Spanish and Portuguese ETDs

Publication Date



IRRATIONAL AND VISIONARY IMAGERY IN CANTE JONDO AND THE NEO-POPULAR POETRY OF FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA AND RAFAEL ALBERTI BY DAVID A. BRIGGS B.A., Romance Languages and Literature, Boston University, 1964 M.A., Spanish, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, 2002 Ph.D., Spanish and Portuguese, The University of New Mexico, 2009 ABSTRACT Spanish poet Rafael Alberti of the Generation of 27 claimed that 'Surrealism had been practiced in Spain since time immemorial as part of the tradition of popular song and folk poetry' (Rafael Alberti qtd. in Harris 34). What is it that permits applying an early twentieth-century term, 'Surrealism' to the traditional popular song, cante jondo, and neo-popular poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca and Rafael Alberti? The answer begins with the verbal imagery of the popular song form cante jondo and the neo-popular lyric of García Lorca and Alberti as I demonstrate in this study. Considering the poetic imagery in cante jondo and Lorca's and Alberti's neo-popular work as irrational and visionary allows stating that 'surrealism' within the popular lyric existed in Spain long before 'Surrealism' as introduced by Guillaume Apollinaire. With theories of poetic creation from Carlos Bousoño, C.G. Jung and the writings of Robert Bly and Guillaume Apollinaire, I show that irrational and visionary imagery has indeed existed in 'popular song and folk poetry since time immemorial' in cante jondo verse and Lorca and Alberti's neo-popular lyric allowing for the use of the term 'surrealism. I explore the elements irrationality and visionary together with spontaneity and orality through the examination of imagery in various letra of cante jondo, limited to this genre of popular song because of the broadness of the category, and several poems from Lorca's Mariana Pineda, Poema del Cante Jondo, Romancero Gitano, Yerma, and Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías and Marinero en tierra, Cal y Canto, EL ALBA DEL ALHELI, AND VERTE Y NO VERTE from Rafael Alberti's work. My analysis demonstrates and supports Alberti's claim that Surrealism has existed in popular song and folk poetry since time immemorial.

Degree Name

Spanish & Portuguese (PhD)

Level of Degree


Department Name

Spanish and Portuguese

First Committee Member (Chair)

Cardenas, Anthony

Second Committee Member

Lamadrid, Enrique

Third Committee Member

Putnam, Walter




Garcia Lorca, Federico, 1898-1936--Criticism and interpretation, Alberti, Rafael, 1902-1999--Criticism and interpretation, Flamenco music--History and criticism

Document Type