Zeno Gandía, Manuel (1855–1930)

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Zeno Gandía, Manuel (1855–1930)

Manuel Zeno Gandía (b. 10 January 1855; d. 30 January 1930), Puerto Rican writer and politician. Zeno Gandía was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, where he attended elementary school. He did undergraduate and graduate work in medicine in Barcelona and Madrid, respectively. During this time he met the Cuban José Martí, with whom he established a friendship that influenced him in literature and politics. Through his novels, newspaper articles, and poetry Zeno Gandía exposed the major social, economic, ethical, and political problems that afflicted Puerto Rico during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the political arena he fought for Puerto Rican independence from Spain and from the United States. In 1902 Zeno Gandía bought La Correspondencia, a newspaper in which he criticized public officials. Because of this criticism he was sued for libel by a U.S. representative, a case he won in the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1904 Zeno Gandía participated in the founding of the Partido de Unión de Puerto Rico, which remained dominant in Puerto Rican politics until the mid-1920s.

Zeno Gandía is considered by many to be Puerto Rico's most important novelist of the nineteenth century, because his works represent the first serious realization of the genre in his country. His novels La charca (1894), Garduña (1896), El negocio (1922), and Redentores (1925) were grouped together under the series title of Crónicas de un mundo enfermo. In La charca, his best-known novel, which richly portrays the rural nineteenth-century Puerto Rican, he expressed all of his theories on naturalism and determinism.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


Luz María Umpierre, Ideología y novela en Puerto Rico (1983).

Additional Bibliography

Díaz, Luis Felipe. Modernidad literaria puertorriqueña. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Editorial Isla Negra: Editorial Cultural, 2005.

Sánchez de Silva, Arlyn. La novelistica de Manuel Zeno Gandia. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, Programa de Publicaciones Y Graba-ciones, 1996.

                                           Mayra Feliciano