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Mármol, José Pedro Crisólogo (1817–1871)

Mármol, José Pedro Crisólogo (1817–1871)

José Pedro Crisólogo Mármol (b. 2 December 1817; d. 9 August 1871), Argentine poet, novelist, and journalist. Born in Buenos Aires, Mármol became one of the main literary figures of his time in the fight against the tyranny of General Juan Manuel de Rosas. His works include El poeta: Drama en cinco actos en verso (1842), A Rosas el 25 de mayo (1843), Amalia (in two parts, 1844, 1850), and Cantos del peregrino (1846–1847). Most of his works were published in Uruguay. His complete works, including Armonías and El cruzado, drama en cinco actos, were published posthumously. His novel Amalia is considered one of the classics of Spanish American literature. It portrays life in Buenos Aires during the dictatorial regime of Juan Manuel de Rosas from the viewpoint of the opposition (the Unitarios).

Mármol suffered financial hardship during his childhood (the years he lived in Montevideo, his mother's city of origin) and after his mother's death in Brazil. His father distanced himself from his son, who returned to Buenos Aires and began his studies at the University of Buenos Aires.

In 1839, Mármol was jailed by the Rosas regime. In 1840 he was back in Montevideo, where he joined Esteban Echeverría's group of patriots in their fight against the Rosas government in Buenos Aires. His literary mentor was Juan Cruz Varela, who also became his friend and supporter. Works from this period deal with the political battles against the tyranny of Rosas as well as with disagreements among the three political groups fighting Rosas: the Unitarios, the older political theoreticians among the Federales, and Echeverría's group, the Young Argentine Generation. In Rio de Janeiro, Mármol met Juan Bautista Alberdi, who was returning from a trip to Europe. Alberdi convinced Mármol to go to Chile, where he could be more effective in the fight against Rosas, but Marmol's ship was not able to reach Chile. This experience is the source of his Cantos del peregrino (Songs of the Pilgrim).

After his abortive trip to Chile, Mármol returned to Brazil, where he remained until 1846. His exile, as well as that of his peers, ended in 1852, when Rosas was defeated by General Justo José de Urquiza's army in the battle of Caseros. During the years that followed, he wrote many articles on political issues, but he never completed the unfinished cantos of the Cantos del peregrino. Appointed director of the Public Library of Buenos Aires in 1858 (a post he held until his death), Mármol was much admired as the heir to the political ideas of Esteban Echeverría. He is an important writer of the generation of the Romantics, whose life and work centered on beliefs in liberty and democracy for Argentina and South America.

See alsoEcheverría, Esteban .


Stuart Cuthbertson, The Poetry of José Mármol (1935).

Delfín Leocadio Garasa, "José Mármol," in Latin American Writers, edited by Carlos A. Solé and Maria Isabel Abreu, vol. 1 (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Civantos, Christina. "Exile Inside (and) Out: Woman, Nation, and the Exiled Intellectual in José Mármols's 'Amalia'." Latin American Literary Review 30:59 (January-June 2002): 55-78.

Furlan, Luis Ricardo. José Mármol: Un destino militante. Buenos Aires: Círculo de Legisladores de la Nación Argentina, 1999.

                               Magdalena GarcÍa Pinto

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