1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bécquer, Gustavo Adolfo

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BÉCQUER, GUSTAVO ADOLFO (1836-1870), Spanish poet and romance-writer, was born at Seville on the 17th of February 1836. Left an orphan at an early age, he was educated by his godmother, refused to adopt any profession, and drifted to Madrid, where he obtained a small post in the civil service. He was dismissed for carelessness, became an incorrigible Bohemian, and earned a precarious living by translating foreign novels; he died in great poverty at Madrid on the 22nd of December 1870. His works were published posthumously in 1873. In such prose tales as El Raya de Luna and La Mujer de piedra, Bécquer is manifestly influenced by Hoffmann, and as a poet he has analogies with Heine. He dwells in a fairyland of his own, crooning a Weird elfin music which has no Parallel in Spanish; his work is unfinished and unequal, but it is singularly free from the rhetoric characteristic of his native Andalusia, and its lyrical ardour is of a beautiful sweetness and sincerity.