Juan Ramon Jimenez was born in southern Spain but spent most of his life in Madrid. He devoted his life to poetry, publishing his first volume at age 20. In about 1916, when he fell in love and married, he stopped writing in fixed meters and switched to free verse. He wanted to remove everything but the pure poetic essence from his verse. His constant inspiration came from his wife.
Jimenez was a member of the generation of 1898, a literary and cultural movement in the first two decades of the 20th century. Each author of the movement had his own idea of how to write "well," but all agreed that the improvisation, pomp, and regionalism of earlier Spanish literature must be replaced by a more modern, simpler literature that seeks its inspiration abroad. Jimenez's poetry is an example of the move toward this simplicity. Much of his work, such as Arias tristes (Sad Arias, 1903) and Melancotta (Melancholy, 1912), is very sad.
Although known for his voluminous output of poetry, Jimenez is also the author of the beautiful story of a little donkey called Platero y yo. It was first published in 1917 and has been translated into English. Jimenez was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1956.
Other Works by Juan Ramon Jimenez
Florit, Eugenio, ed. Selected Writings of Juan Ramon Jimenez. Translated by H. R. Hays. New York: Far-rar, Straus & Giroux, 1999.
Light and Shadows: Selected Poems and Prose. Translated by James Wright and Robert Bly. Buffalo, N.Y.: White Pine Press, 1987.
The Complete Perfectionist. Translated by Christopher Maurer. New York: Doubleday, 1997.
Works about Juan Ramon Jimenez
Kluback, William. Encounters with Juan Ramon Jimenez. New York: Peter Lang, 1995.
Wilcox, John. Self and Image in Juan Ramon Jimenez. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1987.