Diplomat, journalist and youthful friend of Federico García Lorca, he was born in Granada in 1895 and died in 1941 in San Antonio de Chadmo, in Chile, the country to whose consulate he was sent by the Republic to render his last service. Before that, in a short period of time, he traveled to numerous destinations as a member of the Spanish legation. He met García Lorca in 1909, shortly after the family moved from the house of Asquerosa (Disgusting) to Granada, and the friendship was intense. He was a member of the El Rinconcillo tertulia. Already at the University, he participated with Lorca in the study trips organized by the professor of Theory of Literature at the University of Granada Martín Domínguez Berrueta, between 1914 and 1917.
The friendship, close at first, cracked later due to disagreements over artistic ideas and a dull rivalry coming from several fronts: Mariscal, three years older, acted, on behalf of the poet’s father, as “legal representative” of Federico and his brother Francisco at the institute when it came to settling academic matters. Later, at the University, when they went on field trips, Luis, as Berrueta’s favorite student, was appointed official chronicler of the group and used to send reports to the local newspapers, while Federico, in silence, prepared his own for Impressions and Landscapes, his first book, published in 1918. Among them hovered the idea of plagiarism. The dedication and the mentions contained in the book ended up separating the two. The volume was dedicated not to Berrueta, the organizer of the trips, but to Antonio Segura Mesa, Lorca’s music teacher, which showed the differences between them. In its closing chapter, Lorca’s book contains these cursory lines, “To my dear teacher D. Martín Domínguez Berrueta and to my dear companions Paquito L. Rodríguez, Luis Mariscal, Ricardo G. Ortega, Miguel Martínez Carlón and Rafael M. Ibáñez, who accompanied me on my travels.” The fact of reducing to a vicarious role, “fellow travelers”, the aforementioned did not please any of them, especially Mariscal, who commented: “He has already oriented his life, and it is truly an admirable orientation: capitalist and poet by sport. Not bad!”.
In 1917, they both participated in Berrueta’s last study trip, which included Madrid, Palencia and Burgos. Federico and Luis commented on the visit to Burgos in articles that appeared in the city’s press, thanks to the intervention of Don Martín. Both were fascinated by the visit to the Royal Monastery of Las Huelgas founded by Alfonso VIII, but for different reasons that, in a way, delineated their different personalities. Mariscal was particularly attracted to the historical aspects of the cathedral, while Lorca was interested in the cloistered life of the nuns. Lorca’s conclusion, set out in an article entitled The Nuns of Las Huelgas, is that the apparent abnegation of the nuns had a neurotic root and that the monastic life entailed unnecessarily renouncing life and love, a theory that caused some disturbance among readers of the Diario de Burgos.
On the previous trip, in 1916, during the visit to Ávila, Mariscal was Federico’s presenter as a concert pianist at an institute. Lorca played Andalusian-inspired compositions of his own that he had composed in Baeza.
Mariscal, born into a family of bakers who lived on Candiota Street, near the Botanical Garden and the Law School, was a brilliant student. In contrast to Federico’s scant interest in studies, Luis Mariscal achieved one of the most brilliant records of his generation. According to the academic record kept in the Padre Suárez College, Mariscal obtained 25 honors, two outstanding and two passes (both in Gymnastics: first and second year) in his High School exams. Federico, on the other hand, struggled with calligraphy and obtained mediocre results. When they moved on to the Faculty of Arts (Lorca abandoned it immediately for Law, although he participated in Berrueta’s excursions), the comparison of their transcripts gives a similar result: Mariscal obtained all honors except for five “A” grades. Federico found it extremely difficult to finish his studies. The last stone he had to dodge was Commercial Law. The professor let it be known that since it was the year of his retirement, Federico’s exam would be the last of his professional life. Lorca took a special exam, alone and without an audience. “He passed”, his brother Francisco says, but he “never wanted to approach the subject of his studies”. The physical estrangement between the two friends occurred when Federico went to the Residencia de Estudiantes (Students’ Residence), while Mariscal finished his law degree and began his career as a diplomat.
In 1922, already outside Granada, Luis Mariscal married a Hungarian woman in Budapest, but the marriage soon fell apart in a stormy way; he then occupied the Spanish consulate in Salonica. From there he developed an outstanding diplomatic career that took him to Antwerp and, in 1929, to the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco. He had three sons, one of whom died at an early age. The constant moves and the lengthening of the marital conflict, which would not be resolved until 1933 with the divorce, undermined his health, affected by a rheumatic disease. After the proclamation of the Republic he was in Constanza (Germany) and in Bucharest (1932), where he met his second wife, Paulina Georgescu, a teacher trained in the Free Teaching Institution who was in fact to be the mother of the children of the first marriage. In 1934, he was assigned to Havana as a commercial attaché and later to Moscow, Bern and Geneva, already in the middle of the Civil War. With the help of his wife he tried to win followers to the Republican cause. His last assignment was to the Consulate of Chile, where he died in 1941.
Mariscal, an admirer of Ángel Ganivet, led a life in a certain Ganivet way: they were the best students of the General and Technical College of Granada; they served as consuls and died far from their Granada.