Consuegra Álvarez, Manuel

Latin teacher of the School of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the street of San Jerónimo, now Castillejos Square in Granada. There, Federico García Lorca and his brother Francisco prepared all their high school studies while attending the General Technical Institute as official students. The director, Joaquín Alemán, was a relative of Vicenta Lorca. Manuel Consuegra appears with his full name in Doña Rosita the Spinster. He was one of the strange pleiad of teachers who enchanted the García Lorca brothers when, recently arrived in Granada from Asquerosa (Disgusting), they began their studies. They were so impressed by the teaching staff that Francisco devoted an extensive chapter to them in his book of memoirs Federico and his World and his brother immortalized them by turning them into literary characters. Manuel Consuegra was the teacher who identified Federico when he enrolled as a free student at the General Technical Institute on May 15, 1909.

He was a great bullfighting fan and graded the students’ translations with bullfighting phrases, as Francisco García Lorca recalls in ‘Federico and his World’: “`Olé, that’s a chest pass’, or an `espantá’, or a `goyetazo’, depending on whether they were right or wrong.”

Consuegra had studied to become a priest in his youth but finally opted for Latin. He was a great bullfighting fan and graded the students’ translations with bullfighting phrases, as Francisco García Lorca recalls in Federico and his World: “`Olé, that’s a chest pass’, or an `espantá’, or a `goyetazo’, depending on whether they were right or wrong”.

Plaza Castillejos, 3. This building housed the private school of the Sacred Heart of Jesus where Federico García Lorca studied.
Plaza Castillejos, 3. This building housed the private school of the Sacred Heart of Jesus where Federico García Lorca studied.

Francisco remembers him as a very superstitious guy. One day, when they were all in the school’s pigeon loft, they came up with a joke: Federico, at a certain moment, shouted “snake! “At that same instant, from one of the cages came a pitiful and high-pitched shriek and one of Uncle Joaquin’s best canaries fell as if struck down. Don Manuel, between indignant and fearful, never tired of repeating to Federico, who remained mute: ‘Do you see them, boy, do you see them? I have not been able to explain the unique parallel, but I believe that Federico’s attitude towards superstitions dates back to that time: he said he did not believe in them but, ironically, he said that they had to be respected”, says Francisco.

Federico, in Doña Rosita, makes Martín Scheroff, another of the teachers of the Sacred Heart turned into a theatrical character, say: “Every day I enter the school trembling, waiting for what they are going to do to me, although, as I say, they respect my misfortune. A while ago they had a huge scandal, because Mr. Consuegra, who explains Latin admirably, had found cat excrement on his class list“.

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