Gertrudis Gomez De Avellaneda - Encyclopedia

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GERTRUDIS GOMEZ DE AVELLANEDA (1814-1873), Spanish dramatist and poet, was born at Puerto Principe (Cuba) on the 23rd of March 1814, and removed to Spain in 1836. Her Poesias liricas (1841), issued with a laudatory preface by Gallego, made a most favourable impression and were republished with additional poems in 1850. In 1846 she married a diplomatist named Pedro Sabater, became a widow within a year, and in 1853 married Colonel Domingo Verdugo. Meanwhile she had published Sab (1839), Guatimozin (1846), and other novels of no great importance. She obtained, however, a series of successes on the stage with Alfonso Munio (1844), a tragedy in the new romantic manner; with Sail (1849), a biblical drama indirectly suggested by Alfieri; and with Baltasar (1858), a piece which bears some resemblance to Byron's Sardanapalus. Her commerce with the world had not diminished her natural piety, and, on the death of her second husband, she found so much consolation in religion that she had thoughts of entering a convent. She died at Madrid on the 2nd of February 1873, full of mournful forebodings as to the future of her adopted country. It is impossible to agree with Villemain that "le genie de don Luis de Leon et de sainte Therese a reparu sous le voile funebre de Gomez de Avellaneda," for she has neither the monk's mastery of poetic form not the nun's sublime simplicity of soul. She has a grandiose tragical vision of life, a vigorous eloquence rooted in pietistic pessimism, a dramatic gift effective in isolated acts or scenes; but she is deficient in constructive power and in intellectual force, and her lyrics, though instinct with melancholy beauty, or the tenderness of resigned devotion, too often lack human passion and sympathy. The edition of her Obras literarias (5 vols., 1869-1871), still incomplete, shows a scrupulous care for minute revision uncommon in Spanish writers; but her emendations are seldom happy. But she is interesting as a link between the classic and romantic schools of poetry, and, whatever her artistic shortcomings, she has no rivals of her own sex in Spain during the 19th century.

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