[In Our Time] Lorca


04/07/2019 by BBC Radio 4

Web player: http://podplayer.net/?id=75096649
Episode: http://open.live.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/6/redir/version/2.0/mediaset/audio-nondrm-download/proto/http/vpid/p07fyxbn.mp3

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936), author of Blood Wedding, Yerma and The House of Bernarda Alba, who mixed the traditions of Andalusia with the avant-garde. He found his first major success with his Gypsy Ballads, although Dali, once his close friend, mocked him for these, accusing Lorca of being too conservative. He preferred performing his poems to publishing them, and his plays marked a revival in Spanish theatre. He was captured and killed by Nationalist forces at the start of the Civil War, his body never recovered, and it’s been suggested this was punishment for his politics and for being openly gay. He has since been seen as the most important Spanish playwright and poet of the last century.


Maria Delgado
Professor of Creative Arts at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London

Federico Bonaddio
Reader in Modern Spanish at King’s College London


Sarah Wright
Professor of Hispanic Studies and Screen Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London

Producer: Simon Tillotson

Listen Date: 2019-09-12 to 2019-09-13


  • It’s always tempting to say that any In Our Time subject that you’ve never heard of before is Melvyn Bragg diving into the abstruse, but after the closing segment on Lorca’s legacy; and after reading the Wikipedia pages and seeing how many adaptations Lorca’s work has had, I’m genuinely wondering why I had never heard of him up to now.
  • The House of Atreus, which was a happy guess at this year’s Askqance, popped up again as a comparison and possible inspiration for Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba. But reading the Wikipedia pages of both, I don’t really see the connection.
  • The segment about Lorca being in New York and Cuba during the depression era, and being disapproving about capitalism and greed driving out love, made me roll my eyes a little and think of Deirdre McCloskey snarking at the clerisy and at Bohemian operas.
  • I had a similar reaction, too, to the discussion of Lorca and his family being landowning socialists. Nice compromise if you can swing it.
  • Also learned that Dali and Bunuel’s Un Chien Andalou might have been making fun of Lorca. And that in retaliation Lorca made his own A Trip to the Moon.
  • Dali comes across as a complete asshole in this episode. But I’m not sure Lorca wasn’t the same.


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