Rosalia de Castro

(1837-1885 / Spain)

Biography of Rosalia de Castro

María Rosalía Rita de Castro, better known as Rosalía de Castro (24 February 1837 – 15 July 1885), was a Galician romanticist writer and poet.

Writing in the Galician language, after the Séculos Escuros (lit. Dark Centuries), she became an important figure of the Galician romantic movement, known today as the Rexurdimento ("renaissance"), along with Manuel Curros Enríquez and Eduardo Pondal. Her poetry is marked by 'saudade', an almost ineffable combination of nostalgia, longing and melancholy.

She married Manuel Murguía, member of the Galician Academy, historian, journalist and editor of Rosalía's books. (Her married name was Rosalía Castro de Murguía.) The couple had seven children: Alexandra (1859-1937), Aura (1868-1942), twins Gala (1871-1964) and Ovidio (1871-1900), Amara (1873-1921), Adriano (1875-1876) and Valentina (stillborn, 1877). The only two that married were Aura in 1897 and Gala in 1922; neither they nor their siblings left any children, and thus there are no living descendants of Rosalía de Castro and her husband. Their son Ovidio was a good painter, but his early death cut his career short.

The date she published her first collection of poetry in Galician, Cantares gallegos ("Galician Songs"), May 17, 1863, is commemorated every year as the Día das Letras Galegas ("Galician Literature Day"), an official holiday of the Autonomous Community of Galicia, and has been dedicated to an important writer in the Galician language since 1963.

Relative poverty and sadness marked her life, although she had a strong sense of commitment to the poor and to the defenseless. She was a strong opponent of abuse of authority and defender of women's rights. She suffered from cancer of the womb and died of this illness. Her image appeared on the 500 peseta Spanish banknote.

Rosalia de Castro's Works:

Cantares gallegos (1863)
Follas novas (1880
La Flor (1857)
A mi madre (1863)
En las orillas del Sar (1884)

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Margarita

1

¡Silencio, los lebreles
de la jauría maldita!
No despertéis a la implacable fiera
que duerme silenciosa en su guarida.
¿No veis que de sus garras
penden gloria y honor, reposo y dicha?

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