José Zorrilla

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José Zorrilla
Jose zorrilla.jpg
BornJosé Zorrilla y Moral
(1817-02-21)21 February 1817
Valladolid, Spain
Died23 January 1893(1893-01-23) (aged 75)
Madrid, New Castile, Spain
Occupation Poet, playwright
Language Spanish
Literary movement Romanticism
Notable works Don Juan Tenorio
SpouseFlorentina O’Reilly, Juana Pacheco

Signature Firma de Jose Zorrilla.svg

José Zorrilla y Moral (Spanish pronunciation:  [xoˈse θoˈriʎa] ) was a Spanish poet and dramatist.



Zorrilla was born in Valladolid to a magistrate in whom Ferdinand VII placed special confidence. He was educated by the Jesuits at the Real Seminario de Nobles in Madrid, wrote verses when he was twelve, became an enthusiastic admirer of Walter Scott and Chateaubriand, and took part in the school performances of plays by Lope de Vega and Calderón de la Barca. [1]

Valladolid Municipality in Castile and León, Spain

Valladolid is a city in Spain and the de facto capital of the autonomous community of Castile and León. It has a population of 309,714 people, making it Spain's 13th most populous municipality and northwestern Spain's biggest city. Its metropolitan area ranks 20th in Spain with a population of 414,244 people in 23 municipalities.

Magistrate officer of the state, usually judge

The term magistrate is used in a variety of systems of governments and laws to refer to a civilian officer who administers the law. In ancient Rome, a magistratus was one of the highest ranking government officers, and possessed both judicial and executive powers. In other parts of the world, such as China, a magistrate was responsible for administration over a particular geographic area. Today, in some jurisdictions, a magistrate is a judicial officer who hears cases in a lower court, and typically deals with more minor or preliminary matters. In other jurisdictions, magistrates may be volunteers without formal legal training who perform a judicial role with regard to minor matters.

Ferdinand VII of Spain King of Spain

Ferdinand VII was twice King of Spain: in 1808 and again from 1813 to his death. He was known to his supporters as the Desired and to his detractors as the Felon King. After being overthrown by Napoleon in 1808 he linked his monarchy to counter-revolution and reactionary policies that produced a deep rift in Spain between his forces on the right and liberals on the left. Back in power in 1814, he reestablished the absolutist monarchy and rejected the liberal constitution of 1812. A revolt in 1820 led by Rafael de Riego forced him to restore the constitution thus beginning the Liberal Triennium: a three year period of liberal rule. In 1823 the Congress of Verona authorized a successful French intervention restoring him to absolute power for the second time. He suppressed the liberal press from 1814 to 1833 and jailed many of its editors and writers. Under his rule, Spain lost nearly all of its American possessions, and the country entered into civil war on his death.

In 1833 he was sent to study law at the University of Toledo, but after a year of idleness, he fled to Madrid, where he horrified the friends of his absolutist father by making violent speeches and by founding a newspaper which was promptly suppressed by the government. He narrowly escaped transportation to the Philippines, and passed the next few years in poverty. [1]

Toledo, Spain City in Castile–La Mancha, Spain

Toledo is a city and municipality located in central Spain; it is the capital of the province of Toledo and the autonomous community of Castile–La Mancha. Toledo was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive monumental and cultural heritage.

Philippines Republic in Southeast Asia

The Philippines, officially the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both part of Metro Manila. Bounded by the South China Sea on the west, the Philippine Sea on the east and the Celebes Sea on the southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Vietnam to the west, Palau to the east, and Malaysia and Indonesia to the south.

The death of the satirist Mariano José de Larra brought Zorrilla into notice. His elegiac poem, read at Larra's funeral in February 1837, introduced him to the leading men of letters. In 1837 he published a book of verses, mostly imitations of Alphonse de Lamartine and Victor Hugo, which was so favourably received that he printed six more volumes within three years. [1]

Satire Genre of arts and literature in the form of humor or ridicule

Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government, or society itself into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.

Mariano José de Larra Spanish romantic writer

Mariano José de Larra was a Spanish romantic writer and journalist best known for his numerous essays and his infamous suicide. His works were often satirical and critical of the 19th-century Spanish society, and focused on both the politics and customs of his time.

