IN SEARCH OF LORCA

Lorca. Spain’s most famous 20th-century poet and dramatist

It is now officially a Tourist Route: ‘La Ruta de García Lorca’. Visitors to Granada can be guided around the locations associated with the Spain’s most famous 20th-century poet and dramatist: his birthplace, where he was brought up, where he lived as a young man, where he was arrested and where he was murdered and (allegedly) buried. Except now, of course, since the abortive disinterment we know he wasn’t.

I don’t know what the official tour with a Granada Guide is like, but doing the route independently is fascinating and ultimately, very moving. One starts in the Casa Natal, a modest country cottage in which Lorca lived 4 years until his family grew too big and his land-owning father too wealthy. The house is perfectly preserved and now contains a very informative museum, in which its amiable curator rotates a selection of exhibitions.

From the birthplace we move on to the much larger family house 3 kilometres away in Villarubio (which used to be called Asquerosa, believe it or not, although Lorca firmly refused to refer to it as such). This is a much more opulent country-house, again perfectly preserved with an excellent and appropriately surreal audio-visual presentation. The curator, a charming gentleman called Pepe, known locally as Pepe de los Amores because of his good looks and amorous prowess as a young man (very Lorquian), was distracted and tearful during our visit. A kind Anglo-Saxon arm around his shoulder extracted the reason: during the stormy previous night part of the roof of the neighbouring ‘casa’ had collapsed.

Was it his house?

No, it’s THE HOUSE.

THE house?

The House of the Familia Alba.

Nooooo…

Yes, LA CASA DE BERNARDA ALBA has been allowed to deteriorate and now has begun to fall down.

Lorca based his last and best-known tragedy on a piece of documented local history of a neighbouring family (he didn’t even change the name). In other words, the house on which one of the great works of World Theatre was inspired had been neglected to the point where is was falling down.

Pepe’s tears and this lamentable story induced a sense of melancholy which pervaded the rest of our day. We went to the Barranco de Viznar where we saw, in a pine wood, the symbolic grave of the great poet, covered in recently-placed flowers and messages, we visited the Huerta de San Vicente in Granada (the family’s summer residence) where the poet spend most of his later years, but by now we too were distracted and upset, not by the death of a great young poet, the with details of which we were all too familiar, but by the tears of an old man who was witnessing the destruction of an irreplaceable cultural monument

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