Uruguay Literature Between 19th and 21st Century

By | December 20, 2021

The 19th century

The Uruguay it offers itself as the most interesting example of a country in which the creation of a sense of national identity was the determining factor for the development of the historical novel. Already in 1848 the writer A. Magariños Cervantes published the work Caramurù, set at the time of the battle of Ituzaingé, in which the Brazilians were defeated. Much more ambitious were the intentions of his follower E. Acevedo Díaz, who, with his trilogy of national epic novels on the period of liberation, set out to start a heroic tradition, that of the gaucho, which contributed to the formation of a national sentiment. Later, while nonfiction was born with JE Rodó, there was a reawakening of interest in the province among Uruguayan writers. Two of them, C. Reyles and J. de Viana, are conspicuous representatives of two different tendencies: with Reyles, a rich landowner, we arrive at the idealization of healthy and peaceful life in the fields; while in Viana there is a realistic description of poverty and sordidness. Nature acquires considerable suggestion in the narratives of H. Quiroga, in whose stories the natural environment is something more than a background against which the human drama takes place. For Uruguay society, please check homosociety.com.

At the beginning of the 19th century. B. Hidalgo can be considered the initiator of ‘Gauchesque’ poetics; later the poem was inspired by the Spanish one, in particular, from 1830 to 1865, by the romantic one. Under the influence of the Brazilians and some Argentines of the time, who drew inspiration from local arguments and tried to reflect the nature of their countries in their works, the aforementioned Magariños Cervantes attempted a more national genre. Later, J. Zorrilla de San Martín and other more modern ones accentuated the more independent tendency in poetry, without neglecting to reflect influences of contemporary foreign literatures.

At the end of the nineteenth century the theater saw the appearance of a noteworthy playwright, the writer F. Sánchez, whose plays, composed in Argentina, were performed with great success in Buenos Aires thanks to the fact that typical problems were highlighted. of Argentina and of the Uruguay and, above all, the clash between immigrants and the old-fashioned gaucho.

From the 20th to the beginning of the 21st century

The most interesting novelists all belong to the 20th century: E. Amorim, JC Onetti, F. Hernández with his hallucinated and fantastic stories, M. Benedetti and C. Martínez Moreno. In Benedetti the prose is characterized by a great capacity for observation. In Moreno’s stories and novels there is a frame of violence that contrasts with the banal lives of the characters. Of great importance is the work of E. Galeano, who passed from the story to the moral and political denunciation. An original voice is that of C. Peri Rossi. In the theater of the twentieth century, notable V. Martínez Cuitiño and later J. Langsner, A. Larreta, M. Schinca, C. Maggi, M. Rosencof, joined by authors such as J. Blanco, A. Paredes, O. Villegas and E. Rodríguez Solís. In Uruguayan poetry the transition from modernism to ultraism and to later trends is marked by JJ Casal, F. Silva Valdés, E. Oribe, and is already complete in J. Herrera y Reissig and C. Sabat Ercasty; and a group of poetesses should be mentioned, among which the best known are D. Agustini, J. de Ibarbourou and S. de Ibáñez; also L. Luisi (Polvo de días, 1935), I. Vilariño (La suplicante, 1945), E. de Cáceres (Mar en el mare, 1947), DI Russell (Oleaje, 1951). F. Silva Valdés combines an original regionalist naturalism with ultramodernism, obtaining its best expression in Romances chucarros (1938) and Romances del Sur (1939); I. Pereda Valdés favors the theme of black traditions (Raza negra, 1929; La guitarra de los negros, 1926). While some hold true to the strophic tradition; Also present in Uruguayan poetry is the phenomenon of an open rebellion against the taste of the form of the previous age, as demonstrated by the production of I. Vitale (La luz de esta memoria, 1949; Cada uno en su noche, 1960).

In the years of the dictatorship, between 1973 and 1984, repression, exile and internal resistance dramatically influenced Uruguayan cultural life. Among those who left the country at that time, some remained anchored to their own tradition, such as M. Benedetti (Andamios, 1997); others, such as C. Peri Rossi, have opened up to new formal and thematic suggestions (La nave de los locos, 1984; El amor es una drug dura, 1999); still others, such as H. Giovanetti Viola and E. Estrázulas (El ladrón de música, 1983), they transformed exile into a kind of initiatory experience. Furthermore, the exile has favored the international notoriety of many authors, such as Galeano himself. The end of the dictatorship brought with it the inevitable awakening of consciences and the impulse to reread the chronicle of that period in terms of denunciation and testimony. The attempt to recover the shattered identity has stimulated a new flowering of the historical novel: the conquest, the colonial era, independence become the subject of a rewriting that is sometimes ironic or even grotesque and irreverent, which often opens up to the mixture of literary genres different and pastiche. A realistic and at the same time symbolic narrative also enjoys great success, prone to the creation of mythical spaces. There are also authors who prefer the fusion of different genres, linguistic contamination and the amalgamation of heterogeneous forms, sources and themes: among the most significant, H. Galmés, M. Levrero, R. Prieto, T. Carson, A. Migdal, and the younger JC Mondragón, H. Burel, F. Loustaunau, R. Courtoisie.

Political events have also influenced poetry: the poetics of ambiguity, which established itself in the years of the dictatorship, were followed by a poem more explicitly open to the themes of exile and return home (Benedetti: Vientos del exilio, 1982; Las soledades de Babel, 1991) and social issues (S. Cabrera). The problems of one’s time are combined with existential themes in the verses of HE Pedemonte (Los días y las sombras, 1987) and S. Ibargoyen Islas (Historia de sombras, 1983; Cuaderno de Flavia, 1993). The lyric of M. Schinca, also active as a playwright, is strongly intimist in tone, while a subjectivism steeped in familiar and everyday themes prevails in the work of H. Achugar and a large group of poetesses: A. Berenguer, N. Bacelo, C. Maia and M. di Giorgio. Of particular importance are the metaphorical significance and stylistic rigor of S. Puig and Peri Rossi, as well as the rejection of traditional rhetoric and the heated experimentalism of E. Fierro (La clave, el tono, 1991; Marcas y señales, 1996). Among the poets born in the 1950s is E. Milán.

Uruguay The 19th century