Rodríguez Rapún, Rafael

Rafael-Rodriguez-Rapun

Mining engineer, secretary of La Barraca since 1933, lover of Lorca and considered as one of the inspirers of the Sonnets of Dark Love. Other more recent research also points to Juan Ramírez de Lucas as an inspirer. He died on the northern front fighting for the Republic.

Rodríguez Rapún is one of the great loves of Federico García Lorca and the one who inspired his most important love poems. Rapún, a Madrilenian whom Lorca nicknamed Three Rs, was a descendant of workers, athletic and a sportsman; he was a member of the PSOE and in the early months of 1933 he joined La Barraca, first as an actor and later as secretary appointed by Federico. Luis Sáenz de la Calzada, painter, actor of La Barraca and author of the most important book about the company, describes him as follows: “Very large head, brachycephalic, kinky hair, not very wide forehead furrowed by a deep transverse wrinkle; correct nose that gave him, to a certain extent, the profile of a Greek statue.”.

The love affair between Rapún and Lorca started during the summer of 1935, in the middle of the theatrical tour of La Barraca. Federico adopted him as his personal secretary.

When Rapún joined La Barraca he was still hesitating whether to continue with the theater or to practice his profession as a mining engineer. The love affair between Rapún and Lorca started during the summer of 1935, in the middle of the theatrical tour of La Barraca. Federico adopted him as his personal secretary. Although the correspondence between the two was extensive, only one letter Rapún wrote to Lorca has been preserved: “To stop seeing a person with whom you have been spendingall the hours of the day for months is very hard to forget. Especially if you feel attracted to that person as powerfully as I feel attracted to you,” Rapún writes. The relationship between the two resumed upon their return.

Rafael Rodríguez Rapún (right) y Federico García Lorca.
Rafael Rodríguez Rapún (right) and Federico García Lorca.

In November 1935, Lorca travels to Valencia to attend the last performances of Yerma. He makes an appointment with Rapún, but the friend does not show up. Desolated, he writes on letterhead paper of the Hotel Victoria in Valencia the first ten drafts of the Sonnets of Dark Love, including those entitled Love Sleeps, in the Breast of the Poet and Gongorine Sonnet in which Federico sends his friend a dove, which begins: “This pigeon of the Turia that I send you, with sweet eyes and white feather…”

The relationship was maintained until the death of both. At the end of the summer of 1936, Rodriguez Rapún hears the news of the murder of Lorca and, desperate to disappear, decides to enlist. After taking an Artillery course in Lorca (Murcia), Rapún obtains the rank of lieutenant and is assigned to the Cantabria Front. On August 18, 1938, just two years after the murder of the poet in Granada, he dies of wounds caused by the explosion of a bomb a week earlier.

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