domingo, 20 de septiembre de 2015

Who was Gerald Brenan? By Lola Ortega Muñoz


Edward Fitzgerald Brenan was a British writer and Hispanist. Sliema, Malta, April 7th, 1894 - Málaga, Spain, January 19th, 1987.



He spent much of his life in Spain. He wrote different essays and books, two of the most important works are South from Granada and The Spanish Labyrinth, a historical work on the background of the Spanish Civil War. He was in contact with writers such as Virginia Woolf and Hemingway.

Brenan had an itinerant childhood because his father worked for the British Army: Malta, South Africa, England, Ireland, India, etc. He studied at Radley College.

Young rebel, in 1912, he did not want to be a professional soldier and he escaped with his friend Hope-Johnstone. The First World War forced him to join the army in 1914 and he left it in 1918 with honours and a pension.

He preferred the intellectual circles, as the Bloomsbury group, where he met his beloved Dora Carrington, an artist and partner of Lytton Strachey (famous biographer). In 1919 he moved to Spain. First, he rented a house in the small village of Yegen, in the Alpujarras district of the province of Granada. He spent his time catching up on the education which he felt he had missed by not attending university. In 1930 he met the American poet and novelist Gamel Woolsey (Death's Other kingdom).

Later, they bought a house in Churriana, Málaga, in 1934; but they had to go back to England because of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War (1936). Brenan was permitted to return to Spain in 1953 despite holding views which were critical of Franco’s regime.


Gamel Woolsey died in Spain in 1968 and she was buried at the English Cemetery in Málaga. Brenan continued his writing work with a young collaborator: Lynda Nicholson-Price. They decided to build their new house in Alhaurín el Grande.

Brenan died 19th January 1987 (aged 92). He donated his body to the Medicine Faculty of Málaga for medical research and later cremated. In the end, his ashes were buried next to his wife (2001).  

Sources
Brenan, G. (1962):  A Life of One’s Own. London: Jonathan Cape.
Brenan, G. (1974):  Personal Record 1920-1972. London: Jonathan Cape.





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