a beautiful letter

 

The following letter is currently being exhibited in the Centro Federico García Lorca in Granada, Spain.

The letter was written in 1931 by the famous Spanish poet, playwright, and theatre director Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) to Encarnación López (married name Encarnación López Júlvez; 1897-1945), a singer, dancer, and choreographer known as La Argentinita.

I believe that this brief, beautiful letter illustrates something fundamental about epistolary writing – indeed, about writing in general: that a letter does not need to be “literary” to be beautiful; it does not need to be long or complicated. It goes without saying that the simplest letters are often the best ones.

I found this letter very touching. And, it illustrates to me another fundamental point about writing. What is required in all types of writing situations is that the length, tone, complexity, etc. of a piece of writing be exactly appropriate to the situation and audience. That is the key.

This is something that seems obvious, but is not necessarily easy to achieve. A master writer like García Lorca is here fully equal to the challenge. What he writes is not cold, impersonal, or calculated. Far from it. It is just the opposite. It is a beautifully expressed, warm communique that is just right for the audience, which is to say that we are always aware that García Lorca is not writing to a parent. sibling, or lover.

Within that framework, he wrote something that is warm and touching, the kind of letter that anyone would be extremely pleased to receive, that one would not forget and would treasure, that one would undoubtedly keep.

Also notable in this letter are the sincerity and humbleness shown by García Lorca, a great and prolific writer and a noble person.

 

— Roger W. Smith

      June 2016

 

 

************************************************************

 

Querida comadre:

Como no pudo despedirme de usted por causa de mi enfermidad, y como me llamó por teléfono y luego no se encontraba usted en casa, le escribo para saludarla con gran cariño y admiración, y para decirla que vivo en Acera del Casino, 31 Granada, para lo que guste mandar.

Yo estoy ahora en pleno trabajo y muy contento de este paisaje y de esta enctandora familia que tengo.

Yo la recuerdo constantemente, pues mis hermanillas, que son fervientas admiradoras de usted, ponen a toda hora los discos que, entre paréntesis, son estupendos.

¿Que es de Ignacio? Déle usted un abrazo de la parte mía. Espero que me tendrá en sus oraciones y no me olvidirá.

Reciba usted, querida comadre e mi arma, el más cariñoso saludo de su colaborador y compañero.

                                                            Federico García Lorca

 
************************************************************

 

Dear comadre,

Having been unable to say goodbye to you because of my illness, and then having called you by telephone, but not found you at home, I now write you to say hello with great affection and admiration, and to tell you that my address, should you ever need it, is Acera del Casino 31, Granada.

I am working hard at the moment and very happy to be in this landscape with the delightful family that I have.

I remember you all the time, because my little sisters, who are fervent admirers of yours, are constantly playing your records (which, by the way, are quite marvelous).

What news do you have of Ignacio? Do give him my best regards. I hope he remembers me in his prayers and will not forget about me.

Warmest greetings, dear comadre e me arma, from you partner and colleague.

                                                     Federico García Lorca

 

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts a websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim Aleksandrovich Sorokin.
This entry was posted in epistolary (letter writing as a genre; letters as examples of good writing), García Lorca, writing (the craft of writing; good vs. bad writing; my training, experience, and lessons re same) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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