Manuel José Quintana

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Quintana, Manuel José

 

Born Apr. 11, 1772, in Madrid; died there Mar. 11, 1857. Spanish public figure, poet, and prose writer.

Quintana took an active part in the Spanish Revolution of 1808–14, serving as secretary of the central junta and helping to draw up its decrees and resolutions. After the failure of the revolution, he was imprisoned (1814–20). A member of the Moderate Party, Quintana was a deputy to the Cortes during the Revolution of 1820–23, and for a short time he was minister of education. In 1823 he was exiled to the city of Badajoz, where he wrote about the period from 1820 to 1823 in his Letters toLord Holland Concerning the Political Events in Spain During the Second Constitutional Period (not published until 1852).

Quintana began his literary career with poetry written in a sentimental vein. In the tragedy Palayo (1790) he defended the freedom and independence of Spain. The Principles of Drama (1791), a treatise in verse, defends the principles of classical poetics. By the early 19th century, Quintana had become the most prominent figure of revolutionary and patriotic classicism. His numerous odes, the narrative poem Pantheon Escorial (1808), and the prose works Lives of Famous Spaniards (vols. 1–3, 1807–33) combine Enlightenment philosophy with a hatred of tryranny and a love of freedom.

WORKS

Obras completas, vols. 1–3. Madrid, 1897–98.
Obras inéditas. Madrid, 1872.

REFERENCES

Blanco Sánchez, R. Quintana. Sus ideas. . . Madrid, 1910.
Vila Selma, J. Ideario de Manuel José Quintana. Madrid, 1961.