Imagine, if you will, a poet and playwright who died more than fifty years ago at the age of thirty-eight becoming the stuff of enduring legend—surviving decades of theatrical censorship in his own country and major aesthetic upheavals everywhere, including the death of poetry as a major art form. Imagine, too, that he wrote in a language that is not widely studied or read by the major literary intellectuals in Western Europe or the United States. And finally, picture such a figure commanding sufficient interest to justify a major biography by Ian Gibson, a world-class scholar, poet, and novelist, written over a ten-year period with the financial assistance of an improbable coalition of governments (Spain, Ireland, the United States, and Cuba), and published not by a university press but by Pantheon and Faber & Faber, two of the most prestigious commercial houses in the United States and Great Britain. That is the...


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