Rubén Darío Biography

(Nicaraguan Poet Who Initiated the Spanish-Language Literary Movement Known as "Modernismo")

Birthday: January 18, 1867 (Capricorn)

Born In: Ciudad Darío, Nicaragua

Ruben Dario is a well-known poet and journalist who became the leader of the Spanish American literary movement, known as Modernismo. Born in Nicaragua, he traveled and wrote across Central and Latin America, as well as, Europe. He started writing at the young age of 12 and was referred to in his younger years as the ‘Child Poet’. Later in his life, he took appointments as a diplomat in Buenos Aires, and traveled with a delegation to Spain, representing his home country of Nicaragua. Influenced by French Parnassian poetry, he experimented with rhythm, meter, and imagery and was known for his symbolic portrayals of an ideal world that would restore unity and harmony. Due to his innovation in his poetry and short stories, he modernized poetry in Spanish and is credited with introducing a new era in Spanish American literature. Towards his life's end, he became concerned with North American imperialism after Spain was defeated in the Spanish-American War. He spent his later years writing about these topics and traveling to speak about his views across Europe, Central, and North America. Despite his demise, his message lives on with the translation of several of his works into English. To know more about his life and works read on.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Félix Rubén García Sarmiento

Died At Age: 49


Spouse/Ex-: Francisca Sánchez del Pozo, Rafaela Contreras, Rosario Emelina Murillo

father: Manuel García

mother: Rosa Sarmiento

siblings: Candida Rosa, Félix Rubén

children: Rubén Darío Contreras

Poets Nicaraguan Men

Died on: February 6, 1916

place of death: León, Nicaragua

Childhood & Early Life
Ruben Dario was born on January 18, 1867 in Metapa, Nicaragua. He spent most of his growing up years in Leon, which is a city he grew to love.
Despite his given name, Felix Ruben Garcia Sarmiento, he started using his pen name at the age of 14. The name Dario was adopted from a great grandfather who was well-known as Dario.
His father, Manuel Garcia, was a merchant. His parents divorced and he was raised by his aunt & uncle.
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In 1882, Dario traveled to El Salvador and did some work as a teacher. While living in El Salvador, he was introduced to Francisco Gavidia, who was an expert in French literature and influenced Ruben’s writing.
He returned to Nicaragua in 1883 and was employed at the ‘National Library’. It was during these years that he experimented with new forms of poetry.
He later moved to Chile in 1886. New friendships paved the way for a job as a correspondent of the Argentinian newspaper La Nacion which was a dream for him.
In 1888, he published his first major work titled "Azul" as a collection of short stories. It was a mix of poetry and prose and represented his first attempt to mix Spanish with the stylistic movement.
In 1892, he traveled to Guatemala and joined a delegation representing the Nicaraguan government on a trip to Spain in celebration of the discovery of America. During this trip, he was exposed to several other countries.
In 1893, he took an appointment as Columbia consul in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ruben found the atmosphere stimulating for his writing work.
In 1898, reeling from the outcome of the Spanish-American War, Dario was sent to Spain as a correspondent for ‘La Nación’. His assignment was to report the on the way of life and conditions in Spain after the war.
After his assignment, he returned to Buenos Aires and was later assigned to Paris by ‘La Nación’. His works from Paris were compiled into a book called ‘Peregrinaciones’.
In 1896, he published what are considered two of his most important books. ‘Los Raros’ was a collection of articles about writers who influenced him and ‘Prosas Profanas Y Otros Poemas’ which emphasized the importance of the Modernist movement for Spanish literature.
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Major Works
‘Cantos de Vida Y Esperanza’ (Songs of Life and Hope) was published in 1905 and is considered to be Ruben Dario’s masterpiece. The book reflects his concerns and hopes about Spain’s future; and is the finest amalgamation of his experimentation with writing and artistry.
Awards & Achievements
As a teenager, government officials were so impressed with his writing that the president of congress awarded him with a scholarship to Europe, but later change that to Granada. Dario refused the scholarship as Granada and his home city of Leon had developed an historic rivalry.
Dario was the first major poet in the Spanish language since the seventeenth century. He had a lasting influence on Spanish literature, and is looked at as the man who changed the trajectory of Spanish literature.
He was considered Nicaragua's greatest diplomat. He was appointed to posts in Buenos Aires, Madrid, and Mexico throughout his lifetime.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1890, he married Rafaela Contreras in El Salvador. One year later, his first son, Rube Dario Contreras was born.
In 1893, Rafaela died due to illness and he married Rosario Murillo. They had been friends in childhood and many conform to the fact that she deceived him into marrying her with the help of her brother.
Together, they had one son who died shortly after childbirth. He separated from Rosario and spent time traveling in Latin America and Spain.
While still legally married to Rosario, he met Francisca Sanchez del Pozo in Madrid, in 1899. She would become his companion in his later years.
Together, they had 2 children. Their first child, a daughter, died of small pox shortly after her birth and in 1903 a son was born.
Throughout his life, he struggled with alcoholism which endangered his health on many occasions. Complications from pneumonia and alcohol abuse eventually took his life on February 6, 1916 in Leon.

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