José Bergamín

(1895_1983 / Madrid)

Biography of José Bergamín

José Bergamín poet

José Bergamín Gutiérrez (Madrid, 1895 – Fuenterrabía, August 28, 1983) was a Spanish writer, essayist, poet, and playwright. His father served as president of the canton of Málaga; his mother was a Catholic. Bergamín was influenced by both politics and religion and attempted to reconcile Communism and Catholicism throughout his life, remarking "I would die supporting the Communists, but no further than that."

He studied law at the Universidad Central and his first articles appeared in the periodical Índice, edited by Juan Ramón Jiménez, in 1921 and 1922. Bergamín's friendship with Jiménez would be as strong as the one he maintained with Miguel de Unamuno, who served as an inspiration for Bergamín. Bergamín's writings for Índice would make him part of the Generation of '27 (he preferred the term “Generation of the Republic”), although scholars also place him in the earlier Generation of 1914 or a member of the movement known as Novecentismo. However, his activities were very much an integral part of the Generation of '27, and he collaborated in all of the publications of this group, and served as editor of its various books. He is also considered Unamuno's principal disciple and one of the best Spanish essayists of the 20th century, with his themes covering everything from literary myths to the Golden Age of Spain, from mysticism to politics, from Spain itself to bullfighting.

An opponent of the regime of Miguel Primo de Rivera, Bergamín participated in a political gathering in Salamanca together with Unamuno in support of republican ideals. He also served briefly as General Director of Insurance in the Ministry of Labor during the administration of Prime Minister Francisco Largo Caballero. In 1933, he founded and served as editor of the periodical Cruz y Raya, to which numerous authors of the Generation of ’27 contributed. The last issue of Cruz y Raya, number 39, appeared in June 1936, a few days before the military uprising that would lead to the Spanish Civil War.

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