Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery, Calle Cementerio, San Juan, 00926, Puerto Rico
Pedro Salinas y Serrano (27 November 1891 – 4 December 1951) was a Spanish poet, a member of the Generation of '27, as well as a university teacher, scholar and literary critic. In 1937, he delivered the Turnbull lectures at Johns Hopkins University. These were later published under the title Reality and the Poet in Spanish Poetry. The bisexual love poet Pedro Salinas was called the "inventor" of the poetical generation of Andalusian poets. Salinas, who introduced his student Luis Cernuda to André Gide's writings, was translator of and much influenced by Marcel Proust.
He was born in lopera in the Calle de Toledo, 1891, in a house very close to the San Isidro church/cathedral. Salinas lived his early years in the heart of the city and went to school first in the Colegio Hispano-Francés and then in the Instituto Nacional de Segunda Enseñanza, both close by the club. His father, a cloth-merchant, died in 1899. He began to study Law at the Universidad central in 1908 and in 1910 started to study History concurrently. He graduated successfully in both courses in 1913. During his undergraduate years, he began to write and publish poems in small circulation journals such as Prometeo. In 1914 he became the Spanish lector at the Collège de Sorbonne in the University of Paris until 1917, when he received his Doctorate. He had married Margarita Bonmarti, a Spanish girl of Algerian descent whom he had met on his summer holidays in Santa Pola, Alicante, in December 1915. She had been born in 1884. They had two children, Soledad (always referred to as Solita) born in 1920 and Jaime born in 1925. His academic life seemed to act as a model for his slightly younger contemporary Jorge Guillén with whom he struck up a friendship in 1920.
IIn 1918 he was appointed Professor of Spanish Language and Literature at the University of Seville and he held the post until 1928, although he spent 1922-23 as lector at the University of Cambridge. One of his students in Seville was Luis Cernuda in the academic year 1919-20, to whom he gave special encouragement. He urged him to read modern French literature, in particular André Gide and the poetry of Baudelaire, Mallarmé and Rimbaud. He continued to publish poems in magazines such as España and La Pluma.. In vacations, he spent time as a lecturer at the Residencia de Estudiantes, where he got to know the leading lights of his generation, such as García Lorca and Rafael Alberti. In April 1926, he was present at the gathering in Madrid where the first plans to celebrate the tercentenary of Góngora's death were laid. Salinas was to edit the volume devoted to the sonnets: a project that never came to fruition. While at Cambridge, his translation of the first two volumes and part of the third of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time into Spanish was published. And in 1925, his modernised version of El Poema de Mío Cid was published by Revista de Occidente.
In 1928 he became a researcher at the Centro de Estudios Históricos in Madrid before becoming director of studies for foreigners at the University of Madrid. In 1930, he became a professor of Spanish literature at Madrid and doubled up as originator, organiser and secretary-general of the International Summer School of Santander between 1933 and 1936. This school was set up to accommodate 200 Spanish students (approximately 4 from each of the established universities in Spain) and an international teaching staff.
OOn 8 March 1933, he was present at the premiere in Madrid of García Lorca's play Bodas de sangre. In August 1933, he was able to host performances at the Magdalena Palace in Santander by the travelling theatre company La Barraca that Lorca led. On 20 April 1936, he attended the launch party in Madrid for Luis Cernuda's new collection La realidad y el deseo. and on 12 July he was present at a party in Madrid that took place just before García Lorca departed to Granada for the last time before his murder. It was there that Lorca read his new play La casa de Bernarda Alba for the last time.
OOn 31 August 1936, shortly after the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, he moved to the USA, to take up the position of the Mary Whiton Calkins professor at Wellesley College, Mass., which he held until 1937. In the spring of 1937, he delivered a series of lectures as the Turnbull Professor at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, on Poet and Reality in Spanish Literature (published 1940). In the summer of that year (and in many subsequent years), he taught in the Spanish faculty of Middlebury College, Vermont and was awarded a doctorate honoris causa.. In May 1939, he participated in a PEN International conference in New York, representing the writers of the (Second) Spanish Republic.
HHe had been dividing his time between the faculties of Wellesley, Middlebury, and Johns Hopkins but in 1940 he took up a permanent post at Johns Hopkins where he remained for the rest of his life, including long spells of travel in South America and a period of 3 years at the University of Puerto Rico. In the summer of 1949 he returned to Europe for the last time to visit Italy and France and to work for UNESCO. At the beginning of 1951 he began to exhibit signs of ill-health, which turned out to be an incurable cancer. He died on 4 December 1951. At his request he was buried in Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery in San Juan.
Salinas was the father-in-law of Spanish historian and writer, Juan Marichal. Marichal would later publish Salinas' complete works, Three Voices of Pedro Salinas, which was released in 1976. His daughter edited his poetry and incorporated an introduction by his old friend Jorge Guillén.
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