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Antonio Machado Biography | Poet

Photo of Antonio Machado

Antonio Machado's full name was Antonio Cipriano José María y Francisco de Santa Ana Machado y Ruiz, and he shortened it for the sake of convenience in many ways. He was born in Seville, Spain and died in Collioure, France. He was born on July 26th in 1875, and died on the 22nd of February in 1939. Today, Antonia Machado is regarded as one of the most important of all Spanish poets. There was a Spanish literary movement in his lifetime characterized by the Generation of '98, and he was one of the leaders in that movement, as well as one of its symbols in many ways.

Antonio Machado's Education

Plenty of poets consider their educative backgrounds to almost be hindrances to them when they are trying to really develop their own styles as poets. They are too caught up in the styles of others to really get a sense of what they want to express. Other poets are actually inspired by what they read at school and who they read with, including their teachers. When Antonio Machado enrolled at the Institución Libre de Enseñanza, he found his teachers inspiring, and he soon went on to pursue his own literary goals. Of course, his trip to Paris and meetings with some of the most famous poets of the day probably helped encourage him in this direction more than anything else.

Antonio Machado's Professional Background

Most poets will need to work additional jobs in their time in order to sustain their literary goals, and Antonio Machado was no exception. He took several jobs while he was working in school, including being an actor. He also worked as a Professor of French. Antonio Machado lost his wife after only a few years to tuberculosis, which was a very common and essentially incurable ailment at the time. His sorrow over her death probably encouraged the development of some of his work, although he tended to address other themes throughout his career.

The Professional Accomplishments of Antonio Machado

Antonio Machado had numerous publications throughout his life, but his most famous works are Soledades and Campos de Castilla. Campos de Castilla is perhaps the work that is the first quintessential Antonio Machado work, in fact. It's written in the style that would make him famous throughout the course of the rest of his career. His earlier work was far more turgid and full of the purple prose that tended to characterize the Modernists. Campos de Castilla has a much more straightforward writing style, and this is the style that people now associate with Antonio Machado.

The Legacy and Distinction of Antonio Machado

Members of the Generation of 1898 were interested in really critically examining Spain in the context of its own history. The world at large was making a lot of changes during this time period, and Spain was no exception. It was once a huge imperial power, and it was starting to falter during this point in history as the empires around it began to take center stage. The world at large was in the grip of a lot of transformations towards what is now known as the modern world, which is the sort of transition that is going to invite introspection and discussion.

However, Antonio Machado was not as political as many of his peers, which makes his work more accessible than some of theirs. His work is still important in terms of its power as a set of historical documents, but there is a lot to enjoy from a purely aesthetic perspective as well. Antonio Machado was very concerned with consciousness and perception. The effect that these changes and transformations had on the individual was important to him, and it seemed to be more important than evaluating the political changes in a purely political context.

Social realism was a huge part of his work. Part of Antonio Machado seemed to want to immortalize the Spanish people much as he was trying to immortalize his wife, who died far too soon. However, he was ultimately a person interested in self-expression and exploring his own feelings, which has made people more interested in exploring theirs as they read what he has to offer the rest of time. 

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