`I have made a terrible discovery ... I have not yet been born ... I live off borrowed substance; what I have within me is not mine.'
In his four last plays Federico García Lorca offered his disturbed and disturbing personal vision to Spanish audiences of the 1930s - unready, as he thought them, for the sexual frankness and surreal expression of his more experimental work. The ill-fated lovers of Blood Wedding
, the desolate Yerma, the fading spinster Rosita, and Bernarda Alba's abused household of women all inhabit a familiar Andalusia. Their predicaments are starkly plotted, with a stagecraft rooted in classical theatrical tradition. In such figures Lorca addresses the cultural and political ferment of his time with a fiercely libertarian assault on 'old and wrong moralities', fusing the personal and the political through his virtuoso mastery of images.
Yet all that mastery can barely keep at bay the anguished contradictions of these doomed human lives. Hence the authentic sense of danger - the duende, to use his own word of Lorca's theatre, finely conveyed here in John Edmunds's fluent and rhythmic new translations that lend themselves admirably to performance.
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His versions are accurate ... faithful ... fluent and idiomatic; they look like utterances of English ... Readers can be sure that the texts will not lead them astray, but they will also be grateful for the quite excellent introductory essay by Nick Round. This is a characteristically gritty display of erudition and common sense ... extremely well-prepared edition. (Times Literary Supplement