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JOSE IGNACIO JAVIER ORIOL ENCARNACION...

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Originally appearing in Volume V09, Page 775 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JOSE IGNACIO JAVIER ORIOL ENCARNACION DE ESPRONCEDA (1808-1842), Spanish poet, son of an officer in the Bourbon regiment, was born at or near Almendralejo de los Barros on the 25th of March 18o8. On the close of the war he was sent to the preparatory school of artillery at Segovia, and later became a pupil of the poet Lista, then professor of literature at St Matthew's College in Madrid. In his fourteenth year he had attracted his master's attention by his verses, and had joined a secret society. Sentenced to five years' seclusion in the Franciscan convent at Guadalajara, he began an epic poem entitled Pelayo, of which fragments survive. He escaped to Portugal and thence to England, where he found the famous Teresa whom he had met at Lisbon; here, too, he became a student of Shakespeare, Milton and Byron. In 183o he eloped with Teresa to Paris, took part in the July revolution, and soon after joined the raid of Chapalangarra on Navarre. In 1833 he returned to Spain and obtained a commission in the queen's guards. This, however, he soon forfeited by a political song, and he was banished to Cuellar, where he wrote a poor novel entitled Sancho Saldana o el Castellano de Cuellar (1834). He took an active part in the revolutionary risings of 1835 and 1836, and, on the accession to power of the Liberal party in 184o, was appointed secretary of legation at the Hague; in 1842 he was elected deputy for Almeria, and seemed likely to play a great part in parliamentary life. But his constitution was undermined, and, after a short illness, he died at Madrid on the 23rd of May 1842. His poems, first published in 1840, at once gained for him a reputation which still continues undiminished. The influence of Byron pervades Espronceda's life and work. It is present in an ambitious variant on the Don Juan legend, El Estudiante de Salamanca, Elvira's letter being obviously modelled on Julia's letter in Don Juan; the Canci6n del Pirata is suggested by The Corsair; and the Byronic inspiration is not wanting even in the noble fragment entitled El Diablo Mundo, based on the story of Faust. But in El Mendigo, in El Reo de Muerte, in ElVerdugo, and in the sombre vehement lines, A Jarifa en una orgia, Espronceda approves himself the most potent and original lyrical poet produced by Spain during the 19th century.
End of Article: JOSE IGNACIO JAVIER ORIOL ENCARNACION DE ESPRONCEDA (1808-1842)
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