How Many Times Did Spain Won The World Cup Sketches of Spain by Federico Garcia Lorca (Translation by Peter Bush)

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Sketches of Spain by Federico Garcia Lorca (Translation by Peter Bush)

Ready to experience an incredibly beautiful but provocative journey through the old towns, pubs and villages of Spain? Sketches of Spain it will take you there. Originally published in Spanish as Impressions of the Paisajes, Sketches of Spain, written by the respected author Federico Garcia Lorca, now English readers can taste them too. Translated by Peter Bush, a British professor of literary translation, and illustrated by the noted artist Julian Bell, the book is a very readable rendering of Garcia Lorca’s early twentieth century travelogue.

First published in 1918, the fourteen short essays or “sketches” recount the experiences, reactions and thoughts of Federico Garcia Lorca during four field trips around Spain taken over a period of two years with his teacher literature at the University of Granada, Martín Domínguez Berrueta. Federico, the seventeen-year-old son of a privileged landowner, sees churches and lanes, clergymen and prostitutes, passions and poverty through the eyes of a budding humanist and poet.

Basically, Sketches of Spain is as much an excursion of the soul as it is an excursion of the body: “And travel the world so that, when we reach the gate to the ‘lonely road’, we can drain our cup of all the current emotions, virtue, sin, purity and darkness”. In his pages, the author struggles with the relationship between the spiritual and the sensual: “We must be religious and profane, combining the mysticism of an austere Gothic cathedral with the wonder of pagan Greece.” This battle is told, not with the sophomoric self-awareness one would expect from a seventeen-year-old, but with the beauty of an elegiac that precedes the appearance of Spain’s most beloved poet.

Federico Garcia Lorca dedicates Sketches of Spain to his piano teacher:

“In fond memory of my old music teacher whose gnarled hands so often beat the piano and inscribed rhythms on the air, his hands ran through his silvery hair in the evening like a brave sufferer of ancient passions stirred by a Beethoven sonata . Saint!”

Federico Garcia Lorca had been destined since early childhood for a musical career. After the college field trip described in Sketches of Spain, however, his own passions turned more and more to writing. Yet it is the musical disciplines so well taught by this beloved teacher that imbue Garcia Lorca’s writing with such power and rhythm and light.

In his Prologue, Federico Garcia Lorca invites those readers who dare to “walk these pages” with him. I’m very glad I took the challenge. I encourage you to do that too: you will be well rewarded. Buen viaje – have a good trip.

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