Rabasa, Emilio (1856–1930)

views updated

Rabasa, Emilio (1856–1930)

Emilio Rabasa (b. 22 May 1856; d. 25 April 1930), Mexican novelist. Rabasa, a native of Ocozocuatla, Chiapas, studied law at the Instituto de Ciencias y Artes in Oaxaca and began his career as a deputy in the state legislature in 1881. In 1886 he went to Mexico City, returned to Chiapas as governor from 1891 to 1894, and then served as its senator from 1894 to 1913. He represented the government of Victoriano Huerta at the Niagara Falls Conference in Canada (20 May-15 July 1914), alongside the envoys of Venustiano Carranza, to discuss the U.S. occupation of Veracruz and the incident at Tampico. Huerta fell in 1914, and Rabasa and his family remained in New York City until 1920.

Rabasa was known as one of Mexico's outstanding constitutional lawyers. He also distinguished himself as a novelist and journalist. In 1887 he cofounded El Universal, still in publication. In that year and the following one, he published four novels using the pseudonym of Sancho Polo, La bola, La gran ciencia, El cuarto poder, and Moneda falsa. A novel, La guerra de tres años, published serially in El Universal in 1891, appeared in 1931. Rabasa has been hailed as the father of "Mexican realism," and his work is frequently compared with that of his Spanish contemporary, Benito Pérez Galdós.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


Alfonso De Lascurain, Influencia de don Emilio Rabasa en la constitución de 1917 (1956).

Marcia A. Hakala, Emilio Rabasa, novelista innovador mexicano en el siglo XIX (1974).

Lorum H. Stratton, Emilio Rabasa: Life and Works (1974).

Elliot S. Glass, Mexico en las obras de Emilio Rabasa, translated by Nicolas Pizarro Suárez (1975).

Additional Bibliography

Cortazar, Alejandro. Reforma, novela y nación: México en el siglo XIX. Puebla: Benemérita Universidad Auntónoma de Puebla, Dirección de Fomento Editorial, 2006.

Hale, Charles A. "The Civil Law Tradition and Constitutionalism in Twentieth Century Mexico: The Legacy of Emilio Rabasa." Law and History Review 18:2 (Summer 2000): 257-279.

                                   Barbara A. Tenenbaum