Alphonse de Lamartine French writer, poet, and politician

Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat de Lamartine, Knight of Pratz was a French writer, poet and politician who was instrumental in the foundation of the Second Republic and the continuation of the Tricolore as the flag of France.

After collaborating with Antonio García Gutiérrez on the play Juán Dondolo (1839) Zorrilla began his individual career as a dramatist with Cada cual con su razón (1840), and during the next five years he wrote twenty-two plays, many of them extremely successful. His Cantos del trovador (1841), a collection of national legends written in verse, made Zorilla second only to José de Espronceda in popular esteem. [1]

Antonio García Gutiérrez Spanish writer

Antonio García Gutiérrez was a Spanish Romantic dramatist.

José de Espronceda 19th-century Spanish poet

José Ignacio Javier Oriol Encarnación de Espronceda y Delgado was a Romantic Spanish poet, one of the most representative authors of the 19th century. He was influenced by Eugenio de Ochoa, Federico Madrazo, Alfred Tennyson, Richard Chenevix Trench and Diego de Alvear.

National legends also supply the themes of his dramas, which Zorilla often constructed by adapting older plays that had fallen out of fashion. For example, in El Zapatero y el Rey he recasts El montanés Juan Pascual by Juan de la Hoz y Mota; in La mejor Talon la espada he borrows from Agustín Moreto y Cavana's Travesuras del estudiante Pa-atoja. His famous play Don Juan Tenorio is a combination of elements from Tirso de Molina's Burlador de Sevilla and from Alexandre Dumas, père's Don Juan de Marana (which itself derives from Les Âmes du purgatoire by Prosper Mérimée). However, plays like Sancho García, El Rey loco, and El Alcalde Ronquillo are much more original. He considered his last play, Traidor, inconfeso y mártir (1845) his best play. [1]

Agustín Moreto y Cavana Spanish writer

Agustín Moreto y Cavana, was a Spanish Catholic priest, dramatist and playwright.

Don Juan Tenorio: Drama religioso-fantástico en dos partes, is a play written in 1844 by José Zorrilla. It is the more romantic of the two principal Spanish-language literary interpretations of the legend of Don Juan. The other is the 1630 El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra, which is attributed to Tirso de Molina. Don Juan Tenorio owes a great deal to this earlier version, as recognized by Zorrilla himself in 1880 in his Recuerdos del tiempo viejo, although the author curiously confuses de Molina with another writer of the same era, Agustín Moreto.

Tirso de Molina Spanish writer

Tirso de Molina was a Spanish Baroque dramatist, poet and Roman Catholic monk. He is primarily known for writing The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest, the play from which the popular character of Don Juan originates. His work is also of particular significance due to the abundance of female protagonists, as well as the exploration of sexual issues.

Upon the death of his mother in 1847 Zorrilla left Spain, resided for a while at Bordeaux, and settled in Paris, where his incomplete poem Granada was published in 1852. In a fit of depression, he emigrated to America three years later, hoping, he claimed, that yellow fever or smallpox would kill him. During eleven years in Mexico he wrote very little. He returned to Spain in 1866, to find himself half-forgotten and considered old-fashioned. [1]

Friends helped Zorilla obtain a small post, but the republican minister later abolished it. He was always poor, especially for the 12 years after 1871. The publication of his autobiography, Recuerdos del tiempo viejo in 1880, did nothing to alleviate his poverty. Though his plays were still being performed, he received no money from them. [2]

Finally, in his old age, critics began to reappraise his work, and brought him new fame. He received a pension of 30,000 reales, a gold medal of honor from the Spanish Academy, and, in 1889, the title of National Laureate. [2] He died in Madrid on 23 January 1893.

In his early years, Zorrilla was known as an extraordinarily fast writer. He claimed he wrote El Caballo del Rey Don Sancho in three weeks, and that he put together El Puñal del Godo in two days. This may account for some of the technical faults—redundancy and verbosity—in his works. His plays often appeal to Spanish patriotic pride, and actors and audiences have enjoyed his effective dramaturgy. Don Juan Tenorio is his best-known work. [2]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Zorrilla y Moral, José"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 1043–1044.
  2. 1 2 3 Chisholm 1911.