Gálvez, Manuel (1882–1961)

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Gálvez, Manuel (1882–1961)

Manuel Gálvez (b. 18 July 1882; d. 14 November 1962), Argentine novelist and essayist. Gálvez was born in the provincial capital of Paraná. When he was three years old, his family moved to Santa Fe, where he studied at the Jesuit school La Inmaculada. In 1897, he completed his secondary studies in Buenos Aires at the Colegio del Salvador. He graduated from the University of Buenos Aires with a law degree in 1904, but never practiced his profession. His dissertation on the theme of white slavery, reveals an early interest in social problems that never abated in his long career as a novelist and essayist.

One of Argentina's foremost novelists from 1915 until 1950, Gálvez played an important role in his country's cultural life. He was conservative in his political ideology, although as a young man he espoused a form of anarchism and defended Tolstoy's Christian socialism. In Gálvez's concept of nationalism, certain ideas were dominant: the central role of the church in maintaining the spirit and traditions of Argentina; an adherence to law and order above individual freedom; a distrust of Anglo-Saxon civilizations; and doubts about the advisability of having a totally democratic government. Nowhere was this nationalism more evident than in Gálvez's biography of the dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas (1829–1852), whom Gálvez defended on the ground that he unified the country and prevented it from succumbing to the economic and political pressures of the French and English. In El solar de la raza (The Birthplace of Our Race, 1913), Gálvez underscored the cultural and spiritual affinity between Argentina and Spain. In works like La sombra del convento (The Shadow of the Convent, 1917), Gálvez preached a return to the traditional moral and religious values that could still be found in the provinces and opposed the utilitarian values he associated with life in Buenos Aires.

For twenty-five years, Gálvez served as national inspector of secondary and normal schools, an experience he drew on to write La maestra normal (The Normal School Teacher, 1914), which many critics interpreted as an attack on the normal schools and secular education. In novels of social protest such as Nacha regules (1919), Gálvez became a social reformer, defending the poor and downtrodden against society's indifference to human suffering.

During his career, Gálvez did much to promote Argentine letters and to make the country's writers known throughout Hispanic America. In 1917, he established the Cooperative Publishers of Buenos Aires and in 1919 founded Pax Publishers to introduce European works in translation to Argentine readers.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America; Rosas, Juan Manuel de.


William Rex Crawford, "Manuel Gálvez," in A Century of Latin American Thought (1944), pp. 149-164.

Ignacio B. Anzoátegui, Manuel Gálvez (1961).

Norma Desinano, La novelística de Manuel Gálvez (1965).

Myron I. Lichtblau, Manuel Gálvez (1972).

David W. Foster, "Ideological Ruptures in Manuel Gálvez's Historia de arrabal: Linguistic Conventions," Hispanic Journal 4, no. 2 (1983): 21-27.

John C. Walker, "Ideología y metafísica en Manuel Gálvez," Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos 10, no. 3 (1986): 475-490.

Additional Bibliography

Delaney, Jean H. "Imagining 'El ser argentino': Cultural Nationalism and Romantic Concepts of Nationhood in Early Twentieth-Century Argentina." Journal of Latin American Studies 34:3 (Aug. 2002): 625-658.

Lvovich, Daniel. Nacionalismo y antisemitismo en la Argentina. Buenos Aires: Javier Vergara, Grupo Zeta, 2003.

Szmetan, Ricardo. La situación del escritor en la obra de Manuel Gálvez (1916–1935). New York: P. Lang, 1994.

                                    Myron I. Lichtblau