Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ZORRILLA y MORAL, Jose, Spanish poet, born in Valladolid, 21 February, 1817. He studied law in Toledo and Valladolid, and became clerk to a justice of the peace in the latter city; but he soon devoted himself exclusively to literature. Ills father, an attorney of reputation, being displeased with his occupation, sent him home; but young Jose made his way to Madrid, where he remained hidden for several weeks. On 15 February, 1837, at the funeral of the noted poet Larra, he repeated an elegy which was universally praised, and this was the means of effecting a reconciliation with his father. Zorrilla published, a few months later, his first volume of poetry, which increased his reputation. After 1845 he resided partly in Paris and partly in Brussels till about 1851, when he went to Mexico and was director of the theatre in the city of Mexico in 1853--'5. He wrote several comedies there, which were represented in Mexico and in South America with great success. In 1863 he returned to Mexico, was given an employment in Emperor Maximilian's household, and published several poems in praise of the emperor and his wife, which were severely criticised by the patriots and engaged their author in a controversy with a Mexican poet. He left Mexico in 1865 for Spain, where he has since partly resided. Zorrilla's works include "Cantos del travador, colleccion de leyendas y tradiciones historicas" (3 vols.. Madrid, 1841); " Plores I'erdidas" (1843); "El Zapatero y el rey," which is considered his best, comedy (1844); "Granada," a long romantic poem, imitated from Victor Hugo, which is considered his masterpiece (2 vols., Paris, 1851-'4): "Album de un hico" (Madrid, 1867); and " Poema religioso" (1869). Complete editions of his works have been published several times (2 vols., Paris, 1847; 3 vols., 1853; 6 vols., Madrid, 1877).
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