Ascasubi, Hilario (1807–1875)

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Ascasubi, Hilario (1807–1875)

Hilario Ascasubi (b. 14 January 1807; d. 17 November 1875), Argentine poet, journalist, politician, and entrepreneur. His adventurous adolescence took him through Portugal, France, England, and Chile. In 1824 he reorganized an old printing shop in the provincial city of Salta, renaming it Imprenta de la Patria, and began publishing the Revista de Salta. Thus began his journalistic career, which he never abandoned. In 1825 Ascasubi began a second career, this time in the army fighting the caudillaje(bossism). As a lieutenant he was in charge of recruiting and tasted defeat in two battles. Under General Juan Lavalle, the hero of the fight against the tyrant Juan Manuel de Rosas, Ascasubi became captain. A prisoner during 1831–1833 in a pontoon in Buenos Aires, he escaped to Montevideo and set up a bakery, becoming rich enough to help Lavalle and the Argentine refugees. At the same time, he managed to continue pursuing his poetic interests, achieving fame with this "gauchescos" trovos (popular ballads) published later under the title Paulino Lucero (1872).

Ascasubi joined the armies successfully fighting the Rosas dictatorship and, as a lieutenant colonel in the ensuing period (1843–1852), performed various jobs while continuing his writing. From 1853 to 1859 he published Aniceto el Gallo, Gaceta Joco-Tristona y Gauchi-Patriótica (Aniceto the Rooster, Humorous-Sad and Gauchi-Patriotic Gazette). Although retired, Ascasubi was sent to France in 1860 to recruit for the Argentine army. In Paris he finished and published his main work, the lengthy Santos Vega, o Los mellizos de La Flor (1872), a narrative poem that depicts the pampa, the idiosyncrasies of its inhabitants and their customs, the intimate life within the estancia, and the mythological figure of the payador (singer). Argentine publisher Stockcero republished Santos Vega, o los mellizos de la flor in 2004.

Absorbed by the political events in his country, Ascasubiwas not only a chronicler, but an exceedingly active participant. As a writer, he transmitted the everyday happenings, the anecdotes that humanize and draw us near to historical events. As a publisher, he established a number of important newspapers. As a businessman, he brought gas service to Buenos Aires, extended the railroad tracks, and helped erect the Teatro Colón (1857).

See alsoGauchesca Literaturexml .


Manuel Mujica Láinez, Vidas de El Gallo y el Pollo (1966).

David Lagmanovich, "Tres cautivas: Echeverría, Ascasubi, Hernández," in Chasqui 8, no. 3 (1979); 24-33.

Additional Bibliography

Chiappini, Julio O. Borges y Ascasubi. Rosario, Argentina: Zeus Editora, 1994.

Fernández, Miguel Angel. "The Capitalist 'Payador': Hilario Ascasubi's Aniceto el Gallo," in Chasqui 31 (May 2002): 86-103.

                              Angela B. Dellepiane