María Rosalía Rita de Castro

Category: Writer
Birth Date: 24th February 1837 (†15th July 1885)
Birth Place: Santiago de Compostela (A Coruña)

She was brought up by two aunts of her. Her father was a priest called José Martínez Viojo but he did not give up and saw to her education. Then she moved to Padrón with her aunt Teresa. Her mother lived there and she took the role of a mother and took care of her. They lived in Padrón and shortly after moved to Santiago, where she often visited the ‘Sociedade Económica de Amigos do País’ and attended the parties of the ‘Liceo da Xuventude’ at the old St Agustine Convent, where many intellectual young people such as Murguía, Aurelio Aguirre, and Pondal got together. In 1856, she moved to Madrid and lived with her mother's cousin. One year later, she met Manuel Murguía after his critics towards her first poetry book titled La flor and married in 1858 and moved to Santiago de Compostela. Next year their first daughter, Alejandra, was born. They lived later in different places because of Murguía's activities: A Coruña, Madrid, and Simancas. Rosalía is supposed to have written there the most part of the poems of her book Follas Novas. They travelled around Extremadura, Alicante and they also stayed in Lugo for a short period of time. However, they preferred A Coruña, Santiago, and Padrón, where she died in her house called A Matanza 15 July 1885. She was buried at the cemetery called Andina, which had already been described in the poems of Follas Novas. In 1891, her remains were moved to the Church of St Domingo in Santiago.

 Work & Activities

In 1857, Rosalía published in Madrid her first poetry book titled La flor, a collection of romantic poems influenced by Aguirre, Espronceda, and Zorrilla. Two years later, she published in Vigo the novel La hija del mar, a romantic novel written in Castilian like all her novels, which is inspired on the landscape of Muxía’s coast. In 1861, she wrote her first composition in Galician. She published and according to Murguía, she wrote this poems in Castile during her illness. That same year, she published Flavio in Madrid and one year later, some of her poems were published in ‘El Álbum de la Caridad’. On 17th May 1863, one of her most important books, Cantares Gallegos, came out. Remembering the date of this important publication (17th May) we celebrate the Day of the Galician Letters. That same year Rosalía published the poem A mi madre, in which she expresses a great sorrow because of her mother's death and three years later, she published the novel Ruinas. The characters in this novel show the costumes of a village, which might be Padrón itself, and all of them are models with great spiritual values that every human being should have. In 1867, she published the best of her novels titled El caballero de las botas azules. The action of this novel takes place in Madrid and she criticizes the hypocrisy and ignorance of society. The second edition of Cantares Gallegos was printed in 1872 and there were four poems more than in the first one: ‘Miña Santiña’, ‘Díxome nantronte o cura’, ‘¿Qué ten o mozo?’, ‘Si a vernos, Marica, nantronte viñeras’. The year 1880 is a very important date for Galician literature, Rosalía published Follas Novas, Curros Enríquez published Aires da miña terra and Lamas Carvajal Saudades Gallegas. In Follas Novas, Rosalía pays a great attention to the human existence and shows us a distressing view towards world and life. In 1881, she published in Madrid El primer loco, which was also titled Cuento extraño and in 1884, the very important poetry book En las Orillas del Sar, which can be considered a lyrical and intimate continuation of Follas Novas and reflects a totally desolate world, being unhappiness and the lack of hope human conditions. Un Conto Galego was her last publication, which was published posthumously in 1923.