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Romance Sonambulo

Romance Sonambulo


by Federico Garcia Lorca

Analysis: Calling Card

Andalusian Dream

"Romance Sonambulo" is a quintessentially Lorca poem. It has all of the things his writing was known for. Let's break out the old checklist:

  • Andalusian setting? Check. Andalusia is the area of southern Spain where Lorca lived. It is still today heavily influenced by its past, in which the Islamic Moors ruled for over seven hundred years (the name Andalusia comes from the Arabic name for the area: "al-Andalus"). Lorca sought to investigate, and celebrate, his home through his writings, and he did so in many ways beyond just the setting, as with his use of...
  • Gypsies? Check. The gypsy culture in southern Spain is well-established, having given birth to the flamenco dancing and culture that is now associated with the entire country. Lorca saw this group of people as possessed of an intense spirit, a passionate connection to the natural world, and a fundamental freedom that earned his admiration. "Romance Sonambulo," in fact, was published in his book, Romancero Gitano or Gypsy Ballads.
  • Traditional form? Check. Despite his innovative language and imagery, Lorca works within the well-established, very old form of the ballad in this poem. He wrote many ballads like this, projecting his own unique artistic vision through the traditional forms of his country's past. (For more on the ballad, check out the "Form and Meter" section.)
  • Dream-like imagery? Check. Ever been on a balcony in the sea? Ever swung from a moon icicle? Well, neither have we. It's not surprising to see this in a Lorca poem, though. As an artist, he was very influenced by an approach known as surrealism, which sought to borrow from the often incoherent, detached images of our dreams to express artistic visions. The best example of this in visual art can be found in the work of Lorca's good friend, Salvador Dalí. We think Lorca did a pretty good job in his own right, painting with words instead of a brush.

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