Chile Literature

By | December 8, 2021

Chile from the first century of the conquest reached an original artistic physiognomy. The historical-epic inspiration, of which Alonso de Ercilla ‘s Araucana is an example, remained alive and fruitful, representing the most genuine attitudes of that people. That first poem (1569), the work of a Spaniard educated in classical and Italian forms, which sings the vigorous indigenous lineage of the Araucani – tenacious defenders of their freedom – and the heroic Latin conquest translates lyrically that clash of races, which so much influence exerted in the formation of the nation. The Arauco domado (1590-1596) by Pedro de Oña, which arose as a polemic against the former, continues its tradition. There is an effort to insert this renewed heroic youth within the framework of classical literature, which often finds more adequate forms. Certainly not, however, in the imitations and continuations of Diego Santisteban Osorio (Cuarta y Quinta Parte de la Araucana), of little value, and of the warrior and easy verse Juan de Mendoza (Guerras de Chile), or of Hernando Álvarez de Toledo, with his rhymed history (Purén indómito), up to the slovenliness of Melchor Xufré de Águila (Compendium historial del Reyno de Chile, 1630). Still in the context of this warlike and adventurous inspiration, the Cautiverio feliz movesby Br. Núñez de Pineda y Bascuñán, also from the seventeenth century, who intersperses the autobiographical and narrative prose with some romance of genuine intonation. But on the whole the initial statements, full of color and energy, were exhausted during the colonial period, partly due to the stagnation of culture, since printing was introduced late and university teaching was slowly organized (1756), and partly because of the practical nature of the Chilean people. For Chile 2015, please check dentistrymyth.com.

In the anxiety of political freedoms and the friction of new ideals, the literary climate suddenly brightened, although it did not immediately reach widespread resonance or succeed in rising above the patriotic song. Camilo Henríquez (1769-1825), from friar who became tribune, educated with revolutionary hymns and violent democratic proclamations; and Bernardo de Vera (1780-1827), Argentine by birth but Chilean in spirit, called Himno nacional (1819) for the adopted homeland: both, however, of modest inspiration and weak echo, since the spiritual forces of the nation were consumed in the civil struggles between the conservative oligarchy and the democratic classes. However, the liberal party first, with the effective action of José J. de Mora, carried out in the years 1828-1831 in Santiago, and the conservatives, later, faced the problem of popular education and the more delicate one of higher education. Andrés Bello was the greatest promoter of it, with participation in the government and with the multifaceted work of teacher and writer, so that his personality influenced the Chilean culture for about half a century (1824-1865). And just around 1942 a literary controversy started up promoted by the Argentine refugees, against whom the disciples of the Bello supported the originality of its own tradition. Corifeo of this movement was Salvador Sanfuentes (1817-1860) who in his epic-lyric legends and in his passionate dramas assimilated the romantic aesthetic, recalling aspects of the human and natural face of the homeland. This trace continued throughout the century, and in it some fine and modern temperament is revealed, which knows how to alternate the poetry of one’s inner and solitary life with the reminiscent taste of ancient stories: especially Guillermo Blest Gana (1829-1905) and Guillermo Matta (1829-1899); and Domingo Arteaga Alemparte (1834-1882), of classical education. recalling aspects of the human and natural face of the homeland. This trace continued throughout the century, and in it some fine and modern temperament is revealed, which knows how to alternate the poetry of one’s inner and solitary life with the reminiscent taste of ancient stories: especially Guillermo Blest Gana (1829-1905) and Guillermo Matta (1829-1899); and Domingo Arteaga Alemparte (1834-1882), of classical education. recalling aspects of the human and natural face of the homeland. This trace continued throughout the century, and in it some fine and modern temperament is revealed, which knows how to alternate the poetry of one’s inner and solitary life with the reminiscent taste of ancient stories: especially Guillermo Blest Gana (1829-1905) and Guillermo Matta (1829-1899); and Domingo Arteaga Alemparte (1834-1882), of classical education.

