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Jaime Gil de Biedma
(November 13, 1929 - January 8, 1990) Spain

Jaime Gil de Biedma



Jaime Gil de Biedma y Alba was born in Nava de la Asunción. He stopped writing poetry some ten years before his death. He insisted that the character he had invented, the poet Jaime Gil de Biedma, as opposed to the respectable bourgeois businessman of the same name, had nothing left to say and he refused to go on playing the role of a poet in literary society.

Among his readers, he is considered one of the most consummate Anglophiles in the field of contemporary peninsular literature. This Anglophilia was initiated when he first read T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets (translated in 1952). He was also a considerable Francophile as befitted a young Spaniard of his elevated social class.

His lifelong adherence to and assimilation of Anglo-American culture was consolidated by his studies in Oxford in 1953 where he read T. S. Eliot for the first time in English (along with W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender), thus beginning a lifelong fascination with the work of the Anglo-American poet. Moreover, the long periods spent in the largely Anglophone circles of Manila would also contribute to his Anglophile literary sensibility and on numerous occasions he would declare England to be his "segunda patria", his second country, and would also say that he was 'in great measure, a product of the Anglo-Saxon literary tradition. Even though, also shows conscious relations with Spanish and French tradition.

Poetically, Gil de Biedma belongs to the group of poets known as the "Generation of '50", a loose term referring to poets who come from the cultivated social realism in the wake of the Civil War. While earlier post-war poets focus strongly on social issues and lack attention to the poem itself, poets from Generation of '50 as Gil de Biedma, ngel González, José ngel Valente or Francisco Brines, while still concerned with democracy or class struggle, are aware about the literary character of their work. They all introduced in Spain, partly because of the late Cernuda's influence, what Langbaum called poetry of experience', the main poetic trend in Spain from the 1980s. In their writings from 1950 to 1970, at least, they all tried to rearrange intellectually immediate experience, by the means of a fictional-self.

As a homosexual in a strongly conservative environment, Jaime Gil de Biedma suffered discrimination all his life. Nevertheless, he did not hide his sexual orientation and displayed it openly in his poetry. He was rejected for membership of the then illegal Spanish Communist Party, allegedly because Franco's dictatorship could use his sexuality to threaten him if he were discovered to be a communist.

He died of complications due to AIDS.


Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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