Laguerre, Enrique Arturo (1906–2005)

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Laguerre, Enrique Arturo (1906–2005)

Enrique Arturo Laguerre, Puerto Rico's foremost novelist, was born on May 3, 1906, in Moca, a rural community in the western part of the island. Educated at the University of Puerto Rico, in 1924. Laguerre embarked upon a lifelong teaching career spanning from elementary to postgraduate education.

Laguerre's twelve novels form a saga of Puerto Rico's land, people, and history in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Two of them, El laberinto (1959; The Labyrinth, 1960) and Los amos benévolos (1976; Benevolent Masters, 1976); are available in English. La llamarada (The Blaze), a classic since its publication in 1935, deals with the exploitation of the sugarcane worker. Solar Montoya (Montoya Plantation, 1941) takes place in the coffee fields, and Los dedos de la mano (The Fingers of the Hand, 1951) in tobacco country. Other novels deal with the Puerto Rican in San Juan, New York, and abroad; university life, feminism, and the religious practices of Santería. Puerto Rican identity and values are central themes in Cauce sin río (Riverbed without a River, 1962), El fuego y su aire (Fire and Its Air, 1970), and Infiernos privados (Private Infernos, 1986). Associated with the 1930s generation, Laguerre creates a historical consciousness by enriching the past with legends, folklore, and myths, especially in La resaca (The Undertow, 1949) and Los gemelos (The Twins, 1992). Laguerre's novels treat the plight of oppressed women, children, and workers; the effects of affluence and power on the individual; and conflicts of conscience. In his writing he has embraced both traditional and innovative forms. In 1999 he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died on June 16, 2005, one month short of his one-hundredth birthday, and was buried in his native town of Moca.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


Luis O. Zayas Micheli, Lo universal en Enrique A. Laguerre: Estudio conjunto de su obra (1974).

Estelle Irizarry, Enrique A. Laguerre (1982), "La llamarada," clásico puertorriqueño: Realidad y ficción (1985) and La novelística de Enrique A. Laguerre: Trayectoria histórica y literaria (1987).

Additional Bibliography

Irizarry, Estelle. Estudios sobre Enrique A. Laguerre. San Juan, P.R.: Editorial Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, 2005.

                                             Estelle Irizarry

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Laguerre, Enrique Arturo (1906–2005)

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