About the Author
Vicente Aleixandre studied and taught law before chronic tuberculosis ended that career. An invalid for the rest of his life, he wrote dozens of books of Spanish-language poems. He said he was influenced by the writings of Sigmund Freud, and his work has been described as metaphysical, surrealist, and existentialist. Unable to flee the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, he made it clear in several published poems that he opposed the right-wing dictator Francisco Franco, and for this his writings were banned by Franco. Aleixandre won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1977, but was too ill with kidney and heart ailments to attend the ceremonies. After receiving his Nobel honors, several collections of his poems were translated and published in English. He never married, rarely left his home, and lingered for months in a coma before his death in 1984. Of his sickness, he said, "Hours of solitude, hours of creation, hours of meditation. Solitude and meditation gave me an awareness, a perspective which I have never lost: that of solidarity with the rest of mankind."