Gustavo Adolfo Domínguez Bastida, better known as Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, was a Spanish post-romanticist writer of poetry, short stories, and nonfiction now considered one of the most important figures in Spanish literature. He adopted the alias of Bécquer as his brother Valeriano Bécquer, a painter, had done earlier. He was associated with the post-romanticism movement and wrote while realism was enjoying success in Spain. He was moderately well known during his life, but it was after his death that most of his works were published.
He is best known for his intimate, lyrical poems and for his legends; more importantly, he is remembered for the verbal decor with which he impregnated everything he wrote. A Romantic poet above all else, Bécquer infused every single line he wrote with sensorial intensity, and his Legends still serve today as some of the most brilliant examples of prose poetry. Always including elements of the supernatural, Bécquer imbued his legends with a gothic sensibility, depicting gnomes, ghosts, enchanted fortresses and monasteries, and men and women who succumb to vanity or desire.
Other lesser-known, but none less valuable, works include his "Cartas Desde mi Celda" ("Letters from my Cell") and "Cartas Literarias a una Mujer" ("Literary Epistles to a Woman") which adopt an intimate, contemplative style similar to Thoreau in "Walden." Here we find him ruminating at length on the subjects that characterize his poetic works: love, the purpose of art, folklore, the seductive pull of ancient ruins—and, of course, women.
An essential figure in the canon of Hispanic letters, and an obligatory reading in any Spanish-language High School, he is today considered the founder of modern Spanish lyricism.Bécquer's influence on 20th century poets of the Spanish language is felt in the works of poets such as Octavio Paz, Giannina Braschi, Antonio Machado, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Pablo Neruda and many more.
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