Leandro Fernández de Moratín

Leandro Fernández de Moratín

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Leandro Fernández de Moratín (March 10, 1760 – June 21, 1828) was a Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 dramatist, translator and neoclassical
Spanish Enlightenment literature
Spanish Enlightenment literature is the literature of Spain written during the Age of Enlightenment.During the 18th century a new spirit was born which swept away the older values of the Baroque and which receives the name of "Enlightenment"...

 poet.

Biography


Moratín was born in Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

 the son of Nicolás Fernández de Moratín
Nicolas Fernández de Moratín
Nicolás Fernández de Moratín was the father of one of the most important Spanish writers and dramatists of the neoclassical era, Leandro Fernández de Moratín. He himself was involved in the Spanish literary movement of the day and heavily influenced his son. He wrote Arte de las putas a poem and...

, a major literary reformer in Spain from 1762 until his death in 1780.

Distrusting the teaching offered in Spain's universities at the time, Leandro grew up in the rich literary environment of his father and became an admirer of Enlightenment thought. In addition to translating works of Molière
Molière
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature...

 and William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 into Spanish, he himself was a major poet, dramatist and man of letters whose writing support the reformist ideas associated with the Spanish Enlightenment. Early in his career, his writings were supported by statesman and author Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos
Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos
Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos was an Asturian-born Spanish neoclassical statesman, author, philosopher and a major figure of the Age of Enlightenment in Spain.-Life:...

, who, in 1787, arranged for him to study for a year in Paris. In 1792, the Spanish government provided the funds for him to travel to England in order to extend his education. In 1790 he published his first comedy 'El viejo y la niña' (The Old Man and the Young Girl), a sombre work which attacked the consequences of arranged marriages between people of differing ages. Two years later, in 1792, he wrote the play La comedia nueva (The New Comedy), a dramatic attack on the extravagant plots used by of other contemporary playwrights.

A supporter
Afrancesado
Afrancesado was the term used to denote Spanish and Portuguese partisans of Enlightenment ideas, Liberalism, or the French Revolution, who were supporters of the French occupation of Iberia and of the First French Empire.-Origins:...

 of Joseph Bonaparte
Joseph Bonaparte
Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte was the elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made him King of Naples and Sicily , and later King of Spain...

, whose rule had allowed far more expression of liberal thinking than what Spain's Bourbon monarch Carlos IV was willing to tolerate, Leandro Fernández de Moratín was given the post of royal librarian. His 1805 comedy El sí de las niñas [literally The yes of the girls] (The Maidens' Consent, 1806) was denounced upon the reinstatement of the Inquisition
Spanish Inquisition
The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition , commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition , was a tribunal established in 1480 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the Medieval...

 after King Ferdinand VII regained the throne. Leandro Fernández de Moratín had to abandon playwriting and was forced into exile in France after the fall of the Bonapartes.

Leandro Fernández de Moratín died in Paris and was buried there in the Père Lachaise Cemetery
Père Lachaise Cemetery
Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris, France , though there are larger cemeteries in the city's suburbs.Père Lachaise is in the 20th arrondissement, and is reputed to be the world's most-visited cemetery, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the...

. However, at the turn of the 20th century, his remains were brought back to Spain for interment in Madrid's Panteón de Hombres Ilustres (Pantheon of Illustrious Men).