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Ricardo Gullón

Prince of Asturias Award for Literature 1989

Ricardo Gullón (Astorga, León, Spain, 1908 - Madrid, Spain, 1991), writer, literary critic and essayist, is considered one of the foremost analysts of Spanish literature, sober and meticulous in style and endowed with a special sensitivity for reading.

He specialized in the work of Juan Ramón Jiménez, Benito Pérez Galdós, Antonio Machado and Miguel de Unamuno. He began his studies in León, later broadening them in France. He graduated in Law in Madrid, obtaining tenure as a public prosecutor via a nationwide competitive exam, subsequently working in several Spanish provinces.

In 1932 he met Juan Ramón Jiménez, forming a close relationship with him. Three years later, he published his first work, Fin de semana. At the end of the Spanish Civil War Gullón was imprisoned in the Castle of Santa Barbara for his collaboration with the Republican Army. Guarantees offered by Luis Rosales and Luis Felipe Vivanco set him free again, but he spent three years away from his work. In 1941, he was posted to the Provincial Court of Santander. In this province, he encouraged the birth of the Magazine Proel, which first came out in 1944, he wrote for the Alerta daily newspaper and directed the literary activities of the Santander Atheneum. From 1949 onwards he combined teaching work with his legal activities, starting as a lecturer at the "Menéndez Pelayo" International University (UIMP). In 1953 he travelled to Puerto Rico to see Juan Ramón and stayed there for two years, teaching in the Law and Arts faculties. He also ran the Zenobia-Juan Ramón Jiménez Venue. He subsequently moved to the United States, where he worked for over twenty years a professor of literature in the universities of Columbia, Texas - where he stayed for 15 years -, Chicago and California.

From 1973 onwards he worked as a lecturer in the department of Romance languages at the University of Chicago. Between then and 1985, he founded the journal Literatura along with Ildefonso Manuel Gil, running it between them, he contributed as literary critic to the Revista del Occidente, and entered the Sociedad de Amigos de las Artes Nuevas, Academia Breve de la Crítica de Arte, the Hispanic Society of America, and the Modern Language Association. In 1984, the society of Spanish and Spanish-American Studies published a volume of studies in his honour in Nebraska. On the 21st December 1989 he was elected as a member of the Academy of the Sapnish Language, by proposal of its members Pedro Laín Entralgo, Emilio Alarcos Llorach and Francisco Alaya.

Among modern-day authors, Ricardo Gullón had a liking for José Hierro, José Angel Valente, Angel González, and Carmén Martín Gaite. He wrote more than twenty critical studies: Vida de Pereda (1943), Biografía de Gil y Carrasco (1951), Las poesías de Jorge Guillén (1949), Novelistas británicos contemporáneos (1954), Galdós novelista moderno (1957), Las secretas galerías de Antonio Machado (1958), Estudios sobre Juan Ramón Jiménez (1960), La invención del 98 y otros ensayos (1969), Direcciones del modernismo (1971), El modernismo visto por los modernistas (1980), García Márquez y el arte de contar (1971) and Espacios poéticos de Antonio Machado (1987), among others.

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