Gorriti, Juana Manuela (1816–1892)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Gorriti, Juana Manuela (1816–1892)

Best known for her fiction and memoirs, the Argentine writer Juana Manuela Gorriti spent her life traveling among Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru and writing about these places and times. Born on July 16, 1816, and exiled from Argentina in 1831, Gorriti married Manuel Isidoro Belzú (later president of Bolivia) in 1833, but left him to live in Peru with their two daughters. She ran a girls' school and in 1845 published her first novel, La quena, set in colonial Peru and depicting conflicts among white, black, and indigenous races. She published major books of collected fiction in Buenos AiresSueños y realidades (1865), Panoramas de la vida (1876), Misceláneas (1878), and El mundo de los recuerdos (1886)—and many other texts, including a collection of recipes, Cocina ecléctica (1890), and autobiographical reflections, in La tierra natal (1889) and Lo íntimo, published after her death. During her years in Lima, Gorriti was renowned for her evening gatherings of the literary, artistic, and social elite. One volume of these proceedings was published as Veladas literarias de Lima 1876–77 (1892). Gorriti's example inspired many of her Lima friends, including Mercedes Cabello de Carbonera and Clorinda Matto de Turner, to persevere in their writing of historical legends, stories, novels, essays, and poetry, often after reading them aloud at Gorriti's gatherings. In her own fiction, Gorriti wrote often of women characters who manage—sometimes—to escape from social constraints and expectations. Gorriti often set her stories in the Peruvian or Argentine countryside, during times of the early conquest or, more often, during the tumultuous years of the nineteenth century wars of independence and their aftermath. In her 1864 novel, Un viaje al país de oro, two young Peruvians travel to California at the height of the gold rush. Her last novel, Oasis en la vida (1888), extols the merits of modernization. She died on November 6, 1892.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America; Matto de Turner, Clorinda; Palma, Ricardo.


Batticuore, Graciela, ed. El taller de la escritora: Veladas literarias de Juana Manuela Gorriti. Rosario, Argentina: Beatriz Viterbo, 1999.

Gorriti, Juana Manuela. Obras completas, 6 vols. Salta, Argentina: Fundación del Banco del Noroeste, 1992–1999.

Gorriti, Juana Manuela. Dreams and Realities: Selected Fiction of Juana Manuela Gorriti, translated by Sergio Wais-man; edited by Francine Masiello. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

                                           Mary G. Berg