Ercilla y Zúñiga, Alonso de (1533–1594)

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Ercilla y Zúñiga, Alonso de (1533–1594)

Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga (b. 1533; d. 1594), Spanish poet. Although he was in Latin America for only a short period, Alonso de Ercilla can be considered one of the first writers of the New World. In La Araucana (1569, 1578, 1589), an exemplary Renaissance epic poem based on his brief experience as a soldier fighting the Araucanian Indians in southern Chile, he combines the imagination of the poet with the observations and commentaries of the historian. He began writing the poem during the campaign, but he completed it years later in Spain, adding several passages about other important Spanish triumphs in Europe. Dedicated to King Philip II, in whose court he served from an early age, La Araucana praises the glories of the empire while also offering a sympathetic and admiring view of the Araucanians. Lacking an individual hero, the poem stresses the valiant defense by the Indians against the Spanish invasion and even criticizes some aspects of the war.

See alsoAraucana, La .


Alonso De Ercilla y Zúñiga, La Araucana, edited by Marcos A. Morínigo and Isaías Lerner (1979).

Isaías Lerner, "Don Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga," in Latin American Writers, edited by Carlos A. Solé and Maria Isabel Abreu, vol. 1 (1989), pp. 23-31.

Additional Bibliography

Mejías López, William. Las Ideas de la guerra justa en Ercilla y en La Araucana. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Universitaria, 1992.

Nicolopulos, James. The Poetics of Empire in the Indies: Prophecy and Imitation in La Araucana and Os lusíadas. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000.

                                      S. DaydÍ-Tolson