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Isabel Garcia Lorca, 91; Poet's Sister

January 11, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

Isabel Garcia Lorca, who spent much of her life guarding the legacy of her late brother Federico, one of Spain's greatest 20th century literary figures, died Wednesday at her home in Madrid. She was 91.

The cause of death was not disclosed, but a family member told the national news agency Efe that she had been suffering from respiratory difficulties since shortly after New Year's.

Garcia Lorca created and directed the government-approved foundation that preserves her brother's name and the family home, as well as an extensive archive of his manuscripts, letters, photographs and drawings.

Federico was executed during the Spanish Civil War by fascists loyal to Gen. Francisco Franco. He was 38 and already internationally acclaimed for his poems and plays, including "Blood Wedding" and "The House of Bernarda Alba."

Isabel grew up with Federico and two other siblings in the southern city of Granada in the early 1900s, a period of renaissance for Spanish culture. She moved to Madrid in the 1930s to attend the university, earned a degree in philosophy and started teaching. But after Federico was assassinated in 1936, she fled to Belgium.

She ended up in the United States, where she taught Spanish language and literature in the 1950s at Hunter College and Wellesley College. She returned to Spain in the 1970s after the restoration of democracy.

In 1984, she created the Garcia Lorca Foundation and served as its president. She was her brother's last surviving sibling.

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