¡Feliz cumpleaños, Carolina Coronado!

The Spanish romantic poet was born on this day in 1820

Feature image credit: Camster2, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Carolina Coronado, who was known for her romantic poetry, was born 201 years ago today, on December 12, 1820 in the Spanish region of Extremadura. She may not be as famous as her male contemporaries, such as Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, José Zorrilla, or José de Espronceda, and I would guess that she’s also not as well known as Galician romantic poet Rosalía de Castro. Nonetheless, not only was her poetry just as interesting as anything created by the aforementioned writers, but she should as be remembered for her bravery for having a revolutionary spirit, speaking out against slavery, and for simply being an outspoken female intellectual at a time when women weren’t always welcome to participate in literary discussions.

Portrait of Carolina Coronado. Credit: Museum of Romanticism, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I had studied Carolina Coronado a little bit when I was in grad school, but I don’t think any of the classes on Spanish Romanticism I took focused on her too much. She was mentioned more or less as a footnote. As I was preparing this post, I learned a number of fascinating details about her life. For example, I didn’t know that she was such a prolific novelist, having written 15 substantial works. She even authored a number of plays. I was also unaware that she formed a literary discussion and support group called Hermandad Lírica, which was comprised of other women romantic poets. This group collaborated together and produced poetry that expressed love for other women poets. My understanding is that she was married to an American man who worked at the American Embassy in Spain, and she was the aunt of Román Gómez de la Serna, an extremely well-accomplished writer in his own right. I don’t get to teach Spanish Romanticism that much these days, but the next time I do, I’m going to incorporate some of her poetry, for sure.

Portrait of Carolina Coronado, by Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

I encourage readers to research Coronado’s works, especially her poetry, which show typical themes of romanticism, including love, religion, nature, and even national heroes. Her poetry can be found easily online. In fact, on the website cervantesvirtual.com, they share a pdf file of her collected works (no longer under copyright), which I am embedding below.

I have chosen one of the poems from this collection that I especially like, simply numbered “VI,” which is the last in a series called “El amor de los amores,” composed in 1849. The recording below is of me reciting the poem. The text of the poem follows below the recording.

Carolina Coronado. “El amor de los amores. VI.” Recited by Daniel H. Brown
     Pero te llamo yo ¡dulce amor mío!
Como si fueras tú mortal viviente,
Cuando solo eres luz, eres ambiente,
Eres aroma, eres vapor del río.
     Eres la sombra de la nube errante,
Eres el son del árbol que se mueve,
Y aunque a adorarte el corazón se atreve,
Tú solo en la ilusión eres mi amante.
     Hoy me engañas también como otras veces;
Tú eres la imagen que el delirio crea,
Fantasma del vapor que me rodea
Que con el fuego de mi aliento creces.
     Mi amor, el tierno amor por el que lloro
Eres tan solo tú ¡señor Dios mío!
Si te busco y te llamo, es desvarío
De lo mucho que sufro y que te adoro.
     Yo nunca te veré, porque no tienes
Ser humano, ni forma, ni presencia:
Yo siempre te amaré, porque en esencia
A el alma mía como amante vienes.
     Nunca en tu frente sellará mi boca
El beso que al ambiente le regalo;
Siempre el suspiro que a tu amor exhalo
Vendrá a quebrarse en la insensible roca.
     Pero cansada de penar la vida,
Cuando se apague el fuego del sentido,
Por el amor tan puro que he tenido
Tú me darás la gloria prometida.
     Y entonces al ceñir la eterna palma,
Que ciñen tus esposas en el cielo,
El beso celestial, que darte anhelo,
Llena de gloria te dará mi alma.

I like how the poetic voice seems to be addressing a lover, as if the beloved were simply a case of unrequited or impossible love. But she’s not talking about an earthly being, but God himself, who can be felt but not seen. Only upon death can her soul reach the ecstasy for which it longs.

¡Feliz cumpleaños, doña Carolina! Y gracias por tus palabras que todavía nos conmueven.

Are you familiar with Carolina Coronado’s works? If so, let us know what you thought about them in the comments below. And if you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it in the comments below. ¡Gracias!

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5 thoughts on “¡Feliz cumpleaños, Carolina Coronado!

  1. “…having a revolutionary spirit, speaking out against slavery, and for simply being an outspoken female intellectual at a time when women weren’t always welcome to participate in literary discussions.”

    Wow. Carolina Coronado–I have “bookmarked” her name. I’d like to read at least one of her novels. But it seems there isn’t a single English translation of any of her longer works.

    Is the poetry book in English? I can’t read Spanish (I’m planning to study this language later, much later when I can afford it). I can recognize only a few words and phrases. The link to cervantesvirtual says “Site is not secure” according to Chrome. 😦

    By the way, I love her gorgeous portrait, the one by Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Melisa. Thanks for your kind words. Sorry about that link from cervantesvirtual.com. I’m not sure why it would have been flagged as insecure, but I updated the post with the collected works embedded where I previously had the link, but let me know if you can’t see it for some reason. I’m not familiar with any translations of her works in English, unfortunately, but I haven’t really looked for them either. I should do some research. If I find anything, I’ll let you know. Thanks for visiting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi, Daniel. I’ve just successfully downloaded the poesias pdf file, as well as the mp3. ❤️ Muchas gracias! 🙏

        I haven’t seen any English translations too. I’d be glad to hear from you if you find anything. Many thanks for your time and effort and everything!❤️

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed! It reminds me a bit of some of the writings of the Spanish mystics, especially that of Saint Teresa of Ávila. Best wishes!


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