Manuel Jose Quintana - Encyclopedia

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MANUEL JOSE QUINTANA (1772-1857), Spanish poet and man of letters, was born at Madrid on the 11th of April 1172, and after completing his studies at Salamanca was called to the bar. In 1801 he produced a tragedy, El Duque de Viseo, founded on M. G. Lewis's Castle Spectre; his Pelayo (1805), written on a patriotic theme, was more successful. The first volume of his Vidas de Espanoles celebres (1807-33), containing lives of Spanish patriots, stirred the public imagination and secured Quintana the post of secretary to the Cortes during the French invasion. His proclamations and odes fanned the national enthusiasm into flame. But he was ill rewarded for his services, for on the return of Ferdinand VII. he was imprisoned at Pamplona from 1814 to 1820. He was finally given a small post in the civil service, became tutor to Queen Isabella, and was nominated senator. Though publicly "crowned" as the representative poet of Spain (1855), he seems to have lived in poverty. He died on the 11th of March 1857. His poems, thirty-four in number, are inspired by philanthropy and patriotism; the style is occasionally gallicized, and the thought is not profound, but his nobility of sentiment and resounding rhetoric attract every generation of Spaniards.

See an excellent monograph by E. Pineyro, Manuel Jose Quintana, ensayo critico y biogrdfico (Paris, 1892).

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