Zorrilla y Moral, José

Zorrilla y Moral, José

(hōsā` thôrē`lyä ē mōräl`), 1817–93, Spanish poet and dramatist. His works and life epitomized the brief period of Spanish romanticism. One of the most honored of Spanish writers, he was nevertheless continually impoverished. Among his many plays Don Juan Tenorio (1844) is a Spanish favorite, as is El zapatero y el rey [the shoemaker and the king] (1840–42). He gathered and reconstructed many legends in Cantos del trovador (1841), Granada (1852), and other volumes of verse and also wrote an interesting autobiography (1880–83).

Zorrilla Y Moral, José


Born Feb. 21, 1817, in Valladolid; died Jan. 23, 1893, in Madrid. Spanish poet and playwright.

Zorrilla studied at the universities of Toledo and Valladolid. One of Spain’s most prominent romanticists, he began his writing career with impassioned lyric poetry, for example, the collection Poems (vols. 1–8, 1837–40). He later wrote on themes of the Spanish Middle Ages, which he contrasted with contemporary bourgeois society. Notable works of this period include Songs of the Troubadour (vols. 1–3, 1840—41), the religious and didactic legends Captain Montoya (1839) and Forest Lily (1845), and the epic poem Granada (1852).

The dramatic works of Zorrilla, based mainly on historical and legendary national themes, assert the unity of the people and the monarchy. His plays include The Cobbler and the King (parts 1–2, 1840–41) and The Goth’s Dagger (1842). His drama Don Juan Tenorio (parts 1–2, 1849), a romantic interpretation of the Don Juan legend, depicts the hero’s quest for ideal love and his rejection of philistine morality.

From 1860 to 1866, Zorrilla was director of the National Theater in Mexico City.


Obras completas, vols. 1–2. Valladolid, 1943.


Ramírez Ángel, E. Zorrilla, el más grande poeta de la raza. Madrid, 1935.
Alonso Cortés, N. Zorrilla, su vida y sus obras, vols. 1–3. Valladolid, 1943.