Gerald Brenan's House
From 1950 to 1986, English writer Gerald Brenan lived in a house in the Churriana district of Malaga. Here, he and his wife Gamel Woolsey welcomed the cream of literary society and film folk, from Laurence Olivier to Ernest Hemingway.
Brenan's happiest years were spent in La Reina de los Angeles, Calle Torremolinos 56. This era is now being celebrated and its literary significance acknowledged, as the house has reopened as a cultural centre. Malaga council has spent more than a decade and one million euros restoring the ‘Casa Gerald Brenan' as a centre to foster Anglo-Spanish cultural relations.
At the end of 1935 the author and hispanist bought La Reina de los Ángeles for about 50,000 pounds from Carlos Crooke Larios (although he had to leave Spain just a few years later due to the outbreak of the Civil War). As Carlos Pranger, writer, publisher and Brenan's executor, explained in Sur in English: "In that house in Churriana, Brenan found his private island, the place he was looking for to soothe him and where he could write, which at the same time offered him an airport, the proximity of Gibraltar for his financial affairs and a more modern and open atmosphere than in other Andalusian provinces of the time, not forgetting the colony of British expatriates that would feed his social life".
Celebrated literary and cinematic figures such as E.E. Cummings, Bertrand Russell, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Orson Welles and Ernest Hemingway came to the house to visit Brenan and Woolsey, an American writer. Previously the writer had lived in Yegen, a village in the Alpujarra of Granada, in the 1920s and 1930s leading up to the Civil War, where he was frequently visited by the Bloomsbury Set. This part of his life was immortalised in the classic South From Granada. After his wife Gamel died in 1968, Brenan moved to a smaller house in nearby Alhaurin El Grande, for financial reasons and to escape memories of his beloved wife.
The aim of the museum and research centre is to foster dialogue between English and Spanish artists, especially Malagueños; for reflection and fostering new ideas. Literary, music and sculpture shows are planned, as well as debates, following the spirit of the Bloomsbury set, with artists and thinkers of various nationalities participating.
Visitors is able to learn about Brenan's works and the world he lived in, from multidisciplinary competitions based around his works, to a writer (or hispanist from abroad) in residence.
In addition, a room recreates the era when Brenan lived in the house, with objects, books from his own library, old photos of the house, and postcards, which have been gathered from Churriana residents who knew Brenan. In the sala multiusos, there will be a small stage and a consulting library, with all of Brenan's books and those of his circle - including Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and Bertrand Russell, as well as his wife, American writer Gamel Woolsey.
Calle Torremolinos, 56, Churriana, Malaga
Tel: 951 926 196
Wednesday, Thursday: 16.00 to 21.00 hrs
Friday 11.00 to 14.00 and 16.00 to 21.00 hrs
Free of charge
Malaga Urban Bus Routes: 9 and 10
BOOOKS by Gerald Brennan
SOUTH FROM GRANADA
Between 1920 and 1934, Gerald Brenan lived in the remote Spanish village of Yegen and "South from Granada" depicts his time there, vividly evoking the essence of his rural surroundings and the Spanish way of life before the Civil War. Here he portrays the landscapes, festivals and folk-lore of the Sierra Nevada, the rivalries, romances and courtship rituals, village customs, superstitions and characters. Fascinating details emerge, from cheap brothels to archaeological remains, along with visits from Brenan's friends from the Bloomsbury group - Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf among them. Knowledgeable, elegant and sympathetic, this is a rich account of Spain's vanished past.More books by Gerald Brenan