Arguedas, Alcides (1879–1946)

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Arguedas, Alcides (1879–1946)

Alcides Arguedas was a Bolivian writer, politician, and diplomat. Born in La Paz on July 15, 1879, Arguedas is considered one of the initiators of realism in Bolivia, and of indigenismo in Latin America. He is well known for his novel Wata Wara (1904), which he rewrote and published as Raza de bronce (1919). His contact with some of the intellectuals of the Spanish "Generation of 1898," mainly with Miguel de Unamuno and Ramiro de Maeztu, is key to an understanding of Arguedas's view of Bolivian reality, as presented in his highly contested sociological study Pueblo enfermo (1909). In this essay Arguedas criticizes his own people for defects of their character, brought on, he suggests, by their oppressive history. This theme was carried over to other books, including his essay La danza de las sombras (1934). Arguedas also wrote historical novels, one of the earliest being Pisagua (1903), which deals with events of the War of the Pacific. His novels, histories, and essays, though controversial because of his biting criticism of Bolivian reality, at the same time were praised for their candid presentation of the nation's past. Arguedas died on May 6, 1946 in Chulumani.

See alsoGonzález Prada, Manuel; Indigenismo; Ingenieros, José; War of the Pacific.


Arnade, Charles. "The Historiography of Colonial and Modern Bolivia." Hispanic American Historical Review 42 (1962): 333-384.

Sanjinés C., Javier. Mestizaje Upside-Down: Aesthetic Politics in Modern Bolivia. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004. See esp. pp. 45-47.

                                           Jack Ray Thomas

                                           Javier SanjinÉs C.

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Arguedas, Alcides (1879–1946)

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Arguedas, Alcides (1879–1946)