More varied, if not deeper, the art that feeds on national themes: the theater of José A. Torres Arce, the Romances americanos by Carlos Walker (1841-1905), the lyrical legends of Luis Rodríguez Velasco (1838-1919), Juan R. Allende’s Poesías del Pequén (1850-1905), José A. Soffia’s Michimaloneo (1848-1886) who successfully retried the epic flashes of Ercilla, all constitute a more narrative than lyrical production. The same Parnassian and modernist influence, represented by M. Magallanes Moure, by Pedro Prado, and by Gabriela Mistral, is of short development. In fact, the Chilean nature, positive and realistic, prefers prose to lyricism. To El inquisidor mayor Manuel Bilbao (1827-1895), the first notable novel, succeeds the production of Alberto Blest Gana (1830-922), who inaugurated the genre. Moisés Vargas (1843-1898), Liborio E. Brieba (1841-1897) stick to the master’s scheme; while others successfully attempt the historical narrative, such as Ramón Pacheco (1845-1888), and the best and most fruitful Daniel Barros Grez (1834-1904); others the naturalistic and social narration, such as Vicente Grez (1847-1909), A. Silva de La Fuente, E. Rodríguez Mendoza, Luis Orrego Luco: and still few, and more recent, have followed the brevity of the short story and the completed sketch: Baldomero Lillo (1867-1923) stands out, reproducing the life of the humble; Federico Gana, Fernando Santiván, and the luckiest Eduardo Barrios, who questions the deeper aspects of life, from the farmer to the friar, and from vice to holiness. Daniel Riquelme, Alberto and Enrique del Solar give the story a patina of exoticism and imagination. This is the most vigorous and most continuous artistic current; national aspirations and local traditions converge in it, and the Chilean soul, thoughtful of social and psychological facts, is better configured.

Due to this prevalence of practical needs and concrete forms, historiography appears as the congenial activity of the Chilean intelligence. There is no period in its history that has not been investigated with sympathy and stylistic animation: qualities that sometimes replace scientific rigor. From the chronicles of the colonial age to the studies of the modern age there is no interruption: the oldest work by Alonso de Góngora y Marmolejo, who followed the Valdivia in the conquest of Chile, where he died in 1576 (Historia de todas las cosas que han acaecido en el Reyno de Chile), preserves the echo of the battles and is rich in testimonies. The first general histories of the country are due to the Jesuits: Historia general de Chile by his Spanish brother Diego de Rosales, who died in Santiago in 1677. More famous is the work of the Chilean father Juan Ignacio Molina, who in Bologna in 1782 published in our vernacular the Essay on the natural history of Chile, which followed in 1787 the second part on civil history: the most read and translated summaries for Europe. With Romanticism, Chilean historiography boasts a singular development: Diego Barros Arana published, during the second half of the last century, historical and literary works, which greatly benefited the civil and cultural conscience of the homeland, culminating in the great Historia de Chile (Santiago, 1846-1886); while the erudite and easy prose writer Miguel Luis Amunátegui (1828-1888) investigated life in the nineteenth century with analytical essays and panoramic visions. The work of Gonzalo Bumes, son of Manuel, with the Historia de la expedición libertadora del Perú, the Historia de la guerra del Pacífico, etc., is addressed to the first decades of this century. Ramón Sotomayor Valdés studied with insight the Historia de Chile desde 1831 hasta 1871, the first monograph on this very complex period. And at the same time, more literary knowledge has intensified, thanks to the fruitful activity of Luis Montt (1848-1909), author of an important Chilean Bibliography, by José Toribio Medina with the Historia de la literatura colonial de Chile, and several others. Legal studies have had particular interest: Nicolás Pradel, for commercial law (Manual del comerciante, 1846; Estudios comparados sobre la legislación mercantil de Europa, 1863), have been worthy scholars, Jorge Huneeus Zegers (1835-1889) on national (Comentario de la Constitución chilena ; Estudios sobre el derecho constitucional comparado, 1889, etc.), Valentín Letelier, with his historical-juridical investigations (La ciencia política en Chile, 1886; Descentralización administrativa ; Proceso evolutionutivo de la codificación, etc.), José Cl. Fabres, meritorious in the exegesis of civil and private law (Instituciones de derecho civil chileno, 1863; Derecho de los hijos naturales, 1871; La legislación en Chile, etc.) and others. The notable contribution made to the natural sciences should not be forgotten: the work of the French Claudio Gay remains fundamental, who from 1828 to 1942 explored Chile, describing its flora and fauna, followed by the research of other Chilean scholars. But above all the personality of Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna (1831-1886) dominates, who through his numerous biographies has penetrated the historical, moral and intellectual life of his nation, summarizing the most salient qualities of the Chilean people, inclined to feel the serious concreteness of reality.

Chilean journalism was the best school of this consciousness, and journalists were the most representative men of the country. Among the newspapers with a long tradition (La Unión, El Diario ilustrado), El Mercurio de Santiago, founded in 1827 and now directed by Carlos Silva Vildósola, holds the first place, to whom we owe a learned study: Periodismo y letras en Chile (1914).

Chile Literature