but attended the University of Seville to study law[4†][5†]. He moved to Madrid after Rubén Darío, a poet and founder of the modernismo literary movement in Spain, became familiar with his poetry and invited him to the city[4†][5†].

The years between 1905 to 1912 Ramón Jiménez spent at his birthplace, Moguer, where he wrote Elejías puras (Pure Elegies), 1908, La soledad sonora (Sonorous Solitude), 1911, and Poemas mágicos y dolientes (Magic Poems of Sorrow), 1911[4†][1†]. His early poetry was influenced by German Romanticism and French Symbolism. It is strongly visual and dominated by the colours yellow and green[4†][1†].

Career Development and Achievements

Juan Ramón Jiménez’s career as a poet began when he was invited to Madrid by Rubén Darío, one of the founders of the Modernismo movement[6†]. His first two volumes of poetry, Almas de violeta (“Souls of Violet”) and Ninfeas (“Waterlilies”), were published in 1900[6†][2†]. These early works, however, were later seen by Jiménez as excessively sentimental, and he destroyed every copy he could find[6†][2†].

In the years between 1905 and 1912, Jiménez returned to his birthplace, Moguer, where he wrote several volumes of poetry, including Pastorales (1911), Jardines lejanos (1905; “Distant Gardens”), and Elegías puras (1908; “Pure Elegies”)[6†][2†]. These works clearly reflect the influence of Darío, with their emphasis on individuality and subjectivity expressed in free verse[6†][2†].

In 1916, Jiménez traveled to New York City, where he married Zenobia Camprubí Aymar, the Spanish translator of the Hindu poet Rabindranath Tagore[6†][2†]. Shortly after his return to Spain, he published Diario de un poeta recién casado (1917; “Diary of a Poet Recently Married”), which marked his transition to what he called “la poesía desnuda” (“naked poetry”), an attempt to strip his poetry of all extraneous matter and to produce it in free verse, without formal metres, of a purer nature[6†][2†].

During the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), Jiménez allied himself with the Republican forces, until he voluntarily exiled himself to Puerto Rico, where he spent most of the rest of his life[6†][2†][4†]. In the 1920s, he became the acknowledged master of the new generation of poets and was active as a critic as well as an editor of literary journals[6†][1†].

In 1956, Jiménez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for his lyrical poetry, which in the Spanish language constitutes an example of high spirit and artistic purity"[6†][4†]. He is remembered as one of the 20th Century’s masters of poetry[6†].

First Publication of His Main Works

Juan Ramón Jiménez’s literary output was immense, and his works are renowned for their subjectivity, perfectionism, contemplation, and search for eternity[7†]. Here are some of his main works:

Each of these works represents a significant milestone in Jiménez’s career and contributes to his legacy as a Nobel laureate[7†]. His works spanned several creative stages —Sensitive (1889 - 1915), intellectual (1916 - 1936), and true (1937 - 1958)— and each stage saw the publication of several momentous writings[7†].

Analysis and Evaluation

Juan Ramón Jiménez’s work is characterized by its subjectivity, perfectionism, contemplation, and search for eternity[2†][5†]. His early poetry was influenced by the French Symbolists and W.B. Yeats[2†][5†]. His later poetry shows an interest in stark imagery, colors, and the open forms associated with “naked” poetry[2†][5†].

Jiménez began his literary journey with an emphasis on individuality and subjectivity expressed in free verse[2†]. His style evolved over time, moving towards what he called “la poesía desnuda” (“naked poetry”), an attempt to strip his poetry of all extraneous matter[2†][5†]. This transition marked a significant shift in his work, reflecting a desire for a purer form of expression[2†][5†].

His most famous work, “Platero y yo”, is a collection of prose poems about a man and his donkey[2†][5†]. This work, along with others, showcases Jiménez’s ability to convey profound emotions and observations through simple, yet powerful imagery[2†][5†].

Jiménez’s contributions to literature were recognized when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1956[2†][5†]. His influence extends beyond his own works, as he also worked as an editor and critic[2†][5†]. His critical analysis of other works helped shape the literary landscape of his time[2†][5†].

In summary, Juan Ramón Jiménez’s work is characterized by its depth of emotion, innovative use of form, and profound influence on Spanish literature[2†][5†].

Personal Life

Juan Ramón Jiménez was a man of frail constitution[2†]. After the death of his father in 1900, he suffered from depression and spent time in a sanatorium in Bordeaux[2†][5†]. He then moved back to Madrid[2†][5†].

In 1916, he traveled to New York City, where he married Zenobia Camprubí Aymar[2†], the Spanish translator of the Hindu poet Rabindranath Tagore[2†]. Their marriage was a significant event in his life. Zenobia was not only his wife but also his collaborator and translator[2†].

During the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), he allied himself with the Republican forces, until he voluntarily exiled himself to Puerto Rico[2†]. He spent most of the rest of his life in Puerto Rico[2†], where he died in 1958[2†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Juan Ramón Jiménez, a Spanish poet, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1956[2†][1†]. His work, particularly his transition to “la poesía desnuda” (“naked poetry”), had a profound impact on Spanish literature[2†][1†]. His attempt to strip his poetry of all extraneous matter and to produce it in free verse, without formal meters, of a purer nature, marked a significant shift in his style[2†][1†].

Jiménez’s influence extended beyond his own work. He was an acclaimed critic and editor of literary journals[2†][9†]. His teachings and writings influenced a new generation of poets[2†][1†].

His most famous work, “Platero y yo” (Platero and I), has achieved popularity worldwide[2†][10†]. The Nobel Prize was awarded to him "for his lyrical poetry, which in the Spanish language constitutes an example of high spirit and artistic purity"[2†][11†].

After the Spanish Civil War, Jiménez spent most of his life in voluntary exile in Puerto Rico[2†][1†]. He continued to write and publish during this time, further solidifying his legacy in the world of literature[2†][1†].

Juan Ramón Jiménez passed away in Puerto Rico in 1958[2†][1†]. His work continues to be celebrated and studied for its contribution to Spanish literature and modernism[2†][1†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. The Nobel Prize - Juan Ramón Jiménez – Biographical [website] - link
  2. Britannica - Juan Ramón Jiménez: Spanish poet [website] - link
  3. The Nobel Prize - Juan Ramón Jiménez – Facts [website] - link
  4. Wikipedia (English) - Juan Ramón Jiménez [website] - link
  5. Poetry Foundation - Juan Ramón Jiménez [website] - link
  6. Poets House - Poetry Path: Juan Ramón Jiménez [website] - link
  7. ActualidadLiteratura - Main works of Juan Ramón Jiménez, a wizard of letters [website] - link
  8. Academy of American Poets - About Juan Ramón Jiménez [website] - link
  9. Library of Congress - Juan Ramón Jiménez [website] - link
  10. Goodreads - Author: Juan Ramón Jiménez (Author of Platero y yo) [website] - link
  11. Wikiwand - Juan Ramón Jiménez - Wikiwand [website] - link
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