A Preliminary Inventory of His Papers in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Ricardo Gullón, literary biographer and critic, art critic, professor of Spanish literature, public prosecutor, and highly prolific writer, was born in Astorga, Spain, in 1908. He was educated at the Instituto de León, receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1923, and at the University of Madrid, earning a law degree in 1929. While a student, he produced a weekly paper, La Saeta (1925), and a literary review, Humo (1928), with his Astorga friends Leopoldo Panero and Luís Alonso Luengo. In 1935, he published the novel Fin de semana and was a literary critic for Diario de Madrid and Heraldo de Madrid. His friendships with Manuel Ildefonso Gil, Luís Rosales, and Juan Ramón Jiménez date from his time in Madrid.
Gullón began his legal career as a public prosecutor in 1933, serving as a member of the Spanish judiciary through 1958 and as attorney general of Santander, Spain, from 1956 to 1957. He was never far removed from literature and the arts, especially Hispanic life and culture, and from 1949 on he combined teaching literature with legal work. In 1953, Francisco Ayala and Juan Ramón Jiménez invited him to Puerto Rico to lecture and write on modernism at the University of Puerto Rico as a visiting Law School professor. By this time Gullón had established his reputation as a literary and art critic, having published books on Pereda (1943), Jorge Guillén (1949), Enrique Gil y Carrasco (1951), and Goya and modern art (1952). In 1958, he became a permanent member of the Humanities faculty at the University of Puerto Rico, establishing the Sala Zenobia y Juan Ramón Jiménez.
After two years of teaching in Puerto Rico, Gullón accepted a visiting professorship at the University of Texas at Austin in 1960, becoming a professor in 1961 and an Ashbel Smith Professor from 1972 to 1976. Strengthening his association with other Spanish scholars across the United States during this period, Gullón was visiting professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, Stanford University, New York University, Columbia University, the University of Colorado, and the University of Iowa, among others. He edited anthologies and critical editions of Pérez Galdós, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Miguel de Unamuno, and Rubén Darío and published articles in Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos, Insula, Hispanic Review, and Mundo Nuevo. His deep interest in Spanish dramatist Ramón del Valle-Inclán is shown in his work Vallé Inclán Centennial Studies (1968).
Gullón became a professor at the University of Chicago in 1976, where he continued as a supporter of Hispanism and was instrumental in the organization of an International Symposium dedicated to Huidobro and the avant-garde. In 1987, he was visiting professor at the University of California, Davis, where a special colloquium was held to honor him on his formal retirement from teaching in 1988. He was accepted as a member of the Real Academia Española in 1990, an occasion where he read his last publication, titled Juan Ramón Jiménez: año de gracia de 1903. Gullón died on February 11, 1991. He was 82.
Correspondence, literary productions, handwritten notes, and biographical materials document the sixteen years (1960-1976) Ricardo Gullón was a professor of Spanish literature at the University of Texas at Austin. Gullón’s papers reveal the activities of an important figure in the cultural interchange resulting from a generation of Spanish men of letters finding refuge from Franco’s Spain and successful academic careers in the Spanish departments of North American universities.
The papers are arranged in two series: I. Ricardo Gullón, 1958-1983 and II. Pablo Beltrán de Heredia, 1977-1983. Series I. is further divided into three subseries: A. Works, 1960-1980, B. Correspondence, 1958-1980, and C. Career and Research Materials, 1959-1983. Gullón’s orginal folder titles, when present, are denoted by quotation marks.
The works of Gullón in Subseries A. include rough drafts, page proofs of critical studies, and publications. Most of his works include several drafts, both handwritten and typed, which display the development and progress of each project. Notable published works represented include Vallé Inclán Centennial Studies (1968), Autobiografías de Unamuno (1964), and Técnicas de Galdós (1970). Also included are numerous handwritten notes on the many literary concepts that are seen throughout his works. Publications bound into several booklets complete the items in the Works subseries.
The correspondence in Subseries B. retains Gullón’s original alphabetical order and his practice of interfiling his carbon copy replies with letters received. Gullón’s correspondence encompasses letters to poets, novelists, painters, and sculptors about their work and craft, and letters to critics and editors concerning the business of publication and literary criticism, with topics varying from business negotiation to expressions of encouragement and praise. His academic-related correspondence with professors and department chairmen in the United States, Latin America, and Spain discusses expenses, salaries, appointments, and seminars. Also included are letters of recommendations for several of his graduate-level students often seeking professorships at universities across the United States.
Notable correspondents include Francisco Ayala, José Manuel Blecua, Ernesto Guerra da Cal, Enrique Canito, José Luís Cano, Camilo José Cela, Edmund de Chasca, Angel Ferrant, Eugenio Fernández Méndez, and Francisco Hernández-Pinzón y Jiménez.
Subseries C. consists of career-related and research materials that detail Gullón's profession as a scholar. Present are materials related to his four-year involvement in the Latin American Studies Association, as well as other biographical materials, along with relevant reviews and conferences he took part in as an Ashbel Smith Professor. Most of his research materials pertain to the Spanish Golden Age and twentieth century poetry, his area of expertise.
Series II. contains letters written by Gullón to Pablo Beltrán de Heredia, 1977-1983, who facilitated the gift of these papers to the Ransom Center in 1982.
Open for research
Gifts, 1982, 2001 (G 1433)
Rufus Lund, 1987; Frank López, 2008