Carmen Conde Abellán

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Carmen Conde Abellán
Carmen Conde statue.jpg
Born (1907-08-15)15 August 1907
Cartagena, Spain
Died 8 January 1996(1996-01-08) (aged 88)
Madrid, Spain
Pen name Florentina del Mar
Occupation Poet, narrative writer, teacher

Carmen Conde Abellán (15 August 1907 in Cartagena – 8 January 1996 in Madrid) was a Spanish poet, narrative writer and teacher. In 1931 she founded the first Popular University of Cartagena, along with her husband Antonio Oliver Belmás. She was also the first woman to become an academic numerary of the Real Academia Española,[1] where she delivered her induction speech in 1979.


At the age of 7 she moved with her family to Melilla, where she lived until 1920. The memoir from that period were collected in Empezando la vida. In 1923 she passed the competitive exam for Auxiliary at the Drafting Room of the Sociedad Española de Construcción Naval, where she started to work. She began her contributions to local newspapers one year later. At the age of 19 she started her studies in Education at the Escuela Normal de Maestras de Murcia.

In 1927 she met the Spanish poet Antonio Oliver Belmás, formalizing their relationship. She wrote in Ley: (entregas de capricho) and also in Obra en marcha: diario poético in 1928, both magazines published by Juan Ramón Jiménez for a minority audience. In 1929 she wrote her fourth work, Brocal, and she finished her Education studies at the Escuela Normal de Albacete in 1930. On 5 December 1931 she got married to Antonio and they both founded the first Popular University of Cartagena. In 1933 they both created the magazine Presencia, a body at this institution. The University had an adults' library, children's library as well as educational cinema, and it organized events such as conference programs, art exhibitions, etc. It was supported by the Patronato de Misiones Pedagógicas. Carmen also worked as a teacher in the Escuela Nacional de Párvulos at El Retén.

In 1934 Carmen Conde published Júbilos, prologued by Gabriela Mistral and illustrated by Norah Borges. She worked as Inspector-Monitor of Studies at El Pardo Orphanage, until she resigned in 1935. Over this year, the couple contributed to national newspapers like El Sol, as well as to other Spanish American serial publications.

When the Spanish Civil War broke out, her husband joined the republican troops, leading the Popular Front Radio Station num. 2. Carmen followed him through several Andalusian cities, but she came back to Cartagena to look after her mother. The Civil War outbreak forced them in July 1936 to give up the invitation from Gabriela Mistral (by then Consul of Chile in Lisboa), before traveling to France and Belgium, to study folklore institutions in those countries, for which she had obtained a grant. Likewise, she attended courses at the Faculty of Letters in Valencia, passing the competitive exam for Librarian, although she never practiced. Once the Civil War was over, her husband shut himself away in Murcia at her sister's. Carmen settled in San Lorenzo de El Escorial at the Alcázar's, friends of hers, until 1941. She managed to communicate with her husband through José Ballester Nicolás, director of La Verdad (a regional newspaper in Murcia) and Correos employee. In 1941, she returned to Madrid, where she lived the remainder of her years.

Her husband Antonio Oliver died on 28 July 1968. Three years later, Carmen promoted the complete compilation of his works. On 28 January 1979 she was elected as numeric member of the Real Academia Española, taking the "k" seat, and delivering her induction speech entitled "Poesía ante el tiempo y la inmortalidad". Known primarily as a poet and inspiration to a younger generation of writers, she also published eight novels.[2]

She spent the last years of her life, between 1992 and 1996, living in an old people's residency in Majadahonda (Madrid). In 1992 she wrote her testament leaving the complete collection of literary works by her and her husband to the City Hall of Cartagena, her hometown.


  1. ^ Prieto de Paula, Ángel L. (August 11, 2007). "Carmen Conde, la primera mujer". El País (in Spanish). Prisa. Retrieved 15 August 2018. 
  2. ^ Nalbone, Lisa (23 January 2012). The Novels of Carmen Conde: An Expression of Feminine Subjectivity. Hispanic Monographs. Juan de la Cuesta. p. 264. doi:10.1080/00497878.2013.772856. ISBN 9781588712127.