In Search of Duende
by Federico García Lorca
The notion of “duende” became a cornerstone of Federico García Lorca’s poetics over the course of his career. In his lecture “Play and Theory of the Duende,” he says, “there are no maps nor disciplines to help us find the duende. We only know that he burns the blood like a poultice of broken glass, that he exhausts, that he rejects all the sweet geometry we have learned…” The duende is portrayed by Lorca as a demonic earth spirit embodying irrationality, earthiness, and a heightened awareness of death. In Search of Duende gathers Lorca’s writings about the duende and about three art forms most susceptible to it: dance, music, and the bullfight. A full bilingual sampling of Lorca’s poetry is also included, with special attention to poems arising from traditional Spanish verse forms. The result is an excellent introduction to Lorca’s poetry and prose for American readers.