From the University to Madrid (1919)

In 1919, with a letter of recommendation from Fernando de los Ríos in one pocket for Juan Ramón Jiménez and another for Alberto Jiménez Fraud, director of the Residencia de Estudiantes (Student’s Residence), Federico García Lorca took the plunge and moved to Madrid: “Very dear poet: There goes that boy of romantic yearnings: receive him with love, he deserves it; he is one of the young men in whom we have placed the most vivid hopes”. To Federico, Juan Ramón Jiménez seemed “a very neurasthenic and entertaining man”. The host, after some time, recalled the scene as follows: “He sat pale, flat-nosed, full of moles, on my sofa and we talked about everything and everyone. He looked steadily at something, a lot of realistic moon, ‘a child without feet’. Moon boy, dull and a little cold.” .

Lorca’s goal was the Residencia de Estudiantes: he needed to be admitted so that his father would let him move to Madrid. As Jiménez Fraud recalled years later, Lorca made a strong impression on him because of his appearance and character. He guaranteed him a place for October 1, 1919.

Not everything was easy for Lorca at the Residencia de Estudiantes. José Moreno Villa recalls the obstacles that his homosexuality raised among some of his classmates.

Photo of Federico García Lorca young.
Photo of Federico García Lorca’s as a youngster. / Photo: FGL Foundation

Between 1919 and 1926, Federico met as a resident many of the most important writers and intellectuals of the country and, in particular, the creators who most influenced him: Luis Buñuel, Rafael Alberti and Salvador Dalí. In addition, numerous lecturers passed through there, among them Paul Claudel, Valéry, Max Jacob, Le Corbusier, Chesterton or Wanda Landowska. It was not all smooth sailing. José Moreno Villa remembers the obstacles that his homosexuality raised among some of his colleagues.

In 1921, he published his second work, Book of Poems, a collection of 67 compositions written during his adolescence or youth that deal with the loss of childhood paradise, crisis or disenchantment. They are the poetic expression of disillusionment. The editing was also paid for by his father. The poems are full of references to the landscapes of his adolescence: “My heart rests by the cold fountain” (poem Dream, 1919).

Image of Federico García Lorca in Órgiva, in the Alpujarra.
Picture of Federico García Lorca in Órgiva, in Alpujarra. / Photo: FGL Foundation

In his early years in Madrid he composed the poems of Songs, which were not published until 1927. In these texts the playfulness and humor of the avant-garde he met at the Residencia de Estudiantes are more manifest. His stays in Madrid were combined with long stays in Granada, where he still studied law and saw his friends.