GARCÍIA LORCA, Federico (1899-1936). Autograph letter [an important fragment comprising the address and 4 opening pages but lacking the continuation of (six?) pages and signature] addressed to 'Queridísimo Melchorito' [Melchor Fernández Almagro], n.p. [Granada], n.d. [late January 1926], including two illustrations in pen and ink and crayon of (on the first page) the superimposed heads of Pierrot and a girl, and (on the last page) Pierrot holding a flower, 4 pages, 8vo (162 x 140mm), on a bifolium. Provenance: Collection of Joan B. Cendrós, Barcelona (in 1967).
LORCA DISCOVERS BARCELONA. An exuberant response to the city, unfolding his literary ambitions, and mentioning his friend and frequent correspondent Salvador Dalí ('mi amigo y compañero inseparable Salvador Dalí con quien sostengo una abundante correspondencia'). The letter opens with a rhapsody on the atmosphere and people of Barcelona ('amazing advertisements, gothic towers and a rich urban high tide created by typewriters'), and of his own pleasure in being there and sympathy with the Catalan spirit: 'Allí está el Mediterraneo, el espíritu, la aventura, el alto sueño de amor perfecto. Hay palmeras, gentes de todos países, anuncios comerciales sorprendentes, torres góticas y un rico pleamar urbano hecho por las máquinas de escribir. Que a gusto me encuentro allí con aquel aire y aquella pasión! ... Además, yo que soy catalanista furibundo simpaticé mucho con aquella gente tan construida y tan harta de Castilla'. The letter continues with a ringing statement of Lorca's poetic mission: 'Quiero ser un Poeta por los cuatro costados, amanecido de poesía y muerto de poesía. Empiezo a ver claro. Una alta conciencia de mi obra futura se apodera de mí y un sentimiento casi dramatico de mi responsabilidad me embargo ... no se ... me parece que voy naciendo a unas formas y un equilibrio absolutamente definidos. [I want to be a poet from head to toe, living by poetry and dying by poetry. I am beginning to see clearly. A high awareness of my future work is taking hold of me and an almost dramatic feeling of my responsibility constrains me ... I don't know ... it seems that I'm giving birth to new forms and an absolutely defined balance]'. Lorca continues with references to his current projects, including the gipsy ballads, and with disparaging references to Zaragoza and Madrid.
The illustration of the letter with figures from the commedia dell'arte, particularly Pierrot, is characteristic of the period during which he was working on the ballads. Written during a crucial period in Lorca's literary development, the letter follows his introduction to Barcelona, where he was made much of, and to Spanish modernity, soon after his first visit to Salvador Dalí at Cadaqués in 1925 -- their legendary friendship was to be ended by Dalí's disparaging comments on the gipsy ballads in 1928. Dalí's invitation to him to visit Cadaqués again will, Lorca writes, certainly be accepted as he is to pose for him (Dalí's painting of a recumbent Federico, entitled Natura morta (Invitacio al son) was exhibited in Barcelona at the end of 1926). Fernández Almagro (1893-1966) was an important figure in the cultural life of Granada and a leading authority on its history. In 1922 he became a member of the cultural establishment in Madrid, writing on history and literature and particularly on the theatre. 'Melchorito', as Lorca called him, understood his potential and was his most perceptive critic (I. Gibson, Federico García Lorca, 1989, p. 349). Lorca responded with deep affection and respect for Almagro's literary judgement.
The history of the letter is complex. The present fragment was first published in facsimile by Joan B. Cendrós as a New Year card for the Bibliophile Association of Barcelona in 1967 and reproduced again in Mario Hernández. Libro de los dibujos de Federico García Lorca (1990, nos. 331.1 and 331.2). The continuation (not present) includes a scene from the Amor de Don Perlimpin and two 'romances gitanos'; the final pages (not present), including the text of a third romance (Prendimiento de Antonito el Camborio) and the signature, were given by Fernández Almagro to the bibliophile Claudio Rodríguez Porrero in 1943, and are now in the Biblioteca de Bartolomé March in Madrid (R. de la Fuente Ballesteros. Un autógrafo lorquiano in Insula, Madrid, XLVIII, no. 558, June 1993, pages 11-13). The complete text including all three parts of the letter was first published in the Epistolario Completo (ed.C. Maurer and A. A. Anderson, 1997, pages 316-325).