Leguizamón, Martiniano (1858–1935)

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Leguizamón, Martiniano (1858–1935)

A writer from Rosario del Tala in the province of Entre Ríos, Argentina, Martiniano Leguizamón was born in 1858 and spent his early years on his father's ranch of Gualeguay. He started writing poetry and comedy at a young age, during his schooling at the Colegio de Concepción del Uruguay. In 1880 he traveled to Buenos Aires to study law and entered journalism to make a living, contributing to La Pampa, La Patria Argentina, La Razón, La Prensa, La Nación, El Día (La Plata), and the weekly, Caras y Caretas. Passing the bar in 1885, he held administrative positions and worked as a teacher from 1885 to 1889. His first literary title was Recuerdos de la tierra (1896; Earth Memories), a fictional reconstruction of his childhood on the ranch, following the model established by Rioja native Joaquín V. González in Mis montañas (1893; My Mountains).

Leguizamón's comedy on country customs, Calandria (1897), had a great impact, as it was read and celebrated as a response to the gaucho police story—depicting the gaucho as a criminal or as a disenfranchised victim who had to take justice into his own hands—deriving from the novel, Juan Moreira (a serial by Eduardo Gutiérrez published in his family's newspaper, La Patria Argentina, between 1879 and 1880). Leguizamón's Calandria was adopted by José Podestá of the Podestá-Scotti company for performances in the circus ring as the second part of the circus shows that his company offered on tour from village to village. Fray Mocho (the pseudonym of José Álvarez), who was editor of Caras y Caretas in his early years and later a renowned native writer, also from Entre Ríos, wrote in the Tribuna, a progovernment daily (May 23, 1896), that this was a depiction of "the real gaucho of his homeland … mischievous, cheerful, not killing or stealing, but wandering from ranch to ranch, expressing his sorrows on the guitar and enamoring young girls in the little dances."

Alma nativa (1906) was a series of sketches and tales that highlighted the joy of rural work ("Junto al fogón"), glossing over the fatigue it caused, loyalty to the landowner ("La maroma cortada"), and the landowner's paternalism ("La minga," "El precio de un pial") and portrayed typical characters ("El curandero," "Mama Juana"). He also wrote the novel Montaraz (1900), the essays, Páginas argentinas (1911), and a series of historical studies (including Rasgos de la vida de Urquiza [1920; Characteristics of the Life of Urquiza] and El gaucho [1932]), as well as the first biography of eastern poet Bartolomé Hidalgo, one of the initiators of Río de la Plata gaucho poetry (De cepa criolla, [1908; Of Creole Stock]).

See alsoGonzález, Joaquín Víctor; Literature: Spanish America.


Ara, Guillermo. "Martiniano Leguizamón y el regionalismo literario." In Leguizamón, Martiniano: De cepa criolla. Buenos Aires: Hachette, 1961.

González, Joaquín V. "Introducción." In Recuerdos de la tierra. Buenos Aires: Hachette, 1957.

Payró, Roberto. "Prólogo: La portada y el scenario." In Leguizamón, M. Montaraz. Costumbres argentinas. Buenos Aires: Hachette, 1962.

Romano, Eduardo. "Prólogo." In El cuento argentine: Antología 1900–1930 y el fascículo. Buenos Aires: Centro Editor de América Latina, 1980.

                                   Eduardo Romano