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Florit, Eugenio (1903-1999) | University of Miami Finding Aids

Name: Florit, Eugenio (1903-1999)


Historical Note:

Eugenio Florit (1903-1999) was a well-known poet, essayist, lecturer, composer, diplomat, academic, actor, “man of three homelands,” and traveler. He was born October 15, 1903, in the northern section of Salamanca, Spain. He was the son of Don Ricardo Florit, a Spaniard, and Doña Mariá Sanchez de Fuentes, a Cuban.  From the ages of two to six he grew up in Barcelona.  Until the age of 15 he lived in Port-Bou, a city on the Mediterranean coast near France.

In 1918 Florit immigrated to Havana where he continued his studies, graduating from the University of Havana with a degree in civil and public law. In 1927 he began working for the Secretary of State and took on a role with the Revista de Avance, where he became known as a poet. He also worked as a radio personality and acted occasionally in theater troupes. In 1936, he met Juan R. Jimenez, who wrote the prologue to one of Florit’s most important books of verses, <a>Doble acento</a>, and with whom he maintained a friendship until Jimenez’s death.

In 1940 Florit went to work at the Cuban Consulate. He continued to live in New York until 1982, and it was the setting for almost all of his work as an essayist, literary critic, and translator. In 1945 after receiving a teaching position at Barnard College, he left his diplomatic post. He also taught at Columbia’s graduate school and at the intensive language school at Middlebury College in Vermont during the summer. There, he met poets such as Jorge Guillén, Pedro Salinas, and Luis Cernuda.

Florit was a collaborator on Repertorio Americano, Revista Avance, Lyceum, Revista Cubana, Origénes, and Revista Hispaníca Moderna, which he co-edited with Don Frederico Onis and Angel del Río until 1962, when he assumed total direction of the magazine. During the 1950s he traveled to Europe and Latin America, and his last trip to Cuba was in 1959.

He retired from his teaching position at Barnard in 1969, but continued living in New York and occupied himself with other obligations until moving to Miami in 1982. In 1991 he was one of the candidates for the Premio Cervantes, awarded by the North American Academy of Spanish Language. The same year he received the Premio Fray Luis de León from the University of Salamanca, and the Premio Mitre from the Hispanic Society of America in New York. Florit published his last work entitled Hasta luego in 1992. At the age of 96, Florit died on June 22, 1999. He was a mentor and guide for many generations and is considered among the greatest Hispanic-American poets.







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