Sketches of Spain.
Federico Garcia Lorca. Illustrations by Julian Bell; Translated by Peter Bush (Serif 2013, $29)
Reviewed by Ruth Brassington
I’ve still got my 1960 Penguin translation of Lorca’s selected poems, with the original Spanish version taking pride of place on the page with the English translation relegated to mere footnotes. In 1971, when I bought it, I think it was “cool” to read Lorca. Now, confronted by a book of his prose musings on his home country, originally published there in 1918, I am overwhelmed by the word pictures he paints, accompanied by Julian Bell’s gentlemanly “Englishman abroad” drawings.
At Granada University, Lorca had a wonderful literature professor in 1916-17 who took his students on local art and architecture trips and to share cultural experiences. “Teacher and students gave public talks, Lorca played the piano and they conversed with local artists, intellectuals and clergy.” The students then wrote about their trips, and Lorca was only 19 years old when he published this selection of his writings.