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Carrasquilla, Tomás (1858–1940)

Carrasquilla, Tomás (1858–1940)

Tomás Carrasquilla (b. 1858; d. 1940), Colombian fiction writer. One of Colombia's greatest classic prose writers, Carrasquilla is best known for two novels, Frutos de mi tierra (1896) and La Marquesa de Yolombó (1926); between the publication of these two novels and afterward, he published several other novels, short novels, and numerous short stories with folkloric, psychological, fantastic, and symbolic perspectives. Carrasquilla believed that themes of rural, provincial life in Colombia were enough to make for good fiction; as such, his writings fall within the category of costumbrista (local color), which consists of providing vivid descriptions of popular customs and recreating the language of the popular classes. Nevertheless, Carrasquilla's fiction transcends the moralizing tone and didactic goal of costumbrista.

In one sense, his narrative success lies in his ability to draw upon such literary traditions of Spanish literature as the picaresque novel and stories portraying Spanish customs. While Frutos de mi tierra is a Cinderella story, it relies on local color, proverbs, legends, and the oral tradition to provide anecdotes that focus on hypocrisy in small, provincial towns. Carrasquilla does not just extol the good life in the provinces but also exposes moral issues centered on bigotry and cruelty. La Marquesa de Yolombó is Carrasquilla's most ambitious effort. The action takes place during the Spanish American colonial period of the late nineteenth century and criticizes the colonial government for inefficiency, corruption, and waste.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


Kurt Levy, Tomás Carrasquilla (1980).

Additional Bibliography

Rodríguez-Arenas, Flor María. Tomás Carrasquilla: Nuevas aproximaciones críticas. Medellín: Editorial Universidad de Antioquia, 2000.

                                          Dick Gerdes

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