Batres Montúfar, José (1809–1844)

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Batres Montúfar, José (1809–1844)

José Batres Montúfar (b. 18 March 1809; d. 9 July 1844), Guatemalan writer, soldier, and politician. Born in San Salvador, in 1824 he entered the Cadet School, and with the rank of second lieutenant of artillery, he participated in the Federal War at the side of President Arce. He was taken prisoner in the battle of Mexicanos in 1828. While in prison he learned English and began to read Byron, who inspired his later literary work. In 1829 he returned to Guatemala and began his career as a writer. Of primary note are his lyrical compositions in the romantic style, especially Tradiciones de Guatemala, which consists of three satirical pieces—the last unfinished—in which he describes the lifestyle and mentality of the dominant class in Guatemala at the beginning of the nineteenth century. These are written along the lines of the Novelle galanti of Giovanni Casti.

In 1836, Batres Montúfar graduated from the Academía de Estudios, and as a surveyor he participated in the 1837 engineering commission that, under the direction of John Baily, explored the San Juan River of Nicaragua for the possible development of an interoceanic canal. His younger brother Juan died during this endeavor. He was named political head of Amatitlán in 1839, and in 1840 fought as captain of artillery, defending Guatemala City against Francisco Morazán. In 1842 he was elected as a representative to Congress from the department of San Marcos.

See alsoGuatemala .


José Batres Montúfar, Poesías de José Batres y Montúfar (1845).

Fernando Cruz, "El poeta D. José Batres," in Biografías de literatos nacionales, vol. 1 (1889), pp. 153-260.

Antonio Batres Jáuregui, José Batres Montúfar (1910).

José Arzú, Pepe Batres íntimo. Su familia, su correspondencia, sus papeles (1940).

Adrián Recinos, "Introducción," in Poesías de José Batres Montúfar (1940).

Thomas Irving, "Pepe Batres, poeta de Guatemala," in Revista Iberoamericana 23, no. 45 (1958): 93-111.

Additional Bibliography

José Batres Montúfar. Obras completas. Guatemala: Editorial Piedra Santa, 2003.

                         Arturo Taracena Arriola