Meléndez Valdés, Juan

Meléndez Valdés, Juan hwän mālānˈdāth väldāsˈ [key], 1754–1817, Spanish neoclassic poet. He studied classics and law and later taught humanities at Salamanca. After much political vacillation during the rise and fall of the Bonapartes, he was forced to flee to France. As poet he was outstanding in an otherwise undistinguished age of Spanish poetry. Although often sentimental and obvious, his work is musical, rich in language and imagery, and distinguished by a fine sensibility. His themes range from the sensual and joyous, celebrating love and nature (e.g., Los Besos de Amor), to the philosophical, deploring Spanish poverty and backwardness and pleading for liberal reforms.

See study by R. M. Cox (1974).

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