The Nobel Prize in Literature 1977
Born: 26 April 1898, Sevilla, Spain
Died: 14 December 1984, Madrid, Spain
Residence at the time of the award: Spain
Prize motivation: “for a creative poetic writing which illuminates man's condition in the cosmos and in present-day society, at the same time representing the great renewal of the traditions of Spanish poetry between the wars”
Prize share: 1/1
Vicente Aleixandre was born in Seville, Spain. He belonged to the Generation of ‘27, an influential group of poets that included Federico García Lorca. Aleixandre began studies in law and economics at the University of Madrid, but decided to devote himself to literature. During the Spanish Civil War, he became seriously ill with tuberculosis. For a time his poetry was banned in his native country, but the ban was lifted in 1944.
Surrealism influenced Vicente Aleixandre at an early age. His debut as a poet came with Ambito (Ambit), a poetry collection that appeared in 1928. His distinctive style was developed in the 1930s in the works Espadas como labios (Swords as Lips) and La destruccion o el amor (Destruction or Love). The Spanish Civil War brought about a change in his poetry to simpler imagery. For several years after the war, the fascist regime banned his poetry. He made his return in 1944 with Sombre del paraiso (Shadow of Paradise), a work that reflects Aleixandre’s struggle to find a new purpose in life after the war.