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Marechal, Leopoldo (1900–1970)

Marechal, Leopoldo (1900–1970)

Leopoldo Marechal (b. 11 June 1900; d. 26 June 1970), Argentine novelist, poet, playwright, and essayist. Born in Buenos Aires, Leopoldo Marechal re-creates in his works his life experiences: his childhood in Buenos Aires, the countryside of Maipú, years spent as a teacher, and trips to Europe are revealed through the written word. His first book, Los aguilu-chos (1922), is a poetic vision of enjoyment found in the beauty of nature. Días como flechas (1926), a second book of poetry, alludes to the biblical story of creation and shows greater structure and harmony in the platonic world constructed by the poet. Marechal collaborated on Martín Fierro (1924), a seminal literary review that reflected experimental and stylistic changes in literature as they occurred in Europe, and he also contributed to Proa, an avant-garde literary journal.

In his longest, most complex, and highly influential novel, Adán Buenosayres (1948), Marechal explores themes that remained constant throughout his works. As an effort to reinterpret biblical themes symbolically through a protagonist simultaneously representing Adam and a contemporary resident of Buenos Aires, the novel oscillates between the symbolic and the realistic, examining the transformations of Argentine society brought about by massive immigration and industrialization. In spite of a favorable review by Julio Cortázar, then a critic and aspiring writer aligned with Victoria Ocampo's Sur, the novel was coolly received and left unattended for more than twenty years. This has been attributed, in part, to Marechal's identification with the Peronist Party. More recent writers consider the novel as one of their primary influences and as a precursor to the technical and thematic literary experimentation of the 1960s.

El banquete de Severo Arcángelo (1965), considered to be Marechal's most important experimental novel, reflects the interplay of illusion and reality also found in plays such as Antígona Vélez (1951) and Las tres caras de Venus (1966), as well as in his essays, including Cuaderno de navegación (1966). Marechal is best known for his use of religious and mystical motifs, for the poetic qualities interwoven throughout his narrative and essays, and the epic narrative style of his poetry. He died in Buenos Aires.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Alfredo Andrés, Palabras con Leopoldo Marechal, Reportaje y antología: Alfredo Andrés (1968).

Daniel Barros, Leopoldo Marechal, poeta argentino (1971).

Graciela Coulson, Marechal: La pasión metafísica (1974); Poesía: 1924–1950 por Leopoldo Marechal (1984).

Valentín Cricco et al., Marechal, el otro: Escritura testada de Adán Buenosayres (1985).

Leopoldo Marechal et al., Interpretaciones y claves de Adán Buenosayres (1966).

Elbia Rosbaco de Marechal, Mi vida con Leopoldo Marechal (1973).

Rafael F. Squirru, Leopoldo Marechal (1961).

Additional Bibliography

Cheadle, Norman. The Ironic Apocalypse in the Novels of Leopoldo Marechal. Woodbridge, Suffolk, U.K.: Tame-sis, 2000.

Martínez Pérsico, Marisa E. La república de Leopoldo Marechal. Buenos Aires: Ediciones de la UNLA, 2005.

Maturo, Graciela. Marechal, el camino de la belleza. Buenos Aires: Biblos, 1999.

                                     Danusia L. Meson

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