Amado Alonso Biography

Amado Alonso García (Lerín, Navarra, Spain, September 13, 1896 – Arlington, Massachussets, United States, May 26, 1952).


Linguist, Philologist, Literary Critic, Articulist and Essayist of Spanish origin, later nationalized Argentine, who stands out as one of the founders of Stylistics, an area where his analyses on the work of Valle-Inclán and Pablo Neruda stand out, among others.

Also, during his career, he excelled as a great professor, having the opportunity to develop as a Professor at Harvard University. His linguistic articles make up one of the greatest contributions in the area of Philology, Dialectology and Spanish Grammar, where he highlights his famous Castellana Grammar, which he made together with Pedro Henriquez Ureña.

Early life in Madrid

Amado Alonso was born on September 13, 1896, in the city of Lerín, in Navarra, Spain. He studied at the Faculty of Madrid, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Letters.

Later he entered the Center for Historical Studies, also located in the Spanish capital, where he had the opportunity to have as teachers Ramón Menéndez Pidal, Tomás Navarro Tomás and Américo Castro.

Some time later, Alonso moved to Germany, where he continued his training in the city of Hamburg. During this time, Amado Alonso published his first article, circumscribed in the area of Philology: Augustu > August and auguriu > ogueero, which saw the light in 1922.

From that moment, and over the next five years, you would have the opportunity to publish a total of eight articles, which were published almost entirely in the renowned Journal of Spanish Philology.

Years in Argentina

In 1927, he obeyed a proposal by his teacher Ramón Menéndez Pidal, moving to Argentina, where he took the position of Director of the Institute of Philology of the University of Buenos Aires. During his stay at this Argentine Institute, Amado Alonso organized the edition of several important publications, among which are the Library of Hispanic American Dialectology.

It would also be part of the founding of the Journal of Hispanic Philology, which he would direct from 1939 to 1946, and which would be published in conjunction with the Institute of the Spanish of Columbia University, in the United States.

He would also create and direct two collections, one on Contemporary Literature and one on Philosophy and Theory of Language, aimed at collecting and disseminating the works of the main linguists and theorists of the time.

Major works

Likewise, during his stay in Argentina, Amado Alonso wrote and published his most influential and important works, both in the area of Linguistics and in Literary Criticism. In this sense we can find The Problem of Language in America (1935); Spanish, Spanish, National Language (1938); Gramática Castellana (1938) written in collaboration with Pedro Henríquez Ureña and recognized as one of the fundamental books of this area of Linguistics; Argentina and Language Leveling (1943).

Likewise, in the area of Literary Criticism and Stylistics highlight his books Structures of the Sonatas de Valle-Inclán (1928); Poetry and style of Pablo Neruda (1940) which according to his critics marked a stage of renewal in the area of Stylistics; Essay on the Historical Novel: Modernism in “The Glory of Don Ramiro” (1942).

In 1945, Amado Alonso produced another of his great contributions to the field of linguistic studies in Latin America, translating the work Course of General Linguistics, by Ferdinand de Saussure, considered to be the founding book of modern linguistics. Its translation was accompanied by a prologue of his authorship, which is itself an important document.

Life in america

Despite already having Argentine nationality at the time, Amado Alonso was forced to leave Argentina in 1946, at which point he moved to the United States, where he served as Professor of Spanish at Harvard University.

During his time at this American university he continued his work by editing publications that would help spread the advances in the field of language study, as well as in Literature.

In this sense he created the New Journal of Hispanic Philology, in order to continue the work done until then in Buenos Aires. This new publication was originally published by the College of Mexico, and from 1949 received the guardianship of Harvard University.

Contributions made in the US and final years

A great follower of structuralism, as well as the main philosophical currents of his time, he made great contributions in all areas of linguistics: Phonetics and Phonology, The Morphosyntax of Spanish, Dialectology and Philology, fields where he always cared for the unity of Spanish, as a language, beyond his regional achievements, which he also studied. Among the most important works of his last stage, are Linguistic Studies.

Spanish Themes (1951); Linguistic Studies. Hispanic American Themes (1953); Matter and Form in Poetry (1955); From medieval pronunciation to modern pronunciation in Spanish (1955). As well as other important articles on linguistic phenomena of Spanish, and his translations on the works of Spitzer, Hatzfeld, Vossler and Bally.

For his long career, he was the subject of several awards such as an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Chicago. He was also appointed as an honorary member of the Modern Language Association.

Finally, on May 26, 1952, he died at the age of fifty-six, in Arlington, Massachusetts, in the United States. By the time of his departure, he was active in his teaching duties at Harvard University, as well as in his work as a literary critic, linguistics, editor and articleist.

Image source: wikispaces.com

Amado Alonso Biography
Source: Education  
August 14, 2019


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