Guillén, Jorge

Guillén, Jorge

(hôr`hā gēlyān`), 1893–1984, Spanish poet. Guillén left Spain after the civil war (1939) and taught Spanish in the United States. His verse is difficult, terse, and lyrical. Cántico, his volume of poems, has appeared in four successively augmented editions (1928, 1936, 1945, 1950; tr. 1965). Among the most intellectual of modern Spanish poets, he has been compared to Paul Valéry, whose work he translated. Affirmation: 1919–1966 (1968) is a bilingual anthology of Guillén's work. In 1976 the Spanish government awarded him the Cervantes Prize, the highest literary honor of the Spanish-speaking world.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Guillén, Jorge


Born Jan. 18, 1893, in Valladolid. Spanish poet.

In 1938, Guillén emigrated to the USA, but he has been living in Europe since 1958. His first verses appeared in 1919. Guillén belonged to the group of so-called apolitical poets, opposing both decadent and “social” poetry, defending abstractly humanist ideals in his poetry, and glorifying simple human feelings. His verses are collected in the book Cántico, on which Guillén worked for more than 20 years, expanding it with each edition (1928, 1936, 1945, and 1950); he added the subtitle “Faith in Life” to the third edition. The verse collection Confusion (1957), which reflects Guillén’s anti-Francoist position, is banned in Spain. In 1960 he completed the cycle of elegies Affirmation (partially published).


Viviendo y otros poemas. Barcelona, 1958.
Las tentaciones de Antonio. Santander, 1962.
In Russian translation:
“Tri vremeni: Vershina schast’ia.” In Sovremennaia ispanskaia poeziia. Moscow, 1963.


Gil de Biedma, J. Cántico: el mundo y la poesía de Jorge Guillén. Barcelona, 1960.
González Muela, J. La realidad y Jorge Guillén. Madrid, 1962.
“An International Symposium in Honor of Jorge Guillén at 75.” Books Abroad, 1968, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 7-60.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.