Jaime Gil de Biedma

1960s Poet who wrote in Spanish

Jaime Gil de Biedma was a Barcelona-born poet who wrote in Spanish and, although most his work was published in the 1960s, was one of the most important writers in the Generation of the 1950s.

Jaime Gil de Biedma y Alba was born in Barcelona on November 13th 1929 into a wealthy family, who were owners of the Tabacos de Filipinas, which was housed in what is now Hotel 1898.

He effectively led a double life on the one hand as a businessman and professional and on the other as a homosexual in Francoist Barcelona, both of which strongly influenced his poetry.

Biedma studied Law at the University of Barcelona and his work was strongly influenced by French symbolism, especially Charles Baudelaire, and also English and American poetry. 

During his university period, Biedma came into contact with a group of Barcelona intellectuals, writers and poets, including Gabriel Ferrater, Carlos Barral, Jorge Folch i Rusiñol, Jaime Salinas and Juan Marsé. 

In 1959, he published Compañeros de viaje, which together with Moralidades (1966), comprise his most socially aware poetry with poems criticising bourgeois hypocrisy, the capitalist system, the repression of the Spanish people by the Franco regime and discrimination against women.

In 1965, he published a collection of erotic poems A favor de Venus and in 1968, Poemas póstumos. From then on, he would publish poems in literary magazines and also write his memois Diario de un artista seriamente enfermo.

In 1974, he went through a crisis that would lead to him questioning his political positions and effectively giving up writing.

On January 8th 1990, Jaime Gil de Biedma died of AIDS. He was cremated at the Cemetery of Collserola and his ashes are in the family pantheon in Nava de la Asunción in Segovia.


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