What was the Generation of 1927?
It was a movement formed by a group of writers of Spanish origin that in the 20th century began to emerge under the influence of movements from the European continent, among which were surrealism, futurism and symbolism. They were distinguished from the other movements by particular uses of language in which they constantly included metaphor, among other important features.
The Generation of 1927 was made up of a great variety of artists including playwrights, poets, filmmakers, prose writers, among others. Its constitution was also possible because they shared similar ideas about poetic creation. Thus, authors such as Rafael Alberti, Federico García Lorca, Miguel Hernández, Vicente Aleixandre, among others, were part of the movement.
The formation of the generation of ’27 was also favored because the authors were born in a close period, had an intellectual university education and an interest in new poetic forms drawn within the framework of different literary styles. They will seek conceptual and formal perfection, where Góngora will be one of their main sources of inspiration.
Origin of the Generation of 1927
Although several antecedents had been developing the desires of its members, it was not until 1927 that this movement became known in the Spanish cultural scene. This occurred within the framework of the homage paid to the poet Luis de Góngora, in which many of the authors who consolidated the literary movement participated.
The date was propitious to vindicate his poetic style, which would later influence the creation of works by members of the movement, including essayists, playwrights, novelists, among others, led by Max Aub. However, despite its Spanish origin, not all the production of this movement was in Spanish, but also appeared texts in English and French.
Very quickly, many of these writers had approaches to the literary tradition through the Centro de Estudios Históricos directed by Ramón Menéndez Pidal, but also with the Vanguardism and the avant-garde currents that would begin to emerge and with which they would come into contact due to the diffusion by novelists, trips and programmed activities among the intellectuals.
Use of the term
Although its denomination has been the subject of discussion, given that it has received several previous nominations, many experts agree that it owes its name to the moment when the group of writers flourished, especially when they became known during the third centenary of the death of Góngora in 1927.
Development of the Generation of ’27
Although the main search of the writers of this movement was to find new poetic forms, the truth is that they do not represent an irruption for the traditions, but, in fact, they are taken as an object of study, they feel interested in the previous formulas of the avant-garde, they admire the poetic language, especially of Góngora, as well as of other classic authors.
The point of arrival is “pure poetry”, and for this they begin their search for beauty through the image, not in an attempt to eliminate the beauty of the poem, but to identify that which does not belong to the poetic world. As for the development itself, it is possible to identify the use of traditional and classical stanzas, in addition to free verse and an interest in the rhythm provided by the repetition of words, the parallelism of ideas, among other elements.
On the other hand, it is possible to identify three moments of this movement in its formation from the influences, searches and trends that worked. Among them we can find the following:
Until 1927, the authors that most influenced these writers were those who were in the vanguard of Modernism, but they were also inspired by Bécquer. Here the interest for a “pure” poetry, which eliminates the anecdotic, stands out.
From 1927 until the Civil War, the trance of rehumanization is experienced, which involves the emergence of new themes such as existentialism, frustration, love, and that are more similar to the avant-garde of Surrealism.
This last stage marks the weakening of the movement with the death of Federico García Lorca in 1936. The group began to disperse and some of them were exiled.
Main characteristics of the Generation of ’27
It is time to review the most important characteristics in the development of the literature of one of the most famous movements in the literary field. Among them, we find the following:
The intellectual and the sentimental
One of the features that lay the foundations of the literary development of the movement is the tendency towards a balance between the sentimental and the intellectual, given that the rejection of absolute sentimentalism was one of its premises.
Use of metaphor
Another of the features that we must highlight of this movement was the main use of metaphor in his poetic creations, since this literary figure takes special importance in his writings. This is due to the fact that the metaphor becomes the main resource that allows an adequate expression of the surrealist content.
They followed the classic structure of verses such as the villancico or the sonnet, but also implemented techniques such as free verses that did not have a defined measure or rhyme, verses that did not have a determined number of syllables or rhymes, and blank verses, which although they were limited in their measure, were not subject to a rhyme.
The authors of the Generation of ’27 are mainly concerned with linguistic expression, which is why lyricism is also one of the most used resources in their writing, seeking works loaded with it.
Admiration and influences
This group of writers will show special admiration for the classics, especially for Góngora, who will be one of their main models. However, they were also interested in other authors such as the authors of the Generation of ’98, among them Machado, Rubén Darío and Juan Ramon, among others.
Search for renewal
Although the authors of the Generation of ’27 were motivated by a renewal of aesthetic character especially in poetry, this did not imply a fracture of literary traditions. That is to say, they had this purpose but without this meaning a break with the poetic tradition of Spain, since in fact it will be popular poetry that will serve as inspiration in structure and themes.
Themes of the works
Particularly, this movement will be characterized by a variety of themes, all of them related to the most important issues of the human being, among which we find life itself, death, destiny, love, among others that are also of interest to the avant-garde.
Precursor Authors of the Generation of ’27 Movement
It is time to end our journey through this movement, mentioning the most prominent members of the generation of 27, among which we find figures such as: Jorge Guillén, Pedro Salinas, Rafael Alberti, Federico García Lorca, Dámaso Alonso, Gerardo Diego, Luis Cernuda, Vicente Aleixandre, Manuel Altolaguirre, Emilio Prados, Max Aub, Fernando Villalón, José Moreno Villa and León Felipe, Miguel Hernández.
They were important works such as: Manual de espumas and Imagen by Gerardo Diego, Cántico, Homenaje and Clamor by Jorge Guillén, La voz a ti debida, Largo lamento and Razón de amor by Pedro Salinas, Poeta en Nueva York, Romancero gitano and Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías by Fernando García Lorca, La destrucción o el amor, Historia del corazón and Espadas como labios by Vicente Alexandre, Desolación en la quimera and Donde habita el olvido by Luis Cernuda, Sobre los ángeles and Cal y canto by Rafael Alberti, Las Islas invisibles by Manuel Altolaguirre, Viendo del pueblo and El hombre acecha by Miguel Hernández, Hijos de la ira and Hombre y Dios by Dámaso Alonso, among others.
We have reached the end of our section focused on the Generation of ’27, one of the most recognized movements in the literary world. Remember that if you want to learn more about this artistic field, as well as other movements, avant-garde and more, we have a section dedicated to Literature where you can find this and much more information.